Life is full of choices!
Sometimes I struggle to decide whether I think this is a cliché or just a fact of life. I know that there are certain facts that are not choices. I believe that knowing our identity as one of them. I do subscribe to the following:
We do not have a choice in being transgender.
We do have a choice in what we do about it.
Whenever I think about all the choices I have made in my life -- getting married, having kids and ultimately transitioning, I always wrestled with the choices in front of me. Which path should I take? What are the pros; the cons? Am I being selfish? Will someone get hurt? So many voices inside of me are arguing for each position it is often hard to be living in my own head! I constantly wondered why in the world are they doing that?
There have been so many times have I been faced with life changing choices. None of them were easy; as I let all those inner voices have their say. For most of those choices I sat without any movement for a long, long time before I took any action at all.
I suspect that almost everyone has seen the movie The Matrix. I marveled at how quickly Neo chose the Red Pill in the classic scene and was willing to go down the rabbit hole. It took me over five decades to be willing to go down my own rabbit hole to chase my Truth!
After my marriage ended in 2001, I was again single and wrestled with so many choices about my life. Deep down inside I knew that I was transgender but not another soul in the world knew of my inner struggle. My body and brain were still waging the war they have done for decade upon decade. My body had "needs!" You know what I mean. I got horny, I got turned on by women or thoughts of women. I needed release, pleasure it is called. I needed to reach that rolling alignment of neurons firing in unison as it travelled through my body and culminated in that release all of which we call orgasm. My body needed it, demanded it! Then there were parts of my mind that took over with the pangs of guilt and telling me it was so wrong as I was not really a man!
It did not matter whether I was with a partner or by myself, my body demanded that its needs were fulfilled. I was in my mid 50's and finding it harder and harder to give the body what it wanted as it was struggling to get the release it desired.
Every night after work, my apartment was my big closet where the man disappeared and the woman appeared and dreamt that someday she would be real. It was her version of Pinocchio, as she wanted to be a "real girl!"
The war continued; my body wanted sex and pleasure, my mind wanted to live her truth. Like Neo in the Matrix I had to choose between pills, although they were both blue ones. One pill would allow the body to get what it desired, or as Neo was offered to wake up in my bed and believe what ever I wanted to believe.
The other pill, would undoubtedly allow me to stay in Wonderland and take me down the rabbit hole deeper and deeper with no way to return.
There was no voice like Morpheus within me to ever tell me it was my last chance to choose. I knew that the first choice was the easy one, but yet even when I chose it, the inner battle continued. The voices in my head to choose the rabbit hole were getting louder and stronger, even though the voices expressing fear and uncertainty were just as loud. In January 2010, I chose to go down the rabbit hole and find my truth.
I have made many choices in my life. Some turned out well and some were less successful. One choice in my life was to seek and follow my truth. It really does matter that it took me so many years before I did this. I never look back; I never ask that useless "what if" question. The fact that I always knew my truth but spent so much of my life denying it and letting my body have its needs fulfilled and listen to the voices of fear and shame are all in the past. I am happy to share them now because I know that although my own specific journey is unique, there are many others on journeys with variations on this theme and it is so hard to talk about our internal wars between our bodies and our minds when we are transgender.
For me, the trip down the rabbit hole is one that I am so happy to be taking as I go deeper and deeper into my truth. By body and mind are both at peace as they travel as partners along my adventures in my own Wonderland of just discovering and being me in each moment.
I have chatted with many friends how challenging these choices are as all the voices in their heads argue endlessly and get stuck. I have been there and know what that feels like, and I never can tell anyone how to choose his or her path. My own experience has allowed me to reflect that my body never really knew or cared about my mind's truth, but over time, my mind's dreams have outlasted my body's perceived needs. This is just my story, and may not be true for anyone else.
I can only repeat what Morpheus told Neo -
"All I can offer is the Truth. Nothing More."
If you seek yours, it will be yours and yours only!
A big thank you to Lana W for helping create the world of the Matrix and teaching us all about these choices.
Grace Stevens is a transgender woman who transitioned at the age of 64 and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a father of three, grandparent of two, athlete, advocate and author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. Grace is available for speaking about authentic living with Living on-TRACK, and Gender Variance Education and Training. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/ to see all her blogs and interviews. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .