I will be twenty-seven years old tomorrow and I’m feeling extra reflective at the moment. It’s probably a combination of being scarily close to thirty and being confronted by death at work this week, but I’m feeling like I can’t do this forever.
Not in a suicidal way. But I can’t picture myself 10, 20, 50 years into the future as a woman. I can’t even call myself one. I have two very awful thoughts. The first is dying from a blood clot from the AstraZeneca vaccine I had two weeks ago (yes I know how rare it is, but these are intrusive thoughts) and being buried in a dress by my family and being forever remembered as a woman and by a name that I hate. The second, being eighty years old and looking back on my life, regretting that I didn’t have the balls (ha) to explore something that I desperately needed to.
Both scenarios come down to this single thought:
If I died a ‘woman’, would I be die happy and at peace with what I did with my life?
The answer is a resounding no.
It’s pretty clear to me that I need to externally explore the gender feelings that I’ve been having. It’s one thing to blog about it and internally process it, but applying that theory to real changes in my appearance, style, etc is a whole other story. But I feel like it has to be done.
I’ll make it clear that I don’t think I can confide in my family about this now. A few of them are openly transphobic. Maybe one or two would be okay, but if I tell one person, it will spread to everyone. It’s not a matter of physical safety – I am financially independent and live on my own – but more of emotional safety. We’re not close. Hell, some immediate family members I haven’t talked to since Christmas. We don’t talk about important things and we are all so closed off emotionally from each other. For me to be so vulnerable to share something extremely personal about myself, then get rejected for it… The trauma is just not worth it. Risk versus benefit and all that. It sounds harsh, but my family just isn’t relevant to me anymore.
My friends on the other hand are more like my family than my blood relatives. They are my chosen family. I feel like I’ve had more meaningful conversations with them in the three years that I’ve known them than I’ve had with my family in my entire life. They cooked dinner for me on Saturday night and put candles in my ice cream and sang happy birthday while we played PlayStation games. I’ll take that over a hollow ‘Happy Birthday’ message on my Facebook wall. They would also (probably) be cool with me being trans. Two of them already have a transmasculine friend and they have all shown enthusiastic support for Elliot Page and other high profile trans folk.
Truthfully, I feel like I already have my foot in the closet door with them. Would it be so bad for me to nudge it open just a little further?
I can send a short text message or write an entire letter if I want to. In a year’s time, when I am about to turn 28, where will I be? Will I look back on the year, having lived it exactly the same as every other, miserable with the female life I was given? Or will I be living as my true self, so goddamn grateful to have pushed that door open that day?
I wish it was that easy for me. I guess I just have to start writing a letter, then?