My Nest Was Built With Little Bones, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

My Nest Was Built With Little Bones

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

My nest was built with little bones,

Shells, feathers, twigs, candy wrappers,

Shiny things, torn pages of catechisms, shabads,

And pornographic magazines,

It was made of moss and hair, abandoned ribbons,

Scraps of red bandannas, silken scarves,

Shopping lists, and spit.

 

 

For years I incubated beneath the hollow-boned lark,

Or was it a mockingbird?

My shell survived storms

And long stretches where only monsters,

Drunken owls, and sleepy seagulls smothered me

In the night.  I learned to hide myself—

A nest within a nest—an egg within an egg;

I lived tucking parts of me away

I never wanted.  Brooding memories

Filled the nest like bits of worms regurgitated,

And every now and again I caught a glimpse of a faraway blue sky.

 

 

When the egg hatched and the nest

Bloomed, I stared blindly into myself,

Wiggling stubs of wings I so wanted covered with feathers and flight.

Yet now, I live, I walk, a nest on legs, a human egg, a permanent fledgling—

Wings clipped, song raspy with rain and darkness,

And a road of eggshells spreading out before me wherever I go.

 










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Reflections on My First Official Mother’s Day, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Some Thoughts on My First Official Mother’s Day

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

yellow rose

 

 

Being assigned the wrong gender when I was born had three wonderful unforeseen consequences much later in life: my three sons.  No matter how unsettled I was inside I loved being a dad.  I sang Van Morrison songs to the kids when they were still in the womb.  When they were born I placed them on my chest and sang them to sleep as I rocked them in the rocking chair.  I prayed over them, blessed them, and wrote them songs.  I took them on wagon rides and to play grounds and parks.  When they were older I took them bug hunting, snake hunting, puppy hunting, and ice cream truck hunting.  I remember one day chasing an ice cream truck around the neighborhood after school until we were able to get close enough to run after it.  We went fishing.  I dragged them to used bookstores.  I taught them the love of nachos, Mr. Bean, and baseball.  When we went to Michigan I bought them enough candy to last them on a drive to Idaho.  I drew with them.  I drew for them.  I taught them guitar chords.  I bought them guitars, drums, mandolins, trombones, keyboards, amps, and drums.  Of course, these are things any mother could do.  That isn’t my point.  My point is I did those because I loved being a parent—a parent who thought they were a dad doing what they thought, at the time, were dad things.  As it turns out, I did all these things as a mother—they were both motherly and fatherly.

 

I longed (and still do long) to be pregnant and carry a child. I am well aware that will never happen.  I deeply wanted to breast feed a child.  I am well aware that will never happen either.  And while these are saddnesses I will carry always to one degree or another, I have accepted the facts.  On the eve of my Mother’s Day, I find myself feeling strange, and in sort of a limbo.  I did my usual texting to the kids today to remind them to get something for their mom—Mom Number One.  I told them not to get me anything.  Part of me wants them to always think and remember me as dad, and yet, speaking of facts, I am a mom—a mom who gave birth to herself while she was still parenting her own children.  Mother and matter are related in their Latin roots.  They mean source—the stuff of the world—the feminine force of things.  I have been, without knowing it, motherly giver and the source of origin for many things in the lives of my children.  Father, in Latin (Dutch, vader—now you know what the “Vader” means in Darth Vader.), means paternal and Supreme Being; I have not been a supreme being except for when they were infants and in my arms or in my care in the woods, or when they were young and I made up stories for them stories until they fell asleep.  I have been paternal to my children.  I have cared for them when they were sick.  I have laid down with them when they had nightmares.

 

Being motherly and fatherly makes me a genderqueer parent.  And as the physical symptoms/manifestations of being wrongly assigned male at birth are slowly kneaded and shaped into the female parts I have always wanted, the fatherly form will fade, yet the fatherly spirit will always remain.  And as the physical form of my real gender identity is fashioned, the motherly spirit will grow.  I am a two-spirit parent who has untied things that have always been, from the beginning of time, united.

