2014 was far more impressive and progressive than this blog has recorded. Regardless, this truly has been the kind of year I both anticipated and was surprised by.
In my first entry of the year, I was just beginning to take strides to begin living daily full-time as a female rather than just one day of the week. I was still so weak and unsure of myself back then, but I knew what I wanted to accomplish. I knew what was necessary. Now, there’s zero awkwardness in living under the same roof. I am more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ver been. It’s now fairly uncommon when I feel as though I’m less than the girl I am. This surprised me.
I anticipated that 2014 would be “a year of rebirth for me and many others.” The legal and social implications of holding down a job and presenting daily as female respectively almost held me back. However, I took the dive because I knew I had to. I commuted by public transportation & worked my first job as Nina, deliberately placing myself through the worst kind of hell on a weekly basis. The experience of taking to the streets and seeing the same faces even though I wasn’t perfect thickened my skin, made me incredibly confident, and set a firm foundation for what was to come.
During that period, I realized I wanted to come out publicly as a transgender female in the most meaningful, accessible way possible. So while train commuting, I began composing a speech that I later realized I wanted to deliver in the style of a TED talk. Why? I wanted to challenge myself to do what TED speakers do for 10/15/18 minutes. I spent four months cultivating it and began memorizing it around June/July. Though I still hadn’t perfected it, I recorded the video the day before my birthday with a midnight release the next day on August 3rd. As expected, people came in droves to wish me a “happy birthday” and were instead welcomed with a face and voice they knew yet didn’t know. This was the most liberating experience of my life and broke open the dam for candid, questioning conversation with people I hadn’t spoken to in quite some time. The most surprising twist of 2014: No one unfriended me that I didn’t unfriend myself, and the people who mattered were verbally supportive of me.
Many would find it unsurprising that this did not include my father who only recently called me earlier this month. He explained his reasons and I respected them…after giving him a piece of my mind. He will need quite some time before he’s touting me around as his creative daughter…if ever.
Though on the flip-side, my mum and brother have come come around in a very big way. A year after coming out to her and my older sister – the latter having been generally supportive from the start – I was able to eventually force my mum into a real conversation about how not using my name and proper pronouns was damaging my well-being & self-esteem. That led to us to accepting how our communication was not working and slowly remedying that. My mum explained that to my brother and now he’s also trying…in his own awkward way. They slip with pronouns, but I just gently remind them. I understand that it’s a process.
Coming out publicly didn’t transform my entire existence, nor did it shatter my life’s work. I did fear losing everything I had built up, but I remained composed and calculated, which brought me out practically unscathed. My life has opened up in ways that were locked away and otherwise nonexistent to me. Conversations and relationships I believed I could never attain were forged. Standing up for myself and gender identity had me experience my first ardent sensation of standing against transgender discrimination, barring me from attending the wedding of my two closest friends. I have met a few other lovely trans* ladies because of my openness. Business relationships & audition opportunities have continued to evolve in positive directions, along with the shift to establishing myself as a versatile, vocally androgynous, female voice talent.
My new trans/HRT-friendly doctor that I began seeing said to me:
“When you first came around, you seemed so unsure of yourself. You have become so strong.”
My 2014 story as a transgender female may seem picture perfect, but it isn’t. Though I don’t deny that my strong-minded, unapologetic, outspoken nature of Ren’Ai – that once only existed in this space – has finally connected with me in my daily life, that doesn’t mean that I am impenetrable. My current living situation is not the best right now. Twitter has taken the place of much of my writing instead of sharing here or putting it towards actual stories. And honestly, I tend to keep a lot of my struggles and frustrations regarding my ability to create meaningful content to myself. I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough of my part or if my part in the trans* conversation is even worth anything. I try to joke less about never ending up in a loving relationship.
I only know what I want and I doubt that’s what any of you want. I create to connect. If I don’t connect, then I either adapt or move on. This entry was my way of attempting to start a better connection, but perhaps I haven’t provided enough value. My time is stretched so widely and don’t know what is worth sharing here in most cases. So I wait until moments like these, hoping my memoirs are worth any attention.
2015 will be an life-changing year. As time has proven, I know I can be better. Here’s hoping my writings can connect with you this year. For now, I need to get physically better as I have started the new year with sickness of the nose and throat kind.
Thank you for reading.