In part one of our “Transition on a Budget” series, we talked about where to shop on a budget. Now we are going to talk about what you can do for absolutely nothing. Free doesn’t make them unimportant though, in fact some would argue that these things might just be the most important part of a successful transition.
Clear Your Mind
Even if you don’t have the burden of transitioning and changing your presentation to the entire world, altering their view of you- the human brain is somewhat…crowded. I know for me personally, it feels like my brain is the wall of TVs in “The Truman Show” with different feeds changing and flashing constantly. Some nights it’s like trying to fall asleep in a pinball machine.
We could all use a little clarity and mindfulness and meditation can give that to us. It doesn’t have to be all “woo woo” chakras and third eye business either. If that works for you, great. But for the rest of us, meditation is just like any other exercise- just for your brain. It’s learning to focus yourself and concentrate on clearing your mind of all the thoughts running around in your head.
If you have never meditated before, there are some really great apps that offer guided meditation- and they are completely free. Insight Timer is a wonderful app that offers hundreds of guided meditations on a slew of different topics. You can search for something that seems like it might fit your situation. Breathe is a way to dip your toe into meditation and be guided all the way. Answer a few questions about how you are feeling and how you are doing, and it will serve up a short meditation that is aimed at what you need.
And if you are one of those “I can’t concentrate that long.” folks, then take heart. There are many meditations that are only a couple of minutes long. Perfect to build up your meditation muscles.
If You Want to Transition on a Budget, You Have to do Your Research
You may not have gotten to grow up as a girl and spend your formative years learning to do things most girls do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn now.
There is a world of information out there for you. You can find 10’s of 1000’s of makeup tutorials on YouTube from professional makeup artists and other trans women. Personally I suggest Kandee Johnson, Wayne Goss, and Nickie Tutorials. I especially like Kandee because of her personality and the fact that she doesn’t ignore that budgets are a thing and she includes mention and use of “drug store” makeup as well as high end stuff. All three though are entertaining and fun to watch. They also cover a lot of skin care tips. You can also find many video tutorials on hair care and styling. There is no end to what you can find.
Along the same lines, take this time to learn about clothes. And more than just what designers are hot. Learn about what cuts flatter certain body types, find out how to camouflage your body and how to minimize and maximize certain areas. You should also learn what your colors are and what matches your skin tone. Go through catalogs, online or in print, and take some time to learn what you like. Yeah, you like dresses, but what kind? Is an A-line your style? More retro cut? Fit and Flare? Tulip cut? What patterns? This is a huge opportunity to do some self-discovery and find out more about who you truly are for the first time.
Here is the thing that you may not think about first off. Treat your wardrobe as a female the same as your old wardrobe. You need day clothes, you need clothes to go to the store, you need clothes to go to work. Sure that little black dress and heels look great, but aren’t really practical to hit up the Costco. So observe the staples that every woman wears and how they dress things down.
Also- do yourself and learn about shoes too. You need to know about more than heels because, trust me, no woman wears heels every day.
Law of the Land
It would be stupid and irresponsible to pretend that your aren’t about to embark on a difficult journey, you need to know how your change will affect you legally. Rights and laws vary from state to state and you should know what they are and how much or how little you are protected. You can start by taking a look at Lambda Law.
Let’s Get Physical
If you aren’t working out already, now is the time. Hormones can sap your energy and cause you to gain weight. So get a jump on it now by getting in your best shape possible. Plus, let’s just face it, a smaller frame is a more feminine frame. You can’t change your bone structure but you can use fitness to help shape your body into your ideal shape. You can check out our fitness articles here.
For some girls, voice is a challenge. No matter how they look, the voice isn’t quite what they hoped for. Thankfully there are vocal exercises and techniques you can use to help soften your voice. Yes, there is surgery available, but it’s expensive and risky. Give this a shot while you are still in the early phases.
It deepens your voice. It damages your skin. It kills you. You can’t smoke during HRT. It’s a waste of money. Whatever you have to do, quit smoking. You owe it to yourself.
Learn From Others
There are many blogs and YouTube channels from transgender women that talk openly and frankly about transition. Learn from their experience. Seeing and reading about others who have gone through the struggle you are going through is educational and cathartic. You will learn valuable information, and maybe be able to not make a few of the same mistakes.
Observe Your World
You have the single greatest learning tool you could ever need to prepare for transition- your eyes. Start paying attention to women, and seeing them in a different way. Watch how they walk, how they dress, how they wear there hair, how they talk. Does the way they dress flatter them? If not, what could be done different? Start observing and you will learn a lot. Practical information is always the best information. And if you want to learn how to present as a woman, learn by watching women.
Stop Thinking About Transitioning
I know, it seems counter intuitive, but sometimes you just have to flip the switch and go grab an adult beverage, curl up with the dogs, go out with friends, watch an episode of Supernatural, or just fire up the game console- anything that isn’t about transition. Yes, it’s huge. And yes, it’s on your mind a lot. But it CAN NOT be an obsession and the only thing that you think about. Not only will it drive you insane, but it will cause the rest of your life to suffer. Spending time with friends, and doing hobbies that you have always loved seem less important when you are burning out your emotions with transition. So take time for you, just you- regardless of gender or where you are in transition. Take time for you as a person.