A year ago yesterday I woke up early to drive my mother and her friend to an opera three hours away, after having slept just a handful of hours because I’d been angsting about what bathroom I should use at the venue. A year ago yesterday I woke up and stared at the ceiling and said with all awareness and certainty, “There has to be another way.”
A year ago yesterday, after three years of seriously considering and in small ways attempting, I gave up on the idea of transition as a solution to my problems. Maybe I was just a woman after all. Just a woman, just a lesbian, just a messed-up, terrified human being with a horrifically distorted idea of herself and her place in society.
That was a terrible thing to face.
Yesterday afternoon, I sat under a tree on a very pleasant summer’s day with my laptop, typing out a self-esteem exercise: a letter of gratitude to myself. I had to, after all, thank myself for turning that ship around last year. I had to thank myself for having the courage to face all the terrible things I hated about myself and about society. I had to thank myself for having the curiosity and the patience to unravel it all and find beauty where there was no beauty and love and hope and vitality where once there had been nothing but fear and disgust.
But there are others that deserve my gratitude, too.
I have to thank redressalert, 23xx, hot-flanks and Maria Catt for their honesty and courage in sharing their stories. When I read their words, at last I saw other women like myself and knew I wasn’t alone in my struggles. My struggles were real, shared by others, and could be overcome. I will always be grateful for their compassion and continued efforts to reach out to those who are lost and confused and hurting. If any reader here happens to be a young person of female body who is having a hard time being female know there is a community that will welcome you and give whatever comfort we can. Please contact redressalert for information.
In that same vein, for anyone from the detransition/reconciliation community who is reading this, thank you for your sisterhood, your courage, your camaraderie, and your support.
The first words I searched after realizing transition wouldn’t work for me were “transgender critical”. That search lead me to Third Way Trans, and I am grateful for that compassionate, analytical perspective on the psychological aspects of the transgender experience. Nothing opened my mind more to the possibility of wrenches in my own psyche, and as I continue to dig them out I have nothing but admiration for those who make it their life’s work to do so.
Third Way Trans lead me to 4th Wave Now, and I remain grateful for the ever-vigilant defense of GNC children and my first introduction to radical feminist ideas about bodies and gender roles. The transition of children is such an enormous concern, and facing this issue head-on serves not only to possibly save these children hardships in their futures, but also informs the greater public about the more harmful and disturbing aspects of the transgender trend.
My gratitude extends to all the lesbian feminists and radical feminists on tumblr, who continue to engage in discourse and disseminate information every day, despite the constant threat of being branded a TERF and a bigot. I am grateful for the education they have provided me.
A shout-out of gratitude to PurpleSageFem, for writing about lesbian history and lesbian issues with such forthright authenticity and pride, and for being friendly as well.
I am most grateful, in fact, for the community of bloggers and commenters here on WordPress, those who have followed my blog since my first posts on 4th Wave Now and who have hung in there with me through my more personal trials. I’m grateful for every detransitioning or reconciling voice that has joined us in the past year to tell her story and add to the collective testimony. I am grateful we have a space we can make ourselves heard, at least by some.
I am grateful for the Wanted Project for recording the voices of women for women, to preserve, in a way, a space once held sacred and continue to assure others it is still out there, if only in our continued existence as ourselves.
Most of all, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to write and find out I am not alone.
My thanks to all of you.