Sunday, September 30, 2012

A special development in my life

For many of us a date will have special meaning and denote a significant event in our life and we will always feel good when we reflect upon that date if it is for a happy occasion. In many instances we have several that stand out in our mind and if asked we can explain the reasons placed on those specific dates in great detail as if the events just happened. I certainly feel this way about the day when I married my beautiful wife, the day our son was born and the day I graduated college. One date which is very recent that stands out in my mind and is significant is the date of September 5, 2012. I'm sure you all may ask me why and the reason is very simple. Before I tell you why though let me share something very personal that has been a major struggle for me throughout my life.

I have struggled as you are all aware from my earlier writings from a condition called gender dysphoria and  it has been a difficult road for me in so many ways. I can certainly open up now about it and free myself from all that held me back and kept me from seeking the help I needed as a young kid. I was very scared and not sure why I had such emotional struggle and I desperately wanted to find someone to talk to or at least confide in. I had no one I felt comfortable talking to however and I felt very ashamed and all alone not even knowing how to explain my feelings to even my parents. It was a very painful time and I am wondering how I survived my youth knowing how sad and alone I felt. I never fit in and the times I did I had to truly prove myself. I had a love of baseball and I had to do my absolute best to prove I could not only play but actually compete and play at a competitive level where I even won accolades and great praise. I was really very fortunate that I enjoyed the game and had a natural ability to play. This was huge for me because it helped me to make friends and fit in where I never really knew that feeling before. It was a great feeling for me and I never wanted it to end.

As the years passed and I became a teenager my situation only worsened and I felt very alone continually with no one I could relate to. I had no one to talk to about my gender struggle and the only times I felt happy was when I secretly cross dressed and wore the clothes I felt comfortable in which were designed for girls. I was completely lost and the only times I felt peaceful and good about myself was when I imagined I was a girl wearing the pretty clothes I always felt happy wearing. I never felt comfortable as a male and I always identified as a female for virtually my whole life. I cried many times about this painful dilemma I faced on a daily basis. It was quite hard for me and I felt so alone. I do admit I had wonderful parents but I felt I could not talk to them about my most inner secret. It was tough and it made me feel hopeless and just so isolated. I can tell you that to survive i always placed importance on learning and achieving. I was a good student and I loved numbers, mathematics and science. In fact I excelled in these areas and I was a teacher's favorite. It was this that kept me going and gave me direction in my life which helped shape me and gave me something to strive for which allowed me to escape my transgender feelings for a little time.

I always lived with my transgender feelings and though I was able to carry on in my personal life I never truly could escape my situation. I tried so hard to suppress my feelings and to pretend they did not exist but I was only fooling myself and setting myself up for what was inevitable. I never knew how my transgender feelings would influence my life but I seriously felt that if I distanced myself from those feelings I would somehow manage to overcome them and find a way to live a normal life. I was always trying to manage my feelings and emotions but it was not easy and I always had to pretend to be someone I truly never could be. I knew deep down I was a girl but I had to pretend otherwise and this was very painful for me. I have lived with a heavy heart and if I could relate why I would state it as follows:

Sometimes I feel so alone and wonder why I have so much inner turmoil. I never asked for this struggle but I do know what I had to do about it since I was just a kid. If I did not find a way to deal with my transgender feelings I may not be here today quietly reflecting on how my life has turned around remarkably with truly understanding and caring people who have come to accept me and provide me with emotional support and understanding. I am one of the lucky ones!

I must say that I have come a long way since I was living secretly and in such pain. I have survived my inner struggle. Sadly many tg girls lose the fight and succumb to their emotional pain and decide to end their life. there are so many who do not find the help and support they need and sadly resort to suicide. Suicide is a very real problem in the transgender community and I have heard of so many tragedies that I feel it is important to share my feelings on this. I feel many girls going through this are all alone like I have felt and they have no one to talk to. they meet up with tremendous resistance and are made to feel awful and have to endure criticism, hatred and prejudice from those most closest to them. most have families who turn their back and look the other way. I often wonder why for us life seems so painful and so many simply don't understand us. I truly don't understand this at all since I am a peaceful, kind, caring, sensitive and compassionate person. yes, I too am transgender but that does not change the inner person. I am a truly wonderful person and sadly I had to for so many years hide her and not allow her to experience life as she certainly deserved. Life could have been so much more wonderful if I could have shared Emily with all of my family and friends so much earlier instead of feeling ashamed and afraid to live and be her. I have cried many times and just feel like my life has been so incomplete and lost in ways that you who do not face this could ever understand. I am deeply emotional about this and every time I read or hear about a tragic story surrounding the unfortunate loss of a sister who just could not bear the pain anymore I just feel so frustrated and helpless. The sad part of all this is I do understand why this happens. I was almost there myself. I would be lying if I told you the thought of suicide never entered my mind. In fact I had struggled with these feelings of sadness, hopelessness, inner pain, prejudice and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness for most of my life. I lived in hiding and very secretive for fear of being found out. I was truly scared and viewed life in a precarious way. I was in deep emotional pain and I had no one to reach out to for help or guidance. It seems that what has affected me for a lifetime is not at all understood by society and people would rather bash us and tell us we deserve to die. they view us as freaks without even trying to understand that we are kind, caring and truly wonderful people. most people don't want to have an open mind about those who are transgender and would rather make us feel awful and not worthy of living and finding our happiness. I am so outraged about society's view of transgender and why there is so very little understanding and acceptance.

