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The Stoic Transexual


Lydia_R

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I identify with being transexual and stoic and these two things are at odds with each other.  Altering my body like this is about the most unstoic thing I can think of.  I've become a fan of MMM (Mr. Money Mustache) the last few years.

 

Anyway.  Not to complain about it.  Although I'm preparing myself to spend money on my transition, I'm still going to lead a fairly frugal life and certainly have a frugal retirement.  One of the big ways I'm saving money is with transportation.  I bought a $5,000 EV two years ago and only drive it 2,200 miles/year.  Before I bought the car, I went a year without a car and just biked.  The car is going to come in handy to get me to appointments for electrolysis and such, although I'm in biking distance of that as well.

 

I've always had an admiration for Henry David Thoreau, but lately I've been questioning that.  I also have a Star Wars fantasy about being a strange old hermit.  I do realize that I'm blessed and cursed at not being in a relationship at the moment.  I don't have to deal with coming out to my partner.  I always say that being alone is not my goal.  I have been alone for 2.5 years now and I have to admit that I'm having a great time with it.

 

I feel incredibly rich.  I've had just about anything I can want for several years now.  When I bought my house in 2014, I had a few years of high spending on Amazon and replacing all my appliances.  All I need now is a new roof on the house and I'm planning on doing that work myself.

 

But back to the stoic thing...  Is this transition thing just vanity?  Is it a major thing or a minor thing?  Why am I willing to spend all this money on it?  When I think about spending money, I really don't have anything else that I would want to do.  Travel really doesn't excite me much.  I traveled the world in the 90's.  I could rent or buy a gasoline powered car and drive a couple hours to some nice bike trails, but I can just get on my bike right now and that does it for me.  If I want an adventure, I think I would just go on a 100 mile bike ride.  All I would have to do is get on my bike and start riding.  Maybe I spend $200 on a meal and a hotel room.  I've never done that, but I do feel it is a stoic thing planning a trip for a year that is going to cost $200.

 

Are there other stoic transexuals out there?  What are your thoughts on the conflicts of the two?

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Interesting philosophical point,....sometimes contradiction is the essense of truth. 

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I am not a Stoic. I study Vedanta which intersects significantly with Stoicism. I have similar questions about why my gender identity and expression are so important to me. There is the Ideal or Absolute, and there is the material. When the sage realizes they are one in the same, they may live a perfectly virtuous life unaffected by relative matter and circumstances. Until then, matter is the media by which we practice virtue. Note that there is the potential for vanity even in austerity. E.g. A feeling of egoistic pride in one's practices. From the point of view that all is the Absolute, matter doesn't matter, and therefore, the desire to change one's body may be construed as misguided or ignorant. However, we exist as humans in a practical and relative reality. If changing your body/expression/appearance, etc. is a conduit to live a more virtuous life, then it is not wrong or vain to pursue it. And indeed, I believe that for trans folks in particular this is true because that pursuit of self-expression cultivates self-love and joy. That expansion of the small self (that is, the material self experienced in this relative plain of existence - contrasted with The Self which is the unified Absolute) opens channels to be a more loving, kind, and compassionate presence in the lives of others. 

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On 3/22/2022 at 9:32 AM, Vidanjali said:

However, we exist as humans in a practical and relative reality. If changing your body/expression/appearance, etc. is a conduit to live a more virtuous life, then it is not wrong or vain to pursue it.

Your entire response was well-stated, but this particular statement resonated with me.  Thanks for the insightful thoughts.

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Interesting topic Lydia! It gave me pause for thought, I even looked up stoic to make sure I understood it's meaning. I would have liked to think I was able to mask what I now know to be gender dysphoria for all those years before starting to accept & love me for who I am. But it would be a big fat lie. I wore the persona of masculinity, but the pain & self hate of dysphoria manifest itself outwardly in self destructive behavior & anger. I don't remember anyone telling me I have a "poker face," so I don't think I would be considered it a stoic transgender woman. I think the frugality is really a separate philosophy, or life choice. Again, interesting discussion, thank you.

 

Hugs!

Delcina

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😀  Yes, there is a difference between being frugal and stoic.  I don't have a problem with spending money on something I really want.  I typically buy all my clothes new.  My frugal ways are to just make sure that I really use everything I buy.  I have a bread machine that I use every week or two, but I don't own a microwave oven or toaster oven.

 

I've been studying freewill in recent years and that certainly is a topic with gender identity.  Reasoned choice.  Do I have a choice about what things I like?  I can certainly adopt an idea.  Years ago I decided that I liked curries.  I really didn't know much about them at the time, but they are a major part of my life now.  At about the same time I decided that I liked drinking soda pop with my meals.  Unlike the curries, that was a really bad choice to make.  But recovering from that was one of my greatest successes.  The obstacle is the way.  If there is one thing I would take back in my life, it would be the soda pop idea though.

