Okay. So, I’ve written a few pretty heavy pieces lately. I’ve talked about the struggles I’m going through on the absurd battlefield of my own mind. While that’s all well and good for getting some of the difficult words out, it also paints a bit of a picture — and not a happy one. I wanted to take some time today and discuss the same topic here, through a different lens that isn’t quite so dire. After all, despite whatever internalized challenges I’m putting myself through, there’s still a pretty great and simple thing I can say: I am happier now than I have ever been.

This isn’t, of course, a way of saying I’d never been happy before now. I’ve had a pretty good life — there’s been times of trouble, sure. There’s been the down-and-out periods of feeling like it wasn’t worth going on. The valleys, though, have their peaks as well. I’ve benefitted, generally, from a good family; we weren’t wealthy by any stretch, but we got by and our home was full of love. I’ve got a divorce in my past, but even that came from a relationship that wasn’t necessarily bad, and taught me the things I’d never have learned about how to be in a relationship and get it “right”.

So when I’m writing about the things that are difficult for me, it can be easy to lose sight of the positives. As I mentioned in my last post, the toughest part of my journey so far has been recognizing the years I spent not having a name for my uncertainty. I have that now. I have a word for this piece of myself that I barely understood until relatively recently. I don’t know if you, fair reader, have ever had that experience; if you haven’t, let me tell you: it’s pretty great. Does it stop the churning thoughts and unease? No, not quite so simply. But that’s not the point. Knowing what something is does not “solve” it, but having the language to describe and examine it is a huge step up from simply having something that gnaws at your soul.

Beyond just having the words, though, I’ve got something even more important — I’ve got support. Friends, both local and otherwise, that are there to encourage me and remind me of the good in our world. My wonderful wife, who’s taken this whole thing in remarkable stride; one of the things I’ve read a lot about with regards to people who “come into” transgender identities later in life is that it often destroys their existing relationships. That didn’t happen to me. Hell, I didn’t even give her a “heads up” when I came out — she just got to read the piece in which I did so before anyone else. Since that moment, she’s been nothing short of amazing (not that she wasn’t already, mind).

So, sure, I’ve got times where my own identity seems to be chewing up my brain and making life more difficult. I won’t deny that, but hell – it’s always been there, anyway. Now I have a grasp on why. That’s no small thing, to get a handle on the root of severe insecurities. It’s no small thing to have wonderful people backing me up, to have a wife that helps me find my center in this maelstrom of introspection. To have someone who married me for the man I was and yet still continues to love me for the woman I am, willing to help me with makeup or trying on new clothes or any of the other trappings that would easily trip up many others.

Maybe I don’t know how to be myself in the ways I want to just yet. That’s fine; these things are often referred to as a “journey” for a damn good reason. It’s not like I can wake up one day, hop in the shower, and wash off thirty-plus years of assumed male-ness. I can’t see my own face in the mirror and ignore the years I’ve spent with it, or the baggage that not having a name for myself brings with it. What I can do, though, is recognize that I’m closer now than I’ve ever been, and that I owe a lot of that to the amazing and supportive people around me.

Life isn’t meant to be easy, but it’s also not meant to be a constant uphill battle. While I still have plenty to work through, and a lot of progress to make before I’ll be able to say I’m really comfortable with myself, I know I’m on the right path now and that I’ve got the company that’ll make it so I can get there. Even on my darkest and most dysphoria-riddled days, I can take some solace in the fact that, whatever I feel about this stupid hairy meat-bag I’m inhabiting, there’s someone beside me who loves it and loves the person inside of it.

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