(Part one can be found here.)
May 29th, 2020. For me, this day will go down as the second most important day of my life. (My wedding day first. The day I discovered buffalo wings is 3rd) I started my day just like any other day. I got up. I took the dog to the giant outdoor toilet. I made breakfast. But after that breakfast, my life was about to change forever. May 29th is the day I started HRT and began my transition.
I did not come out to everyone for over year. So, I asked myself, “Why did I wait?” Looking back at the question now, I wish I would have just told everyone on May 29th and been done with it. But what held me back. What kept me from coming out? Let’s take this journey.
The first time I admitted to anyone I am Transgender happened at the age of 13. My goofy looking pubescent ass sat across from a therapist because of my grandpa’s death and admitted that I am not a boy. You would have thought I took the lord’s name in vain in a Baptist church potluck because she had no idea how to respond. “It’s just a phase.” She said to me as I am crying hysterically. “Plus, God would frown upon it. And you don’t want God angry with you. Do you?” As she kept going about how this was wrong. I can sit here now and make fun of this situation. However, 13-year-old me just went into a hole. I suppressed those feeling for years. With every so often, something would come storming back into my mind. Hell, my junior year of high school, I remember asking my chemistry teacher to use the restroom. I went to sit in a stall and cry. I don’t remember what triggered that feeling, my guess is that it was something small. It was the reason I became a theater kid. For at least two hours or more, I did not have to be myself. I got to be someone else. And that was the most freeing time I had during those 4 years.
Even in the early 2000s, I would check the temperature of the water around my friends. I would somehow just pivot to a weird scenario that would never happen in 100 years to get their reaction. And honestly, it was never good. I remember dropping hints and only to be asked if I wanted to be with men or would use some sort of homophobic/transphobic slur in the conversation. I would just pretend laugh to get out of the situation and move on to something else. I wish I would have had the balls to say something then, but it was different knowing who I am and not being able to discuss it for years.
I would continue this vicious cycle of suppressing my thoughts and feeling up until my 30s. My 20s sucked.
Let’s move to 2016. I am engaged to my now wife. After telling her on date number 2 while sitting in a Chilis because nothing screams coming out as Transgender as Chilis. And a friend of mine at the time wanted to go to a Pride festival but was afraid. Me, being the opportunist that I am, thought I would go with you, and we will have a group go. I remember sitting at dinner with Ashlee telling her about doing this, and she brings up the idea as going as myself. Not only to make their day a little easier so they do not feel alone, but it would give me a chance to be me. And damn, I jumped at that idea quickly. My bestest mensch Sharon, and my sister from a mister Katie are going to be there as well. There are 5 of us going. This is going to be fun. And somehow in the middle of this, I invited my mother-in-law to Pride. Not even crossing my mind that I am wearing to the event. So, I realize that I am jumping into the fire feet first. There is no turning back, I am going to have a conversation with my mother-in-law that I am not Cis. Well, fuck. I am supposed to be married in two months’ time. Well. Balls. I am sitting in her jeep the day before we are to go, smelling like Right Guard and Nair about to throw up, for me to tell her that I am going to be wearing a dress and makeup tomorrow. All she cared about was making her daughter happy. It’s funny. She became one of my biggest supporters in the world. As for that day at Pride, the friend at the last minute didn’t come. So, it was the 5 of us. And that day, they watched my egg crack. I was forced into something. Had that not happened, I honestly have no idea if this conversation is happening. Because, I never let those feelings come to the surface.
But instead of embracing who I am at that point. I still hadn’t accepted myself. It would take another 4 years before that idea would cross my mind. But that is another story. So, what stopped me. I share those stories from the past due to fear. From the first time I admitted I am transgender to someone; it was something said to me that would cause to me to bury those feelings deep again. But for the last year, those feelings started to fade away.
I would tell myself that I am going to lose friends. I really didn’t. Two ironic things about that feeling that sort of just hit me like a sack of potatoes. One, in the process of coming out, I lost 3 people. Two of those are women I dated that I never talked to anymore. The other being one of my best friends from high school. But our friendship had been strained for a long time. Saying it is one thing but uttering the phrase, “I would have different friends if I had more money.” Kind of shows where their true colors lay. The other ironic thing that happened are my relationships with people I never had and the friendships I do have with people feel stronger than ever. That is surreal to me. That is one of those things I never expected in a million years.
I do believe the thing that stopped me the most is hurting my wife’s family. For the past 6 years, they have been nothing but amazing to me. And it shook me deep to my core that I would lose that, but more so that she would lose her family because of me. Coming out to her family was the hardest thing I did. It took me almost two months for that journey. I remember sending a coming out letter to someone and turning off my phone because I was scared shitless. I immediately ran to the shower, cried, threw up a little. Only to sit back down on the couch to a phone call from them. Eff.
While I may have started on May 29th of last year, I waited 20+ years to come out because of fear. I was forced to play my hand. And while fear kept me from being myself, suppressing those feeling led me down a very dark path mentally. But that is the next chapter of this journey.