Everyone has a different transition and often too many of them are tragic. For me, transition hasn't been tragic. There are a number of reasons why mine isn't tragic, among them being who I associate with, having thick skin, I'm able to live on my own, respect earned as an Army veteran, a little luck, and not presenting myself as a weak target. Bottom line, I don't care what you think of me and I don't need your approval (your boss is the only exception to this rule)! I'm going to do what I have to do to live a happy and fulfilled life and if you don't like it then don't talk to me. I keep things civil and will walk away from any fight I can, but if you have such hatred towards me that you wish to inflict harm upon me, you better take me to the ground and you had better kill me... I promise you, there will be hell to pay if you do neither! I'm that delicate rose, sweet, kind hearted, best friend you'll ever have type of lady, and that's the way I wish I could always be, but some people are just asking for the thorns and don't want to simply agree to disagree and walk away.
I do take a rather hard stance now, but it's not like I've always been ripe for the transition. As I read about Amanda Todd committing suicide after intense bullying I was reminded that I was once weak and fragile. Compared to other stories I've heard my experiences pale in comparison, but it doesn't matter; being bullied is being bullied. My weak mind at the time didn't know how to handle being bullied and I felt like I never had anyone to turn to. I love my parents, but they were anything but helpful when it came to school affairs, the teachers didn't take me seriously, and I didn't have many friends. The effects of bullying put me through just about everything except for suicide, drugs, and alcohol, so for me there never was an "escape". "Escape" was scarier to me than what I was already going through. I noticed at about 7 years old that I related more with the girls than I did the boys, but didn't dare explore my feminine side out of fear that I would be bullied further and punished severely at home.
In hindsight my bully experience was usually name calling and light contact against me, but the depression never went away, I didn't feel safe, and in my mid teen years I reached my threshold. My teen rebellious phase was me becoming a loner, unable to trust anyone, uncaring of others' feelings, cold, and heartless at times. I wasn't a badass rebel, an emo, or a goth, I was more of a lost soul who was tired of letting people push me around and I needed to find my own path. This led me to joining the Army as a way to strengthen myself and to do something worthwhile in my life, but a lot of my motive was wanting to later seek revenge. Those who had done me wrong were thousands of miles away from me and what I wanted to do to them would land me in Leavenworth (military jail). When I deployed to Iraq in 2003 I remember thirsting for blood and still being pissed off. I wanted to engage the enemy, I wanted to feel the recoil of my M16 as I hear him scream his last breath and watch him bleed to death, but what I wanted most of all was for people to see the heartless look in my eyes while I do it. Thankfully, I never saw combat in either tour and started calming down after returning home.
In 2010 I was finally starting to find my balance between no self-worth and vengeful rage and for various reasons decided it was time to part ways with the Army. I've been to both extremes and neither are any way to live. It took a while, but I grew up in the Army and got what I needed out of the experience. The qualities I gained in the Army were re-enforced by the martial arts Master I currently train under. The most important quality to me is an overall high standard of life and there's no room for constant anger and negativity in that life. I had let go of those who had wronged me in the past, but there was one more inner conflict that needed to be addressed if I was to ever live a truly happy and fulfilled life. Earlier this year I could no longer tolerate the inner conflict that had been effecting me for the last 20 years and come out as transgender. The time seemed right for me to transition. I felt like I finally had the inner strength necessary to endure the backlash of transition. Just because I didn't lose it all doesn't mean I couldn't have or that I wasn't prepared to.
Nothing in my life is tragic; it's just life. We are who we are and we're forced to make the choices that we feel are best given all available inputs. At the time I felt like my life was a living hell, but I'm just thankful that my personality didn't allow more dangerous/permanent solutions as possible inputs, rather they forced me to find a way to overcome whatever problems I had. The stronger personality I developed in the last 20 years has allowed me to transition with confidence. Yeah, I'm a bit of a hardass who doesn't tolerate intolerance. It's part of my personality that makes me who I am and also makes it 8 months full-time and the happiest I've ever been in my life. It works for me, because I'll be damned if I don't life my life to the fullest!