As I read Rikki’s story this week a chill ran down my spine. Her struggle to live life as someone she wasn’t resonates with me, her elated discovery that she is not alone speaks to my soul, and her joyously emerging as a beautiful and confident woman is an inspiration to us all.
Please read along with Rikki as she learns to smile…
Learning to Smile
My Story in a Nutshell April 6, 2014 at 8:08pm
Hi my name is Rikki. My birth name was Ricky. I grew up in a small community in SW Idaho. All my life I knew I didn’t fit right, even though I could not figure out how. I just knew I was different. I spent much of life living the way others expected me to in order to survive.
I learned to smile and laugh even though I didn’t feel it inside. I stayed to myself a lot growing up in order to avoid being made fun of or teased. The upside of that was I became a good student and the first in my family to go college. I went through the motions of being happy and content, all the while wondering what it was about me that I didn’t fit into the role that life assigned me.
All my life I have been extremely emotional and often stayed in my room while the family watched TV shows to keep from being told that boys don’t cry over things like that. I worked hard to play the role expected of me, even ending up being married three times. Then one day I was surfing the internet and found an article on transgender and as I read the article tears ran down my cheeks…
I remember thinking, OMG, that is me! And then, OMG I am not the only one who feels like this… and then, OMG, I am not crazy after all. And then finally, the realization set in… I was married, had children, a toddler….. there is no way I could do anything about this. I pushed all the realizations back down out of sight and continued pretending to be who I truly wasn’t. For ten more years I dealt with this, until finally I was unable to cope any longer and spiraled into a deep depression.
Breaking the chains around her heart
I was serving a life sentence without possibility of parole. Although I pretended to be happy, I continued to be miserable… the way I had been for years before. Every night I went to bed I hoped I would not wake up the next morning. But, I did. Finally after months and months went by, I woke up one morning and realized I really didn’t want to die, I wanted to live.
I knew the only way that would be possible was to make changes, and so I began slowly… in hiding at first… daring to be me for a few moments of time. But that only helped just a little. It didn’t take long to realize my life had to totally change in order for me to survive. In July 2007, I moved out on my own and my transformation began very slowly at first.
I was so fearful of losing the people I loved and my family, especially my children. Over time that is exactly what happened however, and today only two of my children remain in my life in any meaningful way, the others avoid me or have no contact with me anymore. All my friends, but two, no longer had anything to do with me. Even the one family member who at first supported me, turned away.
It is nearly seven years later, and in spite of all I have been through, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I no longer have to pretend to be someone I never was. I no longer have to hide who I am. I feel complete inside. Yes, I have other changes to go, but the most important change of all happened, when I made that decision to stop being a phony and start living the truth. If I had to face it all again, I would have made the transition when I first realized who I truly was.
Rikki’s story touched me deeply, and brought back memories of my transition. I think it will touch many others too. If you have a story you’d like to share – a success small or large in your transgender journey please take a moment to share it. I would love to feature it on Crossdresser Heaven, and bring a light to others still searching for themselves.
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