On November 16, 2013, after returning home from a transgender support group in Syracuse, I revealed to my wife that need to transition. This came long after I had figured out it was the only way to save my own life. Explaining this to my wife was terrifying. It was the most difficult conversation I’ve ever had. There was a lot of crying – most of it mine. I think both our hearts broke that night. I know mine sure did. It wasn’t just my heart that broke… I broke, period.
Unlike when I came out to my wife as a “crossdresser” in 2008, coming out as a trans woman in 2013 didn’t go so well. She doesn’t consider herself a lesbian and doesn’t want to be in a romantic relationship with a woman (or trans woman).
A year later, we’re still together, taking things one day at a time. It hasn’t been easy for either of us. So much has changed over the past year, and so much remains the same. I’m not where I need to be in my life. It really hurts… more so each day.
Most of the world takes their gender, and expression there of, for granted. Some of us have to bust our asses to achieve what everyone else was just born with, and deal with countless misguided sheeple who would rather we live our life to their standards, at the cost of our own happiness and well being.
And I press forward. It’s either that or get off the bus (take my life), and I ain’t about to do that. I’m not done yet. Not even close. Despite the many challenges, I believe in myself and I believe in humanity.
Broken, and still very much in the game
The left-side photo above was taken shortly after concluding the “coming out, part 2” talk with my wife. I felt compelled to capture the moment, regardless of how terrible I felt. I knew that after breaking, I would heal and become stronger for the experience. The picture of a broken me is painful to look at… and also empowering.
Sometimes I allow the pain to reach the surface and just let it be. So there it is. Then I use it to propel myself forward another step, another day, another challenge to learn from, another beautiful moment to create and share with the world.
The picture on the left is not the face of someone who has been beaten down by life. It’s the face of someone who continues to survive and share the message of love despite the many challenges.
It hurts to revisit that day, one year ago. And it also energizes me. Those won’t be the last tears on my journey. And that’s ok. I’m ok. I Am love.
From breaking in 2013 to the growth of 2014
The picture on the right side was taken before heading out to do a SafeZone training at LeMoyne college this past Thursday. I was feeling very good and rather excited about the opportunity to conduct a presentation, connect with people and make new friends. Since coming out to my wife as a trans woman, I’ve done more than 30 public LGBTQ educational outreach talks. Doing this kind of work is very rewarding and empowering. It helps me grow, learn, evolve and move a little closer to being me.
The reason I included happy photo along with the sad, is because I want to make it clear that “sad” is not where I exist. It’s just a place I visit from time to time. “Happy” is where I live, even when life isn’t all that cooperative. I Am happy because I choose to be. The choice is mine and no one else can choose for me. The same applies to anyone.
Rising to the challenge
So many challenges remain and I don’t quite know how to meet them. The financial cost of transitioning is astronomical, let alone the emotional struggle. Thousands of dollars have already been spent. That’s just the tip of the iceberg and I don’t know where the rest of the money will come from. There’s nothing easy about my life AND I’m so very grateful for life, and all that I have – even the perplexing challenges. They’re there to help me learn and grow. We only get stuck when we get caught up in our own mental trappings.
So I don’t have all the answers, AND I choose happiness. Whatever your challenges are in life, I hope you’ll choose happiness, too. There really is no way to “find happiness” in life – happiness is the path, not the destination.