I woke up this morning. It seemed urgent that the dogs needed to be let out. It occurred to me the pink shirt and pink and blue pj bottoms were just a bit “too girly” for me to be wearing outside? Why? I leave the house most of the time in full on tomboy mode, makeup and all and don’t even flinch. I rummaged around for what I felt was an acceptable top and found a t-shirt after a couple tries that didn’t make me look all that girly. And I suppose that’s the problem, pretty much anymore, anything makes me look girly. That’s what I wanted right?

Why is it that 99% of the time, I can just be myself – be Ryleigh (yeah another name change, I know)? But for that 1% I can’t seem to pull the trigger as it were. I mean workwise, most people have their suspicions at the very least so its not like it would be a complete bombshell. I get gendered female by patients on such a regular basis it’s not even an emotional high anymore. Much to the point that I’m totally cool being regarded as female, but the fact that some people find me an attractive female is still taking some getting used to. My therapist wanted me to write about the pros and cons of being female, so I guess that’s what this is supposed to be.

I like my body, save for the one small part I dread. I’ve been thinking about it lately and I remember for most of my life and especially as a gay man, it always seemed odd to me, to be on my body without ever connecting it to my gender dysphoria. I mean I liked seeing it on other boys/men, but it always seemed odd and out of place on me. Now that I have a mostly female body, it seems even more out of place. I know that without taking that final leap, it will follow me to the grave and be a source of discomfort for the rest of my life. Oddly enough, at the same time I worry about the size of my breasts, I’ve had decent development on HRT and they’re definitely female breasts, but yet I still feel the need for a BA.

Acknowledging my female identity at work would end so much of my co-workers confusion. It hasn’t held me back professionally, as I’ve been promoted in the short time I’ve been there and I seem to be progressing well in my career, so I don’t have any fears there. Quite the opposite, coming out with my female identity would at the very least give me a shot with Michael and possibly others. I don’t have the feelings I have for Michael towards anyone else, but to everyone (Michael included) I’m a guy, though a bit on the odd side, I’m still a guy. I want a chance at a relationship with Michael. I’m not as boy crazy as I used to be about him, but I still have feelings for him that I want to feel free to be open about. If I don’t come out as female, my life with Michael will only ever be a fantasy (maybe TMI, but he’s the only guy I ever fantasize about).

I confuse so many patients by my presentation, and yet it’s my most male moment that I can muster. I’ve been mam’ed on multiple occasions or referred to as her or she (like the patient who told my partner “she’s got really cool hair”), I even had a patient flirt with me. Acknowledging my female identity at work wouldn’t change that, but it would allow me to change my work id, with my male name, that would make that less weird for everyone I suppose. I need to do this for me, and not for them though.

I resent having to portray myself as male, to the point that I wear the same boxers and t-shirt for days or even weeks at a time when I’m in male mode. I would never even think about doing that as Ryleigh. I know it can’t be healthy for me. If that’s true, not being Ryleigh all the time would actually be bad for my health.

I’ve been delicate with the issue with my family. I know I have their support, but I’m not being maybe as pushy as I need to be on this issue. That I need to do this for me, that its going to take some getting used to and it’s just time to move forward. I think I’m afraid of losing their support. They’ve known this was always an issue and yet I’ve never moved this forward with it before.

Lastly, and it’s probably the ghosts of my past transition more then anything else, I fear losing control of that aspect of my life when I’m fully open about myself. Things didn’t go well the last time, and though I’m a different person, I still worry about the past coming back to haunt me.

Fear is, or can be, a healthy motivator. In this case, I worry it’s paralyzing me. I don’t know how to move forward.

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