This Is Your Life

by | Mar 1, 2024 | 0 comments

For as long as I can remember, I knew something was different but couldn’t explain it. I knew it didn’t make sense to me that my sisters liked being girls. I didn’t know there was a word for how I was feeling, people just told me I was a tomboy. I grew up in a small town and spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ farm. My family was close, and it never crossed my mind that I wasn’t a boy until my mom would try and put me in dresses. I would fight her so hard on that!

A Shot at Love 

Middle school is where it started getting harder because physical changes started happening, and I was starting to have feelings for girls, the way my girlfriends were having feelings for boys. I remember this show on MTV. It was about a woman trying to find love. She was bisexual, so she had men and women on the show fighting for her love. I remember watching it late at night and just being mesmerized because it was nice to see that there were people who had feelings like me.

Growing up in a small town raised in church, you don’t see much of that. The first person I came out to was my younger sister. After telling her, I asked her to keep it a secret. She said she would, then immediately walked up to my mom and asked what it meant. She called me out so hard! We laugh about it now. But my mom came in shortly after and talked to me about how it was a phase.

I started dressing differently because I liked rock music, but after I changed my look my friend’s mom started rumors about me. Just like that, I lost everyone. Already going through so much with hating my body, and feeling like I couldn’t ever be me, I was scared of the rest of the family disagreeing. I lost my friends, and everyone was thinking I was doing the awful things this woman claimed. Things only got worse when I went to high school and started doing drugs to numb the pain.

I met my first girlfriend when I was going into sophomore year, and I asked if we could keep it low until I could tell my family. She said she understood, but sadly I was kinda forced to tell them. My girlfriend’s mom went off on me saying “My daughter won’t be friends with someone like you,” and much more, that just made things scarier for me to want to tell anyone. When I got home, my parents kept on me until I said it: “This is my girlfriend.”

My mom again didn’t take things very well, and my dad didn’t say much. We dated for about a year, and my parents got better over time, but when we broke up it also broke me. I got worse with drugs and attempted suicide. I ended up in a hospital and almost spent my 17th birthday there. When I got out, I realized that the people I thought were my friends didn’t care. I came to realize I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I had let what everyone said about me define me. Change me. Break me. After that, I said “never again.”

I started doing so much better in school. I got clean, and I graduated.

Family Support 

Even though I didn’t see it then, my family was there for me. My siblings were my rocks and my grandparents were—and still are—my everything. When my grandma found out, I was so scared. She came to my stand when I was selling products for a farmer. I hadn’t shaved for a while so my chin strap was there, and she acted like nothing was wrong. When she left, I texted her and asked if she still loved me. Then she asked if I was happy, and I said yes, she replied, “As long as you are happy, I love you!”

That was all I needed. That was it, nothing after that mattered. Nothing anyone else said mattered. I wish I would have had more trans people to look up to, and that’s why I’m so open and understanding, because I wish I could have had that. I hope people come to understand it is real, and you’re not messed up like some made you believe.

My grandparents’ farm made me the man I am with the hard work they made me do. I was 19 when I was finally able to find a therapist who would help me start testosterone. It took me years to find him, so I’ll never forget the day he called me back and said he could. I was at the farm sitting behind an apple tree. Happy tears fell from my eyes like rain with so much excitement. I mentally prepared myself that I might lose people. Worried they would say things. But I didn’t care because this was for me!

Entering and Joining Community 

GSA in high school had a day of silence. It was a protest that culminated in Madison with other GSAs attending from other schools. We taped our mouths to keep from talking to show how much of a difference it can make to be silent. I had never been to Madison before, so it was scary and new. Seeing all the other people that showed up filled my heart. We marched to the Capitol, and I just remember the feeling I had in my chest that I was right where I needed to be. Once we got to the stairs, we counted down and ripped the tape off! We yelled, cheered, and celebrated who we were. We spoke for those who feel like they can’t. It was so powerful.

My first gay bar was Plan B. It had 18+ nights on Thursdays. I remember the line was always out the door, and everyone was so nice. Walking in, it was like a wave crashing into you—seeing everyone able to be themselves and not having to explain anything to anyone. I remember the music and the lights. I fell in love right away, like I had found my place. My friends and I went to Five Nightclub for New Year’s Eve, and we had so much fun we continued going because these places were what we needed to make us feel whole and like we weren’t different or weird or strange. We were just us.

Now I am 10 years on testosterone with all my surgery completed and have been voted best trans performer. Performing in front of thousands at the Milwaukee Pride was a dream come true. I’m proud of my mom for coming so far, too. From being scared for me with what others said to now being my biggest supporter. She took care of me after surgeries she wasn’t ready for. I’m proud I’m living a life I never thought would be real, driving my truck and working a job where everyone knows and doesn’t care. Living in my place with my dog as the man I was always meant to be.

I don’t give myself enough credit and forget how far I’ve come!

Concerns and Encouragement for the Future 

I worry about how politics have changed. How divided it has made everyone and everything. It makes me so worried that we come this far to only fall back. I worry that they will change things with insurance, and teachers won’t help the students that need it because others are bullying them for who they are. I’m worried because of how some parents are. I think the world needs to do better all the way around. Stop fighting each other and start fighting together. So much needs to change for the better for everyone.

Don’t let what anyone says stop you from doing what makes you happy, because this is your life. Let the words they say push you forward and use them as motivation to better yourself to prove them wrong. Don’t hold onto things that hurt you, and keep trying to find things that make you happy. n

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