Why Risk It?

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Some people will often wonder why transgender individuals make a conscious choice to risk almost everything when they decide to transition. Why risk the possibility of sacrificing so much? Why risk losing everything? Is it worth it to break societies dictates just to be yourself? Does it really matter if you are seen as the person and gender you absolutely feel you are? When a person does not suffer from a particular disorder themselves, these and many more questions that seem almost self-explanatory, are just some of the thoughts they might have. 

In my particular case, before I transitioned I often felt like a spectator attending an event that just happened to be my own life. It was day by day, going through the motions and feeling powerless, succumbing to the nasty feelings that sometimes would surface in very negative ways. I was a mean person. I was bitter, angry, depressed and numb. I took my anger out on my family, isolated myself from friends, and contemplated the worth of my own life. Many of these feelings stemmed from not understanding myself and feeling like I had no real options to do anything about the feelings I was, and sometimes still am, having.

The first person I ever expressed my desire to begin my physical transition from male to female with was my ex-wife. Sadly, my fear of losing her made me decide to stuff that idea away, back into its box hidden deep inside of me, for many more years. Before I had ever mentioned any of this to her I had expressed to a counselor that I felt I was really a girl. She immediately dismissed this revelation and then proceeded to labeled me gay. A label I had been willing to half-accept being bisexual, and at the time, very impressionable. In retrospect it is kind of funny to me now considering how quick and eager I was to grab varied labels in an attempt to try and define just who I am; Cross Dresser, Gay, Genderqueer, and so many other names that I can’t recall right at the moment looking back through those years of muddled emotion and thoughts. Despite all those labels, I had still felt trapped and isolated in my own skin. It was as if I was screaming, trapped on the inside of a cold dark vacuum, and it had felt as though absolutely nobody could hear me. I was suffocating underneath a sea of black, so dark and dense and all-encompassing that very little light was ever able to shine through its depths and find the real me. I knew I needed to either find a way to escape the void, to crawl out of that abyss, or to find the strength and resolve I would indeed need to try and fill it with so much life it would become obsolete. I credit being a coward with why I never ended it but I knew if I did nothing I would eventually succumb to those feelings. I had a choice to end my life or to take a risk and start new! I chose to live, for myself, for my kids and for the people who cared about me! It meant taking a risk but given the alternative, it was a no-brainer for me.

At the current moment, I am 3 days away from one year since I took my very first dose of spironolactone, (the medication that is used to lower my testosterone levels), and began my medical transition. I almost have to pinch myself at the idea of counting my transition in years versus months or weeks or days but I know it to be real regardless. Never before in my life have I felt this alive or felt that my life was my own. I feel in control of my own destiny. It did not erase the negative feelings but it certainly helped me push them down and made them bearable. I don’t feel the need to put a label on who I am and I don’t need others to approve of my life. I am, in a nutshell, free. 

So why take the risk? Because it is a matter of life or death! 

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Melody Lewis
  • Lynnette PurpleRain McFadzen

    Thank you Melody for sharing your story.