I see the woman in you and this is what I learned from her. Thank you, Beautiful Woman.
I stumbled upon the goodbye letter of another writer a week ago which made excruciatingly clear, an all too common reality for transgender people – suicide. Pieces of the six-page letter are written below (her blog was open to the public but has since been taken down):
Goodbye (final blog entry and end of my painful journey)
If you are reading this, it means that hopefully I’ve been successful at taking my own life and thereby, ending a lifetime of pain and cowardice. I plan on walking in front of a train here in Scotland. It isn’t as if I’ve ever been particularly good at hiding my pain or expressing my desire to be gone from this world and my desire to be freed from this hideously ugly body that has been nothing but a curse for as long as I can remember. I hope that you will understand that there are simply too many things to ‘fix’ to make my life bearable and for me to be somewhat comfortable in my own skin and most of these things aren’t even fixable at all.
Transition was the ‘last chance’ as far as saving my own life was concerned, but it was a complete and utter failure. After 6 years of being on hormones and presenting completely female, I am still getting misgendered far too frequently, and as the years have gone by, the sheer hopelessness of it all has finally sunk in, after seeing my ugly, manly face in the mirror far too many times. I’m far to ugly and far too tall to be a woman and I’m past the age where anything beyond expensive facial reconstructive surgery will ever be effective. I would honestly rather be dead than seen as ‘a man in a dress’. Transition has proven to be nothing more than switching one unbearable prison for another and has made me a target again in the process. I don’t want to go back but I don’t want to go on existing like this, marginalized and living in fear. This isn’t about ‘haters’ either- the only real hater is me, as I hate myself more than anybody else could. This is the power of my dysphoria; the war between my inner self and outer body that can never be won sufficiently for me to blend in and at least be somewhat comfortable in my own skin.
I ordered Chinese takeaway earlier and ate it under a bus shelter. This is fucking depressing, in itself. Tomorrow is Valentine’s day and I just want it to be over already. I think I want to go and just stare death in the face, as it can be comforting to know that with a bit more of a push, I could make it all stop. At least I made a new cat friend but I miss all the other cats I’ve met and owned over the past few years. I can’t stand people but I love cats. I spent a few minutes stroking him as he rolled around on the floor.
Peace, love, and goodbye – I hope that the world will become a less hateful place someday so that no one needs to go through what I went through.
At the end of the letter was a photo of the Cat.
Every time I read the letter, I felt her suffering coursing through my veins and let it absorb into my being as my own – my heart’s tribute to hers – a gift of understanding. Over and over I imagined her jumping in front of a train – heels then toes leaving the pavement, the split second of weightlessness in air and I wonder: Was that the most freedom she had ever felt? Even then, I imagine the immense pain it would take in order for the mind to tell feet to leave the ground for the last time ever. Being born into the wrong physical body is a monumental emotional and mental struggle that sometimes even transition cannot ameliorate but she tried against all odds and the only thing I see in trying is courage.
Burned in my mind is the Cat. It wasn’t just a cat- it was the acceptance the Cat represented.
Somewhere on the other side of the world, that Cat still sits alone at the train station in Scotland. For those few minutes that night, that Cat had somebody. She had made that Cat’s world a better place. She was not a burden; she was not ugly and whether or not she fit society’s ideal version of what a woman is supposed to look like, did not matter.
No matter how fleeting the moment, the Cat meant something to her and she meant something to the Cat; she loved and felt love. She felt a connection worthy of consciously and intentionally taking out her camera, snapping a photo and taking time to upload the photo to her blog to share with others. Within those six pages life fraught with pain, I saw a moment of peace.
Let this Cat be our teacher- absolute failure does not exist. There is nothing inherently beautiful or ugly about this world. We can decide how we want to see ourselves; we can decide whether or not we want to listen to the status quo and become exactly what people think of us.
You are not a failure.
Just because you are transgender, does not make you broken- you do not need fixing. There is nothing wrong with you. You are a human in the wrong physical body, but with the strongest, most precious soul and I see you and you are beautiful.
You are not your thoughts and you are not other people’s thoughts. They can tell you that you are crazy; they can tell you that you are wrong. You can tell yourself that this is too hard or that you are not worthy of being the person you desire to be. Or, you can practice watching these thoughts come in and go out and let yourself be worthy of life.
Be impeccable with the words you speak about yourself and others because those words become the general consciousness of society; every time you define, judge, criticize and belittle yourself, you are contributing to the creation of the same world that hurts you so much.
Perhaps we can not only have more compassion for other people but for ourselves. Today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter, that you wake up and decide to continue your existence, be gentle with yourself because you are brave. Be the Cat.
This society has an obsession with gender and they’ve got it all wrong. Hate is just a by-product of society’s obsession to force gender into a strict binary. Your physical body serves to carry your soul. Your soul has no gender. Energy has no gender. Your higher self has no gender. Your existence is paving the way to less rigid, more accepting standards of gender and our culture just hasn’t caught up yet; you are ‘ahead of the times’ and people just need more time to grasp an understanding. This world needs you to be different. Otherwise, who is going to change the world?
Somebody out there needs you. Be the person you needed when you had nobody-for someone else. Love yourself unconditionally so that this world can be a less hateful place.
“Animals are like little Angels sent to earth to teach us how to love.”
– Whitney Mandel