As you all know, Word Garden is a poetry blog. I try very hard to keep it a peaceful place that people can visit and enjoy. Some of you may also know that I am not very fierce most of the time. Make a loud noise and I'll jump. Stand in my path and I will try to go around you, or even just turn around and go back home and make tea. But...
If you hurt someone I care about, then it has to end. Then, you're going to hear from me. And that has happened. Someone, and not the person I thought, has been upsetting my friends, simply because they are my friends. Someone, who has never even met me, has decided to tell the "truth" about me, despite not knowing the truth. It ends now.
This post will surprise most of you, I think. It may anger many of you, who will ask, "Why did you never tell me, Shay?" More on that later, ok? I'm on a mission. And when I am done, the haters will have to find another target. I am here to blog, to display my poetry, to make friends, to share every day ups and downs with the people I have come to care about so much.
I am a woman. Always was. But I am a woman with a transsexual history. I have changed my name. I have changed my body. I have changed nearly everything in my life, at great expense. I have lost my entire original family except for my mother, and that relationship has been rocky, to say the very least. I have changed all my friends. Along the way, I have been, at various stages, stared at, laughed at, physically attacked and insulted. Along the way, I have been embraced, accepted, loved, graced, and freed. I didn't make all of the changes I have made in order to deceive anyone. I know all about deception. I pretended to be a male for many years--after all, I had the body for it and was expected to live that way-- and it brought me addiction, depression, and despair, and it took me to the very edge of suicide, more than once. It made me be a stranger to those closest to me. It left me unable to feel anything but a horrible numbness.
From my earliest days, people around me did their best to kill off that sweet core within me that I knew instinctively was my best self. From being forbidden to play with my best friend, the girl next door, through being forced by my family to enlist in military service, I kept the best part of me alive, somehow. There were times, many many times, when i felt I would break apart from the sheer pain of being in the wrong life, of being expected to be someone I could not be, and did not want to be. For ten years of my life, I managed to get through by staying drunk. But when that almost killed me, too, I got sober and all the same feelings came back.
I got married. But before I did, my future bride looked at me one night and said, without prompting, "You're a woman in a man's body." And I thought I was covering so well. "How do you feel about that?" I asked her. We were married for 13 years. We raised a son, the light of my life.
In 2001, I found myself alone again. I tried to date, but women would walk in my front door, take one look, and decide there HAD TO BE a wife or girlfriend tucked away somewhere someplace, who had decorated all that. They didn't know they were talking to her.
I made a hard decision. I thought, if i were ever going to live my life authentically, this was the time. I had a job, a home, friends, family, and some savings. I decided to transition and live as my true self, but I kept my plan to myself at first, until physical changes became undeniable.
Listen...I have spent just piles of money. I have heard my mother say "I never want to see you again." I have never stood in the same room with, nor been invited to any family function by, any of my other family members since the day they found out my intentions. I have walked out my front door and into the world as a woman. I have walked into my job of many years, as a woman. I have changed all of my human connections and relearned my natural femininity while unlearning my unwanted male training. I have been up to my eyeballs in female hormones for years now. Some person sending hateful emails, and who has never met me, does not scare me. Not much scares me. Not anymore.
There have been sweet and also funny things that have happened. My first day at work as a woman, in 2004, three of my girlfriends came to me with three great big smiles and a huge gift, beautifully wrapped. It was a make-up case filled with every sort of cosmetics under the sun. How sweet was that? I'll never forget it. There was the co-worker who said to me, "You are the bravest person I know." There was my son, who, when I told him , said, "I already knew, and I love you."
Most of all there is the joy and incredible kick of, for the first time in my life, seeing my SELF in the mirror every day. There are my customers, who love their mail lady and give her all sorts of nice smelling girly glop every Christmas. There are my girlfriends, who offer me the sort of true and natural friendship I always wanted so badly. I just only ever wanted to be one of the girls. Now I am.
I've made mistakes. I've been afraid to tell people, even dear beloved friends, what my story is. I have entered into love relationships and still not told, until the telling came so late that it hurt them, and hurt me. I am sorry. I can't fix any of that. But I can say, right here, right now, this is me. I am a woman. I am flawed. I can say to my friends, I love you all, please stay. Please forgive me for not trusting you enough to tell you before. And I can say, haters, there goes your ammunition. I can say, leave my friends alone.
I have found that people can be incredibly cruel. I have found that, to some people, because I am a transwoman, every bad thing is automatically entirely my fault, and they needn't examine themselves. I have found that there will always be people who consider that I am "really" a man. I have found that people will judge me. I know that one in 13 transpeople dies by murder. Telling is no light thing.
I have found that people can be incredibly kind. They will include you, help you, love you. They will even call you "chica." ;-)
I have found that my poetry, dormant for twenty years, came back. I have found that, though I am attracted to women, I "get it" about men in a way I never did before. I like men. I just don't want to sleep with one.
I have found that a person can exchange one set of crippling restrictions for another. I am done with that. My business is really no one's business. But I've chosen to share it here, now.
That's me. Take me or leave me. I am here to blog, and make friends, that's it and that's all. I am not here for drama, intrigue or deception. All that ends right here, right now, with this post.
I love you my friends. I truly do. As for anyone who doesn't like me, it's a big world, move on.