“It’s a phase”, “Think of your family”, “are you sure this is right”? Questions ever reoccurring on a soundtrack set on repeat for everyone to hear. The sounds of family trying to come to grips with a new reality that has been laid before them. The thought that one day someone woke up and thought “Gee, this sounds like fun”. There is a lot more to it and to best describe it I will use a 2 sided role of the mind. The struggle in ones own head, well my own head at least.
In elementary school we start our socialization. The entire purpose in truth is to educate, but there is an underlying education of who we are to be. “Be a man” or “Act like a lady” become staples of daily life as if being a Tom boy or feminine guy is not an option. Buck the trends and you get your labels…. the Tom boys are “butch” or “jocks” while the boys are deamed “sissy” and “gay”. A pre conceived ideal of the perfection we are chosen to be. There is something more though… something deeper. We don’t all deal with it but for the ones that do it becomes a fear that will haunt and tournent for the next 5 to 50 years. For me this torment became years of viewing life through borrowed eyes.
She was there in elementary school when we learned that it’s not ok to be different. We were born a certain way and it’s not ok to go against that. We were separated into genders and I was told this is where I stand. It doesn’t feel right but how could they be wrong. I was different yet who would have believed me? They could never understand could they?
She was there playing football. The fact that she had to stay hidden drove me to be more then I was. I had anger, hatred, and no sense of self. The days of band I wasn’t one of the girls nor was I one of the guys. I remember staying back and not dancing. Wanting nothing more then to wear the dresses they dreaded to wear. I remember being jelous of the girls in school with their Mary Janes, cute outfits and freedoms. No one saw it… or saw her… what else was I to do but hide.
Graduation day. The boys wore red and the girls wore white cloaks and hats. It was only a color and they were identical in every other way yet here we were. She was weeping as I doned the red veil that I was told to wear over my dress shirt, tie and dress shoes. I longed for the ability to wear a dress and heels. I longed to look how I felt. I continued to hide… maybe I just needed to grow up an “be a man” like they taught us all those years ago.
She was there when it came to the time of marriage. Truthfully one of the most amazing, prolific, and happiest days in my life. You would never this know by the pictures though as I looked miserable or distant depending on the image. That hidden girl was crying. She wanted to wear a dress and she wanted to look even half as beautiful as the one she was marrying. Strange to think back now and think about the fact that Cindy had no interest in wearing a dress and heels and that’s all I wanted.
She was there when I thought having kids would make me a man. To be daddy, father, parent. To become half the man my father was. This surely had to stop that feeling deep within. My kids can never know what I’ve been through. Has every boy gone through this? Is this what the coming of age really is?
She was there in 2010. She sat quiet as I wanted to end this life. She watched as I trembled. As I tried. As I failed. I couldn’t believe after all those attempts that that I was still here… and so was she. It was her turn, her time. I needed to stop pretending that this was some split or disconnect and finally admit that she… was the real me. This brought me to many feelings of failure as I realized that 29 years of my life had been an act. I was playing a part to fit into the play of life.
It’s been almost 7 years since that day. 7 years I’ve lived on time I tried to give away. Depression, fear, angst all played a part in the reality that was him. Now…
She is there for every play her kids are in, she never misses a game or horse event, she never hides in the shadows. Social anxiety that goes down every week and the ability to press on when all seems like to much. She is there for her friends, family, and holiday. Every kiss, trip, hug, and drive has more meaning. All this has relevance now when before it felt fake and manufactured. We always fear tomorrow when it’s the same old thing and I enjoy the fact that I now embrace tomorrow. It has a meaning and purpose. She was there when he wasn’t.
She will not be silenced anymore.