Good morning, from Southampton, where I will be staying for the next couple of days looking after my children, due to their mum and her husband having to work away.
So for the next couple of days I get the joys of, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and ironing, plus the added perk of taking their rather large German Shepherd, Roxy, for her daily walk. Though to be fair, for me it’s less of a walk and more of just hanging on for dear life!
She is a lovely dog, but she has a mind of her own, doesn’t seem to understand one single command that she is given and has a pathological hatred of small dogs and anything that resembles a cat in appearance. Fun times, oh and then there’s the small matter of having to deal with her pooh, not one of my favourite things in life.
Regardless, I am always incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to spend significant quality time with my children, to be part of their lives again from dusk to dawn, to be their Dad. For their Dad I will always be, regardless of my gender change. They are the greatest gift that life has given me and one that fills my heart with immense joy every day.
When you make the decision to transition the biggest thing you have to reconcile is the fact that your children may not want to, or even be allowed to, keep in contact with you. That for me was always my biggest fear and the one question that took a long time for me to deal with, if they didn’t want to know me anymore, or I couldn’t have access to them anymore, could I deal with that?
In the end though, being gender dysphoric is not a choice, I didn’t choose this, it is just who I am and I had reached a stage in my life where I realised that I had come to an impasse. I was no longer really living, I had very little left in me to give to anyone, let alone my children, and the days ahead looked pretty bleak. I literally ground to a halt.
So after much soul searching, I decided that there was no alternative, that to have a shot at any sort of quality life going forward, I had to transition, regardless of the consequences. For me, I always knew that this would include gender surgery, I wanted to feel complete, have an outward appearance that matched the internal view that I had always held of myself as of being female.
I get that some people don’t understand this, we are very much as a society driven by labels, if you look male on the outside then you are perceived as male and expected to play out that role. But who I am is not defined by my appearance, my outside is nothing more than a biological frame that carries all the necessary components to sustain life.
Who we really are as individuals is determined on the inside, is driven by feelings, emotions, values and beliefs, a sense of personal identity that cannot be felt or experienced by anyone other than yourself.
I guess the point is this, you don’t have to try and understand it, how can you, for you never experienced it, you never felt the way I felt growing up. What you can do though is respect it, judge me on who I am as a person, not on what I look like, and that requires that you take the time to actually get to know the real me and that takes the commitment to see past prejudices.
I have been extremely fortunate throughout my transition that I have not lost out of my life one single person that I truly cared about, indeed I have gained the most amazing people into my life.
My children travelled with me on my transition journey, it was never discussed openly by me with them, but just as I got to see my own physical transformation as the time passed, so did they. Eventually this lead to them asking questions and when that happened I answered them with as much detail as they needed and as often as they asked them.
I am extraordinarily grateful for the the love and support I have received from my children on my journey and still continue to do so. I am aware that mine was a very selfish decision and that it did impact on their lives and probably still does.
However, I truly believe that if you were to ask them which Dad they prefer, they would say this one, for I am now able to give them a depth of love I couldn’t pre-transition.
Being true to yourself can, at times, be extremely difficult, but I believe it is essential in finding your happy. When you are true to yourself, you can learn to love yourself and when you learn to love yourself you can learn to love others.
I hope you all have an amazing week and that happiness is never far away.
Love and hugs