Disclaimer: The stories on this blog touch on difficult issues and experiences.
CW: This week's story involves situations pertaining to transgender health, gender dysphoria, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt
It was nuts. It was so nuts. It took me a full on spiritual awakening to even consider being trans, to even allow myself to consider the possibility.
Yoga was a huge part of this. It showed me that my body can look masculine, and just how much I’ve been subconsciously feminizing my posture. I'll demonstrate.
So before getting my certification, this is how I used to stand. You can see the hyper-lordosis, tailbone perked up, swayback, shoulders down. It turns out that I'm actually a little taller than I thought. And that proper alignment puts me up like this, which from the side view, is a bit different. Suddenly I'm carrying myself more forward and in a more present way. It's crazy, yoga heals body and mind. And I’ve had plenty of healing do...this was not an easy place to grow up.
As my body changed I lost fat in my butt, thighs, hips, and chest. And without my feminine comforts, the dysphoria was instant. Meaning it looked wrong. My reflection looked wrong to me. The dysphoria, I think I've been experiencing all my life, but for the first time I realized that I was gender dysphoric.
So I started researching folk religions. I was researching ancient cultures. I was trying to see what my story is in the context of history. What is this character? What are my options? What am I supposed to do? I guess I was trying to figure out how to express my gender and sexuality in a way that I would be happy with for life.
I also started to do a lot of shadow work on my own to remember the traumas of my past in order to heal from them. I thought if I dig deep enough, I can figure out the source of the dysphoria. It’s sucks to say, but I was really trying to beat it.
It took a major toll on my mental health. I was questioning who I was, who I had been, and freaking out about who I should be. My anxiety got to the point where I felt like death was chasing me. I wouldn’t call it suicidal ideation, which I've dealt with before. These thoughts weren't that I wanted to end it, it was that death was coming for me in some way. The paranoia got so strong that I checked myself into the psych ward at HG. And it was in the hospital that I was like, "You do want to be a girl. You do want to transition."
So I came out to my family in December. By February I had my first phone intake with the Center of Transgender Health, but by that point I was like, "I can't do this. It's not for me, maybe I just jumped the gun." And then seven months later it came back in full force.
Presently, I just came out as trans on the internet, what, last week? Two weeks ago? It took me a long time to think of what to say or how to say it, because I was searching for so many answers. And I was greeted with nothing but love, which was huge. That was one of the most beautiful things about it - seeing people I used to work with giving me support, people that I studied abroad with giving me support, people that I went to theater school with - people from every single one of my communities, there was someone there saying, "Hey, you got this. This is alright."
I'm still in a place where I have to convince myself daily that I'm doing the right thing, because then the question comes up of...I don't want to be a statistic that can be used to harm my community. Being the youngest child, having older female siblings, living in a female dominant household. But then I look at other families with similar makeups, and it's not environmental. And I know that, but so many people don't. I still have some Catholic guilt I'm trying to get out of my system...
My family took it a lot better than I expected. I think they learned early on that they can't tell me what to do because I'm probably just going to do whatever I want anyway. I’ve probably always been like that to a degree, but I think that trait really solidified after a suicide attempt when I was very young. I can't remember an exact age, I think it was the beginning of middle school. I just couldn't do it anymore. I was done. So I took every pill that I could find in the medicine cabinet. And I took a purple highlighter to every instructional manual that I could find that said, "Overdose causes death." And I highlighted it. On every single one. Because I wanted it known that this was not an accident. I took all the pills. Luckily, the color purple that I used was so dark you couldn't read the text under it. And then I was like, "Fuck, my plan is ruined!" And I had this beautiful moment with myself where I realized that no one else was worth my life. No other living being is worth me being so upset with myself that I'm willing to die for it. The church cannot tell me what to do and that I'm wrong. My family is not going to have this effect on me, this community will not have this effect on me.
At that point I just knew I was different but I didn't know why. I knew I wasn't like the other boys. I related more to how they said "girl minds" work and what "girl interests" are.
Since coming out as trans, I have been working on identifying my specific dysphoria triggers. For example, people who know me know that I look in mirrors all the time. I know that it comes across as very vain, but every time I look in a mirror it's because I'm looking for something to fix. It's never quite "right." I got to the point where I was a successful male stripper. I was doing this thing where my job was to be admired for my appearance, my male body. But even that wasn't enough for me to take real pride in my maleness. I’m learning to deal with looking in the mirror and not seeing what I want, but being okay with not seeing what I want. And further solidifying in my mind that what I do want to see one day is a female form. Even though I've gotten to this beautiful point in my life where I don't think gender fucking matters, I realize that and the fact that I still want to transition tells me that this is real.
What happens next is, well, in a few days, I have a phone call with the same woman I spoke to in February. I get to tell her, "Sorry! I'm serious this time!" And I think from there I’ll be referred to medical specialists. Once I have support from my doctors, I’ll start treatment, which means hormone therapy. And I guess I will discuss with the medical team the surgeries that I want.
But for now, it's just a waiting game.