Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Silence – My Life

A Personal Essay

Silence – sometimes a blessing, sometimes a detriment. I often wonder if I’ve yet to define which it is to me. It is a negative friend I have bonded with through my own choice. No one actually forced me to be silent, I allowed it to be.  I can’t even begin to express the years that I remained silent while inside of me was screaming to be born; to be free; to be happy, only to be denied because of my fears of rejection by family, friends and co-workers. There were times when I let those fears fester to the point where I began questioning myself as to whether or not I was some kind of freak of nature. The numerous nights I spent alone crying until there were no more tears to shed. Even now, I hesitate to be my true self at times and suffer the guilt for not having the courage to open up and blossom. To let go and be the woman I truly am in every cell of my body; in every beat of my heart; in every waking thought; in every moment.

     Questions pop into my mind — How much longer are you going to let everyone else dictate your happiness?; How many more years are you going to hide behind the veil of cowardice and live in loneliness and misery?; How many more hours are you going to waste pondering the “what if’s” of yesteryear? Yet, in spite of the questions and knowledge of knowing that my inaction will only cause sorrow, I still embrace that silence.

     Now comes the reality that at age 63, I don’t know how many years I have left and that if I don’t begin to live my life, truly live my life as it should be, I will die physically as I have died a thousand times over in my heart. Adrift in an ocean of a society that is discriminatory by nature; cold and hurtful by ignorance and hate; and blinded by the need to force their views and beliefs on others through verbal or physical attacks, I desperately search for a lifeline, a lifesaver to pull me to safety.

     What scares me the most is my inability to ascertain whether I can break my lifelong habits of silence when that lifeline comes along. Right now, the transgender group I have joined is that lifeline and I find myself thrashing, clawing and reaching with every essence of my being to grasp hold of it while still clinging to the safety of the silence I have made friends with, reluctant friends for sure, but nevertheless, friends.

     I will frequent this page, undoubtedly cry again and again, but for sure, I will find the strength in it to overcome the silence, one step at a time. I need to or forever be bound to a broken heart.
Now, more so than ever before, I realize through reading and listening to the news  that the pain I have endured and still endure has been shared by so many before me. It is helping me to cope and it is my sincerest hope that in some small way I too will serve to help those who are younger and struggling with the same silence and fears, that they may take the steps to reach out and touch base with those who really care as it may just make the difference between having a sad life or a happy one. Life is too precious to squander away as I have so learned — the hard way.

     I wrote this letter two years ago and have re-visited it often as I had stated.  I can now excitedly express that the silence has been broken as I live full time now as the female I have always known myself to be. Although I am still pre-op, I am experiencing more joy than I have ever felt in my life. The doors to the psychological prison that held me captive have been sprung open and I am free --- free to enjoy life to its fullest.

     That is not to say that everything is fantastic because my brothers, although not out rightly rejecting me, have pretty much shunned me out of the family; evidenced by my not getting an invitation to the annual family reunion cookout in August. Unlike other years, they also did not acknowledge my birthday this year. Naturally these situations hurt but I am on the road to the life that should have always been and I am not making any u-turns or taking any exits that will lead me back to the silence.
     One of the biggest and most joyous surprises I am experiencing in my journey is how so many people, whom I never expected to, have welcomed and embraced me into their hearts. These precious gifts affirm my life and reinforce my resolve to never let go or let it be taken from me again.               
                                                                                                                                                 Chelle Munroe©
 May 10, 2013

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