In 2007, after tussling with my gender identity for so many years, I was on the edge of giving up. I had almost accepted that I could never be happy, that there was no way of reconciling my everyday life with these inner feelings. Over the years I had dabbled with transgender clubs and support groups but even leading a hidden, second life I couldn’t come to terms with things. I couldn’t seem to find the people who felt like me, or so it seemed at the time. I was painfully shy about the things that mattered in both worlds. The real problem was, if I couldn’t admit something to myself, how could I discuss it properly with others?
I scoured the Internet for ‘the truth’, the magical, elusive information that would tell me what to do. But then, for reasons I now can’t quite recall, I started looking for a counsellor, a sage, a guru who might know, and stumbled across Pink Therapy. Through them I found a wonderful counsellor who helped me to be brave enough to think about, and talk about, things I had never dared to face.
On 3 May 2008 (a Saturday), after a year of counselling, I woke up in the morning and knew the truth. It wasn’t, that day, any kind of intellectual process, or “decision” – it was a truth laid out in front of me, a literal epiphany. And I spent that whole weekend, deliriously (but furtively), thinking that all the impossible, difficult challenges associated with transition might be achievable, that I might be able do it. I began thinking, planning … how might that happen in a way that meant I might keep my family, my job, might stay in my neighbourhood.
On 23 July 2009, literally terrified (you’ll never know), I stood shaking on the high diving board and found a way to jump off and start living a new life, the same but so different. And now I want to write about it.
Not everything in my life before was awful, and not everything now is wonderful. But what I can see clearly now is what life was really like before. I can see that central, huge difference between being able to live life openly and honestly, which I’ve only been able to do for the past ten months, and the way I lived before. Lots of good things happened back then, but they happened despite labouring under a burden of secretiveness, sadness, insecurity, self-dislike. I can look back at decades of that way of living and see that suddenly, just by taking that jump, that chance, I freed myself from having to live that way anymore.
So in many ways this is a historicoblog (I thought I’d coined that but a quick Google reveals at least two blogs with that title, one from La Belle France). Mostly, at least for now, about the past, about, from the third post, my very early life. There are lots of trans blogs – some are really good, but many struggle with how public, how open to be. Some are perhaps, a little too open, and the author comes to regret it. It’s a line I will have to discover how to tread. But so many people have said to me “I can’t imagine what it’s been like to go through this”. So I thought I would try and tell you.