Fear is something that can dominate your life if you let it. I was full of it. I spent half my life being afraid to be who I am. I was too scared to acknowledge this thing that had always followed me. I did everything I could to outrun it. I was worried about what other people would think, or that my family would have me committed. The truth is that I always knew I was female. I just wouldn’t admit it to myself or anyone else. I was consumed by this fear of what would happen, and I let it influence every decision that I made.
I used to hope that I would have some kind of accident, something that would cause me to somehow lose my genitalia. I would then have an excuse, something that left me no option other than to live my life as a woman. I literally went through all the fantasies of how something of the sort could actually happen. It would be easier on everyone else if they saw I had no choice but to accept my fate. It was not until after I came out did I realize that there were other people like myself who had the same thoughts while they were in their “denial” phase. So many of us have to deal with being afraid to be who we are, all because society doesn’t accept us.
"I JUST EXISTED AS IF I WERE LOOKING AT THE WORLD THROUGH SOMEONE ELSE’S EYES."
Eventually I would have to face my fears, as I could no longer outrun them. The older I got, the worse it was for me. Not until I saw a gender therapist did I realize there were a million “Oh, that was dysphoria” moments throughout my entire life. I began to understand how dysphoria affected everything I did, and how unlike a bottle of wine, it got worse with age. Dysporia prevented me from truly living. I just existed as if I were looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. My life never felt like my own. I was too afraid to face it.
Soon dysphoria would completely run me over to the point where I had to deal with it. If I needed a reason to justify my transition my dysphoria was certainly it, but I was too naïve to see that at the time. I eventually realized I had to face my fears. I was going to do so regardless of how people reacted. I would take the chance of having everyone I knew turn their backs on me. My only other option was death, and it would still be on the table if things didn’t work out. Either way, the person who I was would no longer exist.
So I did it. I came out. I told my wife, my kids, my parents, and eventually everyone else I knew. Yes, there were some loses. Yes, some people turned their backs on me. Some people even got angry and to this day continue to attack me every chance they get. It was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do because it was the one thing that I was most afraid of, but I was finally facing it.
I began to live my life as me for the first time. I started my transition. Over time the moments of dysphoria would lessen. I became a writer and an activist I started to help others with their journeys. I was finally alive and it felt amazing, despite all the bigotry and hate that I continued to face. Eventually I had reached the point where I could never even imagine being the person I was. The image of that person in my head literally disgusted me. I could no longer be that person who was so afraid to live.
"I EVENTUALLY GOT THE COURAGE TO CUTOFF ANYONE WHO HAD A PROBLEM WITH MY BEING TRANSGENDER"
Then it happened. I reached the point when I really began to conquer that fear. I no longer cared about what anyone thought. It didn’t matter to me who I would lose or who would turn their back on me. I eventually got the courage to cutoff anyone who had a problem with my being transgender. I literally cut them out of my life. My being transgender actually became a gauge to help me understand who other people really were. I have said it a million times, “If you want to know if someone truly loves you, just tell them you are transgender.”
And that is when I realized that if someone didn’t accept me for who I was, I didn’t need them in my life. Why would I want to be around such a toxic person? Why did I spend half of my life being afraid of what such a person would think of me? This was all because of fear. I now have half a life left to live, and I will no longer be dominated by the fear of someone not accepting me.
I only have one regret in my transition, it is that I should have started much earlier in life. What I really should have feared all those years was living a life as someone who I wasn’t. I could have prevented years of testosterone exposure. I could have experienced my younger years as I was meant to. I was just too afraid. I was afraid of society and what the people around me would have thought. Only now do I realize that it doesn’t matter what they think. Some of us conquer those fears at 4 while others do so at 40. Eventually I did conquer them myself. Now, I am unapologetically transgender, and I don’t have a care in the world what anyone else has to say about it.