Here comes my story. Along with clichés. But most importantly, the truth. Ever since I was young I've felt different. Something just wasn't right, and I never knew what it was. I had more friends that were boys, I got along better with boys, and I liked it that way. It felt better than being a girl. Which, looking back, never felt right. I didn't have a bad childhood. My parents did not make me that way, I was just considered a "tomboy". There was nothing wrong with it, and it was no one's fault. It's still no one's fault.
From the very beginning I have been good at sports. I loved it. I made the travel soccer team before I was supposed to, before the rest of the kids my age did, I swam and played basketball for CYO, I played volleyball, made the varsity softball team of my high school in 9th grade, and the varsity soccer team. My grandparents taught me how to golf, my dad taught me how to hunt and fish, my brothers taught me how to skate. I was throwing myself into sports from an early age to keep myself busy, and it was fun. But I was trying to find something. Something that would fill the void inside of me, and make me feel like I was normal.
The move from middle school to high school was an interesting one. I separated from some friends, and gained others. I started to get close to my third cousin Sarah, and ended up helping at her school with her theater club. We started getting closer and closer as friends and not only did we start to hang out more, but I got to know some of her friends also. I'm not sure when it happened, but I fell head over heels in love with Sarah. Every part of me was screaming "but I'm supposed to be a girl!! And I know I'm not a lesbian!" and "it'll never be okay. she's your cousin." So I did my best to hide it. And when I couldn't really do that, I tried to shift my focus of affection from Sarah to her friend Liz. That didn't work either.
Summer of 2008. I've just graduated high school, made it the whole time without throwing myself at Sarah (much to my own surprise), and it seems like not many people (unless I told them in secret) knows the wiser. Success. Sarah is working during the summer out east in Hampton Bays. Now since 2004 when I knew for sure that I was in love with Sarah, I have been talking myself into it. Convincing myself that the past 4 years have not been in vain, and maybe someday she'll come to love me the way that I love her despite the fact that we're family (but really, third cousins? Who cares? And we can't even biologically have kids...). So I've been going for it. And working my ass off to woo her. Yes, I said 'woo'. And (again, much to my surprise) it seems to be working. I've got her hooked, I know it. We're up talking until all hours of the night, we're falling asleep in each other's arms. It was perfect. But I couldn't kiss her. I was a coward.
September 6th, 2008. Freshman year. I'm visiting Sarah at Purchase and for what must have been about 15 seconds and feels like a lifetime, she's been laying there with her eyes closed, giving me the kiss-me face. I manage to find some courage somewhere in the universe, and I kiss her. And my jaw has never been so clenched, and my lips so tight. It was like a 4 year old making a Ken doll kiss a Barbie. Honestly, it was pretty terrible. You can ask her, she'll tell you.
The next day was panic. We didn't really talk about it, but she kept saying "it's okay, really" over and over and all I could think was damnit I ruined it. And that'll never happen again. And I swear I can kiss better than that, really. And for the next 2 weeks we called each other every night talking about it. What would the family say, and how are we going to work this out, and damnit I swear I can kiss better than that! And when she came to visit me in Albany, we had a do-over of our first kiss. It was much better, thanks for asking.
We've been together ever since.
2010. Gender Studies Class. "Today we're going to talk about transgenders." Tranny jokes ensue, Birdcage references made. The usual that I'm familiar with. But then we really started talking about it. Like real adults. And it's not just Birdcage trannys. I'm sitting in class, next to my friend "JPK", and it fucking hits me. That's it. That's what this is. I'm a boy in here, that really happens. People deal with this all the time, and I could take hormones, and get surgery, and the outside would match the inside. I'm thrilled that I finally, FINALLY, figured out what the hell is wrong with me. And it's not wrong at all, it's just lesser known.
Ever since that day I have been dreaming of a new life. A life where I can really be myself, and be a bro instead of a hoe. A day when I can take my shirt off at the beach and not get fined for it. And play shirts vs skins basketball and be on the skins team. A five o'clock shadow. A deeper voice. Easier muscle growth.
Well, it's happening. Thursday will be my first day of hormone therapy, and I'll start taking testosterone shots. My parents are not thrilled, and I didn't expect them to be. It's okay that they're upset, and don't understand. Because growing up here on Long Island, I didn't understand either. And if I hadn't gone away to school and taken that class, and then gone to trans meetings, and support groups, I wouldn't even be close to where I am today.
I'm nervous, impatient, but most of all excited. I'm finally on the road to becoming a real boy. People may not understand, and that's okay. All I can do is live my life, and try to teach some people along the way. But that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to live my life. I have been the rock of this family forever. And my brother Michael told me that I should do what makes me happy, and that love is love, and if people love me, they'll come around. Since he said it, and since he died, I've come to realize more and more that life is too short to not do what makes me happy. So thanks to him, and others who have said the same things, I have the courage to do it now.
Because life is too damn short. And that's the truth.