 

On this Mother’s Day, I am grateful for my three children.  I am grateful for my own mother.  Many of my relatives believe she is turning over in her grave at her “Joey,” being a “Jennifer,” and these are difficult fears for me to shake.  I want to believe she would be happy and only care if I was happy.  She would be worried sick about my impending future—no doubt about that—she would be telling me of all the teaching jobs open in Michigan, but she would be happy I am happy.   I am also grateful to Mandy—the one who physically carried the kids and gave birth to them.  She has been, and is, a wonderful mom.  And on this, my first Mother’s Day, I am grateful for me and this wild, miraculous journey I am on.

 

So Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s Out there—no matter what gender you are or aren’t.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me.

 

 


 

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The Ever Unfolding Rose, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Ever Unfolding Rose

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

rose

 

 

I weep in gratitude as I write these words.  Many of you know the many challenges I am facing in my life right now all as a result of being transgender.   And yet, despite these, and the near-constant struggles with dysphoria, I look in the mirror and am amazed—not at the beauty or how “feminine” I look—but that I am who I want to be.  I am the person I was meant to be.

The soul looking out from my eyes is tender.  She is also ferociously strong.  As the years of living under the weight of an imposed masculinity, she rejoices in the freedom that is finally hers.

Today I see the wonder of who I am as a transgender woman.  Imagine carrying within you the seeds of an entirely new person and then sprouting with every step.  Imagine being a human, living egg, or a walking cocoon continuously unfurling and hatching as one moves through the world. Imagine being asleep all your life and then suddenly waking up to a reality that is both delicious and calming beyond compare.  Imagine having amnesia all your life and not remembering who you really are until, one day, the scales fall, the fog lifts, and you remember—you are an angel, you are majestic, holy, noble—you are yourself as your soul remembers you to be.

Today I embrace the native tradition of being two-spirit.  Today I embrace the wisdom thrumming through me and the insight and understanding I have of myself and of the world.

Yes, there are challenges.  Yes, I am often raw with tears, and the changes I am in the midst of often feel paralyzing, but I am me—a transgender woman.  And I loved.  I know that.  I know too, that I am love made manifest in a being emerging like a blossom in spring.  Whatever lies ahead will be met by a soul living in her deepest truth.  Whatever I have to face—I face it knowing I am myself.

I am myself in a way I have always wanted to be and could never dream possible.  I am myself with a life and identity of authenticity that is helping change the world for the better.  I am myself with an awareness of my spirit that is as profound as it is humbling.  I am the ever unfolding rose. I am transgender, and this being transgender is my greatest gift.

 

 

 

 



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Thank You, I Want You No More, by Jennifer Angelina

Trigger Warning:  This poem is about deep gender dysphoria.  It contains references to tucking, self abuse, self-mutilation, sexual abuse, rape, and gender reassignment surgery.   It is about my continued effort to sort things out, and to heal.

 

 

 

Thank You, I Want You No More

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

me

 

 

Even before the abuse started

I would push you in everyday as far as you could go

And pull the extra skin over you,

Making you disappear;

I would tuck you tightly between my thighs

And hold you there hoping to make it look

Like I had a vagina.

Of course, after they gave me pornography

(Trying to make me a man),

And the other abuses—the assaults, the molestations, the rapes,

I hated you even more.

I abused you and got myself into situations

Where others would abuse you too,

And when I grew pubic hair I would tuck you away

Even more—hoping to make you gone,

I fantasized of removing you myself with a knife.

Yes, years later I got married.  Yes, I sired three children,

Yes I learned, to the best of my ability,

To allow you to feel pleasure—but the line connecting you

With my heart and mind would always trigger

A leaving—a drifting upwards into the ceiling

Or else far back into time, or even deep into utter nothingness.

I know, I know, I hear people say to be grateful for what god gave me,

But I look at you like a deformity—something I was born with—

Like blindness or being unable to walk—something that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Maybe it is possible to give thanks

For one’s handicaps, but I have not yet evolved to that place.

No, I do not hate my sons, or men, or masculinity—

I simply want you gone.

And now, the little blue pills

Are causing you to retreat more and more,

And planning for your surgery is utmost in my mind.

I do not hate the idea of you–it’s just

You were never supposed to be there in the first place.

OK. Thank you.

There, I said it.

Thank you for siring my children, thank you for all the times

You let me pass urine, thank you for all you endured all these years,

And yes, thank you for letting them one day transform you

Into the parts I really want.  Thank you, I want you

No more.

