The woman within: Emily's story

Emily

My inner struggle

I have always wondered what life would be like as a woman and knew in my heart that I would one day have a chance to find out. It sounds crazy, right? It is not really if you try to understand what it is like to be transgender. Not many people understand this but I can tell you I knew at an early age there was something very different with me. I was not the typical boy and I struggled for what essentially is a lifetime. I have come to know I was transgender as a teenager but I was afraid to tell anyone. I knew I was a girl in my heart since i was 4 years old and I cried so many times as a child. I can't tell you how many times but I know it was quite regularly. It was so hard trying to live my life presenting as a boy when everything about me was identified in my mind, heart and soul as a girl. I was truly conflicted and had absolutely no one to talk to about it. There were times when I would sit up in my bed and pray to God that I would awake as a girl. I was such a sad little boy because I knew my life was so different and there was nothing I could do about it. I had no one to talk to and I had this huge burden that I could not talk about. I was a very shy person and never could make real friendships. I hardly spoke and was very awkward in my relations with others, especially girls. I never thought I would see my 21st birthday at times because I truly wanted to leave my body so I could finally be at peace. I never asked for such a conflicted life and never meant to hurt others. It is so frustrating to not be able to express your true self with others and this for me was why I wanted to just escape into my own world where I would dress up and be the little girl i always knew I was.

I loved dresses and felt so comfortable and happy when I would wear one. It really made me feel special and I could look at myself in the mirror and smile. Yes, I could smile and not cry and my very essence as a person was in embracing my personal situation and just being content with who I truly was. I was a girl during those times I dressed up and it felt so right. I was happy! I was truly happy but those times were brief and entirely secretive. I lived a very closeted life and kept this secret of mine for so long that I am amazed I lived to see my 50th birthday. I dreamed of transitioning to become a woman since I was 5 years old and I just adored everything that was feminine and beautiful. I loved girl's clothes and wanted to dress like one every day but I was unable to so I would wear them underneath my boy clothes and I would do this as an adult too. I once thought maybe when I grow up that my feelings would change but they never did. I was always struggling with my gender identity and it really affected me in my social life. I was never affected academically because I was very dedicated to my studies and I loved the challenges of mathematics and science and so I gravitated to engineering and business. I was a good student and I worked very hard and this helped me in dealing with my transgender because I had to focus on my studies and so I was not always distracted by my gender identity which was a good thing.

I did however want to transition to become female when i was a college student but i never knew how or who to reach out to so I just repressed my feelings and denied my transgender feelings. I just kept it a great big secret and dressed when i could. I guess you could say i was a closet cross dresser but in reality for me dressing as a woman was perfectly normal to me and I did not view wearing dresses as cross dressing but as my normal style but sadly I could only do this in privacy and very secretly. There were times I wanted to end my pain and just find my freedom but I realized that suicide was not going to solve my dilemma. I had to hold out hope that one day I would find the strength and courage to come out and emerge as the woman i always felt I should be.

I am enjoying my transition in becoming Emily but there are consequences to pay as I alienated friends, lost my job and suffered a nervous breakdown due to stress overload. I'm now unable to make a living as I'm struggling with severe depression, transgender blues because I need to have gender reassignment surgery but have too many financial concerns such as avoiding mortgage foreclosure, keeping current with my bills and credit cards and saving for my autistic son's educational and medical needs. I have come to the painful reality that I will one day die, never truly becoming the woman I always dreamed of through the much needed surgery which is so very expensive. I have thought of doing it in Thailand but even so it is unfair to my son and family as I need to take care of other very important matters.

I struggle with raising an autistic son who does not realize the severity of our situation and nor should he but when I take him out he always demands movie dvds, blurays, electronic gadgets, music cds and other kids stuff so I try to do my best but I also can not break the bank. I am very fortunate I have become open to my transgender and find many who are accepting of it. I am there to do everything I can for my family as I am now approved for long term disability and social security disability as so is my son now eligible for SSD. Since I am not working i am trying to do my very best to provide a positive impact for my son, for autism, for myself and transgender. That is all I ever really wanted is to do my best and to make a positive difference in my life, my families lives, my son's life and as an advocate to help others who identify as autistic, transgender or as depressed. I love most everyone and I feel truly happy to meet others and be accepted as Emily. It really has made such a positive difference in my life to finally embrace my unique self.

