Hating a Ghost

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.


If you find yourself affected by this piece of writing, please click here for help and support.


Getting Back on My Feet

Cynicism and Familial Relations.

These days I often find myself picturing the kind of aunt I’ll be. It will always be Winter. I’ll arrive and remove my hat and scarf to reveal a full head of blonde curls. Slipping out of my heavy coat to show off a colourful wrap dress. Kissing my brother in-law on the cheek, accepting a glass of red. The smell of Chanel No. 5 following me in a cloud. Pulling presents out of my handbag for my two nieces.

After dinner, I’ll go to the guest room and emerge in a long silk night dress and robe. My lipstick will be gone, but I’ll still smell of perfume. Soft, floral, gentle. I’ll sit with a niece on either side of me, all of us under an endless cotton blanket. I’ll sing to them and read them stories. I’ll convince their mother to let them stay up late in a way that only I can.

I’ll tell them about all the trouble I got into when I was younger. I’ll put on a movie that will captivate them. One they’ll associate with me for the rest of their lives. As I spend quality time with them, I’ll try to remain chipper. I’ll wipe my tears before they drip onto their golden hair. The need to use the bathroom will be gone. My wine glass will refill itself, or perhaps it will be topped up by their father. I’ll never get up from between them. I’ll never want to.

Finally, it will be time for the children to go to bed. Their mother will clear her throat. Their father will clap his hands together. It’s time girls. They’ll look up me at me from under their spiky fringes, with wide eyes and slight frowns. I’ll nod at them, giving them permissions to leave me in the nest I created.

The girls will follow their father to their room. They’ll brush their teeth side by side under his loving gaze. My sister will sit beside my legs on the couch. She’ll sweep her hair behind one ear and subtly enquire about my love life. I’ll look down at my long hands, clutching one another. That ship has sailed. I’m eighty years old, but I’m thirty. I’m holding my old bones together under smooth skin. Perhaps I’ll tell her I’m still trying to get over the last man. The one who made me smile by merely giving me a knowing look. The one who my family loved. The one who I pushed away because I didn’t deserve him or he didn’t deserve me.

My older, sister, who is so much younger than me, helps me from the couch. She squeezes my hands. We walk side by side down the hall. As my sister puts her arm around my husband’s back. I go to the children’s single beds, side by side. Angelic faces looking up at me. I lean in and kiss them gently on their foreheads.

I’ll see them tomorrow. A line that I say every time I tuck them in. If you wake me up before twelve, you’re dead. I’ll expect you at my door with a strong cup of coffee by nine. They’ll giggle, as they always do. They don’t notice tears dripping onto cotton sheets. Water in their laps.

Back to the sitting room. Good night sister. The bottle of wine placed on a coffee table beside me. Brother-in-law puts a hand on my shoulder. He pretends to understand me. Pretends it’s normal that I carry an aura of sadness into his house every visit. Pretends he doesn’t open the window the minute I leave. Trying to let my loneliness escape. His girls are too young for that sort of thing. Daddy will always mind them. They won’t end up broken, like their aunt. Of course all these thoughts are private.

His wife doesn’t let him have an opinion on his tall, blonde sister-in-law. She’s protective of me. Simultaneously my older and younger sister, Stroking my head from up above, standing as tall as my knees. Hugging my legs, afraid I’ll turn to sand, like I’ve always seemed to want to do. The only time she’ll see me will be on the beach, grains filtering between her fingers.

Perhaps he’s noticed the glances I give him. My eyes dropping whenever he meets them. Perhaps he saw me crying into my mother’s lap at their wedding. He wonders whether I’m attracted to him. He knows he’s handsome. Perhaps he pictures my lips, slightly apart while he’s on top of his wife. The curve of my back. That tight shiny dress I wore last Christmas. The looks the female relations exchanged behind my back. Placing their hands on their husband’s shoulders too often. They’ve always thought me capable of something like that.

I’m left alone, on the couch. The sitting room is now the size of a football field. One more glass of wine, but I don’t feel sleepy. I pad across the wooden floor and out the double doors. Across the decking and through the little gate. It was Winter when I arrived, but now the air is hot. I’m on the beach looking out at the sea. Of course there’s a full moon. Its incredibly bright.

The tide hasn’t come in for once. I stare across the water and think of my beautiful nieces and the burden they already carry. the burden of a little girl, to grow up the minute they’re born while remaining as innocent as possible.

I’ll think of the man who broke my heart. I imagine him here. Would I be in bed, instead of on this beach, weeping? Would I be giggling beneath the sheets? Would we gossip about my sister? She really lucked out. Gorgeous house, husband and kids. I won’t be able to resist. She must have a magic pussy. He rolls his eyes, shakes his head. Oh Laylah.

I think about my brother-in-law. How he’d also like me to have a man. Four adults instead of three. Someone to drink beer with. Someone to joke with. Beattie sisters eh? I am pretty. I look womanly. Surely I could find someone to marry. Someone who’s not ashamed. Someone who doesn’t care what people say. She’d be easier to have over if she was married.

I picture myself walking into the sea. Becoming water. My sister’s shock. She seemed fine. It’s been years since she did anything like that. She wasn’t strong enough to be surrounded by air. The water was always too appealing. I stand up and the sand falls away. Sand that doesn’t stick. I’m a child. A little sister. A daughter. A long, willowy figure still holding teenage anguish in my shoulders. I’m old. I’m a lover. I’m an aunt. My hands are wrinkled and slender. I’m the last member of my family alive. I was the first to die.


If you find yourself affected by this piece of writing, please click here for help and support.


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Discussing Anxiety with Isabelle Evans.

