Updated: Nov 14
Recently, someone dear to me reached out just days before their first treatment of the gender-affirming hormone, testosterone. Initially excited about the appointment, as it approached their reservations grew, and shadows began to infiltrate their own light that led them to want this in the first place.
As I read their text, expressing valid curiosity about what the hormone will do to and with their body, they dropped a line that I remember not even having enough knowledge or courage to say out loud to anyone when I began my hormone therapy.
"I'm nervous ...about how trans people in society are treated."
There it was. This line hit my core to my core of cores. Transitioning at 40 years old alongside my wife and kids was one of the most emotional rides of a lifetime after spending decades playing it cisgender and binary. But I knew, deep down, my soul wild and free, laughing and playing...authenticity would not lead me anywhere that would hurt me. I chose this somewhere along the way long before I chose this. Like training as an athlete taught me, I was determined to overcome the discomfort so it eventually felt easier.
I learned I had to decide to engage in a gratitude practice to teach myself how to be grateful for what was with me—further, seeing how it had been with me this entire time. I had to go into the darkest of places, witness my fears, and purposefully resist the urge to flee. Like something benevolently energetic was holding my face forward as my feet stomped, arms and legs flailing, my eyes crying and clenched, mouth screaming, "No! I won't look!"
And then I did.
This strengthened my sense of self-worth, value, and confidence; I love to dance but transitioning taught me how to move. I wasn't actually wrestling with being transgender and nonbinary, I was fighting for my unique voice, courage, and unconditional self-love that I undoubtedly deserved.
Speaking of courage, that got dished out in the face of danger. All types. All kinds. If I wanted to be myself, I would have to face certain truths. It didn't matter how small or big despite people telling me to relax, throwing their hands in my face, writing me a horrible email, or trying to tell me that what was happening was no big deal. All of it was a big deal because it was life- my life and other people's lives on the front line. It all felt the same: enormously threatening to my existence which only blazed my fire bigger. In the earlier stages, my own anger scared me for reasons I understand better now through the inner work I have done. It would have been easier, just another way to escape the responsibility of my own growth, to stick up my middle finger at the haters, and tell them to fuck off. But that makes me no different.
Every time I made the decision to look, every time someone crossed my path that ignited one of my shadows, I gained more and more momentum to being able to listen to that something louder whispering in my ear:
"Careful. Everything you do, think, say and feel is energy. Witness them. Witness yourself. Karma is not being right; karma is seeking balance. What do you choose today?"
"Building resistance to the hate; my hate, their hate." I heard myself say back.
In the beginning of my physical and social transition, behind closed doors, I would allow myself to sit where I needed to sit, protected, under the transgender umbrella through the exploration of Self. Some days it was crying on the floor. Some days it was just breathing. Some days it was finding the familiarity of my own face in the mirror. Some days it was practicing the authentic movement I was afraid to do anywhere in public. The world wanted me to believe that being transgender was something I should not be. I had been living a life that was not defined by me. No wonder life had felt like such a struggle for a long time.
Sharing my nonbinary identity first was the most courageous first move I made because for one, it was the first bit of wisdom that came to me, and secondly, floating where I felt the most ease provided an unprecedented space of healing. They did and would come for me.
"But, WHAT are you? Pick a gender."
I have picked. I pick me. I pick self-love. I pick gratitude for this discomfort we are both in. I pick holding up the walls, creating space with you as you wrestle with seeing these unknown bigger parts of you. I pick pressing on my loving heart to hold space for myself because I am worth it. Every bit.
If you are reading this because:
you are starting your transition
maybe you have a kid who is trans and/or gender non-binary, gender fluid
maybe there's a coworker at your office that is in transition and you know somewhere in your gut there's more for you to learn but you don't know where to begin
maybe you are already years into your transition and finding community isn't as accessible as people think it is
maybe you live as an ally and want to know more
....thank you for being here with me. I'm glad we found each other. It's you, it's me, it's the collective.
Being queer and trans in the world today often can mean giving up the life you were told to have and living life according to your terms. Being queer and trans is being made of compassionate empathy because you see how society struggles with feeling free. You move, think, act and live freely because it is the commitment to Self you hold to embody the human experience.
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