 

 

 

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Gift of a Lifetime, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Gift of a Lifetime
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

me

 

 
When the gift of a lifetime
Fell into my lap, I opened my hands
To receive it, and the flowers I held
Dissolved into the darkening sky;
The little flock of birds I sheltered
Lifted into the April air and were gone,
And suddenly I sat–heart stung with revelation and rejoicing,
Living truth flowing through my blood–afraid;
And my shape began to change like winter
Into spring, and my eyes, shadowed and wide,
Looked back into my life and saw it all clear as day,
But could not see the road ahead;
And then, I rose, gift safely treasured away,
And my hands, empty, searching for light.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 





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Hopelessness Fogging, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Hopelessness Fogging
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 
Ravens gather in the spring oak,
Waiting, staring down;
Day after day they descend
Into the budding branches
Until their gathering becomes a flock
And their flock a swarm;
When they sense hopelessness
Fogging through my bones in my room,
As one they open the cloaks of their wings,
Drift to the ground,
And move—one bobbing, black, cawing sea
Marching towards my door.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 





Thank Goodness Eve, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Thank Goodness Eve
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 
Thank goodness Eve had the good sense
To follow her hunger—to touch sweetness
And bring it to her lips;
Thank goodness Eve understood perishing
In return for gaining wisdom
Was well worth the extinguishing;
Thank goodness Eve saw rules made by cowards
Were meant to be broken;
Thank goodness Eve was open minded enough
To talk with a serpent–to reason and to know
Desire is holy and so is nakedness;
Thank goodness Eve did not judge by appearances
And instead saw the light in the serpent’s eyes;
Thank goodness Eve knew partaking in and sharing bliss at the risk
Of losing it all was delicious and full of grace;
Thank goodness Eve walked out of that garden—
Left being controlled by fear
Behind her, and became one of us—
A sister, a daughter, a mother, a woman—
Thank goodness Eve took paradise back
By living deeply with the earth
And the moon, and community, and her own soul;
Thank goodness Eve understood—once–and for all—
That the knowledge of good and evil
Was different from the actions of good and evil–
That the ability to think for oneself
Did not imprison, did not condemn–
It liberated—liberated us to become the true goddesses
We were meant to be–
The kind that would gladly struggle
To bring heaven down and share it over the earth—
Without condition, without thought–
For all beings, for all time, for all dreams, for all passions–
To rejoice and be fulfilled—Thank goodness Eve
Allowed divine indulgences to bloom from between her legs–
Thank goodness we all stream from one undismayed woman
Whose single act of rebellion—inspires in us still today
The single-minded desire to be free.

 

 

 




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Moon Psalm, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Moon Psalm
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

You pull the tides in with silver reigns
And flood the shores of my already loosening faith,
You bring dark water to the roots of my self-loathing
And sprout entire orchards of menacing trees,
You coax little rivulets to migrate to hidden gardens of shame
That grow in the corners of my mind, helping them thrive
And spread like vines of poison ivy,
You throw down rain and muddy the earth of my hope,
You trouble the lakes and ponds of my dreams, creating resonances
That only go so far—far enough to seep over the roads
Of where I think I should be going, far enough to soak the fields of wonder
I used to love; far enough to lap at the horizon that for some reason
Still wants me–Moon, you draw forth tears from the well of my soul
And turn the waterwheel that powers the millstones
That grind the flour of my sorrow into the bitter bread of not caring anymore—
Moon, you know I need you—you know you are the most high—
Go ahead drown me–carry me home in the folds of your silver river
And lay me on the shores of your breathing
Where I can become one with the sky.

 

moon


Thoughts on the Word Transgender, By Jennifer Angelina Petro

Thoughts on the Word Transgender
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

The word “transgender” is beginning to bug me. “Trans” comes from the Latin, and means, “to cross over,” or “to go through to the other side,” (think transportation, translate, transplant, transatlantic). The more I think about it, the more I realize that isn’t an accurate description of who I am. It may seem that way to you (and even to me), and to other people who feel comfortable in the traditional gender binary, but the truth is I haven’t crossed over into anything. I have not gone over or through to the other side of anything. I am a woman. Always have been. Always will be. I know, I know, we all thought I was male for all those years. I get it. That doesn’t change the truth of who I am—no matter what the labels say.
I am beginning to feel the same way about the word “transitioning” for similar reasons even though I use the word all the time myself. “Transitioning” also means “a going over or across.” Of course, it’s the word that’s out there to describe what society thinks is happening to me. However, I am not crossing over from being male to being female. I have always BEEN female. Just because we didn’t know it until last year doesn’t make it any less true. The more I believe I am crossing over from being male to being female, the more opportunities I open myself up to for misunderstanding or even violence.

