Oddly enough what gave me a panic attack wasn't my first meeting with HR about coming out at work. It was my second meeting. This time it was with the head of my department and the head of the legal department. I mean, don't get me wrong. It was a good meeting. Both of them said the organization supported me, they had my backs, etc. etc. etc. But what really smacked me in the face was the reality of the situation. Coming out at work and being a woman at work is no longer something I just think about or hope for. It's a reality and it's coming pretty darn quickly.
The reality of it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Suddenly my brain started spinning a twisting, twirling web of fear. Was I really going to do this? Was I really going to put on a wig, and a dress and makeup and walk into my office, sit down and start working? What would my coworkers think? Would everyone mock me endlessly? Would they mock me behind my back or to my face? Were the women of my office going to think I was some sort of pervert because I was gonna be in the women's room? Would anyone take me seriously?
Then the real doubts started to weigh me down.
Did I take myself seriously? Was I really transgender? Was I sure? Am I maybe just a crossdresser who dressed up for the fun of it and not a real transgender person? It's not like I would commit suicide if I had to live as a guy. Did I have the courage to live every day as a woman? Did I have the energy to live every day as a woman? Did I have the financial means to live every day as a woman. Was I making a huge, career destroying, bank account destroying, friendship destroying, relationship destroying mistake? What the hell was I thinking?
My partner tried her best to calm me down and pointed out that dysphoria can wax and wane in its intensity but will never disappear. And I was just in a waxing point. Or a waning point. I forget which is which. But the bad one. My dysphoria would return.
I tried my best to remember that I had been down this road before (though not nearly this far) and had chickened out once. And though I do very much like where my life is now, I still regret not going through with transition back then. I lament the lost years that could have been spent as me.
It's tricky this whole thing, transition. It's hard. I worry that I don't pass at all and that I'm ridiculous. I'm a naturally anxious person and I'm one of those people who, as soon as their head hits the pillow at night, start letting their imagination run wild with all the horrible things that could happen.
For a couple days the knot in my stomach got tighter and I grew more anxiety ridden and depressed. This happens to me from time to time, but luckily it had been many, many years since it had gotten this bad.
Then I felt better. I felt better because I got dressed up, looked in the mirror and saw myself. I saw her. I saw me.
And instantly my mind snapped right back and my brain said to me "You can do this. You were born to do this. This is who you are. This is what makes you happy. Every birthday candle and coin in a fountain your whole life, you have wished for this. You can do this."