Aug 4, 2009

Giving thanks

One of the hardest things in transitioning in middle age is the direction we have to take. We set our goals to right ourselves, our bodies, our minds and our souls so that we can live in peace. A lot of us live with the idea of going stealth so we can just blend into society and not have to deal with the discrimination that the word usually seems to toss our way, lets face it being trans isn't easy.

A few weeks ago America's top model ISIS was on Larry King live to discuss transgender issues and made a statement that made me really think. She exclaimed that she didn't consider herself trans any longer but she was simply a woman. I guess that's the ultimate goal, feeling so natural and corrected that we can just be. God knows that's all I've ever wanted is to have enough peace to just be.

The bigger picture made it appear as though she was distancing herself from trans people altogether and for some that can be a bit of a sore spot. You see, when I got my wake up call after hitting the wall I had an incredible amount of support from my friend Annah Moore.

Annah had already walked the path I am walking and when I asked her why she was so open about who she was and not stealth her answer made so much sense to me. The thing about Annah is that she is so pretty that she could easily go stealth but instead chose to be open about who she was. It intrigued me and I really wanted to know why and that was when I made a promise to her. I was told that all she wanted in return for being my support was for me to pay it forward and then my own dilemma started.

Paying it forward was something she felt should be done in helping those that suffer behind us and in doing so it means not being stealth and being proud of who we are. Let's face it we fight years of shame and guilt and then have to learn no to have those feelings about ourselves. There was never a bigger person disappointed in who someone was as I was in myself. So I looked at Annah and I looked behind me and realized that I needed to be as open as possible. Help when needed if even to help one person not suffer with this. Educate when asked questions so people get the right information and realize that we are just people who are overcoming our own struggles just like any other human being and so the decision to pay it forward VS being stealth hit me.

When I initially started to transition my intention was to go stealth and maybe even move somewhere where no one knew my history. Give up my job, give up my old friends so that I could simply be myself without fear of being ostracized and hurt by the people I loved and cared about. When it came down to it, I realized that I appreciate every person who touched my life over the years so much that I simply couldn't walk away.

When I started transition I couldn't even utter the word transsexual let alone admit that I was one. Heck I not only hid it well, not one of my friends for the last 40 years had even figured it out. To put myself out there meant overriding some of my worst possible fears and being open and honest about not only whom I was, but most of all being proud to be me.

When I joined facebook I never in my wildest imagination thought that I would connect with so many of my old friends, but one by one they have slowly come out of the wood work. From my younger years growing up in Lawrence to the people that I hung around with as a teenager, the people I went to high school with to the people I've worked with. They all started coming out of the woodwork.

Some found me and some I struggled with the fear of outing myself and hoping for at the very least a decent reaction. Every one of those people touched my life and made me who I am today in some sense. If it wasn't for the friendship and love of every individual person that crossed my path, I not only wouldn't be who I am today, I wouldn't be alive today. Every one of those people helped make a tough life bearable in some small way. Simply put they made a difference in me.

If you're reading this because you were sent the link, then this was written for you to simply say thank you. Thank you for accepting me for who I was then and who I am now. If it weren't for every one of your moments with me I would have never been able to be me. I would have never been able to appreciate a life that viewed by many should have been a gift. For me it was a hell.

I admit, I've been luckier than most who have transitioned, I've lost not one person that I'm aware of. I guess that speaks volumes for not only the choices I've made in people, but the fact that every one of those people are quality people, people whom you are lucky to have in your life. People who simply care about their friends and the people around them.

I have a lot of fond memories of those people and I am thankful every day of my life for each one of them …

Thanks all ..



Samantha said...

Great post Karyn, and thank you!

I'm somewhat odd, I agree with both Annah and to some degree Isis. Annah because yes, if I can touch anothre with light, healing and love, than that's what I'm going to do. Isis, because for everyone, Transition ends one day or you've missed the mark. I too kept all my old friends and family. I've even made so many new friends that I have a full plate so to speak. Some of my new friends know, some don't know about my past. Not because I'm hiding, but because there's no real point to bringing it up.

When the opportunity presents itself to help guide someone to a better understanding of our unique struggles, I do so with passion, honesty, and authenticity. However, my past does not make me any less a woman than any others I know. "Trans" is a modifier that talks of moving from one state, or place to another. Eventually the move is complete. I did not undertake this journey to womanhood to "fall short" in some way, even if only in someone elses view of 'verse and be forced to accept a consolation prize of "Transwoman."

To embrace it as an identity would in effect be saying, yeah, you're right, I'm not a "Real woman" the way so mnay narrow minds tend to view folks with our history. So I walk the line, striking a balance between who I was, and who I am. Something each of us must do in our life regardless of where we are in our journey.

Keep up the great work Karyn! You are a beautiful woman.

mayzy said...

karyn, I oughta be saying THANK YOU! You and Cyn have caused me to open my eyes to soo many things, good and bad, in people/society these days. I live my life in a 'bubble' some say, being clueless to some of the hostile attitudes taken on my society. I am sooo glad I had the pleasure of meeting you, and becoming a fond friend. You are a beautiful woman for who you are...and that, dear Karyn, is why you have remained friends with sooo many people from your past!