Searching For That Next Breath

Hayden - Valparaiso, Indiana
Entered on April 30, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe it was the summer of 96’ when I realized that I was different. All of the signs pointing to my transgenderism were obvious; however no one knew how to read them. I spent many sleepless nights wondering what I did wrong to have God punish me like this. No matter what I did or said, I couldn’t convince my family that I was a boy.

The hot salty tears I shed many years ago still stain my face. My hard hands still throb, reminding me of those endless nights in which I changed my alcoholic fathers’ sheets. No matter how hard I tried to get rid of my haunting memories, they are engraved in my mind forever. Like a black and white movie stuck on replay, I can’t forget those times.

I believe it was these moments that molded me into the person I am today. The times when I stood on the spinning wheel of ambivalence, trying relentlessly to come to terms with my gender identity, shaped me into the determined human being I am today. The moments when I stayed up all night tending to my fathers’ terrifying withdrawals burned a sense of compassion upon my heart. When I stood on the edge of my severely depressed life, deciding whether or not to jump, it gave me a sense of longing to find the answers I’ve been searching for for so long.

Perhaps it is within these situations where we find out who we truly are. Not if we’re strong or wise, but if we are determined enough to keep moving forward with each passing day. Maybe all of the pain we endure, whether emotionally or physically, has some sort of significance in our lives. Perhaps it is God’s way of showing us the power of hope, love, and faith.

Deep within our souls there is a longing for something more. Whether it is the longing to be a better person in general or the natural mother’s longing to finally have a child, it is a feeling that will not vanish into thin air. Even though there are many people who choose to live in the past, refusing to let go to all that happened to them, we still need to find the strength to put one foot in front of the other. I believe that hurt, disappointment, and betrayal isn’t a burden we carry with us each day, but a precious gift which gives us the longing to keep taking that next breath.