In 2016, I was struggling with the weight of being transgender. Coming to terms with how I felt about my gender identity and who I am. In November 2016, I was planning to commit suicide because I felt that I would never be able to fully be happy with myself.
I spoke on how accepting my gender identity changed my life in a previous article, but I really want to take the time to focus on how I felt before reaching out for help because it is something that many transgender people will feel before starting their transition.
The first thing I started to worry about was what my parents would think of me, would they still love me? Would they think I was a disappointment? Would they think I’m crazy, or perhaps they’d never be able to understand and would think I am confused or stuck in a phase?
I struggled with the thought of disappointing them for so long because out of everyone in life the people who gave you life are supposed to mean something to you. They accepted the fact that I was sexually attracted to men, but would the realization that I actually am a woman be too much for them to handle? These thoughts went through my mind every single day from the time I woke up to the time I laid down to sleep.
When I was breaking up with a boyfriend in Halifax I begged him to let me stay with him because the thought of having to return to my hometown and face my family or small town community scared me more than anything. I felt like I was being stripped down to nothing and being forced to walk endlessly in a dark room trying to find the exit, alone.
I had already publicly announced to everyone on Facebook at the time that I had been struggling with this, but I had never told my family face to face. I never sought help from a medical professional to begin my transition, I never knew who to turn to or where I could go. I felt lost, I felt exposed, I felt confused.
Everyone knew I was transgender, but they didn’t actually know the thoughts in my mind, the way I was feeling about my body, or who I was before announcing it.
I remember telling my sister that I think I was going to change my mind about transitioning, at the beginning of it I felt like I would never get the help I needed, I’d never be on hormones, I’d never be able to “pass”, I’d never be able to live openly and freely as who I am. I told myself this every day, that I wasn’t good enough, that no matter how I felt I would never reach the end of this struggle with my gender identity.
Most days I felt that if I wasn’t alive things would be a lot better. I would never have to feel the pain inside and the struggle to fix what I felt was wrong. I was transgender before July of 2015, but I never realized it until I went to Halifax and actually found myself. It was always subconsciously there, I always felt like a piece was missing, but I didn’t have all the answers growing up because nobody ever spoke about gender identity.
In March of 2016 is when I started to become depressed about the thought of trying to transition and the fears that came with it. I was moving back to Miramichi, NB and I was in a time of my life I needed to focus on me. I remember going home and changing my room with new furniture and wall colour, I didn’t want to sleep in the same room I grew up in with the same feelings and energy of my childhood, I also cut my hours down at work to only working one shift a week, I worked at a grocery store and the thought of running into people all the time gave me anxiety.
In my mind, I thought everyone was laughing at me, that they thought I was some kind of freak or joke. That nobody would ever really accept me as Kylie but continue to treat me as the person they thought they knew.
I thought the distance and change to my environment would help, but it was a momentary distraction. When I was alone I kept thinking about what my next step was, but I was scared to visit my family doctor because I thought he would think I wasn’t normal. I was scared.
I had no friends in Miramichi, I had lost all contact with the people I grew up with because I was living my life in Halifax with a boyfriend. I spent my time with new people and had new experiences. I had no interest in keeping in touch with anyone I was former friends with in Miramichi because it was the last place I wanted to be.
Suicide was something I thought about a lot. How would I do it, what would I say as a goodbye, who would attend my funeral, how would my parents feel if I left them like that, what would people in my community say about me after I was gone. I had so many options on how to do it, and I thought about it constantly.
I would cry myself to sleep and ask why I was born this way. The day I knew I needed to seek help it was the middle of November in 2016, I had spent the summer catching up with childhood friends, and I was staying at one’s house, I started Miramichi Nightline which was a weekly talk show based on hot topics which I used as a tool to put myself in the public eye in hopes that people would reach out in support of me being transgender but also as a distraction from the life I was living when the camera was turned off. It was an hour once a week, but it was something I invested a lot of my time in to keep me distracted.
However, it didn’t work well, I remember breaking down on the middle of my friend’s bathroom floor, they were gone to work and I was there alone. I slid down the wall with my head in my hands and I was telling myself I couldn’t do this anymore. I told myself I needed to make a decision, either talk to my doctor or commit suicide because I couldn’t continue living at a standstill with my gender identity struggle.
Looking back at how I felt this time two years ago, I see how much strength I really have. In November 2016 I was given the Canada 150 Leadership Award for being inclusive and when I went to the microphone to give a short speech, I looked at a crowd of people who did not know that exactly one year before I was going to kill myself. I couldn’t help but cry because I knew how far I already came in just that one year with fighting for myself.
Every November I can’t help but think about how I almost ended my life in 2016 because of what I was dealing with as a transgender woman. Tonight I look at my life two years later and I am so much more happy with the woman I am today, next month I will be one year on hormones, I am debt free, I have legally changed my name and gender marker on everything, I have travelled the country and met so many amazing people along the way, including men who love me for who I am and treat me with respect. This Friday, November 23rd I am going for my consultation in Montreal, Quebec for breast augmentation and facial feminization surgery. Life finally feels worth living, and I am so happy I had the strength to keep on fighting the battle within myself to become who I am.
For anyone reading this that is struggling with their gender identity, trust me when I say it does get better. You might feel alone, lost, confused, scared, hopeless, etc. but there will be a day you look back and can see how much progress you’ve made and it will be worth it. I’m far from finished my transition, but I finally feel like anything is possible!
Here are some of the moments I’ve felt naturally beautiful as the trans woman I am..xo