I know it’s hard to read a story that doesn’t have resolution. Life doesn’t resolve, though! It just keeps going. Some parts of it are tragedy, some parts are comedy, and some parts do end happily. I don’t know the ending, yet, and I refuse to whitewash where I am. However, I don’t want to end my “book” with you angry at me, so here’s another Interlude…
One September day in 2017, I was walking across the campus of the Life Healing Center. I don’t remember where I was going or what activity I was walking to. I do know that I was contemplating an experience from a day or two prior. I had been walking with M, welcoming her into the community. A bird alighted on a fence beside her and started squawking. We were both kind of stunned at the boldness of this bird. I looked at M and said, “You just got a visit from a Spirit Guide!”
That experience brought me back to my time in The Big Thicket, when I had made a bold request for God to initiate me. I thought about what that snake had taught me. Then, I thought about what that snake had stopped me from writing: I am a man.
I walked in silence as God unfolded the last piece of origami from that experience for me. God stopped me writing at I AM because I’m not a man. One year prior, I had come out of the closet kicking and screaming, holding onto the doorframe with a white knuckle grip… but the truth had finally come out. As I walked, I was awed by what I was being shown. Creation had conspired to show me the truth, fifteen years before I was willing to admit it to myself.
If I’m in a dress with smoky eye shadow, I am. If I’m in men’s jeans and a Whole Foods t-shirt with a five o’clock shadow, I am. If you don’t believe that I’m transgender, I still am. It’s who I am at my core.
God and his creation are perfectly comfortable with me as myself. I’m getting comfortable with just being myself, too.
As I walked, I also contemplated the snake. A snake sheds its skin as it grows and heals. For that to happen, it has to find something to grip its old skin so that it can slide out of it… transformation is a violent act! After the struggle, the snake eventually emerges from its old self as something new.
I was in that process of transformation. I still am, actually. Society and Religion have been the objects I have rubbed against as I slough off my old self. They don’t want me to change but it is through moving in a different direction from them that I am becoming more and more who I should be. I defy gender norms on a regular basis. I shave my body regularly so that it more accurately reflects my gender identity. I wear earrings every day. Like most women, I’m on the quixotic quest of finding the right balance of thickness and arch for my eyebrows. I drink soy milk for the estrogen-like qualities of it. In other words, I get closer and closer to shedding this manly skin and emerging from it as who I truly am.
Transformation (not only physical transformation but also emotional and spiritual) is a long journey. I didn’t think I’d ever find myself on this path. Like a lot of transgender people, I’ve thought about taking the exit ramp throughout the last couple of years. However, all the people who told me to leave Louisiana were right- now that I’ve got a year in DFW under my belt, I am doing better. I’m glad I didn’t end it all, not just for my kids and parents but also for myself.
I plan on seeing this transformation and journey through to the end.
New to the story? Start at the beginning: God, Gender, & Stuff.