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.

---
Photo courtesy of janetmck
  

17 comments:

  1. Distilled to its essence... Then we look back at all the energy and time wasted in fears we overcame.

    I have been thinking about this problem of coming out to a new partner. They need to somehow be introduced to the concept of the transitioned woman in print, movie or real life and if they do not react in a positive way then you know that they are not the one for you...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is indeed a tricky challenge to tell a partner. You are so right that all this time wasted in fear could have been better spent moving our life forward and creating loving connections. Ahh, to be old enough to know how mistaken you were when young :)

      Delete
    2. Dear Vanessa, U have taken correct dicision,may b its delayed because of fear,its not ur mistake,DOD has put u in such situation,go ahead and live ur life as u WISH. BEST OF LUCK.

      Delete
  2. Good morning ladies.
    I'm in my 2nd year of my (what seems very slow) transition. I have had good support from my wife,my parents and my youngest daughter. (I have 4 children... all grown youngest is 18) I moved to very open glbt community in Ft. Lauderdale. Outside of work I live as a woman, I have made friends. I know I do not pass, but the happiness I feel and the closeness that it has brought my wife and I over rides the feeling of shame,fear and some of my insecurities.
    Work is the only place that I have not been able to come out. But it is getting more difficult everyday. I simply do not have the courage.
    I work in a very male dominated field. Autodealership... I'm NOT a technician do that saves my hands, but I do where a suite.
    I'm proud of y journey so far,but continue to work on some of my fears. Only through my faith in God have I come this far. Thank you so much for your website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning love! I'm so happy you have the blessing of support from those closest to you!
      It can be so hard to live a lie at work - I pray that you find the right timing to share who you are.

      Blessings!

      Delete
  3. Vanessa I know your shame I had mine in the very beginning of my journey my family and friends and the collage I am attending are so supportive of me I live and work as a female just about full time now and this summer I am starting my hrt. Ps I am so glad you are sharing with your news letter. Love Vicky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Vicky sweetie, I'm so happy that those around you are supportive. It makes the road so much easier. I pray blessings on you as you consider your next steps.

      Delete
  4. I thank you soo much for publishing your thoughts! I have been running in shame for years now. I have finally committed to telling people up front who I am not even bothering for them to ask. Sometimes I think that I might lose them at that point but. . .
    Well I never had them to start with so to speak. Thanks again and I'm really proud of your site. It has proven a goddess send for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A pleasure Rhonda, and thank you for the kind words - I try to use the mixed blessing/curse that the universe has given me to guide others through the torment of a transgender life.

      Keep strong, true friends look past that to your soul inside.

      Delete
    2. Nice writing, Vanessa. I've not seen all the 'stages' put together in one place--from 4 year old to meeting potential partner. That was good.

      I understood about the "secret" that one tells the wife having changed, from crossdressing as as secret to identification as a woman being the new "secret," making the old one outdated and somewhat of a lie.

      But I don't understand how delay about telling the potential partner changes the fact of being a post-op trans woman. Delay doesn't make the information a lie, there. Can you clear up my confusion?

      Delete
    3. Thanks Anita!

      The last one refers to a particular situation in my life, where I was getting to know my boyfriend pretty well, and then one of my friends dropped sufficient and copious hints about my history that he had an inkling before I could tell him. Then my plan to tell him and reveal the truth became the lie of not disclosing.

      Delete
  5. Ugh... Stopping the Shame and the Lying have been my biggest motivators for change. Oh, and let's not forget their nasty little stepdaughter, Guilt. As I work to discover my authentic place in this whacky world every comforting step has been one that takes me away from the shame. It's still back there pretty close, but at least the direction I'm moving is better! Thanks Vanessa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I dragged guilt along for a long time too. Though guilt faded faster for me, it can be just as deadly.

      Keep walking further from shame Dianne.
      We are all made perfect in the image of the universe, for in each of us the universe resides. We are from the stars and of the stars. Let our life force shine brightly!

      Delete
  6. Wow,
    This is all so new to me and yet I feel so confident about this for the very first time. I've only completely accepted the person that I know I am just a couple months ago. I've only told my girlfriend, who is nothing but proud of me for being brave enough to talk about it, and my mom, who seems to be nothing but worried... I'm still far too terrified to talk to anyone else, but for the fist time... I actually feel proud to be a woman... I felt like I was going crazy but... as strange as it seems, I finally know exactly who I am for the first time in my short but full life and gosh darn it, I'm proud to be me:-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Vanessa, this post just rocks ! It so resonated with me, except for the last stages. As I told my ex-wife before we married, and we split over other issues, I have yet to start hormones, and so far am definitely a lesbian, but as most women are comfortably bi, I'n not ruling anything out after going full-time and GRS.

    From 4 years onwards, I've been wanting, but fighting, needing for my physical life to be in harmony with the the inner Danielle, but guilty and ashamed.

    But no longer aand your post put it so perfectly in perspective. So I am now taking the steps for the inner woman my brain has always identified as and just been, to win and to live that inner life-long truth, not some social and religious conformity to what others demand and impose.

    I've been wrestling with MAAB (Male Attributed At Birth) and the inner woman for the last year. A fight between the externally taught conformity, guilt and shame, leading to the internal fight to "not let 'this' win", versus the reality of my strongly female dominant brain and her expression as the part-time, night-time, closeted Danielle.

    But Danni could not be kept in the dark and the closet any longer with guilt, and the compromise of this unspoken fight was that her currently male, day-time presentation and body, just did not want to go out at all.

    I thought my stress and agoraphobia was predominantly due to a very nasty workplace harrassment and loss of doctorate and job, and the subsequent dishonest divorce, and so it was. But the underlying issue, was not those events I am still paying for, but that I did not want to go outside as a male in only female underdress... I found I could get past this growing blockage but only as Danni in androgynous women's jeans and jacket an Tshirt, as long as the accompanying bra, panties, pantyhose and pantygirdle where there too.

    Reflecting on these changes, there was only one explanation that made sense. Danni was bursting to come out... to end the charade. As I said to a girlfriend. Danni had always been a growing subset of my MAAB personna... But now my MAAB male character, and skills were a declining subset of Danni, and that those attributes of my male life so far would transition across to the one female inner core Danielle.

    so thanks for your insight Vanessa, I found your trailblazing blog posts at precisely the right time, and they are helping my thinking and preparedness for the journey to trans-womanhood. xx

    ReplyDelete
  8. This feels SO True. the last 2nd and 3rd are where I am at now. It is so true it made me cry. TY SO Much.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am who I am , so I am not ashamed , my name is Edwina when i'm dressed , and I love Edwina , that is when I am most at ease with myself, relaxed and fulfilled.

    ReplyDelete