Poet Lex Beatty shares about his life over the last year. This might be the most profoundly raw piece you will ever read regarding a man’s personal feelings about the journey to himself and his correct gender.
I’m not ashamed or embarrassed about who, or what, I am.
Sometimes I experience the insecurity and shame that has accompanied me through my life, but less and less these days. The truth is, I fought like hell to own my body, my spirit and my mind – and I’m proud of myself.
You might know what it’s like, to wake up and stumble into the bathroom and look in the mirror at a face, a body, you can’t make peace with. The disgust is palpable, it’s a ball of oil in the pit of your stomach. It’s dark and thick and inconsolable.
It can’t be cut out but knowing that doesn’t stop you from trying. You try and reach through your skin to scratch an itch so deep inside, some nagging, tickling sense that won’t be soothed. It begins small. Well, you begin small. You’re a little body looking around the world and trying to make sense of the other bodies around you and suddenly you have the horrific realization that something, everything, is wrong.
It’s not the same as being betrayed. Trust heals. This is your biology. Your flesh and bone. This is the thing that is fundamentally responsible for your being alive and that is the thing that is broken. It is you. You are broken. You are a lie. You are the sickness, the pain, the sadness, the inconsolable darkness. You are everything that is wrong. This is the lie that threatens to become true in your mind.
It’s not a romantic story of survival and overcoming. It’s the raw truth. It’s ugly and painful and usually tragic. If you’re lucky, you grow up. You find people like you. You find people who like you. You fall in love. You accept the pain you’ve been chosen to carry and day by day the echo of that horrific sadness seems to fade. And one day, you’re just a little bit less sad than the day before.
I don’t know what it is that the human spirit is made of, but it is fortified in pain. The thing about pain is that it grows other parts of you. You compensate through compassion, empathy, humor, and insight.
I am who I am because of my pain, not in spite of it.
Sometimes, even now, I feel sad. All these years later, so much further down the road to freedom, I find myself overwhelmed by the sadness that I’ll never be a father, I’ll never hold a child that is of my own blood and bone and then I wonder if I’d even want to. What if they were like me? Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the visceral pain of knowing I’ll never make love the way I want to. The physical intimacy that you sacrifice in compartmentalizing your body for survival. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve made the right choice. Was it worth it? Do I like who I am now? Will my loved ones ever really see me as I see myself? Can they? Do I really need them to?
In the middle of the night these are the fears that accompany me. They never fade. They never leave. But they bother me less and less.
I’ve been told I’m brave. I’m courageous. I’m strong. The truth is that I’m none of those things, at least not on purpose. Those are an after thought. An echo of the journey. Most of it is pain, sadness, loss, grief, anger, resentment, and fear.
The difference is, I survived.
I’m working on thriving. I don’t make apologies for my faith, my convictions, my opinions, my perspectives, my pain or my journey. Everyday, I thank God for my pain — and my Peace.
The insights I’ve gained through this journey are more than I can articulate but the greatest lesson I’ve learned is how integral the suffering was to my journey. It sounds counter-intuitive but the pain was my greatest teacher.
In a culture that is pain adverse, I wonder how we’ll adapt to the growing demands of a global citizenship. Empathy, Compassion, Love, Service, and Humility are fortified in the crucible of pain. It is our teacher, as much as Joy.
Freedom is the consequence of Authenticity.
This is what trans bodies can teach us, the unbreakable quality of the human spirit in pursuit of authentic vitality.
Maybe the greatest gift is that I know just how far I’m willing to go to live Free.