Posted by: sarahswati | December 8, 2009

The Cost of Living

Since I mentioned in my first post that I know I am female inside but don’t, at least at present, want to transition, you’re probably wondering why I don’t want to transition. Well, that is an excellent question… one I’m not entirely sure about the answer to. There are a few factors involved in it that I am aware of, however. For one, I tend to be a very cautious person. I wonder if, after I go through all the trouble and the expense, I will be any happier. Of course, there is no way to know whether I will or not, and I know this, but still I hesitate, even though I know logically that this uncertainty has no real effect on the outcome at all.

Another factor is that transitioning to any state that I feel would make me happy seems like an impossible dream. I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. A ridiculously hairy, stocky, pear-shaped (in more ways than one) man. I can’t really imagine what I would look like as a female. (And any time I’ve tried to make myself up to find out hasn’t really helped my self esteem, either. Trust me.) I’ve occasionally wondered if maybe I should go to one of those places that specializes in trans makeovers and photo shoots, just to see what a pro could do with “what I’ve got to work with”. Maybe it would inspire me. On the other hand, it might discourage me on the subject even further.

There are also a couple of other factors that deserve posts of their own and I may psych myself up to write about them at some point.

One would think that the pain I feel every day about the way I am seen and treated and expected to be would be enough to convince me to transition. I hate being male. There is nothing at all about it that I like. Except, perhaps, some nebulous feeling that being female might be worse. After all, that’s what I’ve been brought up (by society) to believe. And, I know in some ways that it’s true, though I have a hard time convincing myself that it is, overall, at least in my culture (a reasonably liberal area in California). Maybe some part of me feels the suffering I know is better than suffering I don’t?

I suppose it boils down to a question of “If I transition, can it get any worse than where I am now?” I honestly don’t know.

But, as I’m writing this, I’m watching an episode of “Castle”, the mystery series, on TV tonight. (My favorite show on TV these days.) Castle and his mother are talking. She’s worried about going out on a date with an old flame from high school. “I’m scared. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it does?”, she asks. “That’s the cost of living,” he replies.

Maybe he’s right.



  1. Hi Sarah!

    I definitely understand being hesitant and reluctant. I’m a cautious person by nature, too, and I wrestle with whether or not transition will be worth it. I have a terrible fear that someday I’ll have gone through it all and still be miserable.

    And yet my experiences thus far, limited though they have been, seem to suggest that I won’t be. It’s mainly those experiences which are driving me onwards at the moment.

    Still, experiences can only prepare one so much, and at some point I think it’ll come down to a leap of faith.

    Wishing you all the best on your own personal journey, no matter what you decide!


  2. Hi, Susan!

    Thank you for the comments and wishes. I have that same fear about going through it and still feeling miserable. I guess I need to take a few more steps towards testing the waters to help either drive me on or drive me away, too.

    Good luck to you on your journey, as well!

    — Sarah

  3. I’ve wondered about your journey in this. Thank you for writing this, it helped me understand. If I had been born in a man’s body, I think I would be where you are now. I’ve often wondered how people make the decision to go all the way. I greatly admire your courage in freely being who you are. Maybe there is an evolution of some kind ahead of you that doesn’t involve physical change……but leads to your eventual happiness.

    Whatever will bring you happiness is what I wish for you.

  4. Thank you, Alison. You’re a great friend! :)

  5. Hi Sarah!

    I read your post and so many thoughts just went through my head.

    It must really be difficult for a male to consider transitioning to female because, as you said, women are not valued in our society. I have to wonder if men who have transitioned end up finding new challenges they hadn’t expected in the way they’re treated as women, nevermind as a transgendered person. And a man transitioning as a woman?! Say it isn’t so! A woman transitioning to a man seems far more… acceptable than male to female. Patently ridiculous, of course, but I think that notion rides as an undercurrent in even the most liberal of thinkers. It’s cultural conditioning, I think.

    I’m reminded of a documentary out of Iran, “Be Like Others,” about Iranian men who transition to female and their struggle with trying to balance their need to be female w/ society’s treatment of women. I haven’t seen it, but…I dunno, perhaps their experiences may provide some insight that would be helpful.

    Perhaps if you can find a culture – either from your own roots or to simply adopt one – that better conforms to your personal ideal of how women should be treated, that may provide some measure of comfort for you. Some Native American tribes actually hold gay men in high esteem because they straddle both male and female. Not that you’re necessarily gay, but, perhaps perceptions from another culture might help ease your struggle a bit….

    Just trying to find a different path for you!

  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, AQ. I definitely agree about the cultural aspects of transitioning. I think it’s safe to say that if tolerance was more pervasive, there would be no need to transition. It’s basically trying to alleviate the symptoms of a cultural illness, rather than dealing with the root causes.

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