I look down in the palm of my hand at a tiny blue pill and think with nervous anticipation of what the future holds for me. Could taking these really make everything better? Of course, they can’t solve everything — I know better. However, in the two weeks I’ve been taking them, everything feels better than it ever has.

It was by no means the hardest thing I’ve ever endured, just some inconvenient hoops to jump through. The hard part was realizing that I want this. That despite the sacrifices I’ll be making, this is worth it. I have the utmost confidence it will be.

I’ve felt a consistent, general unhappiness with my body for as long as I can remember. Imagine looking in the mirror and picking out something you don’t like. The shape of your chin, your hairline, your fat-to-muscle ratio. Now imagine it’s not just one thing, but everything. That’s the closest I can describe to how [being transgender] feels and it’s an absolute kick in the gut.

After moving to this city and deciding to start making healthier choices, I finally decided to start transitioning. There’s no universal way to transition from male to female, so all I can share is the way in which I’m doing this. All I can really say is, I’ll know when I’m there. For now, there are targets and ranges I want to hit and other specific goals I strive to reach.

I recently started hormone replacement therapy (HRT). For the first time in my adult life, I now have health insurance, an essential resource for this process. I scheduled an appointment with a local clinic for day one of insurance kicking in. I brought up the desire to start HRT with my physician. They required a mental health clearance from a licensed professional before prescribing anything.

This part felt weird, but I get it. While I don’t feel the need for affirmation that I’ve [been transgender] all my life, I can’t deny there are unhealthy people out there. I want everyone who is even considering going through this to be safe.

A month or so after my first consultation with my physician, psychology evaluation complete, I was prescribed 2 mg of estrogen to take twice daily. The goal is to bring my testosterone down to normal female levels. My specific level is around 492, very average. Another goal is to bring my estrogen up to normal female levels… mine is currently at 28.**

After sharing some basic insight into what I’m doing and how, I hope in the coming weeks to share my experiences and thoughts as I move through this process and become the happy, healthy person I wish to be.

No matter what thoughts, feelings or situations you’re struggling with, life is too short not to live how you want.

**The Mayo Clinic notes that adult male testosterone ranges from 300-950 ng/dL, and women from 12-60 ng/dL. Adult female estrogen ranges from 17-200 pg/mL, and males 10-60pg/mL.