Gender expression defines those of us who are transgender.

Some of us will never fully express our true selves for more than a few minutes or hours at a time. Sometimes going months or years between that expression. Often living their entire life without ever leaving the house as their true selves.

A few will manage to change very early. The stories I read about 6 and even 4 year old kids telling their parents who they really are, and getting support, gives me tremendous joy.

It was not that way for me, or for virtually every trans I know.

I knew I wanted something different from around 3 or 4 years old. I would express myself until someone would tell me to stop, tell me it was wrong.

I would wait several years and try again, with the same results. This pattern repeated itself through my life, but as I grew older, I did not need anyone to tell me it was wrong. I had become very good at doing that myself.

 We learn behavior from the comments, actions and expressions of those around us as we grow up. I learned that I was wrong to express myself.

 The internet came about and I learned that there were others like me, lots of others. The logic of me being wrong began to unravel.

 When I again began to express myself, something was different this time, no one told me I was wrong, even my own inner voice began to fade. People began to tell me I was right, that I was brave. As time went on, my inner voice changed fromrestraint, to encouragement. I spent more and more time expressing myself, pushing to see where the limits were. I have not found any. 

After I spend 4 or 5 days as Jess, the day or so in-between is becoming more and more uncomfortable. I am now beginning to see, just a little, the dysphoria that so many transgender people report.

The amount of time I can spend comfortably not expressing myself is getting shorter and shorter. When I was young I went years, now two or 3 days is a stretch .

I see this like the pattern of an object circling a drain. The water spins it around and around the drain, with every rotation it gets closer and closer.

 I think I am getting very close to going down the drain.