I wanted to share an update about the things I've learned about myself in the last 12 months to help others who are not only going through any kind of transition - I think that the following 5 rules apply to any kind of transformative experience.
1. Pain comes before Progress: With any surgical transition this seems logical to think, I admit that part of me was in denial about the pain process. I knew it was going to hurt (I wasn't in that much denial) - but I was also under prepared. It took me almost 4 months to get to a stage where I wasn't in constant pain. As with any period of change - pain is usually part of any transition.
2. Honour the struggle: All too often we are so focused on the end result that we forget to recognise how far we have come. You won't always feel like reflecting on this when you're in the deepest darkest times of change, but recognise that you're going through this now to become a better version of the person that you were. Pain is difficult and at times can be overwhelming - but it's not forever. Celebrate your pain - it's all part of growing.
3. Pain = Progress = Happiness: Psychological studies have shown that a person who is not progressing is not a happy person. We all want to earn more money, have nicer things, have more fulfilled lives, better relationships etc.But some of us forget that part of the process is pain, whether it's physical or mental pain - Ask yourself if you would actually be happier without the pain - Maybe? But I guarantee you your future self will be glad you stuck with it and pushed through it - if you're going through pain, you're going to come out of it stronger and further towards your end goal than before it started.
4. Slow progress is still progress: For me I expected to make constant progress. I was angry whenever I seemed to take a step back in my recovery. I'd be up and happy, do some physical activity and then not have the energy to get up for 2 days after. You just have to remember you're on the path to your goal - however long it takes you've started and that's the most difficult part.
5. Have goals beyond your current journey: This is the most important of all. All too often people focus on the end goal forgetting that their life continues beyond it. Once you've achieved the goal, you have to have other things that you're working towards - otherwise you're going to come to a halt. Part of any transition has to take into account that once you've achieved your aim - you must have focus for the next phase of your life. All too often trans people become so obsessed with their surgeries and appointments that it consumes them. Your future happiness depends on you making progress after the transition!