A Year In…

It’s now been going on a year since I transitioned socially, and has been just over a year since I finally came out to the final (and arguably most important) people in my life.

As it seems to happen with me, December tends to be a month filled with reflection. I take time throughout the month to think about where I was last year, and where my journey has brought me in the previous 365 days.

This year is no exception, although this year might make all previous years in my existence look trivial. I have come so far in the last 12 months. From new best friends, to physical changes, to the absolute and powerful shift in my mental health, I truly have come into myself.

“Of course you have, look at what you chose to do!” I had someone say to me a week or two ago. I think that’s a fairly common misconception in my world: people still tend to think that I chose to transition. That I woke up one day and decided to be a boy, and followed that path because I wanted to be different. What I don’t think people realize is that the only thing I chose to do was give myself the chance to live. I chose the option that saw me live past the age of 28. I didn’t do it for any sort of glory, or “to be different.” I did it because it was that or I died. It truly is as simple as that.

As depressing as my last statement may seem, I don’t want this to be a negative post. Quite the contrary, I want to celebrate. I want to celebrate my successes, and evaluate my failures. I want to celebrate starting T, changing my name legally, and navigating second puberty as gracefully as I could have hoped. I want to celebrate that I have made it through the first year without many instances of opposition. I want to celebrate that in spite of the overwhelming odds against me, I made it through.

It is a wonderful feeling, to look at 2018 with nothing but optimism. For the first time, I am not overwhelmingly terrified of what the next year will entail for me. Instead, I am thrilled because I am living Lucas, every single day.

This will likely be the last post here this year, so for that reason I am passing along my well wishes now. I hope that everyone reading this has a wonderful holiday season and end to 2017. May 2018 bring each of you happiness, tranquility, and success.

Until next time.

Let Me Tell You a Story…

My uncle and godfather almost always starts one of his famous anecdotes with “Let me tell you a story…” It has, over my lifetime, become a bit of an inside joke within my family. Any time someone wants to reminisce about something, we all start it with that phrase while looking at my uncle with a smile. When I thought about how to start this, I couldn’t think of any other way; without further ado, then: Let me tell you a story…

My first memory of the knowledge that something was off about me was when I was three, maybe four years old. I was in the bathroom, and decided that I wasn’t supposed to sit on the toilet- I was supposed to stand. Being a toddler, I wasn’t able to stand straddling the toilet, so I perched myself on the toilet seat and tried that. I think, at some point after many messes were made, that my process was found out by my mother and she reminded me that as a girl I was supposed to sit to pee and not to stand. “You’re not supposed to stand,” I imagine she would have said, “you’re a girl. Girls sit.”

The dysphoria that I felt at three years old only grew as I got older, but I never once considered that I might be transgender. At that point in my life, it wasn’t even an option. Throughout elementary school and into middle school, I presented as a straight tomboyish female: I “liked” boys; I played softball; baggy sweatshirts and basketball shorts were staples in my wardrobe. As I got into high school after having moved from the deep south to New England, I started to be more open about my sexuality, though I never actually “came out” until after I had graduated.

Coming out as a lesbian was the first big step I took into the LGBT world. I thought that this was the logical step, as I had never felt comfortable dating the guys at my high school. For a while after I came out, I felt better. I found a girlfriend. I explored my sexuality for the first time ever. As time progressed, however, that novelty wore off. I started to hate myself again. I got insecure about my body and pulled away. My first real relationship ended, and I withdrew into myself.

Eventually, I got over the breakup and over the last couple of years have been exploring myself internally. I thought for a while that it was just depression. I started looking into that- doing research, asking questions, talking to people. Last year around this time, I watched a documentary on television about being gender fluid. As I was watching, there was a transgender male giving an interview. The more he spoke, the more I found myself saying, “hey, that’s me too!” That interview changed everything. My research moved away from mental illnesses and towards the possibility that I might in fact be transgender.

Roughly five months ago, I took the leap and started speaking to a local therapist who specializes in gender identity. Around the same time, I came out to my closest friends, who have all been nothing but loving and supportive, and have done everything they can to be sure that I know they stand behind me no matter what. The next step that I took was to tell my employer. I had a hunch that they would be on board and I was not disappointed; if I’m going to go through something like this, they are quite possibly the best possible place to work while I do it.

The final hurdle was my immediate family. I thought about it for days, weeks even, and stressed myself out to the point of making myself sick until I figured out that it would be best to tell them in person. I figured out a plan to take a few days off of work (remember what I said about a supportive workplace? They were instrumental in allowing me to get down to where my parents reside). The conversation went much better than I expected, and ended on a note that my parents and brother all love me no matter what. They have struggled since then, and since they all live so far away I sometimes wonder if they will just continue to ignore it until it truly becomes more “real” to them and I get further into my transition. I know that they are having a hard time, and that’s okay. It’s perfectly normal and I am willing to help them with whatever I can to make this a little bit easier.

I am now living full time as Lucas, with the exception of legally. After I start HRT, that will be my next step. I am equally excited and overwhelmed at these steps, and I am cautiously optimistic about how these changes will affect me. I have been incredibly lucky with the support I’ve received thus far, but I won’t lie to you and say that I am not worried about when my luck will run out. For now, though, I will enjoy the supportive bubble I have found myself living in.

Until Next Time.

-Luc