I have a hard time describing my experience with dysphoria. The concept is completely foreign to cis people and words fail at accurately communicating my internal experiences. The best metaphor I have for it is a pair of shoes that are a little too small. Most of the time, it is just a minor inconvenience. You know it’s a problem but you can ignore it. Sometimes you can go for days without noticing it and you begin to believe that you were wrong about the shoes or you just had to break them in. But the irritation always comes back. Then there are the days when it is all you can think about. Days where you are unable to ignore how the shoes are too small and it overwhelms every other thought. Those are the hardest days with gender dysphoria. While imperfect, this is the best metaphor I have for my own experience with gender dysphoria.
At its most basic level, transition is a waiting game. You start the process, take your hormones, and then you just wait. You wait for the HRT to change your body, wait for your hair to grow out, and wait for your voice to become passable. There is not much else you can do other than that. Most of the time, this waiting isn’t an issue for me. Most days are easy and I can get through them without issue. The trouble comes from the rough days. This past week, I have had a lot of really rough days.
I don’t know when dysphoria is going to be really bad. There are no obvious signs that it will choose today to be a problem. I can go weeks without it being a serious issue only for it figuratively push me down the stairs. And I can go through days of near-crippling dysphoria where I hate going outside because of how I look only to wake up one morning and be fine. I have not had as many of those really bad days since I started HRT, but this week has been tough. And the hardest part is that there really isn’t anything I can do to get over it. Sometimes I am able to distract myself or keep myself busy, but that is not guaranteed to work. It also assumes that I can muster the energy to fight through it, which is not always true. The coronavirus situation does not help either, there are even less options at my disposal to mitigate the dysphoria. So I just trudge through. I try to get through today and hope that tomorrow is better. And just keep waiting.