This isn’t about me forgiving anyone, it’s the other way around. I turns out, I only hold three grudges from my 39 years on this planet: my ex-wife, another trans person that single handedly destroyed a support group, and a counselor that turned on the trans community. For me, there are three groups that I cannot let forgive me. These lives that I tried to destroy are what keeps me from ever attaining peace.
- My Father: Melvin was my step-father. He and my mother married when I was about 5 years old. I was very, very resentful. I had only remembered a loving relationship with my biological father David. I resented Melvin even more when he adopted me at the age of 8. I grew up believing that Melvin was physically abusive to me. He was. He will admit he was a very stern man. I never forgave him and I never made it easy on him. I always longed to see my father again, David.At the age of 16, after an intense argument with my mother, she revealed that David wasn’t my father, it was in fact, as far as she knew, a man named Doug, whom I had never met. I did met him when I was 20. I have several brothers, apparently. We couldn’t have a relationship. Doug was convinced that I “wanted” something, when all I wanted was a father. Needless to say, this did not help my relationship with Melvin.At 21, I wrote a legal petition to have my original adoption overturned and was once again the legal son of David. I tried to foster a relationship with him and his family. We didn’t mesh very well. After they found out I was suffering from Gender Identity Disorder, they never would have anything to do with me again (or so it seemed).
Years later, at 29, still bearing David’s last name, I transitioned from male to female. It was time to pick a new name. I had fostered a better relationship with my parents than I had in years past. Knowing I could legally pick whatever last name I wanted, I instead asked my parents if they would mind if I used their last name once again. They could not consent. I was to much of an embarrassment. I picked the last name of my closest friend, Don.
It may seem that I was the victim, but I was not. I was reaping what I had sown. I had been a horrible child. I was an embarrassment. I had hurt my family very much. I was deserving of no less.
- My Children: At the age of 7 and 8, my children were torn from me. My wife had all she could stand of my secret cross dressing. She found someone else and ran off to another state with my children. I couldn’t cope and attempted suicide. That was June 14, 1999. I got to see them for one day on Labor Day that same year and again on June 30, 2000 when I met them for a supervised lunch. In their current resident state of Oklahoma my ex-wife had a restraining order against me. Apparently, if you are a threat to yourself then you are a threat to others. I didn’t get to see my children again until Thanksgiving of 2003.I was not allowed to speak with them or visit them. I was threatened early on by my wife and her new husband that if I did not allow her new husband to adopt my children that in addition to me, my family would never be allowed to see my kids again either. In the judicial climate then as now, that was not an idle threat. Trans people simply don’t get any consideration in this country.I was beaten down emotionally and financially. I was ruined. Continuing to pay for the children’s health insurance plus $670 a month in child support plus ALL of the marital debt was more than I could bear. Bringing home $900 every two weeks and subtracting all the money that was going to my ex-wife left me for two weeks during a snow storm with no power and no food. Even while wearing slacks and a tie to work every day, I could only budget enough to get one bean burrito and cup of water from Taco Bell as my meal for the entire day. I’ve never been so destitute and hopeless in my life.I finally relented and allowed the adoption to take place. The financial burden was gone.
I didn’t fight for my kids.
- My Friend: after the suicide attempt, I was rescued by my boss Chet – literally. Had he not found me in my home, I would be dead. After being hospitalized, my house being burglarized, and me left with absolutely nothing, Chet opened up his home to me. He and his wife gave me a place to live for months. They fed me, cared for me, and nursed me back to health. When I was hospitalized I weighed 215 lbs. When I was discharged I weighed 150 lbs. Chet and his wife did their best to help me put the weight back on with their good cooking. Through Chet’s efforts, Philips Electronics allowed me to continue working from Chet’s home until I could walk again. Chet did everything he could for me.I transitioned while still working at Philips Electronics. It was hard for Chet and others, but he was a real trooper. He really tried. I was touchy and hormonal. I guess that can be expected when going through your second puberty. He slipped up a few times and made me feel uncomfortable. I made a complaint against him and resigned from the company. That complaint caused him some professional loss.What hurt him the worst was having someone he cared for as deeply as his own child figuratively spit in his face and walk out on him.
I, my friends, am a scumbag. I’ve never been able to forgive myself for those broken relationships. Even though I get along well with my children and father, our relationship will never be healed. My friend, Chet, will never forgive me. As such I cannot forgive myself. So while others may think I’m altruistic, they are wrong. I’m selfish. I help others to diminish my own pain. It’s my own penance.
Please offer no words of consolation. Please offer no comment. Everyone has a cross to bear. This is mine.