Gender dysphoria always has been my most serious competitor.
It seems my entire life, I have tried to outrun it, just pausing for the brief periods when I was able to cross dress and/or pursue my feminine self constructively in public.
Along the way, I frenetically changed jobs and even places I lived trying to outrun myself. On the positive side, I was able to experience many different cultures (in the Army) as well as several diverse locations in the continental United States such as the metro New York City area all the way to the Appalachian areas along the Ohio River in Southern Ohio.
Fortunately, most of my job changes led to upward momentum in my career field I made very few lateral moves. Ironically, at the same time, I was refining my cross dressing to the point where I could almost present comfortably as a feminine person in public.
All of success of course did nothing to sooth my gender dysphoria. In fact, it made it worse. The more I succeeded, the more I wanted to. Increasingly, dysphoria was making my life more and more miserable as I struggled to keep my genders separate. I found myself consciously trying to walk like a woman when I was working as a macho man. Not a good idea.
Instead of giving in to the “dark side” and accepting my strong feminine side, I persisted which led me down the ugliest part of my life which should have been one of my happiest. My wife at the time knew I was cross dressing but never ever accepted me taking the next step and beginning hormone replacement therapy. Instead of doing the courageous thing and gracefully ending the relationship, I began to sneak out as a woman and try to lie about it. Through it all, I was and am a terrible liar and was in constant trouble. As I have written here before, my gender dysphoria ultimately led me to a very serious suicide attempt.
From there I decided to retreat back to my male self and save the relationship. It worked, even though I was miserable. Tragically, I didn’t have to wait long for my life to change. My wife suddenly passed away a year later. It was an extremely dark period in my life when I lost several other close friends also.
Finally, I gave in to my feminine side and went back to cross dressing as much as I could. As I “gave in” to my natural self, I didn’t have to run and hide anymore. What a relief. The more I learned about transgender humans, I knew I found what I had been looking for. I was tired of running.