 
It’s true I am adjusting to the realization of being a woman. I am making attempts at living more comfortably in my own skin with the body I was born in (which also isn’t accurate—I was born “into” a woman’s body (from outside where, by the way?)—a woman’s body that just happens to have parts traditionally indentified as “male.”). So I will say instead—I am making attempts at living more comfortably in this body that is mine—this body that doesn’t match the typical societal expectations of what a woman’s body is supposed to look like. I am making changes in my appearance to better reflect who I finally realize I am—not to better reflect who I am outwardly with who I am inwardly. No. I am making changes because now that I see the truth of who I am I want and need to shed the scales of the conditioning I received growing up. I want to honor who I really am. I am not “presenting” either—I am simply living.

 
My parents tried to “masculinize” me and I do not fault them for that. They did what they thought was best with extremely limited information from doctors who also did not understand, and who actively tried to hide the truth, as well as little societal or religious enlightenment. However, the trappings put around me effectively clouded my inner and outer perception of myself as female. As the windows of my spirit cleared however, the trappings began to fall away. And while this may still sound like I was a woman trapped in a male body, it was really more that I simply appeared to be male.

 
Now, should we say I have a medical condition (a birth-defect?) in which the body I have doesn’t fit the gender I really am? A few weeks ago I would have said yes—it’s something like that. Now I want to say—no. The body I have fits the gender I am. What it doesn’t fit is societies expectations (or my own) of what male and female mean and should look/sound/act like. Just because day and night seem like they are on opposite ends of a spectrum doesn’t mean genders are. Mornings and evenings are when the skies are mixed—blended, woven—making them exqusitiely beautiful. I am a weaving of body-understandings that still, no matter what—end and begin with me being a woman. To say I have a birth defect suggests the only normal is the traditional conceptions of “male” and “female.”

 
Using the word “transgender” somehow creates a screen—some sort of ultimate safety barrier from allowing myself—or society–to accept the reality of the situation. To call me transgender puts a little distance between myself as a woman and society’s (and my own) paradigms of what that means. To just call myself a woman—or for you to call me a woman—shatters everything we understand as “normal.” People like me become viewed as abnormal, dangerous, and perverted. To be called “transgender” implies a sort of cosmic mix up—one that oddly both santizes and misrepresents the truth. It may make it easier for people to understand and wrap their minds around what I look like, act like, and speak like—and have for decades, but it really does not describe who I am as a person.

 
How did the term “transgender” come about? According to the TransMediaWatch Site the terms first became popular in the 60’s:

 
“1965, USA: The word ‘transgenderism’ is first used in a medical text by Dr John F. Oliven, where he uses it is to mean transsexualism. It is given quite a different meaning and popularized by Virginia Prince (1913-2009) in the 1970s. Prince claims to have invented the word herself, and uses it to define people who live full time in their chosen gender, without necessarily having had, or even wanting to have, gender confirming surgery. The difference in meaning between Oliven’s and Prince’s use of this word creates discontent and divisions in some sections of the trans community to this day.”
So I think we need a new word to describe people like me. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest the tiresome binary-constricted: “male,” and “female,” or better yet, “human,” without any prefixes or any qualifiers.

 
Whatever word I choose the main thing is I continue to grow in love for myself as a citizen of the world deserving of all freedom and joy. In the words of Jon Anderson from Yes:

 
“There’s a word……and the word is love.”

 

 

 





 


A Star is Born–One Way I Know I am Transgender, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

A Star is Born
One Way I Know I am Transgender
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

me looking up

People ask me a lot: How do you know you’re transgender? How do you know you’re a woman? Sometimes I reply: Well, how do you know your gender identity or your gender preferences? It’s like knowing the color orange is orange—you just know. Other times I wax poetic and answer: How does the bee know it’s a bee, and how does it know to do its honey-making dances? How does spring know its spring and how does it know when to wake up all the flowers and the aforementioned bees? There is, however, no real way to describe the indescribable. Something happened to me recently though that speaks volumes to my own, personal affirmation of my revelation of being a transgender woman—an affirmation that struck me with such intensity that it rocked my world with joy. It’s personal, as I said, but you might relate to some of what I am about to share. My guess is it could apply to many life circumstances, not just being transgender. On a cold winter’s night, as I walked down Chestnut Street in Center City, Philadelphia, I realized the movie had stopped.

