February 2011 I was in agony. Every sound, every sight, every moment hurt. And the hurt made me behave like an asshole to my wife and children. I now believe it was entirely because I was slowly, inescapably coming out to myself as a transsexual woman and I fought that truth of who I am so hard.
Early March I packed my truck and left my wife, my children. I went back to the mountains where I’m from. I broke my family’s heart and almost destroyed myself in the process. I’d say it was stupid, useless, but I also believe that — secretly from even myself — I returned to my old home to discover who I really am. I’m a transsexual woman. In part I knew the truth. But I was so scared. I fought it. Alone, with enormous challenges but surrounded by the sights of my childhood and the melancholy beauty of the Smokey Mountains, I was finally able to come out to myself a few months later.
Sitting on the porch of my new place, my man-cave, I wrote this poem one Spring afternoon. It’s obscure, it follows no rules. A belief in rebirth or metempsychosis is implicit. But, for me at least, it’s visceral. I reread it and I can feel the pain, distantly, again. My recommendation to you is, Don’t do this to yourself! The last two lines say as much.
The good thing is, this story has a very happy ending. Maybe I had to take the pain first and overcome it, which I did, in order to come out to myself as trans. For what it’s worth, here it is:
When you've not much — And Your little agonizes — You'll give All up — You will cry — Keen lost agonies — As I Agony of agonies sup — Wish for — Any End — My beauties tore — My loves rent — Me — So poor — I now flee Moon — As Sun before — I seek some — Empty Tune — Though no End may Be — To Raucous Organ's score — The Grinder's Inept — But Forever the Roar — Awls in Ears — Infinite Years I'll Prance — Words, words — Gut Like trout are — Infinite years — I Only — We only mock some — Dance — Aeons, aeons more — Gnosis pays Dividend — I found, flipped the switch — Dark makes — this Sound — Stray Dear Friend — And Into Grey bend — Not Night, not Day — Stay your Hand — Let itch That envied Itch
Make of it what you will. An object lesson, maybe. If you’re life’s graph paper places you outside the bell curve, that’s OK. As somebody said, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Accept it. Accept it radically.
I came out during an unforgettable all night vigil in July. Five weeks later I moved back to the Piedmont region to be near my children. I thought there was a slim chance my wife would let me be part of their lives. I moved into an apartment that made the tornado-proof trailer I was living in in the highlands seem palatial, it was so bad, but I was a 15 minute drive away from my family. A slim chance, I thought … so I came out to my wife…
And, slowly, something strange happened. —I’m back home again, my real home where I belong—with my wife and children. My wife and I are more in love than we’ve ever been I believe. I’m home again and my wife and children accept me just as I am: as a woman. I’d not have believed that possible when I first returned to town.
I’ve been full-time about three months. I’ve been on hormones 9 weeks. The morning I voted in the presidential election, two days ago now, I overheard a hushed conversation: “That person’s name is <birthname>?!” Like they could not believe I was born in a male body.
But I had just showered and cleaned up—and I looked good.