Tiny Buddha always seems to know exactly what I am going through and what I need to hear to feel better.
Grieving has been hard this past year and a half since I realized and processed the biggest part of my truth. That day I finally slowed down and listened to what was screaming inside me, I was so terrified. I didn’t want that to be a part of me. I wanted to continue living life behind the facade because it seemed easier. But as I have learned who I am and how much I am NOT like the facade I have tried to hide behind, I have started to feel better and more free. It’s easier to just be me and not have to try to keep up with the lie that I so desperately wanted to believe.
But all of that newfound self-awareness came with the hefty price of seeing my life through a different lens and also struggling with what I have missed in life. There’s so much that I missed as a soul living in the wrong body. I missed the opportunity to have my dad be who I needed and not the bizarrely protective yet very condescending misogynist that he has been to me. I am more than capable of taking care of myself and did not need him to make silly rules about dating or making me come home freakishly early; well before my friends had to be home. I missed playing sports because I was trapped in other activities designed to make me “graceful”, which is not a personality trait I have ever possessed.
I missed the chance to grow up as the boy I am, with friends who played with me and weren’t trying to rape me in the woods. I have felt left out my whole life because the guys never really treated me like my insides wanted them to and at the same time, I couldn’t make myself into the girl they saw me to be. I just couldn’t fake it so much of the time. But I tried hard. That robbed me of the opportunity to really know myself and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Instead, I spent so much time living a fake life that wasted so much of my energy.
I felt pressured to get married and have kids right away. I don’t think I would’ve felt so much pressure had I been born male. I think I would’ve been encouraged to get my career settled first and then find companionship. I felt so far behind my peers because they were all getting married and I wasn’t even in a relationship. It felt bad to me, like I was behind and something was wrong with me because it wasn’t a priority.
As I was driving home from the store yesterday, I started thinking about how the little boy in me missed the opportunity to be raised by a good dad who saw who I was. And then it hit me, wait a second…I already RAISED a boy to the age of 19. He will be 20 next May. He’s a wonderful human being and I did everything right for him. I did make mistakes, but it worked out. He was born great and I got him focused on his mental health, learning who he was on the inside before he made big life decisions, and learning how to advocate for himself. If I can do all that for him, I can do that for me too. I can get myself to where I don’t feel like this feral six year old child inside who doesn’t know how to act. So much of what I was already doing as the facade is applicable to everyone, regardless of gender. Being a good person is blind to gender.
I have spent a lot of time looking back at my life and finding the real opportunities that I had, as a way to help cope with how awful the pain feels. No matter what, there were good things that happened to me that I don’t want to categorically dismiss because I was doing all of them in the wrong body. Sometimes it’s hard to consider those things because the loss feels so much greater than the good opportunities. Sometimes the loss feels overwhelming. Like realizing that my whole life was a lie seems like an insurmountable amount of grief. The reason everything was SO HARD sometimes was because I was living a lie.
And then I start to feel like I am punishing myself for not knowing who I was before I made huge decisions for my life. But how could I know? How could I see my father’s face when he corrected people who misgendered me? How could I just live with no friends when my friends wanted me to catch up to them and like boys instead of being a baby? How could I ignore what my body was doing against my wishes? Pushing all of that as far away as I could seemed more logical than thinking about how I could fix things. It seemed easiest to just try to accept who everyone was telling me I was and live life that way.
Living as the facade is no longer tolerable. I can’t do it anymore. I don’t have a set timetable at this point, but there is a slow train moving along the track. It’s picking up some speed and when it’s time, I will know. I will know exactly when the time is right. At this point I have a few friends and family members that I plan to tell soon. I’m waiting on another certified copy of my birth certificate for the legal name change. And once I get my name changed, then it’s time to change my name and gender on my brith certificate in my birth state. And surgery, I am hoping for that next fall. I am ready now, but I need the funds (from my VA claim, hopefully) and to start that process. The plan is set, but there’s so much I have to wait for. But I wear what I want and I do what I want, regardless of what gender I appear to be.
And for now, that is enough.