Is it really that hard to grasp the idea that sometimes a little "boy" is born with feelings not shared by many typical boys? I was that little "boy" who felt most happiest in a dress while clutching on to a raggedy Ann doll. for most of my childhood I felt I was a girl but I was all alone and did not know what to do about it. I was afraid and uncertain of my life. I became very closed off and lived with a pain that would never go away. every time i saw a girl dressed and looking so cute I wanted to cry and hide away from everyone. I did not want to have these feelings and the only times I was happy was when I could dress up and be that girl. I was so alone that sometimes I just wanted to go to sleep in a pretty dress and never wake up. I truly wanted to not be here living in such pain. Somehow though, despite my feelings I did manage to survive and do wonderful things. I was a very shy kid with heart and determination and knew I had to work hard to achieve anything in my life. I knew I was alone but realized I did have wonderful parents and family. I was just too afraid to talk about my feelings with them.

Not many people understand the gender thing at all. They believe if you are born a boy you are a boy and you can never dress as a girl or express feminine feelings. They believe there is no such possibility of a boy actually feeling more like a girl. They dismiss it and feel it is completely abnormal and immediately do everything possible to stop and discourage it. They go by what seems like a mandate from society that boys do not wear dresses or play with barbie dolls. What is wrong about this is that there are sometimes little "boys" who are indeed little girls from the viewpoint of gender. Gender is what you feel and identify as. Since I was 4 years old I felt I was a girl and knew I was different and yet I could not reach out for help. I was afraid and suffered so much. Of course I wanted to die. I wanted to be free of this awful pain. I wanted to die as early as age 12 when I was not able to be that little girl I felt I was inside. I had only one source of comfort and that was the secret times I would dress up and have a chance to be that little girl.

It is my hope that I can share my experiences and teach others that being transgender is ok and we are people who deserve acceptance and our happiness too. life is not always black or white. Sometimes there are shades of grey. I pray for all the tg girls who have died in their fight to be true to themselves and I applaud the tg girls who are strong and are able to live their life as girls as they always felt they should. Life is too short for us to live in pain and hide who we truly are. It is about time people and society understand us and take into consideration our feelings and not turn a blind eye to it. It will save a life and if we can accept and tolerate each other the world would be such a better place to live.

I am on my way to transitioning and I am working as a trans woman and I am finding acceptance and understanding. It has taken a lifetime as I am now 51 years old but I am finally happy to be true to who I am. for the longest time I was not able to live like this. i am taking one day at a time and I am there for my family and I am fully supportive of my son and I always will be. I am truly sympathetic to his needs and I come from a perspective of understanding and knowing what it means to be different and misunderstood. My son is wonderful and deserves a truly happy life and I will do all I can to help him achieve this. We will both be there for each other.

Let's find it in our heart to love and accept all no matter their differences. It will definitely save a life!

This is so true and this is my view of life struggling with being transgender.

Now let me get back to the date of September 5, 2012. This date is significant for me because it is the date of my formal start in transitioning from male to female since it was my very first day working for my new employer who accepts me without question and fully supports me as being transgender. I can dress as I feel most comfortable and I was asked how I wished to dress days before my official start date and I stated simply that I wish to dress as Emily and they were delighted and very accommodating of my situation which really made me feel finally free and happy. I was so overjoyed I literally had tears in my eyes and I felt a feeling I can not put into words because I was just so overwhelmed and so happy all at the same time. It was the end to my secret and it was the beginning of a brand new start for me.

I am thrilled and will continue to share my feelings on this and on my son and his experiences. I also realize how much my son means to me and I will always need to be there to help and support him and encourage him to be his best and to never lose sight of his hopes and dreams.

I will continue to write and share our life experiences.

Love,

Emily