Pain and Strength


Before I start, you need to know something. This is not a post where I romanticize pain by saying that any hardship you go through, will make you more resilient. I went through a lot of traumatic pain in my life and it has not transformed me into an ubermensch who can handle the most difficult of hurdles.

It transformed me into a mess. For a long time, I was not able to handle anything. Chronic pain, whether physical or psychological, has a negative influence on the function of your body and your brain, and decreases your ability to withstand strong impact in the long run, rather than make you invulnerable to pain later on.

Having gone through physical and mental abuse does not mean that I can handle transition any better than those who are healthy. Transitioning does not make me any stronger than people who are not transitioning – and believing so is a load of horse-shit. All it means is that I will need to process this whole experience later on.

Transitioning, for me, is a traumatic experience. From day to day, I can´t be sure of my continued survival, and I inflict physical harm upon myself because I don´t know how to otherwise deal with the extreme stress that it entails. And I am not talking about taking hormones or having surgery. Those are actually easing the stress.

I am talking about the red tape. About being forced to undergo psychological screening, even if doing so triggers old traumatic experiences, about being forced to deal with dysphoria because gender  reassignment surgery is viewed with less urgency that say, genital reconstruction for a cisgender person.

If I survive this, if somehow I make it through, this is not a statement about my personality. If anything, it is a testimony to how ridiculously difficult transition becomes when third parties, such as insurance companies, are allowed to interfere in the process and demand that someone´s gender identity be psychologically tested.



4 thoughts on “Pain and Strength

  1. Kinda agree with you, but in some ways not so.
    I think, personally at least, transitioning has made me stronger in several aspects of my life, in which I would not have gained that strength if I had stayed cis-gendered.
    For example while misgendering sometimes would knock me for six, after a while I learnt to manage the low feeling that came with it, and how to rationalise – looking at others point of view.
    Also with dysphoria, after forcing myself to go swimming even though I know people might stare, has helped me develop a attitute of, basically “let them stare if they want” and to realise judgement of others is not half as important as I took it before.
    I have more patience now, which has developed through the lengthy transition process since Im going down surgical routes, 3+, 4+, 5+ years. I used to try rush everything.

    What I do agree with you on though is how this modern day concept of “every hardship makes you stronger” is not based on a solid foundation. Many things experienced can take years, decades or even a whole lifetime of negative effects to get over.

    For you, transitioning could have tipped the balance into future losses rather than gains, but maybe its too early to tell?
    There are many things you might have gained compared to not transitioning/being cis, from; understanding, wisdom, knowing who the real you, your “core” so to speak, not judging people as much, being more open, maybe even being a kinder person etc… just stuff you would have found it harder to re-align in yourself otherwise.

    I dunno, you are free to think i’m talking bollocks :-p . And transitioning is such an individual road for each transgender person, but just thought i’d throw in my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you Sebastian (correct me if that is not the right name, I have the attention span of a goldfish!). You´re not talking bollocks at all.

      There are lessons to be learned from hardship. That is true. Now it might also be true that the lessons that I might be learning, are particularly tough because they remind me of abuse I went through a long time ago. I do not want to re-live those moments.

      I´ve been trying to look for the positive while also remaining true to what I feel, which in some ways is very contradictory, and I might come off as quite cynical 😉 The main thought I had was that I want to acknowledge, not deny, that the going is pretty tough.

      We´re both coming out of our transition completely transformed, not just due to HRT and the operations but also due to the rules that we are expected to follow. Other people shaping my life is something that I have bad experiences with. But who knows how I will view it later on.


  2. It’s so fucked up that we literally have to prove someone else that we can’t live without transitioning. It’s scary, knowing that those strangers have the right to take away your own future, your life that was supposed to be yours from the very beginning. I hate those people with all my heart, but then again, I have no other choice.
    Even having to prove the same thing 2 completely new therapists so I can change my name and gender on paper is exhausting. Talking about my dysphoria worsens my experience with it. But there’s no way around it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to picture Dory when I think of this process.

      Dory: “Hey mister Grumpygills, when life gets you down…, you know what you gotta do?”
      Nemo: “I don´t want to know, what you gotta do.”
      Dory: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!”

      (And then they pretty much swim into the dark)

      Liked by 1 person

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