No, not the Same

Looking for an exit in this world of fear
I can see the path that leads away
Mama never left, and daddy needs me here
I wish the wind would carry a change
Looking through the window to a world of dreams
I can see my future slip away
Honey you won’t get there if you don’t believe
I wish the wind would carry a change

We say it all the time, in a somewhat vain effort to explain ourselves to those we love, “I’m the same person on the inside”. The thing is, we are always changed in some way, or at least we can release the things about us that were always hidden sometimes even from ourselves. I am the same person in some ways, perhaps things like tv shows and movies I love or my favorite color. But then again, my favorite color was midnight blue and is now lavender. I always just said “midnight blue” because I didn’t seem to ever have an answer. I am trying to reassure my best friend, my wife, my family, that I am the same person, but I’m just not. I am so much better than who I pretended to be. I’m not trying to be someone I never was, I’m not trying to replicate what I believe how men act. My lack of privilege, embracing who I am, living my life without a mask and encountering others who change my paradigm, these are some of the things that inform who I am as a person.

I’ve had enough
I’m standing up
I need, I need a change
I’ve had enough
Of chasing luck
I need, I need a change

In our panic to not lose the people in our lives that we love and respect, we exaggerate our assurances. “I’m the same person”, “Nothing is going to change between us”… sounds like the bride or groom talking to their best friend the night before they get married, doesn’t it? Things will change, we won’t be the same people. We know this and you know it, but we fear losing those we love due to change so we indulge each other in the shared lie to comfort the both of us. We need the understanding of our loved ones so badly when we come out. But, I don’t think I have ever been able to adequately explain what it is to be transgender. I expect it is as hard to explain being cisgender, but cis people don’t often have to explain themselves. It’s devilishly hard to find the proper words and context to explain something that another person has no concept of. Give it a try sometime, you will be surprised at how hard it is. 

I’m setting fire to the life that I know (I know)
Let’s start a fire everywhere that we go (we go)
We starting fires,
We starting fires till our lives are burning gold
Till our lives are burning gold

I think my friends and family have noticed that I have changed in more ways than just my appearance. I have noticed changes in them as well, good changes. My coming out affected more than just my personality, there are reverberations that go through those I am close to as well. Understanding – A paradigm shift. It’s what changes them. Understanding gives them insight into who I am, something I have always avoided anyone getting the chance to do. In this way, I was unfair to my ex-wife, she didn’t have a chance as I just didn’t trust her with who I am. It’s not really her fault, I mean we were terrible together, but I didn’t help that, exacerbated that with my secret. My wife, Michelle, I already trusted her. I just didn’t know how to form the words, it took me longer than I liked to tell her. My best friend, Joe, was oddly easy to tell despite my frantic efforts to hide it all when we were roommates. My in-laws, Donna, Chris and Taylor, Kristen, our children, I learned to trust in humanity from them all. That despite any one person’s flaws, they could still accept me, love me for just being me. That I have changed in more than just a cosmetic way is a fact, I have learned about myself and my view of the world will be forever changed because of my own understanding. I used to be conservative, quick to anger, arrogant and self-involved, apathy for others and felt like a complete fake the entire time. I still have my flaws, some old and new, but they are genuine flaws and not manufactured by hiding who I was. 

Looking for my ticket to a higher place
I can see my chance begin to fade
One step forward and two back again
I wish the wind would carry a change

I have changed a lot, from embracing who I am privately, to coming out to everyone in my life and work. I have grown more, emotionally, in the last three years than I have in my entire life. There is a power in the acceptance and understanding of self. No, I am not the same, no human can stay the same upon learning new information and especially learning that information about themselves. We are better for the change, we are all better off learning and growing.

Looking back I see I had the flame in me
I’m the wind that’s carrying a change

Excerpts from ”Burning Gold” by Christina Perri

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