Sometimes I forget I wasn’t alive two years ago.
There was someone that looked a little like me, with much shorter hair of course, walking around and going by a different name. They weren’t really alive though; they were an empty shell, spent and tired. I feel bad for them now. Even after we somehow got free of depression, the world still felt subdued, and there was always something missing. I tried filling that hole with books, which helped distract from the pain a little, but didn’t do much to make things better. I also tried filling that hole with religion, which just made everything so, so much worse. Finally, I tried filling it with other people, and that was a giant dumpster fire.
In the end, I just accepted I couldn’t be happy until something fundamentally changed. So I started to plan. I’d save money here and there. I’d secretly go get my facial hair lasered after work. I began to come out to different friends.
That helped, for a while.
It gave me a sense of purpose, y’know. I had no present, but working towards a hopeful future helped make existence more bearable. I was still empty, I still felt needy and alone, and deeply sad. However, I had something to look forward to, and that made all the difference.
One particular mantra helped more than anything else: “Tomorrow morning I’ll be one day closer. I just have to get through the rest of today.”
I started saying that to myself about a year before I was finally able to transition. Thinking about it now, it’s a little grim to go hundreds of days just focusing on one day at a time, because otherwise you’d just give up on life. Grim or not, it worked.
Focusing on how every day that passed brought me a day closer to actually being alive, and thinking that every day I was one day closer than I’d been yesterday, helped encourage me. It gave me strength.
Finally, I did it.
I made a post on facebook telling everyone that I am trans. I moved out of my parents’ house. I started presenting as female full-time.
I started to breathe real air, see the world in real sunlight, and feel real joy.
I started to live.
This has been a tough week for me. There’s been a lot of stress, and I’ve had to deal with a strangely high amount of misgendering and people trying to get away with not gendering me at all.
I’ve dealt with it all in a way that’s made me feel proud of myself, but it’s still left me feeling a little exhausted. I woke up this morning and just wanted to hide under my sheets.
Then I thought, “No. Fuck this.” I got up and had a quick breakfast, then went out and rode my bike for a few hours. I got home and washed my hair, had a great lunch, dolled myself up, and went out for ice cream.
I’m even more tired now, but I feel happy with myself. While debating whether to get out of bed this morning, I remembered what it is I always looked forwards to: being happy, and proud, and confident in who I am.
I often think of younger me. I wish I could give them a hug. They were so lonely, and scared. I wish I could talk to 12 year old me and say it’s okay to wonder about gender. I think of what I could say to 16 year old me, finishing high school and feeling incredibly conflicted about her identity. Then thinking of 20-year old me, working so hard at planting seeds I’m reaping now, just makes me want to cry in appreciation.
So this morning I got out of bed and made the most out of the day, because I owe it to past me to live life as well as I can. I hope I can continue to honour all their work, and pain, and effort.