I wrote a couple of days ago about growing up clueless and about how my life seemed to be a race against gender dysphoria until it finally caught up with me in 2006. I’d like to tell you about what happened after GID caught up with me, and what has happened to my life-long enemy.

Something really interesting has happened to me since I started what the Standards of Care call the RLE, or Real Life Experience, which means living in your target sex full-time. I have noticed that I don’t have any distress about gender at all — no waking up in the middle of the night wringing my hands about being a woman inside, no fear of being utterly consumed by this nasty feeling, no shame about how I’m made, and no fear about my “secret” being discovered.

This is not to say that I don’t care about a bunch of little projects involved with becoming myself, including clean up electrolysis and laser, smoothing out relationships with neighbors and old friends, working on my voice, going to therapy with Mary Jo and the boys, and trying to build a suitable wardrobe. No, all those things are still important and I still feel annoyed at how fumblingly clumsy I am about so much of femininity. But what’s missing is an urgency or a desperation to simply DO SOMETHING, to take steps to quit hurting so much. In fact, it’s remarkably calm inside my psyche, and it’s an unusual feeling for me — it’s been a really long time since I felt something like this inner calmness, and I have to confess that I’m a bit confused about what to do with it.

I don’t believe I’m sad, and I don’t think this feeling is grief, although a member of my support group suggested it might be grief. It’s a kind of loss, yes, but the loss of something I am happy to see leave my life. It’s possible that I grew close to my torturer, as in the Stockholm Syndrome or as partners in an abusive relationship sometimes do. Maybe Gender Identity Disorder gave me an edgy quality, teaching me to be defensive and secretive in my youth, but ending up ruthlessly driven to try to survive in these past few years. It was not only a tormentor, but a motivator (a creative one, at that), and it drove me to do and think all sorts of odd thoughts that people without GID probably never have, like “If I win this solitaire game, then maybe I’ll magically be turned into a girl,” or “If I hit 5 yellow traffic lights in a row, then it’s a sign that I should change my sex,” and that sort of thing.

As GID has faded and left me, I guess I feel depleted and a little tired. I am fairly certain that the happiness of being free at last to be myself will fill those empty spaces, but at the moment, they’re just little gaps rather than white-hot crises. A let-down of sorts might be inevitable.

In my “Clueless” post, I described a life-long race to try to stay ahead of GID, lest it caught me and destroyed me. But what I ultimately learned and began to realize about a year ago was that no amount of running or fighting or struggle would defeat this beast. The only way to destroy it was to give in to my transsexual nature, and in accepting it and loving myself for being made thus, the power of GID over me would be wiped out. The paradox that simply baffled me for months upon thinking these thoughts was that to defeat Gender Dysphoria, you had to embrace it, deflecting its energy, Kung Fu-like, instead of trying to butt heads with it in a direct battle.

In picturing this metaphoric fight, I am reminded of John Donne’s Sonnet that begins “Death, be not proud” and continues in Donne-like logic to explain to Death that although he thinks he wields great powers, he always loses because in dying, we (Christians, in Donne’s case) live again, thereby robbing Death of his imaginary powers. Logically and ironically, Donne’s last line proclaims, ‘Death, thou shalt die!” It’s typical Donne, logical and clever and pleasant to read and enjoy.

Go read it and, just for fun, picture GID where you read “Death.” It works almost without modification and it expresses the triumphant, in-your-face feeling that transsexuals get when they finally discover what do to about their life-long distress. You can almost hear their collective self-whisper, “I figured it out — if I “surrender” to these feelings, then the distressful feelings will have nowhere to grow and they’ll leave me alone.”