A letter written to that part of me who kept me safe until I was ready to show myself to the world. I have heard that many transgender people tend to abandon this portion of themselves who for so long protected them. I feel for me that my protector now requires love, thanks and protection.
My dear friend and companion,
When we were young we played together. I remember one of these days clearly. We played with cousins in the dirt. The Tonka trucks and excavating equipment was a way for you to show me how we could fit in with the boys. We were digging a potato storage cellar. It was just like the one the farmer nearby was building only on a much smaller scale. You drove the dump truck when its bed was full or dirt. It was your job to unload the dirt in a pile near the shallow trench which was forming. From there the dirt was scraped by a cousin using a road grater to form a berm around the trench. It was hot, dirty work well suited to little boys. I remember feeling a deep need, one which would not go away. I took the dump truck when you weren’t looking. I drove it to the kitchen. When I arrived, I announced to my aunt that I needed to take a load of lunch back to the boys who were working. I didn’t explain to anyone that I was playing the mother preparing a picnic for her boys. They wouldn’t have understood, but you knew. When I returned with the picnic, you explained to them that you got hungry and needed some sandwiches. I never thanked you for covering for me.
You became my protector, my example of who and what a young man should be. As a teen you showed bravado in the face of fear. I led you into fearful situations so many times. Each time you proved your value as my champion. The situations varied through those awkward years but you never failed me. You taught me how to pay attention to detail so I wouldn’t be found out. You taught me how to think through the many scenarios of possible outcomes which would be a result of my actions. This attention to detail and logical thought process has proven very valuable in building my IT career. I never thanked you for teaching me these lessons.
I hid so many times behind the face you showed the world. When I was ashamed of an action you stood in my place when I was confronted. I’m not too proud of some of the stories we came up with to explain what had happened but I am glad I had you to hide behind. I felt so fragile during those times. You were strong. I learned from your strength. I never thanked you for this.
We entered high school together. I admired you so much. I emulated everything you had done for me over the years. I portrayed your essence with such precision. We became indistinguishable at times. I made quite a number of friends as a result. I showed them all the lessons you taught me. I even met a special someone. You taught me to interact with the world on their terms. I never thanked you for this.
The college years were soon upon us. We had become nearly inseparable. I did find time every once in a while to be myself. It was a very stressful time for me. Once when I thought I would disappear forever, you gave me shelter in your personality, in your very being. I found comfort with you for a few years. No matter how busy our schedule became you still allowed time for me to be myself. I wasn’t sure I deserved this time. You told me that I had value. I never thanked you for believing in my worth.
I became a parent, twice. You showed me how to teach my children to be boys. I was jealous of your skill. I became very angry with myself over this jealousy. Those near me suffered from my inability to express myself. I asked for more time to be myself and you indulged me. You showed me kindness when I feared all others would shun me. It felt so good to be me. I began to steal away some of your strength. You didn’t mind. I never thanked you for giving me strength and showing me kindness.
We began to have disagreements with each other. I wanted even more time as me. You continued to tell me it wasn’t safe yet, that others would hurt, ridicule, or even kill me. I felt things needed to change. Your arguments were much stronger than mine, I relented and we became one again. You kept me safe, even through the discord of a divorce. I never thanked you for providing this safety.
We met a very special person. We decided I would again hide behind your strength, and knowledge and in the safety you could provide. From time to time I would show myself. I began to grow in the environment you provided. I became stronger, wiser, more capable of letting others see me. You saw this. You enjoyed seeing me grow stronger. I didn’t know then that you were growing old before your time. I didn’t know that you were training me to be able to stand on my own. I began to believe that I truly had value. I wanted to show myself to the special person we had met. You explained she wouldn’t understand. I persisted. I was relentless. Eventually, after many years, you agreed. I was timid. I was unsure. I drew from your strength. I showed a portion of myself to her. She didn’t hate me. Were you wrong? Were you testing my resolve to show others who I am? You began to be much more lenient toward when I could show myself.
I decided it was time to show myself to others. You cautioned me vigorously of the dangers I would face. I reminded you of all the lessons and skills you had provided me. We debated for a long time. I thought you gave in to teach me a lesson. I now know I was as strong as you because of the things you taught me. We decided I would go out for a drink. I found a place which was supposed to be safe, to be friendly. I got dressed. You whispered little things in my ear, both supportive and surprisingly hurtful. I went out anyway. Your whisperings continued. I became nervous and left for home before I could show anyone who I am. At the time I despised you for the hurtful things said. I know now I was not ready. I did not thank you for teaching me to have caution.
Many more years passed. I have become very strong. I have become very determined. I am becoming a happy person. I still look to you for guidance. I search the room I’m in only to see an old man. Is it you? Did all the years of protecting me bring old age to you this soon? You look so frail now. Tears come to my eyes as I realize you gave everything you were to protect me, to allow me to grow into the person I am. I feel very honoured to have had you by my side for my entire life.
It is now my turn. It is my turn to protect you. To cherish the the times we shared. To keep you with me always. To be your loving mother as you fade in the memories of others. To me you will always be my strong protector, my champion, the person I could not be. I can not thank you enough for all you have given me. It will be my pleasure to now protect you.
I love you dearly,