This week I had a wonderful conversation with a lovely lady, about being transgender and why we feel the need to express ourselves as the gender opposite of our body or what we have been assigned at birth. I used to struggle with this question of why is it so important for me to express myself as a woman.
Three years ago I first came out and I let the jeannie, or better Liv, out of the bottle. That was only the start of a new chapter, or maybe book, in my life, and I still had to learn about myself. I used to have deep downs and high highs. After dressing up or going out en femme I would always feel lifted for days, but mostly after a couple of days I would slide into a place of stress and discomfort. Focusing only at the next time I would go out, and struggling each day awaiting that next moment.
I have always kept Liv and my male life very separate. Only when I had time to go out as Liv, I would truly listen to my feelings and show my emotions. So in a way I have been living two lives for the last 3 years.
During my coming out, I was not sure about myself and kept focusing on the why. Why was this happening to me? Why was this urge to express myself as woman so strong? Why did it feel so good to wear dresses, and makeup? It is just fabrics and some color on my face. Why did I go to such great length, while it didn’t make my life easier? I got stuck in trying to rationally figure things out, while those feelings are not rational. Understanding the why felt important, as I felt I had to explain people. But in reality I was in a process of accepting myself. I have to tell you I don’t hate my male body, but I feel alive and true when I can express myself as Liv. This inner conflict of not being able to find a rational explanation caused stress and didn’t help me feel good about the situation I found myself in.
Although my wife struggles with me being transgender, she has helped me a lot by telling me it is not important to dwell on the why. In a way she told me to accept that this is part of me, and while she is struggling with it, it doesn’t help to try and explain it rationally. I feel feminine, and I feel happy and true when I can express myself as a woman, beyond what I can rationally comprehend. Accepting this is who I am, has helped me feel at peace with myself.
There is amazing sketch from Mark Gungor, “A Tale of Two Brains” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XjUFYxSxDk), that I found funny and recognizable. To me it makes sense that as a transgender woman, my brain might not be male and compartimentalised. So going into a rational route certainly wouldn’t help me figure out why I feel like this. I guess what I am trying to say, is that it helped me to listen more to my feelings, instead of my trying to explain it with my mind.
Moving beyond focusing on why, helped me to reduce the need I used to have to explain myself to others. I used to feel I had to give others the explanation on my why. A wonderful moment was when I came out to my manager. After listening, accepting me and offering me support, he made one of the most significant remarks. He felt that in my coming out, I almost said sorry for who I am, as if I owed him an explanation of who I am. He told me never to feel I have to excuse myself for who I am to anyone. He said with a smile, he had never said sorry to me for being a male. That made profound impact on me, and it made a lot of sense. This is me and I never should feel I owe anyone an explanation on why I am transgender and love to express myself as a woman.
It is not an easy life as transgender, but I feel fortunate that I can live it. That I get to see the world from different perspectives. I feel proud about who I am, and slowly I am showing more and more of myself independent of what I wear. I am Liv, even though I express as male most of the time.
To those who are struggling, listen to your feelings, accept who you are, and try to not get stuck into figuring out the why. Connect with people who are going thru or have gone through similar journeys. You are worth it, and you don’t have to explain.