I’m writing this blog on 31st December 2018; New Years Eve. It’s incredibly likely, although I can’t remember my exact thoughts, that ten years ago to this day, I was contemplating on the impact that my new years resolution would have on my life in the year 2009. That resolution was the biggest I have ever made, and it I knew I was going to be taking a huge risk. I had decided to gather up all of my courage and strength and take the huge step of beginning the gender transition that I had been mulling over in my mind for over five years. Parents would be re-told (I had already “come out” to them five years before), doctors would be contacted, friends who didn’t already know would be receiving emails, my name would be changed legally, hormone therapy would be started, surgeries would take place, and my life would be generally turned upside down. I was well aware of the enormity of the decision I was making, and I was even more aware of the fear and anxiety that was churning away in the pit of my stomach. But my heart was somewhat calm, and I knew, from the depths of my soul, that this was the only way I was going to be able to live a life in which I felt at home in my own body.
Ten years on, as I write this blog, I’m reflecting on the conversation I had with my mother while walking along the seafront, in January 2009. The conversation in which I told her that I had decided to pursue physical gender transition, and that I would be following that course of action whether or not she approved, and whether or not she would support me. When I look back at that, I’m quite impressed with the strength and courage I brought forth in that situation. It was a moment of massive vulnerability, and it served me well.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have a mother, and a father, who accept me as I am, and who have done the best that they can as they’ve watched their daughter become a man. I have no idea what that would feel like, as I’ve never experienced it myself, but I can only imagine that it would be challenging on so many levels.
I’ve had many friends, some of whom are no longer in my life, who have supported me as I’ve walked this path. People who have had no issue whatsoever with changing pronouns and the name that I chose to go by. It’s such a distant memory now, being called “Sir” and “Mister” for the first time. I sometimes remind myself that so many of the things that I experience now, and often take for granted, are things that I desperately longed for ten years ago. When I stand in front of the mirror now and think, “Urgh, I really can’t be bothered shaving today”, I remind myself that, not so long ago, I used to wish for a reason to shave my face. I looked forward to having thicker hair on my arms and legs, and I definitely achieved that goal. Infact, I totally surpassed any expectations I had for body hair growth! Sometimes, when I sing, I feel the deep resonance in my voice, and I cast my mind back to a time when I could barely make telephone calls, go up to the bar in pubs, or order food at a restaurant, because my voice “gave me away”. It feels so strange to look back on those times from where I am now, but it is good for me to do so. To remember where I came from, and to remind myself of the pain and anguish that came with looking into a mirror and seeing someone, or something, that I just couldn’t relate to.
Along with the joy of witnessing my body change, and hearing the pronouns I so longed to hear, there have been elements of pain and sacrifice, of mourning and letting go. I released parts of my body that could have created life in this world. I let go of a name that had been given to me by my parents, and that I had carried with me since my birth. These things were all a part of my journey. And, after all this time, my journey still continues, albeit in a very different way from here on in.
The biggest realisation I’ve had lately, and something that has really challenged my ego and sense of self, is that I haven’t changed at all. Of course I’ve learned a great deal, and I’ve grown in character and strength and confidence – all of that goes without saying. And, of course, my body has changed a great deal. However, at a core, fundamental level, at a soul level, I haven’t changed at all. The core of me is untouchable, untainted, has never been wounded, and hasn’t changed one little bit. Male or female; it makes no difference. So here I am, after ten years of playing out my story, and I’m realising that nothing’s really changed. After waving this story around for the past ten years, and somehow unconsciously relishing the label, I am still integrating what this recent realisation actually means for me, and how it is changing the way that I experience my life and express myself in the world. I find myself undertaking the strange and difficult task of removing the mask, the identity, that I have built up around my gender transition journey over the past ten years. Yes, I changed my gender – all of that really happened, and I still have injections every twelve weeks, and blood tests every six months, but WHO AM I underneath all of that? I do know the answer to this question, finally: I am the untouchable essence of my true Self. And there are things I came here to do, and be, and share. And when I have questioned why I have gone through all of this outer “stuff”, why I have turned myself inside out and faced all of these trials if my core is still exactly the same. The answer always comes back as:
“You needed to experience all of this to pass on a message. It’s a part of the medicine that you came to offer the world.”
And this, I accept. I accept that I have already touched many lives. And I am open to touching more, and more, and even more beyond that. This isn’t a statement of self-importance, it’s a statement of truth.
I’m not completely aware of how things will play out from this point on, and I’m learning that I don’t have to know all of the details (if any). What I do know is: I’m right where I need to be. Even when I feel like I’m not “getting anywhere”, and ego tells me that I should be “further along” when it comes to my life purpose.
But, hear this, ego!
I have walked my talk.
I have set intentions and they have manifested.
And I actually stuck to a New Year’s resolution!
Recently, a wise friend told me that I have already achieved the goals that I set for myself all those years ago. I have already become the person that I set out to become. There is no need to push or fight anymore. This time is about grace, and it is about intention, and purpose.
And so, I wish myself a Happy New Year, and I know that the years to come will be filled with fresh opportunities and a renewed sense of purpose.
I do not need to know what all of the steps are.
I simply need to take the first step.
Everything else will follow.