An Open Letter to the Girl I Once Was and the Boy Who Had’nt Told His Story: Living My Truth
This is to everyone who has never understood who I am as a person and why I came to be
The best thing I’ve ever done in my life was realize who I was. That said, the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life was hide, and lie, to myself.
My family wasn’t very loving or into talking about their feelings or problems. I had many of those. We liked to sit in circles with our backs turned into each other. Like we were in a club, but couldn’t see the other members. So we decided to keep our eyes focused on life and go through the motions. Drop the kids off at school, make dinner, go to the zoo every summer. But in reality we were all someplace else, someplace alone. Alone and yet all together. So of course my cracked pieces of a childhood, go to this day, unnoticed.
It’s hard growing up not knowing what was wrong with you. Why you felt so disgusted and horrified when you looked at your body; why your name made your ears burn and your teeth clench; why you wanted to never speak again because every time you opened your mouth Minnie Mouse came out. I was so upset by the body I lived in and the name I went by and the pronouns everyone else had decided for me that I shut myself off from the world for what felt like forever. A whopping 40% of transgender people will attempt suicide in their lifetime, and of that 40%, 10% will succeed. In these dark times, I wanted to be part of that 10%
I have pictures from my childhood, in a dress, in a skirt, or my mother’s personal favorite, the skort. I am in these pictures smiling, but you can see it in my eyes. You can see the sadness, the loss, the confusion. You can see the girl who was never meant to live inside me.
Many of my peers wouldn’t know that. They wouldn’t know how well I hid everything, how I could make enough jokes, enough comical comments that it would all seem ok. They wouldn’t see the way I flinched when I heard “she’s so funny”. They wouldn’t know, or even guess how many tears I shed for the girl inside me and on my body who just wouldn’t die.
This I later learned, was called dysphoria. Dysphoria I heinously possessed in astounding quantities. I have Gender Identity Disorder. I am transgender and I am a boy. Many boys don’t have to cry for 15 years to realize they are boys, but I on the contrary, did. I realized that I WAS a boy, I simply didn’t have those magical XY chromosomes. In my head, in my heart, completely and wholly, I am a man. Just not my body.
With this new ascertainment, I began research. I began looking at ways to make myself the man outside who had always been there and was dying to see the light. I found support groups. What truly blew my mind was just how many people were like me. Who had gotten their wish and become the men they were meant to be, and just how HAPPY they were with themselves, with their families, and with the lives they led.
Now my family and friends, they were the biggest problem. I didn’t know how they would take it or if they would take ME. If they would accept my as their son, their nephew, their grandson and brother. I didn’t know if I would be disowned or embraced, rejected or taken into arms. That thought terrified me, the thought of losing the family that frankly, I never felt close to. That was the funniest part of it all, I was terrified of what the people I felt no kinship to, thought of me.
After a good 2 or 3 months I knew it was time, time to tell the people, time to finally be out. I first came out to my friend via Facebook. I received so much love and support I cried. I wept tears of joy for I could finally be honest with everyone. I could talk about my struggles; I could talk about the life I led. I could talk about how hard it was, like this immense weight was lifted from my shoulders. Like this huge stressor was just rested from my hands. Like I could breathe.
This, in a broader sense was like an enormous weight being lifted off someone’s shoulders like an extremely difficult job assignment, or moving to a new city. Everyone can relate to having a huge stressor in their life that is unavoidable.
My family on the other hand was a large stressor once more. But I was freshly affirmed because of all the support my friends gave.
I started with my girlfriend at the time, for her own comfort we’ll call her Opps. I told her how I was feeling and initially she was supportive. Tried to call me he but realized that she could never see me as her boyfriend, could never find me attractive as a male. So she broke up with me, over text. Broke my heart, but she made me that much stronger, making ME realize that as a transperson, it becomes 10x harder for people to find you beautiful, or handsome.
I started with my little brother. I asked him
“Who am I?”
“What’s my name?”
So I asked him “You know how everyone calls me CJ? Can I be your brother CJ?”
To which his young yet wise mind, beyond his own comprehension said
“Boys are born girls all the time, I like the name CJ, you can be my big brother now. Can we play video games?”
I hugged him and returned to my room, tears falling, distraught over how happy I was to finally be his big brother.
Next I came out to my sister and my mom. I sat them down and explained to them what transgender meant. My sister knew, because she was in GSA with me. My sister embraced me as her brother and called me by my name. she said she loved me regardless and that I was whoever I needed to be and that she would respect that.
My mom was still jumbled on the other hand. I tried to tell her I had always been a boy I just didn’t have the genitalia to match. That it would be a process for her to learn the pronouns and the new name.
She said “No you’re not a boy, you’ll never be a boy, you’ll never be my son, and CJ isn’t your name.”
Like falling from the jungle gym as a child, I had the air sucked from my lungs and the life pulled from my heart. I asked her:
“May I ever be your son? Can you try to call me ‘he’?”
She said no.
She told my father and I was yelled out for trying to “hurt” them. The only one hurting; was me. There were no tears, no cries. Just sitting with a hole in my chest. I crept back into myself, boarded the windows and closed for business.
I couldn’t repair the life of “Camille” and be CJ. So, I started from scratch. I broke myself down to a shell and began piecing together the life I should have had 15 years to build. But I couldn’t become Charlie Jasper Major, or CJ when the repair shop was located in my birthers home.
I don’t speak to my parents anymore. And I don’t take any crap from anyone, not anymore, not after a lifetime of lies and pain.
So I began a journey. A journey of self-discovery and ups and downs, and highs and low, and a lot of money and doctors, and psychiatrist’s visits. And I found him.
Who? CJ. I found CJ, and he is handsome and kind, funny and smart, a boyfriend, a brother and strong person. Camille died so that CJ could live. Now, CJ is the happiest man in the world, because he IS a man in the world.
That’s what this entire paper is about really, love. Learning to love yourself and be yourself, completely and unconditionally. Learning how to love you even if other people would love if you weren’t. Learning to be the person YOU want to see in the mirror, not trying to be the picture the world is showing you. Being oneself and being happy are synonymous. I have written this not only for people who need a story to guide them but also to illustrate a singular pieces of the lives trans people live.