Courage Is Becoming a Woman
Charlie Rose, 34, Florida
The following is how I started to overcome fear, shame, and some deep-rooted beliefs. It does involve suicidal thoughts and self-harm. I had 33+ years of life and religion telling me I was broken and people would hate me, and I believed it.
Every part of me, except my body, is female. It always has been and always will be. This, conflicted with everything in my life: how I wanted to look, how I wanted to act, what role I needed to play in relationships, happiness and every part of my life. There were countless prayers to God to fix me. At one point I thought if I dove head first into religion, maybe I would be fixed. So I kept it all in and perfected the art of being a man. Plus, isolation helped a lot.
A month before my 34th birthday I told the first person, and I kept telling her to this day: ME! After watching some LGBT+ videos on YouTube, I made an anonymous comment saying who I am. After that I couldn’t deny it anymore. This caused a freefall of depression. Where I quickly cared less and less about living and believed everyone would be better off without me. I believed with all of my heart that I was better off dead. I wanted to die, but I wasn’t prepared to do it myself. Until, I decided to do it three months later. A sense of relief came over me, and I laid on my bed enjoying it. How I was going to do it was about five feet away. But just seconds before moving forward with it a thought popped into my head: “It is better to be defective and alive, than dead. If I’m alive, at least there is a chance for things to get better.”
I couldn’t tell people that I was depressed, or let it show, because then I would have to tell them who I was. If someone knew I was trans, then maybe it would be easier to tell them I was depressed if I need to.
So a few days later I told the second person, out of necessity. It came out “I’m not gay. I’m not straight. I’m trans.” The trans part barely came out. I had a super high anxiety level and paranoia for over a month. Is he going to hate me? Is he going to tell everyone? Am I going to be a big joke? There were millions of “what ifs”. Then, I told the third person. The anxiety and paranoia lasted just about 2 or 3 weeks. The freakout period kept getting shorter with each person I told.
I had freakouts about ordering women’s clothes from Amazon. Would the mailman know? What would he/she think? Could I get the package before anyone I live with sees it? There were freakouts about wearing the clothes alone and under my normal clothes. No one has ever seen me wearing them. At times, it got just so overwhelming that I started to hurt myself in the search for peace. But little by little, as I kept going, all these stressful moments became second nature and I started to feel better.
There were many nights where I would just stand in the kitchen floor staring off into nothing for long periods of time, and nights of just crying. It makes me sad to think back to it, but it was worth it. It served as a natural rebalancing that helped unpuzzle my mind.
People really do care and the world is a much better place than what I thought. The third person I told put another woman in a headlock because she thought she was making fun of me. The few moments when all the walls, barriers, and filters aren’t there, are very nice.
Most people just didn’t know how to take it at first. Some were almost speechless, but came back a day later with the sweetest and most supportive attitude. Some people were supportive at first, and then started to distance themselves from me. But I’ve also made some good friends that I can be myself with. My mom didn’t totally cut me out of her life like I thought she would, but she definitely has not fully accepted it.
Right now I have to say is the happiest time of my life so far. I still have days when I feel I’m back where I started, but those are few and far in between. A lot of people probably think that I’m just gay as I’m becoming myself more and more everyday. I painted the nails on my left hand black. It wasn’t perfect, but I painted within the lines. It took a lot of people a while to notice. “Are your nails black?” “Yep!” Some people you could see the complete shock on their faces when they did noticed. One woman whispered to her friend that I was disgusting. I hear more bad things about trans people when they don’t know I’m trans. But that doesn’t bother me. It kind of tells me I’m doing something right.
What’s next? I still have fears to face, bad habits to break, things to work on. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to live as a woman. I’m afraid that if I change my daily routine I will freak out again. But I’ll probably start training for an Ironman 70.3 (swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles within 8 ½ hours). I hope it can help me overcome some of the bad habits I formed while facing my transgender fears, like drinking alcohol for the wrong reasons, not eating enough and the wrong things and my social anxiety.
I need to learn how to live my life without hiding who I am and that is what will keep me from depression. As I write this I’m happy and I want to stay that way. If I do it, I’d like to start a blog to help others going through similar situations.
48 hours ago I came out to everyone on Facebook with the following message:
I am a transgender girl. Born a boy, but with a girl’s brain. Some of you know this and some of you don’t. If this bugs you too much, please unfriend me. No hard feelings. Thank you,
People replied with supportive replies. They said they were my friend no matter who I am and that I was strong for coming out like this. However, in the real world people seemed kind of silent, like they didn’t know what to say to me. So I went back to facebook and posted a second message:
I don’t always come out, but when I do, I do it like a gangster princess.
That cracked people up and made them more comfortable.
I heard when people come out as gay, there is period where they want to show people that they’re gay. Embrace who they are. I don’t know about trans people. Me? I want to fight, and try and make things better. I’ve never had heros or examples to be trans. When I started looking for them when I was coming out, I found some, sort of. However, they were drastically out weighted by sad stories and people that committed suicide or were killed. Do you know the slogan “It gets better”, but when I heard trans people say it, it’s followed by “but…”. I have a deep purpose, that I cannot shake, to make the world a better place. To be the example/hero that I’ve never had.