I was made cry recently but a jarring realisation. I’ve become exactly what I never wanted to be: A woman ashamed of her past.
Another person who dislikes David Beattie.
One of the concerns that wrapped itself around my neck when I admitted I was transgender was the fear that my entire history would crumble apart. I wanted to love myself. I wanted to love all I’d done.
David Beattie was a force to be reckoned with. And I’m not so much talking about the more recent David Beattie. The one who lived in Dublin and was chased by demons and racked by a complete despair over all that he’d experienced. He was most definitely impressive, but I’m focusing on the fighter.
During my teenage years, I fought everything. Sadness was merely a part of my existence. Everyday I made choices that made me look and feel powerful. I had a relentless devotion to myself.
When I came to terms with the fact that I was trans, it took the wind out of my sails somewhat. I’d been fighting a fight for so long. A fight to be myself; breaking gender norms, identifying myself as someone with the right and the ability to be anything I wanted. Discovering I was a woman was almost anti-climatic.
I wondered would I look back someday and sigh? Would I feel pity for my past male self because of the constant battle his life was? At the time, I’d fooled myself into thinking I was strong enough to fight anything. But nobody’s strong enough to have their whole existence defined by a fight. We all need a break sometimes.
If I was going to become a woman. If things were that simple, what had I been putting all of my energy into thus far? I’m currently reading a book and I gasped when I read a certain passage. I reread it a number of times before finally highlighting it and transcribing it into my journal.
“She developed a lofty sense of injustice and the mulish, reckless streak that develops in Someone Small who has been bullied all their lives by Someone Big. She did exactly nothing to avoid quarrels and confrontations. In fact, it could be argued that she sought them out, perhaps even enjoyed them”.Roy, A. (1997). The God of Small Things. IndiaInk.
It was exactly the state of mind I lived in during my youth.
But now I can’t think of him. That tall, too thin, fashionably trying-his-best, ambiguously hair coloured boy with tension in his shoulders and fire behind his eyes. I can’t think of him without wincing. All that pain and adrenaline that he got from just trying his best. It’s torture to remember.
I can’t forgive him. Can’t forgive him for being so different to me. I can’t forgive him for not realising I existed sooner. For pretending everything was okay when it just…wasn’t.
I can’t forgive him for being in so much denial about his own pain that he kept Laylah buried.
And now he’s dead. I didn’t think he was, but he is. I crept up behind him and hit him in the back of the head, hard. No. I didn’t. It was slower than that. I slowly strangled the life out of him. Took all the happiness and strength from him. Turned all his achievements into trauma. Which I had to do to bring Laylah into the world. She couldn’t go on like he did. Because as much as I admire him, he was terrifying. I needed to be softer than that. And I am.
But now, it’s hard to connect with him. I can’t love him anymore. I think I hate him. How I wish I didn’t
It’s absolutely overwhelming to admit that you’re transgender. In a certain sense, you’re admitting that your first years didn’t exist. You’re letting everyone in on the pain, on the crisis you experienced for a lifetime.
I made no sense when I was growing up. Made no sense to anyone, least of all myself. I floated, a slender ghost trying to grasp at anything that would bring me joy. Anything that would make me feel real. Anything that would make me want to live.
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