A Letter To A Past Life
I started writing this on 8/21/2021. The significance of this date to me is it was 4 years to the day since I met my therapist and started to question my gender and who I really was. I often refer to that day as both the worst day of my life and the best day of my life. It would be the worst day of my life because I started to go down the road of exploring my gender and giving up all my male privilege. It was something I thought I was prepared for and yet I was sadly mistaken. The dysphoria that set in, the depression and even the suicidal ideations would test the limits of my sanity.
And it was also the best day of my life. Because in that day I found out that dreams really can come true. Maybe I would never have a model’s body. I wouldn't ever be able to give birth. And that’s ok. I got a gift more precious than one I could have ever believed to be true. I got to shed my mask and be a woman. I was going to get to experience life on both ends of the gender spectrum. How cool is that? How many people get to have lived experiences as both a man and a woman? I'm one of the lucky ones.
There was a small part of me that hoped I would be able to walk out of that appointment knowing that I was not transgender. That all these thoughts I had were nothing more than silly little fantasies that everyone had. Let's be honest though. Who really uses their birthday wishes, or wishes on a shooting star, to have a body of the opposite sex? Who thinks about how to get their hands on birth control pills or over the counter estrogen so they could grow breasts? Not someone who is cisgender.
It's been a long time since I've said that name, much less heard that name. I still see photos of you show up in my memories now and then and you look so foreign to me. I know that at one time I was you and yet I still have to think for a second before it registers that at one time it was you searching in the mirror to find me within your eyes. I remember you staring intently into the mirror, hoping against all hope that you would see me, that you would hear me begging and screaming to be let out. I look in the mirror now and it's almost as if you're gone. And yet I know in my heart that wherever you are, you're smiling at me, for me, for us!! It's hard to believe it's only been just over 2 years since you handed over full control to me. I now know how hard it was for you to let go of your normalcy. Being Greg was all you knew.
You never were very good with change, a habit I am still trying to break honestly. Looking back, I can see now how hard it was for you to give up your safety net and let me venture into your life and then into the world. It was super scary, and I know now that you did the best you could to prepare me for this. It still wasn't easy. There were so many struggles to get to this point of my life. When I was thinking about writing this, I was going to tell you that you left me woefully unprepared for what I was going to face in the coming months. Now that I'm writing this though? There was no way you could have known what I would face. I can tell you this though. For so long, I hated you. I resented you. I blamed you for this body and the state it’s in.
I know that you hated this body too and that you did everything you could to destroy yourself. Can I tell you a secret? I'm glad you didn't. I understand now Greg. And while I may jokingly cuss you every now and then, I secretly weep for you sometimes and the pain you had to endure. I'm really glad that I was told to show empathy when I wrote you 2 years ago because it wouldn't sit well with me today knowing I said those things to you. You were so much stronger than you gave yourself credit for.
When you wrote to me, before passing the proverbial baton to me, you told me that life isn't a sprint and to cherish every passing moment. You weren't the only one to mention that to me. And while at first, I did see this as a race, even knowing that transition was going to be a long arduous process, your words did linger in the back of my mind. Oft times, maybe in my lower points or in my reflective moments, I have been able to cherish those memories. My name change for example, the day that I officially existed in this world.
I am fortunate to have witnessed so many firsts in the 2 years since we last spoke. I think you would be very proud of me. I have found friendship and a new family in my community and have been blessed to be looked up to for guidance on occasion. I think that is a carry over from your life, being a leader. I channeled your energy into the local LGBTQ community and it's really nice to be able to help and advocate for people like me now. It's been therapeutic for me.
It hasn't been all peaches and cream though. For a while I struggled with depression and suicidal ideations and for now, I've beat it. I've been so fortunate to have an amazing support system in place, people that just will not let me sabotage myself no matter how hard I tried to. And through my journaling and speaking about my struggles I was able to help myself and found this passion to help others and to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. Do you want to know something funny? For our community center, I am a part of the training committee. Me! You hated talking in front of people and for so long I was afraid as well. But I found my voice! And let me tell you, when you find your voice, that’s a powerful moment. I'm changing lives Greg, and it's partly because of the foundation you left for me.
I feel much more connected to the world around me now and I've found value in my interpersonal relationships. Life is finally worth living for me. I just hate that you had to suffer all that alone. You were so brave for so long, protecting me until I was ready for this world. And while I had growing pains to go through as I learned to navigate the world and my own womanhood, I just want you to know that it was worth it. I think I've finally found my closure Gregory. What started 4 years ago as your unraveling to when you handed me the keys 2 years ago, the journey is complete now. There are still milestones I hope to hit, mainly in the form of surgery, yet for the most part I feel complete. So, thank you. Thank you for giving me the foundation. Thank you for listening to my screams to be let out. Thank you for watching over me these last 2 years. You can rest now knowing that I can handle it from here. Maybe one day I will check in again. For now, just rest knowing that this vessel you left me has done and will do even more amazing things.
I love you Gregory. Words I never thought I would say and yet it is true. Rest.
Lillith Raine Campos