once upon a time...
When I started my journey, I had just gotten out of a relationship that was, to say the least, toxic.
I was 24 when everything had finally come together. I had learned what these feelings were that I was experiencing and I was determined to take the steps necessary to "fix" it. I had realized that the relationship I was in wasn't working and this was a pretty big bomb to drop on top of everything.
I realized I needed time for myself.
This was a pretty big deal for me, especially since I was so conditioned to the "typical" ways of being a lesbian (dating, moving in together and settling down). Now that I had realized who I was and what it was I needed to do, I realized that I needed time for myself.
So; the relationship ended. The engagement was called off. We parted ways. I was now in this new world of self-discovery and I was terrified. At the time, My ex and her mother were the only ones who knew how I felt about myself and I had just disconnected myself from both of them. Looking back on it now, it was the right move but at the time it felt like I was thrown into a pool without knowing how to swim.
...and then the self-discovery began.
I began to seek out fellow trans* men on social media to feel some sort of connection to the community. Any connection, really. I soon began to realize that where I was at in life was really similar to where others were at. A little lost, a little scared, a little nervous but not in the least afraid. That's when the self-discovery truly began.
so i decided to start dating.
Let's fast forward through time to about 1 year on testosterone. At this point, I had been single for a year, come out to my family, my friends and even my employer. I was feeling pretty damn good about where I was at in my life and where I was going. So I decided to start dating.
I'm the kind of person who finds it hard to talk to people in person because sometimes the dad jokes and puns come on too strong, so dating online was the option I went for. It was so easy to be myself while talking to others online. I stumbled upon this one girl. Her and I got along really well and, before I knew it, we were talking about meeting in SF for a weekend to get to know each other more and see if this relationship was something that we both wanted to pursue.
I drove, and drove, and drove.
It had been decided that we would meet in SF because it was somewhere that I wanted to visit again, and also somewhere that had a lot of culture and things to do while we visited. I hopped in the car one weekend in August and I drove, and drove, and drove. For 13 hours straight until I got to the city. We had a great time, connected on a lot of things, but what was most important to me was the fact that she got me. Not like "oh yeah I know you're trans* it's fine", but she got me on a deeper level. How I felt about myself, how I felt when a certain shirt didn't quite fit right. How I felt when she would call me a handsome man and respect everything that I wanted to be. That I needed to be.
This was a new thing for me because I honestly felt like I was going to forever be alone and had accepted that as a fact. I had made a commitment to myself that I was not going to change for anyone else, nor that I would put myself second in any situation just to simply accept love from someone else. Finally, it seemed as though I didn't have to.
man, I wasn't prepared for this.
Upon returning to Phoenix, her and I decided that she was going to move here so that we could continue our relationship. We had decided on 6 months after we met, but it ended up being just a short month later. She packed up all of her things, drove straight down, and that was the start of the most eye-opening experience of my entire life. Man, I wasn't prepared for this.
After meeting for only one short weekend, we lived together. No tip-toing around, we went for it. It was going really well for a while and I finally started to let my guard down. I was nowhere near where I wanted to be, but she saw who I wanted to be and treated me as such. It was magical. I was in a successful queer-trans* relationship that I never thought I would find.
the train started to lose control.
As time went on, we moved into our own place and we both got better jobs. We were making it and it was lovely. It wasn't the nicest apartment and we were broke most of the time, but we had fun and enjoyed each other's company. Not long after we moved into the apartment, the train started to lose control.
She had gone to visit her mother for about a week or so. It was then that we began to become distant and less connected than before. Her mother didn't care for me much and often referred to me as a "monster" while mis-gendering me. I took it with a grain of salt though, because she's a part of a different generation. A less-educated generation. When she got back from her trip, she had told me that she was moving. To New York. She needed to take care of her family there, which was totally understandable. But where did that leave us?What would happen? My entire life as I knew it was in Arizona.
She had decided on a moving date and began to pack her things around our apartment. We were separating my clothes from hers and re-organizing the bathroom so that it was just my things that were left. It was weird. Eerie, really. We had decided that I was going to stay behind so that I could have top surgery covered by my job (at the time). The day finally came when we packed up her rental car with her belongings. The same ones that she had not long before that brought down when she moved to Arizona. We cried, said goodbye about 100 times and then I watched her drive away, never to see her again.
then we were strangers
I walked back upstairs to our now semi-empty apartment, turned all of the lights off and laid in the bed that we had woken up in together that very morning. I cried. Like... ugly cried. I knew then that this was going to unravel and eventually end, but I didn't want to accept it. I kept it in my mind that I was going to move across the country for her so that we could start a new life in a town that no one knew us in. Over time, we spoke less and less. The calls became shorter, the texts became more scarce. Then we were strangers.
the point is...
I felt like I was back to square 1, standing at the drawing board trying to make sense of the past year of my life. I had opened myself up for the first time to someone. Something that was once so euphoric and happy has turned into this dismal mess of feeling like I'm not good enough, like some sort of mis-matched toy that was intriguing for a moment, then discarded.
This was nearly 2 years ago, now. I have grown so much since then. Both physically and mentally. I had found someone who accepted me for who I was and respected me as such once, and soon realized that I can do that again. I learned that relationships are stepping stones in life to help you grow. To help you see things in yourself that you might not have seen beforehand.
Living my life as a single, queer trans* man has not always been an easy journey. It's not always been a walk in the park, but damn has it been worth it.
I know what I can offer myself. I know who I am and what I want in life. Most of all, I know that I'm not a mis-matched toy. I'm one-of-a-kind and anyone who I date is damn lucky to have me.
I am respectful.
I am intelligent.
I am engaging.
I am funny.
I am confident.
I am a lover.
I am worthy.
I am grateful.
I am all of these things, but most of all, I am myself. I. Love. Myself. Without this entire experience, I don't know where I would be. I am so grateful to have experienced such heartache because it allowed me to pick myself up and really focus on figuring out who I was.
For any of you who are going through something similar, I want you to know that your first relationship as a trans* man may not be the only one, and that's okay. You will learn and you will grow and you will start to discover all of these wonderful things about yourself and about your life that you may not have reaized before. It's okay, I promise. Get to know yourself before you get to know someone else. You will find love and happiness in someone else again, but first you need to find that love and that happiness in yourself.
YOU CAN CALL ME DANISH
Writing about my life and experiences as a white, transgender, queer male.