 
Ever since I can remember I lived my life as if I were in a movie. Better put—I was the movie. It wasn’t just the sensation of being watched, although that was there, it was also a deep, penetrating awareness that everything I did was fake—fake and acted. I was an actor (I am not going to say “actress” here because growing up I did not know I was female) par excellence. Everything I did, every word I spoke was fiction. And no, I wasn’t a liar in the sense of not speaking the truth. I was being filmed in one long, rambling drama. My life was a movie about an actor—and an actor playing an actor within a movie that was really an unlived life filmed as a movie—sort of like when you hold a mirror up to a mirror and the reflection goes on forever. There was no truth to the story. Everything I did or said was pretend and all of that pretending was being watched by a part of myself that knew somewhere, somehow that what it was seeing, was acting.*

 
I do not suffer from Truman Syndrome, nor am I a victim of derealization, or any other type of schizoid disorder. I am not paranoid. Yes, I suffer from hyper vigilance and PTSD. I didn’t need to learn how to dissociate when I was being beaten or molested. It would just happen. Repeated abuse does that to a soul, to a brain. This sensing I was in a movie was altogether different, and began several years before the sexual abuse. This sensing I was in a movie happened twenty-four-seven. At school, at church, at the toy store, in my room, at dinner, and all throughout my life, from the time I was four, five maybe–I had the unmistakable recognition that I was being filmed. My life was a movie. My life was a lie.

 
Who was filming? Who was behind the camera or in the director’s chair? Everyone. Everyone and no one. And myself. Who was watching, who was the audience? Everyone, no one, and myself. This is hard to put into words, but it was like my own life watched my own life and didn’t know what to do about it or how to stop it, or why it was happening, or what the ending was going to be like, or when. I wasn’t looking for attention, nor was I narcissistic, I wasn’t even delusional. I simply lived in a movie filmed through my own eyes, my own brain, and I hadn’t a clue as to why. It wasn’t like thinking god was watching or Santa Claus. It was more like just walking, following the steps of myself, yet knowing they weren’t mine, knowing they meant nothing. I remember looking down at my feet as I walked and wondering where they were going. I remember looking down as I puffed out my chest because I was obsessed with trying to look tough and “manly.” I didn’t care if god or Santa watched me. I didn’t even care that I was a constant actor. I didn’t know anything else. All I knew was that my everyday life was a fiction, a pseudo- documentary with a subject that didn’t even exist and that no one cared about.

 
My eyes were the camera lenses; my own head both the camera and the screen. The world was the screen too and the camera. Everywhere I walked or stood or ran I was acting, pretending–even while sleeping. It’s no wonder I never had a restful night’s sleep. I was pretending to be asleep as the world snuck into my room and silently gathered around my bed to watch me dreaming of real life.

 
I laughed when I was supposed to. I cried when I was supposed to. I learned how to fish and ride a bike and get angry on cue. I moved from one scene to another never quite feeling like I was in the right one or saying the right lines, but I was there—I showed up. Yet somehow the background and the staging were all wrong; somehow the other people in the movie could never get close enough to me to wonder how I could be there, and yet not be there, all in the same scene. I was being filmed and I was also, somehow, inexplicably covered in a thin film made of dust and shadows.

 
Throughout my movie life, I did what so many other people do with a history of abuse–I turned to addictions—pornography and food mainly. Ever chasing some sort of moment or flash of reality, yet never finding it for more than a fleeting second, and those fleeting seconds were always steeped in shame, ugliness, and remorse.

 
I suppose some people who relate to this experience of sensing being filmed and watched might imagine it must automatically mean they’re transgender. That was only the case in my life. Why you might resort to unconscious hiding in your own life might happen for a myriad of reasons. The only difference perhaps is that I know now that I was hiding, and I know now that I am not.

