Written on November 21st:
Take it from me - if I was chasing an image of what a woman should look like then I would never leave the house except dressed as a man because quite frankly that's how my brain tells me I look. I'd be too scared to go out if I thought I had to "pass" as some ideal or even less-than-ideal picture of what a woman should be. Because my brain looks at my face and tells me that I fail.
Somehow I decided not to care about that - which isn't easy and some days I've gone out terrified, physically shaking in fear. It has got easier. So wandering round Wallsend and Newcastle today in the same skirt I wore yesterday wasn't worrying in the slightest - neither was wandering round Matalan and Tesco tonight in a rather shorter skirt.
I was expecting hell for becoming Clare publicly - rejection from friends and family, constant abuse and even violence in the streets. I'd read stories and it's easier to absorb the stories of horror and suffering. Fear could have stopped me doing anything, even with support at home.
But the one thing worse than the worst of my fears - which haven't come to pass - was not to transition. To remain as him knowing that I am me would have led metaphorically, or possibly literally, to my death.
I can't speak for anyone else, or advise anyone else, and understand the massive range of ways of going about things that aren't any more right or wrong then the others.
I can only speak for myself, that coming out and starting to live as myself was about the scariest thing I'd ever done but it turned out that most of the fear was self-created and about imaginary phantoms. Some bad things did happen and more may still happen - but if I'd left it 10 years most of them would probably have still happened and I'd probably have been even more terrified by the whole thing. It's been very difficult to jump in and do this almost in no time from the point of coming out to myself with the truth. But - in my case, not necessarily in anyone else's case - I am very glad I did it. It would also have been very difficult for me not to do it because of the agonising pain every day that I felt I couldn't be myself. I'd go from weeping for joy at being me to weeping in great anguish at not being able to be me - I pretty much cried myself to sleep every night. It didn't take long to know that I had no choice but to transition quickly and be very public because even if it had all gone wrong then living as yourself is better than living as someone else. Which didn't make telling anyone easy, the adrenalin mixed in with the fear of rejection felt horrible. Every time. My mother inadvertantly helped by accidentally leaking it on facebook to a number of people at which point I thought "oh bugger it all" and went from telling someone every 2-3 days to telling pretty much everyone in the following week.
That's just me though - having lived with crappy mental health for most of my life (long history of problems - shrinks, 9 antidepressants, other meds, day hospitals and so on up until 2009 but that year is another story of hell and learning) I could see how much better, for me, this would be and how much of a joy it is to be me in comparison with the despair of being him.
I'll be working through the unforeseen consequences for a good long while. So much has changed and is changing. The next year may be lead to some unexpected places. Just as this year has led to unexpected places. Seeds are being sown and I wonder which will grow and bear fruit.