The other day I had a small observation about the process of my transition, from a mental point of view: I have realised that I hold onto affectations, items or aspects from my previous life.
I would wear feminine clothes, but keep my old male underwear, until such time as I stopped fitting in them (the whole... weight redistribution thing). I kept my hair the same as it was for far longer than I should have.
I kept wearing pants long past the point of it being about physical comfort.
I wore shoes bought from the male section of shoe shops for far longer than I had any reason to.
I even wore flattening sports crop-tops under t-shirts, rather than bras that would have accentuated my bust, for quite some time.
I still carry a gender-ambiguous Moleskine satchel, despite having bought a handbag I really rather like.
I still haven't pierced my ears, despite kind of wanting to.
It took me a while to figure out why - because each time I'd jettison one more thing, it consistently made me feel good.
Yet, despite realising that, I'd double-down on the Next Big Change, be it something major like wearing low-cut tops or dresses, or something much more minor.
So, if I consistently knew it'd make me feel good, and knew I wasn't actually scared of whatever-it-was... why hang on so hard?
Is it some subconscious attempt to hold onto some part of my past life that I miss? There are some aspects I will always miss, but far less than what I've gained in terms of comfort and happiness within myself.
Is it an attempt to slow the process of transitioning down? I've always been given the choice by my endocrinologist whether or not to slow down or speed up - any time the choice to up a dosage or whatever else come sup, he lets me make the choice. Each time I've chosen to go faster, and I don't regret that for a moment. So I don't think it was an attempt to slow anything down.
If anything, I'm amazingly glad that I've found my body being affected as fast as it has.
So, my theory (and it's always a challenge psycho-analysing yourself like this) is this:
I've always been terrified of losing control. Between that and my fear of body change / body horror, choosing to do this was a huge step.
I think holding on to these things - staging certain really specific aspects of my changing life - is a way to hold onto something I have very little control over.
I can't affect, now, how my body changes. Even if I for some reason wanted to, I couldn't just "stop" taking oestrogen now - I've got an implant, and it's not going anywhere.
So these little things, increasingly minor, I think are a way of giving myself a safety-cushion - the illusion of control over something, to make me feel more comfortable about just how helpless I've felt at times on this weird-arse rollercoaster.
Thing is, the more minor the thing, the longer I seem to hold onto it. The more inconsequential, the more it seems to matter to me.
Another aspect is this: transitioning, as a term, implies that it's finite.
I've occasionally caught myself saying, "...since I transitioned". It's only been in the last month or so that I've said this on occasion. I don't like saying it, because it's not really right. I will still be 'transitioning' for a long time. There will always be more changes, more to get used to. But I realised that on some level it now feels like something I've "done", at least in large part.
I present female. My name is changed. I board flights, go into shops, get carded, and every part of that process I am Elissa.
So in that sense, it feels like something that has passed. Done. Executed. Maybe not complete, but something which is no longer a looming fear in my future, and instead something which is just part of my life. The scariest parts are mostly over.
Thing is, as bizarre as it sounds to vocalise or even just turn over in my mind... knowing I was going to transition, going through the early stages... this has been a part of my life now for over a year. It feels like even longer.
I wonder if some part of me is putting off these minor things, because 'transitioning' as an active process that involves being nervous about The Next Thing I Need To Do has become on some level part of my identity - part of my world.
So as long as one or two of those little things I want to change still (but haven't) exist in my life... there's more left to do, and I don't have to move onto whatever else in my life needs to be dealt with.
Or maybe I'm just over-thinking it.
Either way, I'm going to switch to that handbag some time soon...