Another year is down. I typically don’t subscribe to the linear timeline or the various anniversaries established within it. Celebrating my birthday was always something I did with great reluctance and only if approached by others to do so. Otherwise, my birthday didn’t exist. It isn’t that I care about my age or time that has passed. I just didn’t want to celebrate the error of my birth as a biologically male child. Celebrating that anniversary was never something I wanted to do. I was a somber child; you wouldn’t know it because I hid behind jokes or I was just silent and kept to myself. I felt that if I couldn’t distract them with laughter they may look too closely, they may see something wrong with me. I felt wrong, broken. I couldn’t define it, couldn’t express it. I grew into a mostly silent adult, rarely going out of my way to meet people or engage. If they somehow guessed about me, or just rejected me out of hand, it was better to just be hidden. I avoided photos of myself. I look through photos of my life and with exception of a very early age; I can count the number of photos of my mask on one hand. I never ever contemplated a “selfie”, it would just never happen. In the last couple of years, when I am able to be me, I take the occasional selfie and even look myself in the mirror without disgust. So things are improving slowly but surely.
As with most transgender, I go through periods of time where I am depressed and experience an increase in my dysphoria. I also feel like I am stuck and not moving forward. In those moments, I want to just stop, go back to pretending to be my mask, grow the stupid hair on my face and be miserable. These feelings happen and I get through them, I rarely mention them because I don’t want these momentary issues to define me, they are not my story. I’m human, so I am far from perfection; I experience doubt and loneliness, fear and jealousy. I live with mostly women, my wife and my daughter;they are both beautiful in their own ways. I have female friends who are beautiful and wonderful. I experience jealousy that they are able to concentrate on being treated equally, to be taken seriously as people. When I come out fully, I will have to contend with not only equality and being taken seriously, but I will have to fight to just be treated as a woman. I won’t ever be able to wake up in the morning and be pretty and with false modesty exclaim how I look terrible. I will forever be fighting this body because I lacked bravery/information at a young age. Testosterone has done so much damage, hardened my mask into the very likeness of a prison. So, yeah, not all roses here, I have the issues. Not as bad as some, bad enough to be scarred by it. There is nothing to be done but continue the fight, to try to make my life as good as I can.
Since I have come out to the majority of the people in my life, I find that the anniversaries mean more, that many things mean more to me. My birthday, while it is still a contentious subject, I find that I can enjoy it for others. I celebrated this year as me, as Beth. That makes this a pretty good birthday.