This weekend was Pride.
The riots that became a movement, the shattered closets and broken down walls that became the beautiful monuments. To me Pride was and has always been about acceptance. A moment, a day, a weekend, a month. Maybe even a life.
Embracing this crazy idea that WE ALL DESERVE LOVE.
As I said to the CEO of my company; I am a child of a Jewish immigrant family, I am a member of the LGBTQ community; and I’m proud of both of those. And the thing is, neither was a choice. I was born into a family that fled the pogroms. And like it or not, I was born with a truth that I didn’t fit into the social norms that said I should be or love a certain way.
As a Jew I was raised to know what that meant; to be proud of my heritage and what MY people fought and died for. To never be ashamed of that.
I won’t get into the racial stereotypes and racism I grew up around other than to say a school and church system that seemed to forget the greatest commandment made by of all people, a Jew. But I digress…
I was however raised to believe two other things that were followed by a litany of rules and regulations designed to oppress the women and the lesser than, the different or the otherwise unconventional. I was taught that anything other than a man loving a woman was a terrible abomination fitting of death and hell. Yet oddly it was never about a woman loving the man come to think of it. I guess the woman was supposed to do what she was told in whatever role the man decided.
Men were men only when they fit structures of physical strength and emotionless survival.
There were two people. Straight strong men and subservient women or the gays and other weirdos. You had the binary and everyone else.
And I knew as far back as I can recall which group I was in. Oh yes, I did everything I could to deny my truth. To deny what was the natural reflection of my heart. Yet through that battle and rejection I’ve only found a place where the monster has sat as comfortable and secure as they ever could. My heart had been a breeding ground for depression, suicide, rage, anger and self-hate. It nearly destroyed me and I could have lost my kids. It destroyed a marriage, friendships and too many moments to count. I survived through it by grace. And yes, often supported by those who claim the love of that old Jewish dude a few thousand years ago. I don’t hate authentic beliefs that lead you to love. If it wasn’t for a friends church I’d have successfully killed myself years ago. I will forever love them for saving my children’s parent.
So this all leads us to this:
I am trans
I’ve spent more than 30 years looking into a mirror and never seeing a reflection that felt right. It’s not that I thought I was ugly. But it was never the face I wanted to see. That is, until this.
My heart broke seeing a version of me that finally felt right. Seeing a genuine person looking back at me. A girl who finally saw themselves. No cover up up or filter, just the me I needed to see. I wanted to cry and grow my beard back. Much like Aslan shedding the scales from Eustace the pain was almost unbearable. But it hurt in a way that only beauty can. Like the sunset on the last day of the trip of a lifetime. It’s a beauty you that you feel pain because you fear you may never see it again.
The difference is this pain hurt because I was seeing it 30 years too late. I knew then that I had lost too many years to the lie that I had to fit the binary. And it hurt because I had to choose to let myself see it every day since. I had to accept I was shedding the dragon and each hair was a scale falling away. It burned but I had to let it so that I could finally be whole.
I had to become the me I was always meant to be. I had to let him die so that she could live. I had to save my life, even if it meant so much of me had to die.
But you see. I wasn’t alive. I was living a half life at best. Caught somewhere between hate and death.
I never felt at home in a male space. As my nephew said, “a womans heart”. I didn’t choose the roles I was forced to play. And this one wasn’t a choice either, but the thing is, I’m chosing to accept this one. I’m choosing to be the real me, and like it or not, this has already happened. I’m going to be the me I want, and the me I love.
And today I can promise you that although the monster is still talking, I know he’s lying. Because these are the words I’m hearing. The words I’m telling me.
I deserve to be me
I deserve to be happy
I deserve to love myself
I will be a better woman than I ever was a man. A better damn person
I am not made broken. But I am being made more whole every day
I am worthy to be loved right damn now and every day I have left
I will be the adult that I needed as a child
I am going to be a better parent now than I ever could have before
I WILL LOVE ME
And the monster will be silent.
So please friends and those who I don’t know, please understand this:
You and I are all worthy. Worthy today and everyday till the end of time.
We are all worthy of life and love.
So I’m going to love me and love others with that love I’ve been keeping away.
I love you.