This is the third in my series “Memos to my Former Self”. The first was to my 7 year old self. The second was to my teenage self. This one is a letter to my older self, when I was 58 and on the cusp of finding out my truth.
I recently read a book (“Letters For My Sisters, Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect. Published by Transgress Press”) compiled with stories that trans* people wrote to their younger selves. They were asked “what would you say to your former self” and “to what age”?
Aloha Steph! Yup, I’m from Hawaii.
I see you finally settled on being a professional instructor, traveled the world (many many times over). Wow, very impressive. You’ve accomplished a lot! I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of what you have done with your life.
Oh yes, I know, lots of hard work and some catastrophes on the way. Like being director of global technical training for 12 years and then having that company be acquired and the entire training division cut and you out of a job …. But look, you got back in and are training again and are still traveling – although not internationally any more. But lets face it you were gone overseas almost 1 week out of 5 and were getting really tired of that.
Boy, you sure have changed your name a lot. As a young boy everyone called you Steven. Then later in high school you were Steve. When you were a director of training you proudly called yourself Stephen (Stefan). And now your are going with Steph. You will shortly find out why. I know your most favorite name in the world is ‘Stephanie’. I’ll come back to that.
Your two sons are married and they each have bought their own houses and have moved out. Wow, who would have known that in this economic climate you would have had to have them live with you for so long, even after they were married. You have given them a great start in life.
A lot has happened to you as of late: kids moving out, getting laid off from a job you held for 36 years, the agony of looking for a job for a half year and for the last 2 years you are back as a technical instructor. Add to this your wife’s depression and every night being on suicide watch is really putting a huge drain on you. I know. This is a hard part of your life. You just want to be happy and enjoy life. Hate to tell you this, it’s about to get worse. In the next year you will lose almost everything …
You have reached a crossroads in life and you know it! Well at least you have inklings of it at this point. I know you have a lot of pressures on you right now, from many different sources and angles. One of those is something your subconscious had buried long long ago – and now it’s coming back to consciousness.
You know what I’m talking about – but you don’t know to what extent this will lead you. You have just had a number of ‘interesting’ coincidences that are seeming to lead you into this. At work for example, the owners wife came into your office, shut the door, and confided in you – things that she would only tell another close girlfriend. You have also confided with your female co-instructor that inside, you feel as a woman.
A couple of months ago, you were asked to go into SecondLife, a virtual world, create an avatar and investigate the feasibility of using that as a remote/distance training platform. And what did you do? You created a female avatar for yourself. Yes, I know that your method, style and philosophy of training would best be matched this way. The students experience would be congruent.
But what happened next was a surprise for you huh? You found that being in as a woman was natural and a freeing experience, whereas, those times you were in as a male avatar, you found you were role playing and did not like that one bit.
You know all these things are leading up to something. Even the sequence of your nicknames points to this. You have recently had a couple of moments where you took time to think carefully about this and to mentally give yourself permission to continue. You will look back on these times and call them “your bathtub moments”.
Steph, these are real. You have had a trauma long ago when you were a small child. This caused your subconscious to deeply bury this truth about yourself. This was ok – it protected you and allowed you to achieve so much in your life. That’s a good thing Steph! However, that protection is not needed any longer. You have raised your children, your wife is pushing you out and seems to need independence. All these things are coming together that allow you to start to drop all the protections you have and start to see who you really are.
At this point you see yourself as a woman surrounded by and protected by this male called Steph. You have even named the woman inside ‘Sifan’ after the name that was given you in Beijing which you also used as your avatar name. This is a good start.
Do yourself a favor – look up ‘transsexual’… Read stories of those that have transitioned. See therapists that are knowledgeable in this area. This would save you a couple of years my friend!
Talk to your sister. She understands you and will be a huge help to you. Yes, I know you have already confided in her. But continue, she will be such a huge help for you in the coming storm.
Be careful but look for and seek out support. You will desperately need that – but be careful who you trust. This can be dangerous.
I already mentioned that you are going to lose almost everything in this next year. It’s a pretty bleak and dark storm. But storms pass and this one will as well. Some pretty awesome things lay ahead. You get married again, you move to Hawaii and you find a job at an observatory – your life long ambition!
Most importantly, you will become your true authentic self. Your deep secret will come to life and you will become – completely – who you deep down know you are: a woman.
You see, I know – because I am that woman: I AM SIFAN…
Sending you love and fortitude for the journey before you,
… your not so far in the future self: Sifan
PS: I kept our middle name as Stephenie (yes, ‘en’ as a nod to us)
((((((((((((((((((((((((hug)))))))))))))))))))))) Your plate has always been full hasn’t it? You have experienced soo much in your life and felt soo much pain………………fought tears yet again as i read the 3rd part of your post. i am going to reread this over and over again even as i reread your about. People like us share soo many similar experiences
Yes, there is a lot we share. But these journeys are so different. For myself, I haven’t found others that had deeply buried their true gender like I did. This made it very difficult, when it finally started to surface, to believe this was real and not something I was somehow ‘wishing’ for. Ya, I know – who would wish for this!
A huge question I had to answer was: why wasn’t this more prevalent or known by me as I went through my life like it has been for most others.
I hope these posts answer that ….