A journey of self. Discovered.
What’s in a name? But not just any name. What’s in a person’s name?
My name is T. One letter. If you are picky, there’s a period after the T on my birth certificate – which is now accurate because my state is awesome. I never did claim the period.
T – a one letter name. I’ve only ever met one other person with a one letter name, B. She was in one of my art classes in college. I was pretty depressed in college so we never connected and weren’t friends, but I remember the name.
A lot of people have trouble understanding a one letter name because, in my experience, it is so uncommon. To make things easier I added my middle name, Jay, so it looked like a full name. It helped with the “what’s it stand for?” questions. I’d also get, “Keith” because it made more sense to some ears than T. I even have to put J or Jay on some web forms.
My journey of stepping into my authenticity was filled with a lot of self-hate. I hated the fact that my body was seen by everyone else as a boy’s body. I hated that I couldn’t wear dresses and jewelry and didn’t get to experience what most girls do when they are growing up. I hated that I couldn’t grow my hair out or paint my nails. I hated that I was transgender and was destined for hell. I was a broken creation. A mistake. I hated that I wasn’t supposed to exist.
When I was coming out to those closest to me – my parents, my brothers, a few close friends – one of the first questions I was asked was, “What are you changing your name to?”
There was a brief time that I thought about what my name would have been, had I been born with the correct physical appearance. I had settled on Tabitha. Note – I kept the T, even then.
But as I wrestled with myself in 2020, read through the Bible, dug deep into my past, thought about the life that I could be living, the fog of moments lost to dysphoria, the possibility of stepping into an authentic life as myself, one thing didn’t change.
My name. What did change, and only in the past few months, was that I no longer felt the need to shelter myself by adding Jay.
Shelter myself. My old self was an unpleasant person. What I used to see as damaging and shameful behavior – being emotionally withdrawn, stressed, anxious, and depressed – I now see with a light of grace. T Jay created walls and distance to keep me safe. He did what I couldn’t, until I was strong enough to stand on my own, in my own authenticity.
I am no longer angry at my past self. I am so very grateful. I am here today, because he kept me from checking out. He made sure I was around to ask for help when I was ready. I was finally ready in the fall of 2020.
Here I am. Letting T Jay rest.
I didn’t need to change my name. I only needed to find the same love for myself as I have always had for the letter T. I found it.