I want to open up and talk about something that I’ve been thinking on for a little while and had a bit of an epiphany about. I have been transitioning now for the better part of 4 years and went full time 86 days after coming out. Once I had realized I didn’t have a choice in who I was I knew it was time to do something about it and started my transition. All along the way, I would tell anyone that would listen and myself that “he” was gone. “He” being the façade I built up over fifty years; The male persona that society expected of me for so long. What I didn’t realize is that I was fooling myself into believing that I was discarding him and he was gone forever.
On Friday, February 2nd I went to my mailbox and pulled out my mail. There was 10 days’ worth of mail in my box because of a stay in the hospital. As I flipped through all of the envelops one of them caught my attention and I froze in the spot where I was. I had been expecting this piece of mail but not for a few more weeks. It was from the Illinois Department of vital records. Yes, it came..! I excitedly opened the envelope and pulled out my updated birth certificate and read it. Here it was, the culmination of 4 years work. The tears of joy just streaked down my cheeks. This is so interesting because there is this piece of paper but this little piece has forever changed my life.
I wasn’t expecting the flood of emotion that followed and the strongest emotion was grief and this left me confused. Why after all I just received my birth certificate which I have been dreaming of having all my life am I feeling grief? Why am I grieving? It suddenly hit me that he had been piece by piece removed from existence. I know some of you might be thinking at this point that this is a good thing and it is but….
As much as I was trying to deny him, he is still a part of me. The core of who I am is still the same. That doesn’t change. What changed was my ability to openly express who I have always been without having my mind constantly trying to betray my conscious actions of hiding who I am. The fear of being found out about was exhausting and there was a heavy toll being paid for always having walls up to protect me.
After thinking about what I was grieving over for a couple days I realized I was mourning his loss but why if he’s still a part of me? Bear with me on this if you will, and I’ll try to explain it as best I can. I realized that each step of the way that as much as I have been denying him I have also been holding onto him. This is completely about letting go. After going full time it took me well over a year to dispose of his clothes. When I went to court to legally change my name I kept the court order out on my desk so I would still see it. Each step of the way as I unmasked I was still holding on to certain parts of my past. I needed him to be there. It’s as if when I started my transition I was a high-speed train but I never unhooked the freight train I was pulling. I needed to know he was always around because, and this was the epiphany, He is my hero…!
Here is a person that did everything in his power to protect me. He did things that went so against what he was always feeling. He struggled all of his life and fought against the ever-present thoughts of suicide and was always pulling for me to come out. He developed a mask that the whole world saw and kept it on to save me. There were many passive attempts to end his life but would always yield to her inner voice and turn off the machine he just climbed in to repair it instead of hoping it would close on him and end it all. He brought me through everything and when it was time he stepped back and allowed Melissa, me, to step forward and spread her wings.
He is still with me but with my birth certificate, all records of him are gone. It’s sort of forced me to let go of those little pieces I have been hanging on to and focus the external attention to an inner focus. He’s still here, I just evolved into a better version of him. I am no longer mourning him. I celebrate him. I honor him. I respect him and will always cherish him. I didn’t unmask to remove the parts I hate, I unmasked to save the parts I love..!