It’s Christmas morning and the house is quiet. The coffee is hot and holiday music is playing from another room. The tree is lit and the leftover paper is scattered around the room from the presents my wife and I exchanged last night. A cat is purring on my lap and getting hair all over my black leggings.
It’s impossible to not be reflective right now. Normally I’d be finishing up my coffee and heading to the gym before I start working for the day. But today those things aren’t happening. Instead I am thinking about holidays past and I how I really haven’t changed.
Growing up with sisters had a huge impact on my gender identity. Watching them wear pretty dresses when they were younger and later getting into makeup and different styles really drove home how badly I wanted to be a part of that world. Holidays were especially significant as they really glammed it up. My sisters would wear sparkly dresses, fix their hair just right, and I would just…. wish with all my might to be able to do that someday.
Over the past few years I have been able to do that, whether it was a holiday party with the MN T-Girls or having a quiet Christmas Eve with my wife. The holiday wish I had when I was ten became a reality. It just took a few decades.
I don’t need to talk about how different everything is this year. Normally I’d be posting photos from the annual holiday party the T-Girls would throw every December but we didn’t have one this year. Although my home is quiet and cozy and peaceful right now, I would love to be getting dolled up for a holiday party.
As I thought about all this I couldn’t help but realize that what I want today is the same as what I wanted when I was younger. I do not believe that this side of us is something that will ever change, it will never go away. This is not a phase.
And thank God for that.
Who I am brings me so much joy. There’s really nothing like a new outfit, the click of heels on a sidewalk, the rush of wind through my long hair. The happiness an amazing makeover brings. It is a feeling that no one besides us knows. I mean, my wife knows how amazing a new haircut makes her feel, but for a girl like us who lives part of their lives as a boy we know how it feels to go from jeans and work boots and facial hair to a world of skirts, stilettos, and beauty.
I think of the people I know because of my femme side. The opportunities and experiences my femme life brings. I think of Hannah’s friends.
This side of me makes me so happy. It’s so fulfilling. It’s so rewarding.
Not all of us have the same lives. I know I am blessed. I know that others don’t have a supportive wife. But please be aware I know how fortunate I am and I don’t take anything I have for granted. And please know that so many of you have so many things I will never have. I would love for my mom to know Hannah. I would love for my sisters to go shopping with their sister.
But this is not about what I don’t have. It’s about what we all have. We all have HER inside of us. This side of us might be panties under our boy clothes, clear nail polish, living part-time, or in the process of transitioning. We are all on different journeys and at different points on them. We are on these paths because, well, we NEED to be. We need to acknowledge, accept, and embrace this side of us.
And thank God for that.
Being who we are is not easy. We lose friends, we agonize, we overthink, we cry, we want to give up, we might even pray that this side of us goes away. But it won’t. I’m glad this was never a phase. I’m glad I stopped pretending I would grow out of this side of myself. Like the first steps in heels, we have all stumbled with who we are.
I am proud of everyone reading this. Whether you are underdressing or glamming it up for a virtual holiday party, or just starting to come to terms with who you are, you have acknowledged that this part of you is something you need. It’s something that brings you joy.
Gifts are a part of the holiday season for many of us. Your gender identity is something only you can give yourself. And I hope you do.