I am having trouble feeling whole. Even as everything seems to be falling together for me (colleagues, friends, family, job), I feel my identity is falling apart. Every so often, I sometimes don’t really know who I am.

I continue to do things I’ve always done — talk to people, buy stuff, write in the blog — but increasingly, I’m second-guessing those mundane acts because of innocent comments from others. It’s ok that I’m the topic of conversation and the recipient of observations because that’s what I wanted when I decided to tell all my friends and colleagues about my situation.

But I wasn’t prepared for the uncertainty that accompanies an observation about how I’m changing. Lately, my friends have been saying I’m behaving more and more frou-frou. I don’t know if it’s an accusation or a neutral observation or a loving encouragement. Here’s what it feels like, though — it feels as if what I’ve done or said or bought has been dismissed as not being legitimate. Or maybe the purchase, the deed, or the utterance is ok, but it’s me who has been dismissed as illegitimate. Although the term is an onomatopoetic French word meaning “Fussy or showy dress or ornamentation,” I think it’s intended to mean prissy or effeminate.

An example. I got these onesies for a baby shower for a grad student of mine, and I bought a gift bag to put them in. Admittedly, it is cute and feminine, but I thought it looked nice for the occasion, for my student, and for the gift. I wouldn’t give my buddies birthday gifts in such a bag, but I don’t see anything wrong with it for a baby shower gift. But after seeing it, Mary Jo and others have deemed the bag frou-frou, and, more to the point, I’ve been deemed frou-frou.

And yes, of course, I am turning more frou-frou. It’s like the Vapor’s song, “Turning Japanese,” except that “I’m turning frou-frou, I think I’m turning frou-frou, I really think so.” I want to make it clear that I’m not concerned about becoming frou-frou or feminine or prissy because I’m pretty sure that when you change your sex, a lot of your characteristics change. I didn’t plan on being like this, and I suspect that my psyche, like my body, will be in quite a bit of turmoil for a while until it all settles down. No, what I’m writing about is how I’m processing Mary Jo’s and other friends’ observations about these changes.

In a lot of ways, I think it’s funny and charming and interesting. It feels on one level as if everyone’s doing some light hearted ribbing and engaging in loving curiosity as they see their old friend George changing before their very eyes. They’re probably also processing my changes through these observations, so that what’s said isn’t designed to make me feel any particular way, but rather for the speakers to give voice to what they’re seeing and feeling. I understand and am OK with that because they have to make their own sense of this whole transsexual transition and what it means to them.

But it also feels that somewhere in all of this ribbing is a judgment about my changes, and I simply don’t know how to assimilate it or accommodate it. I feel as if I should respond or explain myself. But I can’t. I don’t know what to do, how to be. Should I listen to myself and act a certain way, buy a certain thing, say a certain thing — or should I second guess myself and try to pretend I’m not undergoing a major change?

I can’t fall back on “I’m just being me” because there doesn’t appear to be a “me” any more. But if I take tentative steps to define a new “me,” I feel as if I get these little judgments about those steps.

I don’t think my friends are trying to make me feel guilty or that they want me to change back, not even unconsciously. But I’m simply left with confusion as to what I’m supposed to do, so I just stand here, perplexed, seeking acceptance and guidance, but fearing judgment and ridicule.

I want to strike out on my own, but I am afraid of getting lost — this tentativeness is confusing to someone who has been fairly certain in the past. It also provides a new level of concern because if I’m not only turning frou-frou, but am also losing my decisiveness, then I’m truly not the same person I used to be, and that self-alienation concerns me a lot more than whether I’m acting a little prissy from time to time.