This piece was original written in 2018 - I have updated it.
I believe so strongly in this concept of Acceptance without Understanding that I am sharing a quick Transitional set of three Images to demonstrate a different perspective for your consideration.
Many folks on this network met me before 2016, the first image showing where I came from visually. Based on the feedback I received, I know that no one had any clue what was in store transitionally in my future when that picture was taken, including myself!!
In 2016 I began the process of acceptance without clearly understanding why this was my life's journey. I wanted almost nothing to change in my life except how I presented myself. It was very superficial at best, as that was my depth of understanding at the time. I now know that to be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg for me.
The fact that I knew my name was Cynthia in 2014 remained an elusive dream of what life might have been like as transitioning never crossed my mind as I had not accepted who I was. I still thought of Cynthia as a temporary manifestation of whom I wanted to be, not who I was.
After I accepted who I was in 2016, that led me on an enlightening path to understanding, by November 2017, that had me in Los Angeles preparing for major life aligning surgery. That's the middle picture of me hours after surgery in a recovery facility for the next 10 days as I began the process of coming to and accepting the new me.
The final picture to the right is me today!
What I didn't say is what it was like to wake up looking like that middle image and see myself in a mirror. Imagine preparing for and being warned about the surgery, positive and negative outcomes, knowing that the intent is to look different. What you are not prepared for is the significance of the change because you become accustomed to seeing one image of yourself reflected every day through pictures/video, mirror's, and your own perception of self, regardless if it's how you want to look, you at least know that's how you do look as you have for the last 50+ years as it is in my case.
For me, I struggled to Accept this different face looking back at me, and I didn't know who she was. I had no idea how I would look, and then seeing this mummy-like image in the mirror was difficult. It was the most difficult picture of myself to look at for quite a while.
I am more than delighted today at the outcome that continues to settle and show the results of the skilled surgeon I worked with who could imagine me today when I couldn't. I did move through acceptance without understanding the new me in the mirror.
So why share this?
In short, to help educate and demonstrate!
Educate those who may be considering accepting themselves and face a journey, not unlike my own. Educate folks who are just curious or those or truly wish to learn and understand. As an executive going through my own gender transition, I have learned so much that I wish to help others struggling with the concept of transitions in life; it doesn't have to be your gender.
To demonstrate that being Transgender and Visible is not an end to life itself. It's not easy, and it's doesn't make a living any easier, but being at peace with yourself becomes very self-fulfilling. Self-fulling as you come to accept yourself without needing the acceptance of others first. Each person that goes through a gender transition chooses to be visible or not, and neither is right nor wrong; it is what is best for the person involved. To demonstrate by living my life out loud that Transgender folks exist, we are just like you, human beings! To know me is to accept me; to accept me is to understand me. Perhaps by knowing me, you understand that most Transgender folks are not as open, so when you have questions you feel comfortable asking me to accept others, I will answer those questions that are not appropriate to ask other Transgender folks.
This past year's celebration of Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) made me aware of how I need to keep working on being visible.
Just as I work with women and young professionals developing their career journey, I want to assist other leaders and up and coming leaders who may be facing the same concerns as I have dealt with in my life's journey so that your life's journey may be that much easier where possible. Perhaps you're a business owner or leader, including up and coming leaders who need someone to talk to or answer questions, whether for yourself or those in your professional network or personal life.
If you are at a place in life or your career where you want to create change to grow and develop into your authentic self, let go of values, beliefs and behaviours that don't serve you anymore, let's talk!