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For me it is more a matter of honesty.  I could and did live as a male for years but there was always another part surpassed and hidden.  Now as i age i can handle the physical and emotional pains that comes living honestly as myself.  

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize 

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15 hours ago, Lydia_R said:

Do I have a choice about what things I like?

 

I believe yes, but it's more a matter of cultivating a shift in one's sensibilities by adopting particular attitudes than it is about exerting will. Take food for example. There are foods that I like because they are tasty or have an appealing texture, but to which my body reacts badly. I like the food, but I dislike how I feel when I eat it. Nonetheless, I may continue to eat the food because the experience of pleasure has made an impression on my mind which causes me to desire the pleasure it brings. I may become attached to that pleasure, and therefore, desire for the object of pleasure is further impressed on the mind. But, there may come a time where impressions of having experienced pain resulting from eating that food result in me being repelled by it. So, likes and dislikes seem to come and go. My teacher says go on liking things, but like serenity of mind the most. With deep insight we see adversity and abundance as the same. Indeed, when we rise to the challenge to overcome circumstances that we dislike we are better for it and grateful that it happened because we were able to learn and grow.

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Liked:

Quote

With deep insight we see adversity and abundance as the same.

 

Drugs and alcohol were an occupational hazard for me in my music career.  They are fun, but god only knows why they are so damaging.  I've always taken fighting addiction seriously.  I'm not clean and sober, but I like to think that I'm sober.  Sober minded.

 

About 20 years ago I learned that I liked being productive more than doing drugs.  It's key to have a good production to consumption ratio in life; no matter how much money you have or don't have.  That's probably one of the key stoic principles in my life.  I feel lucky to be as relatively undamaged as I am.  A lot of my friends are dying and in poor health.

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  • 3 weeks later...

One thing that I do think is stoic is how transition is an action; a verb.  I like MtF because it implies action.  I don't know why I want to be female; where that comes from.  I do think that transitioning is a choice; a choice to do something, to make changes over time.  Sure, like any journey there is a destination, but it's about the journey.  At least it is for me.  It's something interesting to do.  I'm a DIY kind of person.

 

My new job has brought more money into my life, so I've been having fun buying more clothes.  I've gotten into women' active wear.  I got a nice pair of running shoes and some old school yoga pants.  I'm still working things out with my doctor about starting HRT.  Hopefully it'll just be a couple more weeks here.

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On 3/22/2022 at 6:32 AM, Vidanjali said:

That expansion of the small self (that is, the material self experienced in this relative plain of existence - contrasted with The Self which is the unified Absolute) opens channels to be a more loving, kind, and compassionate presence in the lives of others. 

That’s lovely!

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2 hours ago, Lydia_R said:

I don't know why I want to be female; where that comes from.  I do think that transitioning is a choice; a choice to do something, to make changes over time. 

That’s a pretty astute observation. I think for me it wasn’t necessarily “wanting “ to be female but rather a decision to stop denying it. Once I accepted the truth I had no difficulty making the first phone call and scheduling my first appointment. Before then I was hesitant to even google the subject. The choice for me was to stop resisting and just be myself, whatever that turns out to be. Today one year after HRT, no matter who I’m talking to, I just let my insides shine out, I let the inner joy escape and infect others. Some people embrace it and reflect it back. Others resist it much like I once did to myself. 
 

Like you, I don’t know where it comes from. I just know that it is. And that’s good enough. I lived my whole life trying not to be who I am, mostly to please or pacify or gain acceptance from others who disapproved of my inner essence. It’s a hypocritical existence and wrestling with the chains can do long term damage to the psyche. Once I made the decision to accept myself for who I am it felt like the chains just fell off, and I have absolutely no desire to put them back on again!!

 

so to reflect on what you said, I don’t know why but I made a choice nonetheless.

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3 hours ago, Lydia_R said:

My new job has brought more money into my life, so I've been having fun buying more clothes.  I've gotten into women' active wear.  I got a nice pair of running shoes and some old school yoga pants.  I'm still working things out with my doctor about starting HRT.  Hopefully it'll just be a couple more weeks here.

This is on my to-do list. I can’t wait to get back into the gym again. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since I worked out at our local YMCA. I’ll be doing the same as you @Lydia_R—shopping for some new active wear and maybe even a new swimsuit.

 

I wish you the best on your upcoming adventures with the possibility of starting HRT.

