This holiday season, I am reminded of the emotional roller coaster we all go through. The anticipation and excitement are also combined with levels of fear and depression… and for those of use who are “different,” the fear and depression are overwhelming. I found my earlier days filled with isolated joy because I made it a point to avoid everyone during what should be a joyous occasion. While I learned from those experiences, the feelings I have from them continue to remain.
Those who know me well know I am and will probably always remain in the closet, but there have been many times where I have stepped out to view the world covered in makeup and feeling femme. There was even a time where I did it in front of friends – which was one of the scariest times in my life. Not because of how I looked, but more because of how I thought they would view me from that day forward. The thought of being view differently was terrifying and I can’t imagine the amount of emotions that others feel, when they decide to unveil themselves to friends and family.
My family and I have been distant for years and I never had the courage to tell them how I felt and who I really am, but I have had friends who have gone through this and talked about their courageous act of opening up to their family. Some supportive and some not, but I have admired these wonderful people ever since.
I often wondered what that was like… talking to your family about your decision to transition or to live life as transgender. I used to sit in my apartment every year playing it out in my head, wondering if my family would embrace me or reject me. Would I defend myself or sit there and take more abuse from my family? It’s a tough thing to live in fear… and tougher when you fear family. It can isolate us sometimes. This is where we can turn to our friends and regain the support we need and feel free to be happy.
I enjoy my trips to Europe. I usually go a few times a year on business, but I don’t enjoy the trips because of the sites and sounds of different countries. I enjoy the opportunity to be who I want to. I can step out without the fear of being recognized. Being able to walk down the streets of London or Amsterdam or Paris in my favorite dress and heels is not only exhilarating but liberating. The feeling of anticipation just before a trip becomes exciting and the plane ride feels like a short puddle jump across the state because my head is filled with thoughts of what I am going to do while I am abroad.
I have a few friends just outside of London I visit every time I am in town and we always enjoy a couple of days going out an about – shopping enjoying the sites, but I have to admit that first time I met with them had to have been the scariest feeling I had ever had. Figuring out what to wear took all day. Do I dress conservatively or slutty? What were my friends expecting. Walking up to the front door of my friend’s flat and building up the nerve to knock on the door was agonizing. The best part of course was seeing the door open and receiving a great big hug from my friends. The support took away the fear and gave me a wonderful feeling of calm.
Some of you may be thinking that I can’t begin to understand the fear and anticipation you feel being in front of your family… and you are probably right, but I do have similar feelings. I am filled with curiosity about your first outing or the difficult time you had coming out to your loved ones. Did you shock them or prep them for what was coming? Did you tell them all at once or individually? What was their reaction and did it change your decision or outlook?
I welcome your stories of coming out and how you dealt with the emotions. It may help me better understand and it will definitely help others who a continue to fight the struggle of coming out. to family and friends. Remember that this is a time of sharing and being with those you love… be with them, share with them, and be you – no matter who “you” want to be.
Happy holidays from MCQ