Saturday, May 4, 2024

Living in Your Own Prison


Image from Engin Akyurt
on UnSplash

When someone says living a life as a transgender woman or trans man is a choice I get a huge chuckle. 

I wish the people who think my life was a choice, needed to live a small time in my shoes and  then they could truly decide my life was never a choice. I was living in my gender prison. In many ways, I could describe my confines to a bigger version of what was called my personal closet. Either way, I was stuck in a very dark and isolated space where I was all alone. Especially in the pre-internet days when I was living.

When the internet came along with social media, I was able to locate a few others who were cross dressers or transgender women , which made life a little easier in my prison. My biggest problem then became hiding my new on-line contacts from my wife who was more tech savvy than I was. Let's just say I needed to learn the hard way when my wife found a discussion I was having with a person in nearby Indiana and I had to become much too comfortable with.

Looking back, I could call the few, brief times when I tried to purge my feminine wardrobe and be a full time man as being out of my prison on parole. The problem was deep down I knew what I was doing was wrong and the pressure would build to build a new feminine wardrobe and try again in front of the mirror. I could almost predict when I would go back to my gender prison. 

Yet another casualty of me serving time in my closet was one I always mention, my mental health. Since it was already fragile and I was going to therapy for help, I didn't need any extra problems to push me closer to the edge.  I was becoming a hot mess as I took more and more chances when I left the house as my novice transgender self and explored the world. The problem became, I was feeling more and more natural when I escaped my prison. Even still, the process was not easy and involved too much scary trial experiences when I first went out. 

The entire process became all I thought about and when I was in my my male mode I caught myself thinking too much of the next time I was going to be able to experience life as a transgender woman. Plus, at the least I was busy studying the mannerisms of all the cis-women around me. I was locked in to one thing only and it was being a woman myself. It was a good thing I had my therapist to talk out my exploding feelings about my gender. 

I guess the only frustrating part of trying to explain to the outside world what it means to be transgender is there was no choice. If I would have continued in my self destructive male ways, I would have killed myself and become yet another statistic. Fortunately, destiny had other ideas for me when I escaped my gender prison and started to live an authentic life as a trans woman. Similar to so many others in the transgender community I was a survivor and thrived when I was free to do so. 

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