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It’s been two years since I published the booklet version of my podcast Tangerine Dreams. To celebrate, I’ll be sharing the transcription of each interview over the coming weeks. You can see all the posts here.

I’m sure that everyone knows someone who suffers from anxiety. It’s not a new condition by any means. It’s defined as a type of fear that’s usually associated with the thought of a threat or something being wrong, but it can also arise from something that is happening right now. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting forty million adults aged 18 or older. These conditions are highly treatable yet only one third of those suffering will actually receive the correct treatment.

Continue reading “Discussing Anxiety with Isabelle Evans.”

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Discussing Blogging With Ciara O’Doherty.

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It’s been two years since I published the booklet version of my podcast Tangerine Dreams. To celebrate, I’ll be sharing the transcription of each interview over the coming weeks. You can see all the posts here.

I have been a fan of Ciara O’Doherty for a long time now. As an impressionable, bored teen in the country I had a major interest in the world of bloggers. I would spend hours reading their posts, keeping up to date with their social media and watching their videos. Like most of my phases, it eventually passed. But one blogger in particular always kept my interest. I first met Ciara at an event and I was so delighted to finally encounter a genuine inspiration of mine. Launching this series, it seemed only natural that I would speak to Ciara being one of my inspirations for my work and my outlook. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous interviewing someone who I admire so much but she was so lovely and relaxing. One evening, at the end of our separate busy days, we organised to meet up in the city for a glass of Prosecco and a chat.

Continue reading “Discussing Blogging With Ciara O’Doherty.”

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This is Where I Am

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Stay Wild; Notes From a Self-Aware Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the unseen chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in July 2017.

I’m sitting in the kitchen of my apartment, beside a half packed suitcase that’s about to travel (with myself) to my Mam’s house in Wexford for the next few weeks. I can’t really believe that I’m typing that sentence, but this is my current reality.

My younger self would not be impressed that I’m about to (temporarily) give up my glamorous life in Dublin but such is life. My younger self wouldn’t have been able to predict any of what I’ve been through in the past couple of weeks either.

God has it really only been a couple of weeks? I’m so exhausted. I’ve changed my mind and gone through so many different headspaces in those weeks that it feels as though it’s been forever. But here I sit, hopefully nearing the end of this trepidation that’s been a part of my existence for six months, ready to take my life back. Continue reading “This is Where I Am”

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It’s Fun to Be a Fetish

Now that I’ve made my ebook “Stay Wild; Notes From a Self-Aware Teen” free to the public (you can download the full thing here), I’ve decided to publish the chapters here on my website. Below is a chapter from this book which was published in July 2017.

Let’s talk about a very charming young man that I encountered on the internet recently. Think you know where this is going? I doubt it.

What I’m about to describe is an experience that I think is unique to trans women. Not sexual harassment, unfortunately a lot of people experience that, but a specific form of sexual harassment that’s a result of the trans fetish. It’s hard to explain without an example, but lucky for me, I have many examples to draw from.

Continue reading “It’s Fun to Be a Fetish”

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Having a Body Image Disorder in a World Obsessed with Bodies

I’ve had extreme issues around body image for as long as I can remember. I hated the way I looked growing up and I tried to use a lot of different methods to make myself look different. Some of these were simple things like adopting a good skincare routine from a young age to develop smooth “feminine” skin. Others were more harmful, like starving myself to look smaller and more fragile.

Having an unhealthy obsession with controlling the way I looked got me a lot of approval. My peers in school would often makes comments about how much I looked like a girl. The girls would inform me that I had a high fashion figure being so stick thin. The fact that I was living as a male never came into it. I enjoyed that.  Continue reading “Having a Body Image Disorder in a World Obsessed with Bodies”

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My First Day in the Hospital

I awake early and look over my bags. I packed last night, but I have no idea whether I’ve even brought the right stuff. I’ve never stayed in a hospital before. I’ve never known anyone who was in a psych ward. Sitting on my bed, I have a few silent tears. My room is a complete mess. It hasn’t been cleaned in weeks. There are takeaway cartons and dirty dishes lying around it. I’ve barely been able to get out of bed the last few days.

My Dad is on his way and I resist the urge to get back into bed, pull the duvet over my head and sob. I agonised over what to wear. I thought it was best to dress in jeans, a long top and a cardigan. The most casual outfit I own. I didn’t want to dress up and look like I wasn’t sick enough. I laugh at this thought now,  but I really had no idea what to expect. Continue reading “My First Day in the Hospital”

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How it Feels to be Twenty.

I suppose I was quite nervous about turning twenty. I thought it was the age where you declare yourself an adult. The age where everyone expects you to stand on your own two feet. Although I don’t know why that would make me nervous because I’ve pretty much been standing on my own two feet for a long time now.

I was surprised to discover that this wasn’t true. People still view you as being quite young when you’re twenty. I remember during one appointment with a doctor, I expressed frustration with some of my friends in regards to my illness. But she told me that I can’t expect too much from twenty year olds. Continue reading “How it Feels to be Twenty.”

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Forgiving the People Who Let Me Down When I Was in the Hospital

There are so many people who let me down when I was in the hospital. More than I ever could have imagined there’d be. Being honest, I’m quite bitter about it. But I need to let go of that bitterness.

One thing I never wanted to be was bitter. I’ve always believed that bitterness halts you. It keeps you in a moment that’s already passed. And it’s an understatement to say that I feel ready to move on from my time in the hospital. It seems to be all I’ve focused on for the past few months. One of the ways I can move on is by forgiving each of you.

Continue reading “Forgiving the People Who Let Me Down When I Was in the Hospital”

I Was Sexualised Before I Hit Puberty

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