Hi, my name is Alli…
…okay, that’s not my real name. I mean it’s not the name I was given at birth. It’s complicated.
I’m a 48-year-old heterosexual white male. Single father of 3 teenage girls. I have risen to the top of an alpha-male dominated profession. I have always considered myself an alpha-male (I suppose most guys like to think of themselves in that way). At times I have felt like somewhat of a fraud but I never gave it much thought.
I have manly hobbies. I scuba dive (sharks!), I am a firearms enthusiast, I ride dirt bikes off-road and I have a street bike that goes so fast I can almost time-travel. I’m mechanically inclined. I can fix stuff.
I have an amazing, intelligent, successful and beautiful girlfriend. Although we currently have long-distance relationship we are incredibly tight and intimate. I absolutely love her.
So here I find myself in the summer of 2019.
So how do I say this?
I’m not in the correct body. My reflection in the mirror all wrong. I mean I know and like the guy I see (he’s a good person, okay looking) but that’s not the issue at hand.
I feel very much like a woman inside and I am unable to repress these feelings. My “rational” mind* tells me that this CAN’T be happening. It’s not possible. I don’t recognize this other person within. The true me.
These new thoughts and feelings brought with them much stress and anxiety. I must be mentally ill. There is something wrong with me. I must be gay. I can’t tell anyone. My girlfriend will surely leave me. What if my kids find out? What if I lose my job? I wanted this to just go away…
…or more accurately, I wanted to want this to go away. I felt that any actual man should not desire this situation. There was something I couldn’t ignore.
The profound good feelings associated with the situation I find myself in are just as present and strongly felt as the stress, anxiety, sometimes-sadness…
I have always considered myself to be self-aware and introspective. I expected that each new day would bring about the death of these bizarre thoughts. I’m 100% real man after all. Just ask my girlfriend.
My thoughts are weighed down heavily within each waking moment. I don’t know this person inside me. This is all-consuming.
Then, after much reflection (and a bit of help from a counselor and friends) I had to admit that I do know this person inside me. I know her very well. I have seen pieces of her in the past as far back as age 5. She is all the best parts of my male self. She is me. I am her.
Life will never be the same again.
My name is Alli. Serial abuser of ellipses, co-opter of narratives…transgender/non-binary something or other….
*or how I have been conditioned to think I should feel.