And It’s Me Who Is My Enemy

When I was 20 I learned a lot about myself.

I was living on my own, I was in a relationship, and I was learning more about my gender identity.

I started to learn how to be an adult, learned what I wanted in a relationship, and how to walk in heels.

I learned my limits, and what I wanted. I learned what I wouldn’t settle for, and how to come to terms with being transgender.

I acknowledged what was holding me back, and whether or not those barriers could be overcome.

One of the most defining moments of my life came when I was driving home from work one summer evening. It was close to midnight, the world was still. It is moments like this that life or God or your inner voice speak to you. It’s up to you to listen.

Sometimes what you need to experience is a moment of clarity, a realization, or music. I had never heard this song on the radio before, and I’ve never heard it played again. If I didn’t own the CD I would almost believe that the song didn’t exist. But it did, thank God.

“Me”, written and performed by Paula Cole really summarized many of my feelings and thoughts that summer. I was not happy in the relationship and felt a little trapped. I was living out of state, and ending the relationship was a little more complicated than simply breaking up. I would need to move back to Minnesota, find a new job, and in a way, admit defeat, on some levels. When you are 20 you chalk up your victories and losses by relationships. My perspective is different these days.

In addition to being in a bad relationship, I couldn’t help but wonder where all of THIS was going. I would buy heels and a dress and then quickly purge in a seemingly endless circle. I knew this side of me wasn’t going away. But how was I going to live with it? Did I want to? Of course I did, but what was life going to be like?

I felt powerless in my relationship, where I lived, and in a way, powerless when it came to my gender identity. It was a difficult but important summer. It was humbling, too. I would buy a dress that wouldn’t fit (know your measurements, girls), look horrific in lipstick, and stumble in stilettos. I wanted to be beautiful but my confidence was lower than ever.

But that warm summer night my perspective changed. The things I wanted, like getting out of the relationship, returning to Minnesota… I could do these things. The only one stopping me was ME. The lyrics hit hard.

I am carrying my voice
I am carrying my heart
I am carrying my rhythm
I am carrying my prayers
But you can’t kill my spirit, it’s old and it is strong
And like a mountain I’ll go on and on
But when my wings are folded
The brightly colored moth blends into the dirt into the ground

And it’s me who is my enemy
Me who beats me up

Me who makes the monsters
Me who strips my confidence
And it’s me who’s too weak
And it’s me who’s too shy to ask for the thing I love
And it’s me who’s too weak
And it’s me who’s too shy to ask for the thing I love
But I love

I am walking on the bridge
I am over the water
And I’m scared as hell
But I know there’s something better
Yes I know, yes I know, yes I know, yes I know

I bought the CD the next day and I still listen to this song. It still inspires me.

…and fast forward a few years. This song still impacts my life. Society is never going to “let me” be transgender. I can’t wait for the world to give me permission. I knew it was myself holding me back.

Having fully embraced who I am today, I am amazed at how much I have overcome and what I have done. I still know my limits, whether it is how long I can stay awake before I start to get really loopy, how many miles a day I can run, or what I am comfortable wearing. I know I don’t “pass” (and there’s no such thing) but I still don’t want to show the more traditionally masculine parts of my body.

So, dresses with thin spaghetti straps were out as they showed off my shoulders. My huge, manly shoulders.

I accepted my limitations of what I was comfortable with, and lived my life.

And then the pandemic hit. Things we took for granted were gone, and my time out of the house en femme was gone. Before I go further, I want to recognize that many of what I am thinking, and feeling, and writing about is incredibly shallow and self-centered in comparison to how the pandemic has impacted others.

I would look through my wardrobe and get a little sad about not being able to hit the mall or visit a museum en femme (again, I own my shallowness). I would buy dresses and heels and wonder when I would wear them.

And then I saw a super cute dress. It was unlike what I usually wear… it wasn’t form fitting, a little longer than I normally wear… and the thinnest straps I’ve ever seen. I saw it, I loved it, and I wished I had the courage to wear it.

And then I bought it.

I promised myself that as soon as I could, I would wear this dress the next time I could go out en femme.

And I did.

I’ve held myself back in my life so many times, and when I got tired of listening to that voice and would do the thing I was afraid of, I was always thrilled to do so. I also wondered why I stood in my own way for so long. It’s true, we are our own enemy sometimes.

I am so excited (and proud of myself) to show the photos Shannonlee and I took that day of the dress. The photo shoot was for a shoe review I did for The Breast Form Store but I couldn’t help but show off this dress… and my shoulders… and confidence.

Love, Hannah

4 thoughts on “And It’s Me Who Is My Enemy

  1. “… is incredibly shallow and self-centered in comparison to how the pandemic has impacted others…”

    Possibly. But would you say that to a friend? To play the Comparison Game with others, where does it get us? Probably nowhere. We either validate our ‘higher level’ but then may feel bad for the other, who’s hurting as much emotionally. That, or we’re further down the ranking, making us feel worse.

    What if we didn’t compare ourselves, but looked to supporting others if they are struggling? If getting out as you helps, then it helps. It doesn’t matter what I think or nextdoor, you do you and be kind when doing so.

    Like

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