I bared my soul a little last night. It’s one of the hardest things for me to do, to let someone in. It’s a side effect of being an introvert. Couple that with the fact that I’ve kept me a secret all my life – for years even from myself! – and you’ll understand that I’ve become adept at building walls. While there are those who have succeeded in scaling those walls, at least partially, I’ve hesitated with giving them free reign.
There are those few friends with whom I feel free and safe to let them see me for who I am. I’m not talking only about being a transgender woman, but of being free from the labels inherent in gender and sexuality, of being true to my most honest essence of my soul. Were you to ask me if I believed in soulmates, I would give you an unequivocal yes, with one caveat; that true soulmates are not necessarily romantic in nature. My best friend is, I believe, the truest soulmate I could ever ask for.
So imagine that I’m out in drab mode, out with a woman with whom I may have feelings for, and with whom exists a glimmer of possibility of something existing – not that I believe it likely. It’s only an post work drink with another coworker. We had gone on one date the previous month, though circumstances made it almost impossible for a repeat. I had told her then, under the influence of several beers, that I should have been a woman.
Last night I summoned my courage, took out my phone, and showed her this picture. Her face betrayed a brief look of shock of amazement, saying that I was actually pretty. We talked a little about gender and sexuality, but there was no hint of rejection, only acceptance of who I am.
Now, I have no real hope that I’ll ever find romance in my life, even with her. I’m too open and upfront with my being transgender for romance to be a real possibility. For all the brouhaha over acceptance, it’s just that, brouhaha. It’s fine in theory, but in reality something someone else will have to practice, at least in my experience.
But I’ve let someone else into my confidence. I have a lifetime’s worth of experiences yet to be shared, but this, my most private secret, is out. I will not hesitate to share this side of me if there’s a chance of something more, for I will not go for a relationship founded on secrecy and deceit. I have before, always to my detriment.
What it will cost me, I know, is the same price I have paid time and again, a chance to find someone with whom to make my life. I may be giving up forever a chance to realize my most deepest desire, that of a wife, a home, and a family to call my own. It breaks my heart a little more whenever I think about it.
It pains me, you must understand, that being Stefani brings me little joy. It’s a burden that I’m learning to make peace with, but not a gift I can treasure. The ironic truth is that to find peace and happiness, I have to give up the illusion that Stefani doesn’t exist. I am Stefani. To deny her is to deny myself, and to deny myself is to live a lie. The truth, in all its agony and glory, is magnitudes more desirable than to live behind half-truths and complete lies.
But I will admit this, being Stefani does make me happy in one way. I do love the feeling of feeling pretty. I just wish I would have been born true to myself, aligned in mind, body, and soul, instead of being born into a prison of lies from which I have no true escape.