 

Susan R🌷

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7 hours ago, Aggie1 said:

Before then I was hesitant to even google the subject. The choice for me was to stop resisting and just be myself, whatever that turns out to be.

I ran from it so hard.  If a movie was on with a trans character I would leave the room.  And yet the whole time it (me) was pulling on me, trying to get out and be free.  Once she saw daylight, there was no going back.

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7 hours ago, Jandi said:

I ran from it so hard.

 

Me too, in my own ways. I used to be indignant about anything referred to as "unisex". I was terrified that if I adorned myself with anything relatively masculine, that everything would unravel - I'd be chased to the ends of the earth by people wielding pitchforks and torches. And misconstruing my aesthetic attraction/envy for more masculine things as sexual attraction, I did a lot of harm to myself and others. Now that I understand myself much better, knowing nonbinary/transmasc is a thing, I'm learning to forgive and love myself. 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm faltering on my transition today.  I can go to the pharmacy now to get my first dose of HRT, but my frugal ideals are stepping up their game.  I'm only 80 days into my new work situation now.  I've more than tripled my income by getting this job, but I have dug myself a financial hole in the last few years.  I'm making good money now, but it is going to take some time to work down my debt.

 

All my debt is mortgage backed and my rates are fabulous, but the total of it all is pretty high and I'm very focused on the fact that I'm still paying a lot every year in interest.  I feel that starting HRT and electrolysis now would be doing it with debt.

 

Before I started the new job, I was feeling that I would like to wait until retirement to transition.  The excitement of the new job and the idea that starting HRT sooner would help my hair loss problem got me pressing forward.  Now I'm not so sure.  If I still want to do it when I retire and the money is in the bank, that's a pretty good place to be in.  Right now, I have the risk of losing my job part way through my transition.  That would not be a good place to be in.

 

Anyway.  It's a tough decision and it's all mine to make.  I do get inspiration and ideas from all you lovely people on this site.  I've certainly come across many people who have waited until retirement to start their transition and I'm leaning in that direction again today.  I just want this to be a totally fun thing, not a thing of stressing out about money and security.  I realize that the way my life has gone, that I'm extremely lucky to have worked my way off the streets, teaching myself a skill that can bring in enough money to pay off a decent house in 12 years and still be able to have a minimalist retirement by the time I'm 60.

 

I'm pretty focused on retirement here.  This transition thing has the feeling of lifestyle inflation.  I'm doing a good job at keeping the rest of my lifestyle in check, and this transition may be the only thing that interests me enough to spend my money on.  I have been getting to the place lately where I'm realizing that it is going to take some time to build up some financial momentum.

 

Hugs and patience,

Lydia

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It's a bit of a dilemma, @Lydia_R, but you are right: it is your choice to make.  I can certainly see the reasoning both ways.

 

It is a matter of priorities.  It sounds like, at the moment, your priority is paying down your debt.  That is totally logical, especially as you approach retirement.  I am allergic to debt, so I completely understand that motivation. 

 

If your dysphoria is sufficiently under control that you can put off transition until you retire, then why not?  I am one of those who transitioned after retirement.  Not through any planning: I just didn't figure myself out until then.  And it isn't so bad.

 

So I wish you the best of luck as you go forward.  Whether you choose to be frugal now and transition later, or you do it the other way around, you have my support.

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10 hours ago, KathyLauren said:

  I am one of those who transitioned after retirement.  Not through any planning: I just didn't figure myself out until then.  And it isn't so bad.

This is pretty much my situation as well.

I didn't (and still don't) have the funds for electrolysis and surgery.  But I do have HRT.

 

11 hours ago, Lydia_R said:

I just want this to be a totally fun thing

Just for the record, there can be unexpected not-so-fun things.

But I'm sure you are aware of that.

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😥 Sadness...

We'll see if I can keep the spark alive 🙂

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@Lydia_R Yes! These are tough choices that only you can make. The relative postponement of the debt vs. living as yourself earlier can’t be weighed on the same scale. If the cost of HRT would permanently end any possibility of repaying of the debt, well… that would be serious factor to consider. If not, then it’s just about when the debt will be paid off not if it will get paid off. As important as money can be for some in this life, IMHO, it pales in comparison to being true to yourself.

 

Here’s another way to think about this for me. Would I go $10k-$20k in debt to start my transition a decade sooner than I did. Without question, Yes…assuming I had the knowledge and understanding about my life that I have today. So I guess if the monetary amount of that debt became too great of a burden and I determined it would outweigh my gender dysphoria, it’s possible I would’ve opted to postpone my transition.

 

But it will be interesting to see what you decide to do.

