Being a trans woman changes your whole world.
Nothing comes to you easy. Life comes at you fast and it is all about making the best decisions possible when things arrive in your life. From being in the military to having to help raise your siblings, life moves quicker than you can ever imagine. I didn’t always make the right decisions or the best decisions, but I did what I had to do to learn how to be the person that I am today.
Was my life a dream? Far from it, but I learned that just because nothing is ever handed to you that you don’t have to always make due with what you have.
I have always wanted to be something or someone great. To somehow make a difference. Maybe change the world. I never knew what or how I would do it, but it always felt like something that I wanted to do. Coming out as trans was probably one of the hardest decisions that I have ever had to make. I didn’t enjoy life and being continually tested for a masculinity that I didn’t posses was draining of not only all of my being, but on the relationships that surrounded me.
It was tough growing up, not having answers to my gender identity and trying to cope with the fact that gay wouldn’t be a way for me underline my exact problems. My gender identity had nothing to do with my sexuality and growing up I could probably be termed as asexual. I had always wanted to be a girl from the time that I learned what gender was, maybe even before that in my regular state of mind as a young child.
Growing up during the 90s push for gay rights, I was brought up in a world of confusion for what it meant to have a problem with my gender identity. The LGBT push meant that at that time everyone was included, even the transgender population. Some of them stood out like sore thumbs, while others were just there participating alongside the rest of protesters. My family didn’t discriminate at all. They made it very vocal that they would not stand for the gays to get rights and that it was their duty as loyal Christians to be against their movement. I heard it day in and day out, how they were going to hell for their sins or that God was going to punish them for living their disgusting lives.
Being just a child and hearing these things not only makes you question your existence, but also helps to create a hate for existing. I hated myself because I couldn’t fit in, I hated myself because I was told that God hated me, I hated myself because I had no idea how I was going to survive this world having to endure a life that I wanted no part of.
Kids who are different get picked on. I had to learn that the hard way. Bullies exist in all forms and their soul purpose is to make your life that much harder. I have always been relentlessly picked on. I have always been different. I have always lied to try to fit into a world that I had no understanding of. Yet, with everything that I tried I could never make friends or just fit in. I was too different, too weird, too much for the people around me to try to accept me.
It sucked having to grow up almost alone, but I still had my family. I still had my brother and sisters that I could come home to who loved me unconditionally. Even though at times I wished I was an only child, they helped support me through a lot that they might not even be aware of. I fought hard not to give up, even if it was just for them.
I tried to grow up strong with thick skin, but almost every night I went to bed broken and confused. For years I prayed to God to help me, to make me better, to give me friends, to change me into a girl and to forgive me for my sins. Each night I would fall asleep for the longing that tomorrow would be better a day. Each day I would have to live through mostly disappointment.
When I entered high school I thought that maybe getting a girlfriend would be the answer. Maybe it would make me straight. Maybe it was the answer that I had been searching for. Even though my home life was falling apart with my gender identity issues becoming ever so much more present, I continually tried to fix myself. I got my first girlfriend in the 10th grade. Didn’t change me and it didn’t last long. I had girls liking me all of the time because I continually stood out. I had learned to become a bully towards everyone around me, but to also be able to protect those same people that landed in my social circle. It was a weird combination, but it somehow worked for me to able to have so called friends that lasted until the final ring of the school bell.
I got my second girlfriend in the 11th grade and that was only a few months. That summer I met an older woman that lasted me almost 2 years, but everyday it was becoming more apparent to myself that this path wasn’t going to fix me. I thought that if maybe I lost my virginity that I might somehow become normal, but that was another far cry from the truth.
I met my ex-wife in November of 2006 and she was honestly one of the coolest, laid back persons that I had have ever met. She seemed to have her whole life in control and she amazed me at how free and independent she was. We were both fresh out of high school and trying to find our places in the world.
At first I only wanted to keep her as a friend. As someone to talk to about life’s problems and have someone who would just be there for me. She ended up starting to like me because I was different and she was really attracted to the alternative ways that I saw the world. Just like everyone though I didn’t give her the full picture and only gave her parts that I thought she would like to hear. Was it wrong of me? Probably, but I was still dealing with my identity and trying to figure out who I was.
We ended up meeting at my surprise 18th birthday party and she was totally into me. I was embarrassed the whole time because I first of all hated birthday parties and secondly having people focus on me. It was awkward and I mostly paid attention to her. I liked her, but not in the way that she liked me, but because I really enjoyed our conversations I decided that I would give her a chance. Almost 6 years and a divorce later, I have to admit I should have probably just let it continue to be a friendship.
We got married a year and a half later. Moved to Texas, had our first major falling out, experienced death in my family, moved back to California only to have to split up as I joined the Army, and then back to Texas. All of this while pretending to not be the supposed faggot that my extended family was starting to suspect as my Dad laid the groundwork for that theory.
My dad had been questioning my sexuality since I was 11 after he had found a list in my room that could only be used for cross dressing. It didn’t help that over the years I kept dragging that point home with different items of feminine articles, such as clothing and makeup that kept leading him to the point that I was a faggot. I don’t know if it was because my dad was a major homophobic alcoholic druggie or because he really didn’t want his child to turn out to be a homo, but he made it really difficult for me to feel comfortable in my own skin.
In every passing chance that we had with someone that my dad deemed a faggot or homosexual he would make it known to everyone that he knew that he had only had hate to spread in those encounters. The first time I had ever seen a trans woman my dad made sure to point her out to me and to yell obscenities at her before driving away from the 7-eleven parking lot. It broke my heart knowing that I shared something with her and that if I had the guts to make that choice that I might be in the same boat as her.
