The twelve months from December 1993 through November 1994 were like no other period of my life. I left behind years of trying to present a facade of masculinity, and began the rest of my life as the woman I knew I should be. Every day brought new challenges and triumphs as I dealt with the practical details of changing my identity. There was no more routine "business as usual" of my medical practice, and I faced unemployment without knowing when or where I would work again.
One benefit of this involuntary sabbatical was the opportunity to be introspective. Through months of psychological counseling, in groups and individually, I learned much about the person I am, my relationships with others, my goals for life and how to achieve them. During my transition, I kept a journal of every day's events. Just as my counselor had suggested, I found it therapeutic to write about the happenings of this year that changed my life. I recorded not only the daily routine, but my feelings, my reactions, my evoked memories, my dreams.
From this journal I developed "The Real Life Test," the title I gave the story of my transition year. When I was writing my journal I never expected it to be read by anyone else, much less published over the Internet. Therefore I recorded the daily minutiae of my life: my wardrobe, my routine social interactions, even the meals I prepared. These details were important to me in establishing my identity. As I repeated a daily routine as Becky, over and over, I learned just who this Becky person would be. Some persons who read my story will find such small details irrelevant. Others, especially those whose experiences resemble mine, will appreciate knowing that life's little concerns can be managed during times of personal turmoil.
There is life after transition. The end of the year 1998 marks five years that I have lived continuously as a woman. Many, although not all, of the losses I experienced have been restored. I have a wonderful medical practice, in which I am able to do everything I could do prior to transition, plus more new skills and techniques. My new home state is filled with incredible scenery and travel opportunities. My spiritual life has grown to a more mature understanding of love as the defining characteristic of a believer. Many old friends have re-opened their relationships with me, and even more new friends have entered my life. "Real Life" is sweet indeed.
Now it would be redundant, and much less meaningful, to write about my daily routine. Of course I want to convey an idea of what my life is like now. Many people who have read my story have been so kind to ask me about present life. I will give this information in a form unlike my previous daily journal.
"Real Life: Five Years Later" will be a continuing series of essays in which I explore issues important to me as a person with my special perspective on life. Many of these essays will relate in some way to the transsexual experience. I promise no timetable or fixed schedule, but will follow the creative impulse.