Be an approachable transgender woman

I could not think of a more apt phrase to describe my 2010. As it recedes into the rearview mirror I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what has passed. The joys and pain. What has changed and what has stayed the same. And most importantly, what I’ve learnt.

2010 was a year of discovery for me – I pushed the bounds of what I thought was possible, I stood up as myself and dared to truly be who I am. The list of what I’ve changed in the process is long, and filled with the momentous and trivial. So in rough chronological order… I changed my job, lost thirty pounds, changed my mannerisms, changed my OS (to Mac), started hormones, changed my OS (back to Windows 7), changed my name, changed my gender, and went full time, lost a few “friends” and strengthened many more real friendships, lost the ‘gender static’ in my mind (thanks full timeness!), changed my hair style, changed my voice (and still working on this), separated from my wife, moved to a new apartment, changed my cell phone, carrier, Internet provider and email service, changed my skin care products, changed my makeup and dramatically altered the course my life will take.

Yet even amidst all the change a few things remained as foundations I could rely on. My family has poured out abundant support for me and my good friends have been there when I needed them. I don’t know if I could have made it through without them, all I can say is thank you!

2010 has brought about the humble realization of my humanity, and how deeply I need other people. There’s a clarity of thought that comes when you stand on the brink about to take a leap. When all you’ve built and laid your faith in is stripped away you reach out groping for someone’s hand to hold, needing the warm glow of someone’s care. I’ve always thought of myself as an independent person, and in not wanting to be a burden I never needed someone. I wanted, enjoying, loved, embraced and cared for others sure, but I couldn’t bring myself to the point of needing. The point of vulnerability. The point where you break down with nothing to offer and little to say except the sound of your soul cracking as you fall apart.

I wanted to share a few things I’ve learnt in 2010, but before I do that I want to say thank you to all of you who emailed me and who commented on my previous posts. It has been a difficult time for me, and even though I haven’t been able to respond to everyone personally, I appreciate deeply your words of love and support.

A Few Lessons From 2010

Be vulnerable. Be open. Need other people. Needing others is not a sign of weakness, it is an indication that you are courageous enough to let them see who you really are.

Discover who you are. Be that person. Even when it hurts. We all have a path to take that is ours. A life to live that resonates with trueness when you walk in it. But this truth is covered up by fear, responsibilities, busy-ness, even love. There is nothing more freeing and life affirming than living who you are every day.

Enjoy that person in the moment. Even if you’ll never see them again. This piece of wisdom was shared with me a few months ago by my dear friend Chelsea, and it cut deep at the core of how I thought about friendship. I tend to seek enduring, long lasting friendships to stand the test of time and distance, and am blessed to have a few friends like that. But I have always been hurt at friends who drifted apart. As if I, or they were somehow wrong for not maintaining the friendship. But each person is only in your life for a time. Some stay longer. Some leave footprints on your heart. Enjoy the time together. Friendship isn’t something you build with a plan in mind, it’s something that evolves around the needs and circumstances of those in the relationship. Let go of regret, let go of recrimination and be free to enjoy your moments together.

If you’re feeling stuck make a change. If you’re not passionate about something, you’re stuck. Last year I was stuck. Stuck professionally, stuck personally, stuck in life. I decided to make a few changes – to start the process of transition, to look for a new job – to do something to get myself unstuck. My life is all the better for pushing past the inertia.

Cry. Write. Cry. Maybe Laugh. I’ve never had a problem crying, but I could not have made it through last year without the cleansing relief of tears, followed by words that continue to pour out my emotions. Like a wet cloth being wrung dry. I have a playlist of all the saddest songs I know.  Sometimes I’ll play this and cry and feel and empty. And perhaps, just perhaps be ready to laugh again.


2011 is well underway, I wish you a belated Happy New Year, and all the best for an authentic and meaningful 2001.

With Love and Blessings,

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Petra Bellejambes

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Vanessa.
I am happy of hearing you again.
Your silence was to long and I was worry about your spirit . Fortunately you have passed these step and you can continue on your way.
I wish you the best of the best in 2011.
Alicia Ryanne

I am happy to see you post again Vanessa. I myself seem to be coming to a crossroads of sorts as I sort out who I am, what my wife thinks I am, and how she’ll handle it whenshe does realise the truth.
I dont know how she’ll deal, but i hope beyond hope that she’ll stay.
Vanessa Law

Thanks Petra, Alicia and Cecilia!

Rogina Garter

Hi Vanessa,Glad to know you are still with us…you left some of us hanging with your last post regarding the lonliness you were facing.Hugs,Rogina
Rikki Erica Portner

Holy cow! I love what you reflected upon. I came out “full-time” a little over 2 years ago, and it’s been a wonderful experience for me. I’ve strengthened relationships that were already there and have made a host of new friends. I had to be patient at first to let people get used to me living as a woman, but after awhile they came around. Now that I live the way I want to, I really like and love people a lot more. This is a gift I didn’t realize I would receive. Good luck with the HRT. I hope… Read more »

YAY! I’m so glad you’re back. I’ve been worried about you.

I love this post, it’s so beautiful.


Just finally read this post. More changes in one year than your entire life before hand, Such huge changes also.I’m in awe over what you have done, accomplished and your future before you. Wow. Leslee
Gayle Webb

The family loss was my worst,God bless for sharing

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