I joined the Army to try to make a man out of myself. I joined with intentions to go special forces and was relieved that if I failed I would fall back to being infantry. Either way I wanted to go to combat to heighten the percentage of receiving death in the service. I needed a way out and it seemed like the best way to be able to bring that. I would either become a man or die trying because it was more honorable to die a hero fighting for your country, than to commit suicide as a queer freak.
4 years and only one deployment later, I was no closer to being deemed a man than I was at 6 years old wanting to be a girl. Coming back was miserable. I had made it another day and to continue to face the life before me that I had wanted no part of to begin with. I needed an out. I needed to resolve my issues and I needed to start living for me, not how I thought the world wanted me to be.
I continually struggled as I tried to make way between what was up and down. I tried my hardest to finish my career strong, but after receiving a traumatic brain injury that left me with devastating headaches I couldn’t cope with life anymore. I wanted an out and I was trying desperately to not succumb to the easy temptation of death. Having an already failed suicide attempt from my teenage years, I knew that it would be easy for me to take that same path again when I felt I had nothing left to live for. Luckily for me, I found a group that was going through the same problems as I and I met a person that helped push my life into a new world. She guided me to self medicating and in 2013 I started hormones to help transform my life towards one that I wanted to be a part of.
At work I was seen as an exemplary soldier and I was proving to be one of the best that my company had. I was fast tracking to being promoted, while my home life was falling apart. Hormones didn’t help the situations I would find myself in at home. I quickly became a different person with all of the new experiences that the estrogen and anti-androgens had to offer. My marriage finally came to an end two months after I started hormones not because she wanted to end things, but because we both knew that she had married a man, someone who was supposed to be man, not someone that was pretending to be man. She said that she would have stayed with me no matter what, but I knew that it would be a miserable relationship for the both of us. I gave her a way out because I knew that was the right thing to do.
Then my career came to an end. First I was starting a med board for the headaches that I had to endure since no treatment could stop the attacks. Then that June I was outed for being transgender thanks to leaving my Instagram publicly open. I had been exploring cross dressing openly with friends that I had made while stationed in El Paso and I really enjoyed being able to express that side of my life. It was hard, but somehow I made it through that time. I upped my doses on my medication as it made no difference anymore. I was now considered a piece of shit to everyone around me no matter how good I was before. I was a depressed mess. I never knew which day was going to be the day that I would be called out for my lifestyle choices or the day that I would be confronted for them. I continued to prosper though. Seeing life from a different point of view and I totally had a new lease on life. I came to a point where I didn’t care if I was going to throw my last 4 years down the drain. I was going to finally live a life I could be proud of and finally be in a direction that I wanted to go in.
Changes became apparent by the next year and there was no denying my choices anymore. Growing visible breasts made everything more complicated, but somehow I managed to survive no matter how awkward the situation. By the summer of the next year I was completely out and I didn’t care who knew anymore. I tried to hide it from some people, but it was pretty apparent, especially with the fact that somehow my voice had gone into a very female range. It didn’t matter anymore because I was far more comfortable with myself than I had ever been. Life was becoming great and even being around the people that I thought would judge me the worst, it became something that was old news. I started to have better connections with people and it lead them to being more comfortable with me. People who knew me from before hormones to now could admit that I was a better person. They would joke and make fun of me, but not in a way that was hurtful. It was exciting to see the change in people and exciting for them to see the changes of me. I never thought that I would be accepted in the army for being trans and not in a million years did I think I would be accepted amongst the infantry. It was a surreal experience, but one that I am glad that I went through. I luckily got out unscathed and I thank God that it didn’t turn out worse for me.
From that summer I had started living life as a full time woman. It was different and definitely a world I didn’t expect anymore. I didn’t think I passed, but having breasts and a feminine voice got me through a lot of tough spots. Having to keep short hair was definitely the worst part, but I did my best to try to get away with having it as long as it was possible without getting in trouble from my supervisors. I didn’t fully know what to expect jumping into womanhood and everything at first was a shock. Having guys over talk you as if you had no idea what you were talking about. Having cashiers treat you nicer than the male customers in front of you. Having people going out of their way to hold the door open for you. Just the way you are referenced to in general. It was all so different and most of it was appreciated.
But not all of it was great. Having to out myself because of ID for cigarettes or alcohol or to use my credit cards was always a weird experience. Being clocked meant that I would receive total different service or looks of disgust and hate. Being out in public and always feeling insecure as if everyone can tell that I am different or something else than what I appear to be. All of that is overwhelming and can really take a toll on a person, but yet somehow I continually manage to survive. I continually manage to make it to the next day mostly undamaged, but I know now that I am one of the lucky ones to have the courage to face the world openly without shame, even though I feel guilty for not having to experience the hate that many trans women go through.
At almost 2 years in on hormones I can say for the most part that I have transitioned into womanhood even though my experience isn’t that of most women. I am just living my life as comfortable as I can, just as comfortable as they can. I have gone through some of the terrors that they have to endure and that negativity has impacted my life, but I continue to move on with my life. Will my life one day be perfect? Who knows? Whose life is perfect anyways? All I know is mine is far better than it has ever been and I can only continue to make the best of it with the little that I have.
I have learned that it doesn’t take a defined gender to make the person and that we all can choose to live our lives to the fullest no matter what situations are thrown at us. Some of us have harder experiences to go through, but who is to say whose experience is harder? We all have this life to live and we all will have to live the ones we are dealt with. We just have to remember that we can always choose in which way our lives will go.