Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, “40-year-old recently out transgender women signs up to do network marketing for newly launched lifestyle and athleisure brand with no network.”
Why lead with that?
The important thing here is not that I signed up to do network marketing. Don’t get me wrong, I am genuinely in love with Savvi clothes. I want to buy them all. I want you to buy them all through me. That’s not the important takeaway. The important takeaway is that I have no network.
(I am building one now, but I didn’t have one before coming out.)
I feel like puberty really started for me in high school. Regardless of when puberty actually started, I know this – my brain expected estrogen. It got testosterone instead, and my brain shut parts of itself down.
I pulled away from all of my “could have been” friends in high school. I didn’t do after-school things and hang out with people. I think my brain was subconsciously making sure that I never got invited to hang out or do parties or be cool. I carried the darkness to college. There, my life was simple. I went to class. I came home (or back to the dorm), and I played computer games until 3 AM. I did chat with people online, but only because I didn’t have to see them. I went to bed. I got up, and I did it all over again.
(Added later: I didn’t know then that my brain was expecting estrogen. I didn’t even really know anything was “wrong.” But I know it now, looking back with the ability to think clearly and connect all of the dots.)
In college, I was so afraid of letting my secret slip out.
I was so afraid of people finding out that oh I was a woman in a man’s body. (Added later: When I was growing up, transgender wasn’t a term I knew. I lived in a rural, conservative, evangelical town. I only knew what being gay was by the time I entered high school.) Being homosexual was sinful, damning, taboo, and plainly a terrible-terrible thing. It was an idea deeply ingrained in me as a child. It’s what I was and didn’t want to be, so it was just easier to not let anybody in.
(Added later: In college, I had unrestricted internet access. I quickly figured out that I was transgender.)
After college, it spilled into my relationship with my family, and then I carried it into my marriage. I was not emotionally close with my ex-wife. I knew if I came out as transgender, and wanted to do anything remotely close to transition, my marriage would be over. I buried my authenticity for over 15 years.
Here’s the thing; when we met, I genuinely loved my ex-wife. Like spouses are supposed to. My mistake was denying myself.
I will be happy, testosterone-driven, and I can just be the husband-breadwinning-father-parent-child that everyone expects me to be. If I just do the thing, I can live in the ‘expected box’ happily ever after.
That, right now, is the single biggest regret of my life. I have worked through a lot of the guilt. It does take two to end a marriage (I can’t take all of the blame, the ending of our marriage wasn’t solely on my shoulders), and I can accept my part in it.
I should have been honest from the beginning I should have looked for and asked for help, like, real true help from a qualified therapist and Dr. much sooner. You guys, I was so afraid of everything that I stood to lose. Here’s the incredible thing that I understand now – I didn’t have that much to lose. Since coming out I have gained so much more life than I ever could have imagined possible.
Sure, I don’t have a close intimate relationship with a spouse. My kids live six hours away for 10 months of the year. I don’t get to see them more than about every four weeks – give or take. To stand here, now, as a confident woman transcribing this into her iPhone (Added later: believe it or not, I was actually standing), I’m so grateful. I am full of life and creativity. I am finding friends that are smart, funny, kind, driven, clever, creative, and they fill me with the drive to be a better person – all of the time. I look at myself in the mirror, and most of the time, I love her. She looks back, and she makes me smile (more often than not).
God is presenting me with opportunities.
Now that my brain isn’t distracted, fuzzy, dark from dysphoria, anxiety, stress, and depression, I’m able to see those opportunities. I seize the opportunities I want to seize. I pass on the opportunities I should pass on.
I am really excited to be a Savvi brand partner. I want to buy all of the clothes. I want to wear all of the clothes, all of the time. The few people I’ve met in the community, fellow brand partners, see me as me. I’m not some weirdo, I’m not a sob story or charity case.
I am just T, who like them, happens to love the clothes, loves what the brand stands for, and fits right in. It’s kind of my jam. I’m huge on authenticity and positivity. At the end of this particular ramble, if that’s what I can leave you with, I will leave you with this: Be authentic. Find yourself. You can’t live a positive life, be there for others, or be a part of others’ lives if you aren’t there for your own life.
Start slow with little things. Find the positive where you can. I think you’ll find the more positivity you focus on, the more it seems to filter into your life. It will begin to filter through your life, around your life, and through the lives of those around you. Before you know it, even when things get really, really dark, you’ll find a light of positivity to hold onto.
Thanks for reading. You are appreciated!
Have a most excellent day.