Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm Not Ashamed

Shame.

It's the ephemeral spirit that haunts the transgender experience from the first moment our minds consider the path.

"It's wrong," thinks the four year old trying on his mother's clothes for the first time, "I had better not tell anyone."
"God please!" exhorts the nine year old, praying once more to wake up a girl, "change me so that noone ever knew."
"I'm wrong," thinks the teenager buying his first pair of pantyhose, "But maybe this is just a phase."

"I can't possibly go out like that," pines the young adult stuck between his deepest need and society's desires, "What if I see someone I know?"
"Maybe this will cure me," hopes the groom to be, "Then I can finally put this secret to rest."
"I have to tell her,"  laments the husband, "The secret she knows are five years stale and losing the luster of truth. My heart is breaking."

"What will they think?" ponders the agitated transgender woman as she contemplates telling her friends and family, "I'll lose everything and everyone I love."
"I'm not going to pass," fears the newly minted women on her first day full time, "What if I never pass? How can I live with myself?"
"I don't know how to tell him," frets the post op transsexual about her first boyfriend, "There is no way he'll accept me."

Shame.

Breaking through the shame of being a transgender woman
Through my transgender journey I've battled with it. On each victory it gave some ground, only to find more insidious ways to strike back. Shame went from something faced head on in the heat of battle, to an underground guerrilla movement stealthily sabotaging the infrastructure of my emotions.

I felt trapped by a force I couldn't see. Paralyzed by a poison I never remembered taking. I feared getting close to people because I would eventually have to tell them. I stayed quite in a room so that my fledgling voice didn't expose the deeper truth of my darkest secret.

I thought I had conquered my fears - what could be more daunting than telling all those you know and love? What could possibly come close to telling your coworkers and transitioning on the job? Then I started going out with a sweet and kind man. I had planned to tell him early on, but once I started liking him the fear set in. I delayed my truth for so long, that when I finally uttered the words it had become a lie.

I'm not going to be ashamed anymore!

As I utter these words I can already see shame retreating, scheming for new ways to thwart the happiness of my existence. This time it doesn't bother me. I have tapped into the core of who I am, and no skulking and cowardly emotional demon is going to sap the joy from my life.

I say these words not in arrogance, but in recognition of the journey I have taken. With deep respect for who I am.

I am a wonderful person and a strong woman. I have overcome challenges in my life that most cannot even fathom. I have climbed over obstacles others never see and embraced great uncertainty with courage. I have plumbed the depths of my soul, and where others would look away, I have stared deeply into the truth of who I am.

Becoming myself is a magnificent accomplishment that noone can take away from me. I am proud to be me.

Be proud of yourself. No matter where on the journey you are, you have already defeated powerful enemies.

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Photo courtesy of janetmck