I have always had a prevailing thought running through my head, thinking how or even if I’d make it through my thirties and forties, much less reach my fiftieth birthday.
In all reality, there have been several passive suicide attempts. I’ve been on this earth now for 52 years and have lived my life on both sides of the hormone divide. For the first fifty years and a few months, I lived my life pretending to be a male and the last year and change as my true self, female. I graduated from high school, worked, got married and had children pretending to be a man but looking back, I’d have to say this past year with it’s many changes included some of the most difficult yet joyous and rewarding times of my life.
I was systematically beaten down by my family and society at a very young age and I realized I had to do what was expected of me just to survive. The very thought of going against these expectations left me frozen to move forward for way too many years. I was completely petrified to take the step toward my medical unmasking (transition) keeping in mind that the ramifications of starting this process would most likely lead to the loss of everyone I loved (mainly my children). Like so many transgender individuals I’ve talked with, there is always this very real fear of what people would say and think about me and I let the voices get into my head, letting them make me worry about what I would look like and whether society would view me as a freak, leaving me outcast and alone.
It has taken me a tremendous amount of time, patience, effort and love of myself to overcome the damage of the systematic beating down experienced in my childhood along with all the fears that held me back for so long. Communication was key for me. Communicating with my inner voice and therapist. It became very obvious to me that the time had come to choose my path as I sat at the crossroads in my life I knew it was time to decide: It was time for me to either get busy dying or get busy living. At long last I had hit that wall where this was my only option. In the end, I did lose my children, but by the time that happened, I was prepared for the loss. Not that it was easy, but my therapist did prepare me for it. The one change in my thinking made about the friends I lost was the realization that they were not real friends in the first place if they chose not to support me. I couldn’t worry about their thinking because it’s their problem, not mine.
One of the amazing things that happened due to my unmasking is that instead of being shunned and vilified by everyone, I have been received warmly and lovingly by more people than I ever imagined. I have made so many amazing friends who I love and cherish. As they have done for me. I now will completely and wholeheartedly support others with their unmasking. I no longer hide from my past and openly talk about it. I do enjoy very much sharing my story, with so many incredible experiences I’ve had along the way. I do this more in the hopes to both inspire and let anyone who is questioning whether they can make it, that they can…!
For fifty years, I was ashamed of how I felt and stuffed down what I thought was a terrible secret, only to be met with open arms by most people and to discover affirmation, joy, validation, and love.
There have been many things to go through but at the end of the day, all of this – changing my name, my body, my presence and persona in this world and the way I navigate it – I can just say that now I do indeed feel human. I can finally after so many years, honestly, say now that I know just what it means to be alive.Tweet #TransHopeUnited