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A Personal Account

Becoming conscious: A transsexual awakening.


I have been alive for forty six and half years, but conscious for only the last three months. Oh I was aware of who I was, what I was, but far too scared to emerge from hiding, too reticent to talk about my true self, and lacking the courage to ask for my freedom.

So in the darkness I stayed for all that time, dreaming of the day when I might be able to step out into the light, to bathe in the sunshine, feel the breeze against my face. All the fragrances, colours, the sensations so long suppressed, I denied myself.

But one dark morning I awoke to find the daylight entering my gloomy hiding place, I watched in elation as the first feeble rays filtered through, and lifted my long depressed spirit.

Suddenly I not only had my courage, but also my voice, gagged for all that time. My cheeks were wet with joy, as tears flowed freely with grand relief, and I cried even more, because at last I could.

As the day wore on, the facade of my old protective self, melted away, no longer required. No need for aggression, excessive male acting, no more moodiness or anger untempered by reason. The wall around me collapsed, and my new world opened up.

Amidst all this positive realisation though, came a more negative and unwanted side, everything I had forgotten, because of my need to forget. Early childhood in foster homes, run by oppressive and uncaring people. Later being returned to an alcoholic father, a wife beater, a child beater, a dictator and brutal bastard who cared only for his beer.

Years of living in a tormented state, uncared for, unloved, tortured physically, mentally and spiritually. Never fitting in at home or school, being labelled anti social, for not mixing with my sexual peers. Being an easy target, becoming a victim, and never a moments respite.

My teenage years, hellish, being raped several times, bashed, abused, used, manipulated, wandering for years in a trance like almost insane state, moving from place to place, job to job, too scared to rest, unable to form any relationships.

Years trying to run away from myself and my past, verging on madness, confused, lonely, and trying to deal with all my problems as well my gender identity. Several suicide attempts. A cry for help, or a desire to put an end to my suffering? I survived, only to find the world was the same, the people hadn't changed, nor had I.

Finally, after several failed attempts by other means, I managed to abandon the country I was born in, England, a place I was never at home or felt welcome, and I migrated to Australia. I didn't bother to say farewell to a family I had truly never felt a part of. As the lights of England faded into the distance, I sighed with relief, and hoped I had left my nightmare behind.

In my adopted country I felt at home as soon as I landed ashore, and for the first time in my life, I had hope for a future. But my gender confusion was still with me, and for even more years I wandered from place to place, unable to settle.

My suicidal nature, first noticed when I was eight years old, was my only real companion on this nomadic journey, and placing myself in danger became a regular occurrence. How much I wanted to die, I had little reason to live, and no desire to be alive.

But I did not die, could not die, no matter how hard I tried. Standing in the darkness of the outback, I yelled abuse at the stars, at God, at whoever was doing this terrible thing to me. Why had I known I was different since the age of four? Why by the time I was eight did I recognise what I was? Why was I not "normal", like everyone else? I yelled until my throat was sore and dry, my face red from anger, but tears were few.

I had long since abandoned any religious ideas, but I still questioned as to why a God, if it existed, had abandoned me almost from birth. I listened to the silence, and wished I could cry.

Life though changes abruptly, and my life changed twenty one years ago. I found not only someone to love me, but who would teach me how to love. We married, though the in-laws were against the union. Over time we resolved our difficulties, had two sons, and despite my innermost desires screaming to get out, stayed happily married for twenty one years.

But in those years, my true self cried out for release, but could not be, for fear of losing what happiness I had. It became harder and harder as the struggle made me moody, ill tempered, and at times very difficult to tolerate.

The pain of living, of trying to be 'normal', almost drove me insane, and to the verge of self destruction many times. My facade was gradually weakening, and three months ago, it unexpectedly collapsed.

My name is Sarah, I am a woman, even if on the outside I look different. I know who I am, what I am, and I am free to yell it at last, from the highest building. But the pain of freedom is almost as hard as the pain of being imprisoned inside myself. My marriage is over, though my partner and I are still good friends, and love each other, if somewhat different, sisterly.

I am Sarah, I am a woman, and though the pain of loss and having to begin again is hard, I am at last conscious. I am free to move on, and have begun my journey to mind and body unity. I know little of what lies ahead, but I am learning fast, and unlike the past, I have a few good and loyal friends who know the new me, and have not turned away.

I am Sarah, I am a woman, proud to be so, glad to be so, my greatest dream is coming true, my deepest desire is now a reality. But I have so much to do, so much to learn, so far to travel over the next three or four years. My inner pain is still there, but with help from the people I could never ask before, I am working through it, slowly.

At last I can walk in the sunshine, having parted with my protective facade. I have something else to live for, and hope for the future. I realise now that I am not alone in my inner feelings, I am not unique or a freak, I am not mad or deformed.

I know I will face more pain, hostility, opposition, but what else can life do to me that I have not already had thrown in my face? I am at last conscious, in a mostly unconscious world.

I have no idea how many other sisters or brothers out there have shared some or all of my pain and troubles, but to those who have yet to find their freedom, I say this, do so, do it now, free yourselves. Life is so brief, we should all be able to enjoy our true selves, and live as we really should be.

In truth, "One cannot hide forever, sooner or later the mind and heart and inner spirit, must unite, and be free."

Peacefulness comes when all three unite, when denial ends, when the struggle stops, when the walls fall over.

Truth replaces disbelief, and relief, happiness and joy replace long held fear and repression.

The pain and reality that hurts so much for a short while, while consequential, cannot override in the long term, the freedom, the release, and the joy of really being.

'I am me', with such joyous clarity. Here is my true and real heart, mind and spirit, allowed to at last fly, be peaceful, be one.

The pain of the present will pass, the agony of the past, will eventually emerge and be free to leave, and the fears of the future, will be no more.

One mind, in harmony with an open heart, united with a free spirit. Truth is relief, relief is freedom, and peace of mind, at last."

Written with love, Sarah. (Adelaide. 26.6.98.)

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Sarah, (1999) About Gender: A Personal Account
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Last amended 07.01.99