First let me add my voice to the others regarding counselling — you can, you should and you must. Just do it.
Second I want to share with you my own recent experiences in the hope that it will somehow help or encourage you. For 35+ years, up until 6 months ago, I dressed in secret and dreamed of coming out. Six months ago I gathered my courage, rejected the idea of living my life without ever doing what I really wanted to do, and went out for the first time ever, by myself, nearly dying of nervousness. I have since become a regular at that neighbourhood bar where I first ventured out as Becky. It is a regular old downtown neighbourhood bar with the usual assortment of characters — singles, couples, young and old from all walks of life — although I have never met another CD there. Everyone there knows I am a CD, although they have never seen me except in Becky mode. When I walk in now I feel like "Norm" on "Cheers" — the owners, all the staff, and 15-20 occasional and regular customers all know me and like me. I have been to some of their houses. I have gone out to dinner several times, etc. And they all know I am a CD. (I dress very nicely and behave in a ladylike fashion, but I do not pass close inspection.) They not only accept me, they like me — because I am first and foremost
a nice, friendly, non-threatening, empathetic, open and fun human being. I fascinate them because I am different and have the strength to be me. They don't see me as a freak — they see me as a living example of a person being true to herself and they respect and admire that. I believe many wish that they could be as "brave and strong" as they think I am.
Most of them had never talked to a CD before. They are often curious and I am very open about it. They are fascinated at first and then they soon forget about me as TG. I am just a person to them. And I have been told directly, by several, that they think I am "really cool" because I refuse to be limited by what others do or might think about my being TG.
If you are around people who are reinforcing your own natural fears of rejection because you are "different", or encouraging feelings of shame, then you need to find new people to be around.
Life is never very easy but it is all we've got. And it is way too short as it is. It is yours, dear, to live as best, and to the fullest, you can. Don't let anyone else talk you out of that.
The richness of life arises in large part from its diversity. You are a beautiful and wonderful thread in that tapestry.
Last nite one of my newer friends at "my" bar asked if I ever resented God for giving me such a difficult life — for making me TG. No, I told him, I don't. Because it is not a negative — I am very happy with me and with having such a rich life experience. I think he was surprised at first, but he got it. He suddenly saw the other side — that with lemons comes lemonade, to borrow an old expression. I bought him a beer, we talked some more. We each went home with more than we had come.
Being TG is an important aspect of a person. So is being Canadian, Catholic, gay, smart, and many other aspects of a person. NONE of them, including TG, DEFINE a person. The only category that you belong to that DEFINES you is HUMAN BEING. In every other way you are a UNIQUE and wonderful person. There is no one else like you. And life is richer because you exist.
I have never met you, Samantha — and I love and value the fact that you exist, that your life force/energy/spirit/soul contribute to the wonder of human existence.
Take care of you, dear — you are precious.