My Transgender Life: A Question of Balance

03/09/2016 03:55 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017


I'm looking for someone to change my life
I'm looking for a miracle in my life
And if you could see what it's done to me
To lose the love I knew
Could safely lead me to
The land that I once knew
To learn as we grow old
The secrets of our souls
- Justin Hayward (Moody Blues)

In my very best Seinfeld like voice, I'd like to ask:

"What is it about secrets?

I have the sense that each and every person has at east one secret that they dread anyone would ever find out. I really do not know if this is true or how to count or measure it, yet I believe it is very true - perhaps even universal constant.

For those of us who are trans, the secret is often so deep, it may well take a miracle in each of our lives, to even admit it to ourselves, let alone be visible enough to be counted. Holding the secret can often tear us up inside as we live in the fear of losing the love we know.

So, how do we keep the balance?

How do we keep a healthy relationship with ourselves while filling the needs that each of us, as a human, must have.

I think of these human needs can be summarized as follows:

- We need to be seen and heard
- We need to belong to a group
- We need to be touched (to generate Oxytocin)

In other words, we are and need to be "attached" to others. We have heard that no man is an island. We need others to grow - to survive. And yet.... We also are unique and need to be ourselves, and follow our own heart to live our own truth.

This is our ongoing question of balance. How can I be me while with others being we? I dreamt about "someone to change my life" and was "looking for a miracle in my life."

2016-03-06-1457275462-7861985-ScreenShot20150517at11.17.46AM.png

I was so afraid to let people know my secrets. I was married for 25 years and raised 3 children, and no one knew my truth. I tried to deny it myself. I lived in constant fear and therefore I limited the groups I would "belong" too. I was in fear that if I got close to others they would somehow find my secret. It seemed that it would be better to isolate myself than risk my secret being discovered.

My balance was precarious. What was inside me wanted to come out and I battled it for decades. The result was that for most of my life I did not have a very good relationship with myself.

In my early sixties I came to understand there was no one else who could give me the miracle and it was entirely in my power to change my like. Only I could do it, if I could ever get past the fear of potential losses. Could I be ME if I lost the WE's in my life?
Honestly I don't even remember all the details of how I chose to move forward and be willing to take the risk of losses to live my truth, but I felt continuing to deny what was inside of was no longer working,

Perhaps I would lose everyone and everything in my life, but the hope was that I would find myself. I am one of the lucky ones. The losses did not occur and I also found myself. This does not happen to everyone, so I take care in offering it as a universal prescription.

Yet, my journey to truly be me, has offered me the chance to create new relationships and new "WEs" that I would have never attempted before. I have made new friends in and out of the trans community and get to offer my whole self without holding back any secrets. Gosh, this is a so much easier way to relate to people. Who knew? And the best part, is that even though I have a somewhat public presence as a transgender person - via my writings and community involvement, many of my relationships have nothing to do with being trans.

There are many new balances in my life now. I am thankful each moment for this.

###

Grace Stevens is a transgender woman who transitioned at the age of 64 and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is a father of three, grandparent of two, athlete, advocate and author of No! Maybe? Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. Grace is available for speaking about authentic living with Live Your Truth. Visit her website at: http://www.graceannestevens.com/. Follow Grace on Twitter: www.twitter.com/graceonboard .