 
While on some twisted level this survival mechanism was the work of a child-genius attempting to create a world of safety, this being filmed over decades eventually became a burden. I began to sense something wasn’t right, something was being hidden in the process of being filmed. I hadn’t a clue as to what it could be. I kept associating it with my abuse or my shame. However the truth was far more surprising than I could have ever imagined. And the strategy of stepping out of one’s own life by pretending to live it and have it filmed all at the same time eventually lost its efficacy—if there ever was any to lose.

 
And so it went on, year after year. I was filmed on my wedding day, I was filmed pushing my babies around in the stroller, I was filmed while teaching, buying used books and records, I was filmed eating, I was filmed in the bathroom and the shower, I was filmed watching other movies, I was filmed making feeble attempts at playing sports, I was filmed drawing monsters and writing poetry, I was filmed when I learned to drive and bought my first car with my own money, I was filmed as relationship after relationship ended with unexplainable trouble. The burden of being filmed however was simply a weight I had to carry. I knew it was happening but never felt safe to talk about it. To this day I have never mentioned it to any of my therapists that I’ve had over the years.

 
At one point I thought I was being filmed by aliens. Perhaps they had kidnapped me years before and implanted a camera in my eyes to study a human life. Perhaps alien superpowers would eventually show up when I needed them most. Perhaps I had died as a child by getting hit by lightning and this movie of a life was really some sort of ghostly projection I was trapped in until another incarnation came around.

 
Thing is, I got used to it. It just was that way. It never stopped. I lived my life pretending I wasn’t pretending, acting that I wasn’t acting. I was an unreality-show being made into a reality show long before those programs existed. The experience of being filmed and watched was so inwardly part and parcel of who I was, that I never tried to stop it. I figured it was like that for everyone—everyone lived a fake life, everyone was pretending. “All the world’s a stage,” after all. Or worse, we’re all acting on karmic impulses from previous lives and none of us are free. I justified my perceptions of being filmed by blaming it on religion, the government, aliens, ghosts, spirits, elemental beings, devils, angels, and sometimes on the belief that I was an addict.

 
The long and short of it was that I didn’t really exist. I was an imposter pretending to be someone else who was an imposter. And that sensation carried itself through right up to the moment I realized I was transgender, only I was so enraptured by living the truth it took me a few months to notice it was gone.

 
So one night, walking down a poorly ploughed Chestnut Street near 12th street, I suddenly stopped—more like I was halted by some angelic, winged hand trying to get me to notice the fact that I was finally free. I was no longer being filmed. I was no longer pretending. My life was real. The film had dropped like a snake skin. I wasn’t an imposter in my own story. I was real. The filming had stopped. I was walking down the street a transgender woman and I was alive, liberated, present, unafraid of breathing. I was a pure, living soul–pure in the sense of being born, pure in the sense of the dawn, pure in the sense of the moon rising over a silver pond. The movie house was gone. The camera in my head was gone. The ever-present sensation of existing in a false life vanished.

 
I see the movie clearly now—now that it’s over. I see how impossible it was for the little girl to make herself known. I see how the little boy did his best to keep her safe. I see how the rest of the world knew something about me was askew yet didn’t know what to do about it, yet let alone admit I was askew. I see how the abuse only furthered the sensation of being watched and of being unreal. I see how, despite feeling like so much time was wasted, that this was the right moment for the little girl to rise, to grow, to blossom into a woman. The work I had done untangling the abuse and the addictions created a nest of safety for her to grow her wings and eventually to fly. The darkness I had gone through and survived had bloomed entire heavens of wonder. Finally, after all those years, my life shines in truth: I am a woman, a transgender woman of magnificence and power. And I am taking the script I was cast in, and all the costumes and props, and authoring and directing an entirely new story—a true story—an adventure story, a romance of the self, woven with magical realism, a mystery where there is no crime—where the only mystery is: how far will this woman go? It is a story of inspiration and hope, perseverance and courage, and the ability to rejoice in who I am—no matter how I transition or stay the same, no matter what I do or do not do, no matter how my body looks, no matter what anyone says or does. It is an ever unfolding story—it is my story–detailing what happens when a star is born.

 

 

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________

*It behooves me to address those who have known me personally over the years: You were always real. I was the fake one. Your interactions with me mattered and were genuine. My presence however was not there. I tried, but it was like being in a coma with my eyes open. I could see you, think I was communicating, but actually nothing was coming out of my mouth. I couldn’t speak or even move. I love you all for trying to see the real me.