On Growing Older

This post was written by my wife Haley.

Today I read a book titled, “In Our Mothers’ house.” (The title means mothers plural, even Word wants to be heterosexist and change it to “Mother’s” house.) This book tells the story about a lesbian couple through their lifespan as an elementary school children’s book. The story picks up with a lesbian couple adopting three kids and ends with those kids grown and eventually burying their moms after they got old and died. I couldn’t help but get teary eyed as I read the book to my five year old daughter. I found the story so beautiful. I saw a glimpse of me and my wife growing old together and how after raising our own four kids, we’d someday probably be grandmas together.  

And then it struck me, I’m okay with getting older. I can live with gaining wrinkles as the years pass. I can live with a future where someday I’ll be that old lady looking for a perm to give my grey hair some lift. This wasn’t always the case. Two years ago you see, I was a boy who didn’t like one aspect of growing into a man. It just didn’t sound right to me. It wasn’t me. My brain fundamentally dreaded aging as a man. This presented a real problem. I had a brain that didn’t match the gender I’d been assigned since birth. I needed to take some radical steps to get my life on a track that didn’t leave me hopelessly depressed as my body aged further into the male I knew I wasn’t. I took those scary steps. I left the life that didn’t fit me. I changed my name. I left a job as a minister where being male was part of the job description. I started seeing Doctors and got help. I started living openly as myself, and I shared this with everyone in my life. I started hormones. In many ways, I started over. This was no easy feat.

                As my transition has progressed and I’ve seen those physical changes come about, I’m entering a space where who I see looking at me in the mirror is someone I know. As I’ve spent the past year relating to people as a woman, I’ve gotten more confident and comfortable with who I am. And it is here that I’ve reached a beautiful place. My life is no longer this dreary process of getting older as a person I was supposed to be, instead I am daily living my life as me. I no longer am hiding who I am from view. I no longer second guess myself. I am who I am and I’m finally okay with that. As I start thinking to a future beyond transition, I’m looking to a future that I’m okay with. I can live with being a parent and watching my kids grow up when I know that my parenting comes from a place of honesty to them about who I am. I can live with seeing new wrinkles and having my shape shift with age when I know I’m living as me, and those marks and lines are gained in a life lived and not merely endured. I can live with the changes in lifestyle that seem to come with age, when I know that I will have had younger years when I wasn’t living in a fog.

Even the past spent living as a boy, is more palatable to my memory because I can look back now and see all of the steps and experiences that gave me the courage to become honest about who I am. I can see the love which binds two people over a marriage heading towards eight years but which spans considerable personal changes in ideas, and beliefs, and yes even gender.  We started perceived to be straight and now we are perceived to be lesbian. Those changes demonstrate to us that our love is real and it has grown through the beauty and adversity of those changes. As I think about a future spent with my wife, I smile! We’re a badass duo, we’ve taken the steps to live our lives to the fullest at every step thus far. The two people who could do what we’ve already done have what it takes to keep taking life by storm and enjoying all that life has to offer. We’ll navigate the changes. We get to enjoy being their for our kids. And when it is rough, we’ve been through tough patches before and we’ll climb that hill together.

Yes, I’m okay with getting older. Up to this day I’ve lived an exciting life. I’ve married. I’ve become a parent to four children. I’ve gotten an education. I’ve experienced living in two countries, Canada and my native U.S of A. I’ve had a career which taught me so much about love, empathy, and service. I’ve taken those skills into a new career that I am ready to embark on in cosmetology. Getting older means new experiences and an important part of my identity is now accepted by myself and expressed to the world I live in.  I’ve changed genders, a change which fits me perfectly. Becoming a grandma makes sense someday.  I am me, and aging doesn’t sound so scary to me anymore.

 

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