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This topic kinda almost deserves its own thread, as you laid out very nicely the assets and (possible) liabilities. I say possible, because it's one thing to aim for a future target, but another to consider on betting given the future unforseen circumstances that may arise. 

Losing a stable income is a realistic fear I have too, as a trans girl in my group is hurting over just not being able to afford facial hair removal, and for me that would be fairly unbearable going back to dysphoria, daily shaving and large amounts of foundation, as an example. Most of the trans friends I have gotten to know don't have cars, live with others, are on SSI and are just getting by. But there are also a few who literally started with nothing and managed to work very hard towards a career. 

The common thread is we all have to face our fears. I am not saying you are doing this, but sometimes we can go through a long list of what actually are rationalizations that appear as being "thoughtful" to avoid doing the hard stuff. Generally, the saying "First Things First" has clicked with me as if I didn't get myself in order, it was likely my efforts would not be in genuine alignment either, basically because I, myself had the tendancy over a lifetime of operating out of fear.

Sometimes, I feel like I have to keep momentum because the further I go, ...the further I go. Things that I thought were impossible, once I faced them, soon became realities, and the more of these I get through and behind me, the more assurance and confidence I accumulate, and so each challenge is more manageable, and so on.

Whatever the case, I wish you well in your journey and whatever path you choose is right for you.

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I'm feeling a little better today.  Susan is spot on here.  For me, right now, it is a matter of financial security.  I just want to be out of the business of paying interest.  I had to deal with paying a whole year of taxes in April and I'm just now recovering from that.  I need to build up some savings, or rather financial progress, before I can justify spending any more.

 

My plan today is to schedule an electrolysis session to real feel what that is like.  Then my thought is to wait about 2 years to jump into this.  At that time, I should have a new roof on my house and have my mortgage below $200K.  And if I can have a nice emergency fund/buffer in my finances, then I should be able to feel good about spending money on this venture.

 

I plan on doing a full transition and paying out of pocket for the whole thing.  If I do it at all that is.  I have a good career.  My career path has been shaky.  It's been a rough journey.  And whether I transition or not, I'm going to have a frugal retirement.  But I absolutely can afford to do this.  I've worked it out in my budgets.  I think that the more financially sound I become and the closer to retirement I get, the more I'll feel that this is the right path for me.  The activities that I've setup for myself in retirement are absolutely free and even have the possibility of earning income.  Although I could imagine having a better house, there is no need for that.  My house is wonderful and has architectural features.  I drive a $5,000 car and work from home.  I don't even need the car and have spent a good 20% of my adult life without a car.  I biked 700 miles last year.

 

I don't know what else I would spend my money on.  I just know that I don't want to be spending it on interest!

 

The big question is will I still want to do this in 2 years?  I'm curious about how healthy I'll feel in 2 years.  I'm a little nervous that HRT and surgery would be  bad for my health.  Are there stories on this site about people who have had bad outcomes with surgery?

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I am allergic to debt, so I completely understand that motivation.

 

Since we are in the stoic thread here, I think this was a nice statement by KathyLauren.  I've been perking up the last couple days looking at my Excel budget projections.  I still have my "trans fund" transactions listed, but knowing that they are just going to be accumulating rather than being spent right away is making me feel good.  I run my budget with the idea that as long as I have debt, having an emergency fund doesn't make any sense.  This is especially true with my HELOC.  I'll probably wind up putting the trans fund money into the HELOC pretty soon until it is all paid off.  My debt payments are finally ramping up to full speed in a couple days.

 

But like the guy who hired me said "you'll be making good money, but you won't be getting rich overnight."  It's going to take some time here.  Will I still want to medically transition if I wait 2 years?  I don't know, but there is a good chance I will.

 

I refinanced my house when mortgage rates were rock bottom, but if everything goes according to plan, I should wind up paying a few thousand more than if I hadn't refinanced.  A lot of financial blogs suggest investing in index funds instead of paying off the mortgage.  I'm not taking that route.  I just want to be out of the business of paying interest.

 

You know, it's one thing if you are 20 years old and have your whole working life ahead of you.  But at 51, if my career goes sour again, I'm not going to have a lot of time to reinvent myself.  It really does look like I've solved my career problem for good though.

 

I read The Daily Stoic every night.  That book definitely stresses showing up and doing your job.  It's especially important when you don't have a paying job.  That saying about idle hands and all.  I've read some things that say to think about the trans thing as a consumer thing.  I think it is something you purchase as well as something you do.  It certainly takes more effort than clicking a button on Amazon.  I'm curious about achieving a feminine voice.  I always think of the Tina character in The World's Fastest Indian.  He did a really good job with her voice as I recall.

 

 

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