When you live your life and are unable to be the true person you identify as the relationships you build are not quite based on total truth as you are living a so called double life that no one else knows about. That is very hard to deal with especially when you want so much to live the life you hide from others. That is the cruel reality of being transgender for most of us. We are so consumed with our feelings and afraid of being rejected that we live a lie and deny who we truly are and that is very very sad because all we ever want is to be free to be who we are and to also be accepted and loved. That is all I ever wanted in my life and I will go to my grave knowing that all I ever wanted in my life was to be free to be myself, to love my family, to be loved by my family, my friends and all those who mean something to me. I am also a very proud person and I take great pride in my work and for the people I work for. I have always lived with that respect for others both in my male life and as I transition in my female life. that will never change.

I am now on HRT for a year and a half and notice my transitioning is starting to be noticed and I am feeling more and more like a girl each and every day. I knew what was going on with myself and feel I did not want to feel alone anymore. I am now under doctor care at Beth Israel Medical Center and Callen Lorde Health Community Center and I feel I found a home as the doctors are truly wonderful and are helping me realize my dream of transitioning to live as a woman. The medical care comes at an extremely high cost and when you are transgender you really have to watch your budget because there are so many things you need to be prepared for financially and it is not so easy. Just to do electrolysis which is essential could run you upwards of tens of thousands of dollars and the surgery? Forget that as that is out of my price range. If I was so lucky I would schedule surgery in a heartbeat but I am not able to so I must be resigned to the fact that I will always be transgender and never really experience life as a woman as I always felt inside. It is very painful and sometimes I feel it would be so much easier to just free myself of this pain and just hope my family and friends would find it in their heart to forgive me. I have to find the inner courage and fight so I can go on and be the girl I need to be. It would be so very sad to come this far with the hope of transitioning to only take your life in the end. That is not why I came this far and held out hope for so long. I just need to find a good support system and move forward with hope, faith, confidence, love and courage to find my way and to still stand by my family and pray they stay by my side as well. I need the acceptance of family and others if I am going to be true to myself and take the necessary actions to address and do what I have to do to become female.

I also realize having a family that i also must respect their feelings and ask them to express their thoughts. We must work together to find a healthy balance. I also know that I still need to be a strong and positive force in my young son's life and love him as I always have and assure him that everything will work out. I must truly believe this if i am going to move forward in my transition and find my happiness and take care of my family. i also have to help my son to find his way and to feel good about himself. I will also teach him to understand others who my be different and to embrace and accept them as they are since that is what we all want in our lives. My son needs to feel accepted as do I and so we all need to feel accepted. For what is life without family and friends and complete acceptance? We all need to feel loved, accepted and worthy of our lives despite the imperfections.

There are lessons to be learned from my experiences and as I recount them and embrace my differences and accept them I truly then can be free to live my life and find my happiness and be a much better parent to my son and I can find a way to make it all work out in the end which is my biggest hope. I am grateful for wonderful family, friends and the doctors I see who are truly making a difference in my life. Thank you!

Emily

Emily on Autism advocating for son

Emily speaking about her recent life experiences (Current)

Emily on Transgender

My Transgender Life (See my current video as my life has changed from this airing featured above)

Emily gets very emotional!!!

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Comments 4 comments

dragonflymemory 3 years ago

Emily,

Your blog entry about your transition is wonderful and contains valuable information from your experiences for other trans individuals who need to hear that they are not alone in this world.

Hearing that you couple this amazing transition with raising your autistic child truly demonstrates what a strong and amazing woman you are.


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ediann 3 years ago Author

Thank you so much for those kind words and for lifting my spirits. You really touched me and I am very happy to read your beautiful comment. You made my day dragonflymemory!!!


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ediann 3 years ago Author

You are so very kind for such a wonderful and heartfelt comment. I am so delighted to have wonderful people as yourself truly understand what we as transgender go through. Yes, I am really trying my best to advocate for my autistic son as I also am in the midst of transitioning from male to female. Thank you, you made my day! Emily


dragonflymemory 3 years ago

Thanks, your kind words made mine.

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