In my life at age twenty seven from the outside I appeared to be one of the coolest guys around. I had a good job, traveling all over the country, company car and phone, good pay. I was confident and energetic, I thrived in social situations. To relate to what I’ve been saying my fear cup was pretty much empty. I had few fears of any kind, and the ones I had I could easily manage. I had nothing to lose and no responsibilities.
Without the fear holding me back I came out to a girl, who eventually became my wife, and started dressing as Natalie, and it was great. After a few weeks I came out to my mum. She’s been my friend all my life to this point, and throughout my life gave me the impression that she was broad minded. She’ll be cool right? Wrong, not cool.
I can’t remember the exact words spoken but it was basically, I am ashamed, I don’t approve, don’t tell your brothers and sister, and especially don’t tell your father. This coupled with an illness and a few other factors made me decide three weeks later to throw away all my Natalie stuff and bury that side of me as deep as I could.
The next 12 years were really tough. It wasn’t all bad, but mostly was.
I became afraid. Of everything. I now believe that my depression came from being in a constant state of fear. My cup had overflowed, drowned me and was now flowing out of me and washing up against the people around me.
I spent years like this. Not even noticing for the first few years, then it gradually dawned on me that something was wrong. I wasn’t confident or energetic, and I was beginning to loathe social situations. I was angry, and tired all the time. I worked fifty hours a week and barely scraped by. And the longer I did nothing the worse it got, and the worse it got the more afraid I became. But at the time I didn’t have the understanding I have now, and being choked up on stopped me from thinking clearly. I couldn’t work out what to do about it, and the things I tried often made things worse.
When I finally realised that I had become abusive, not physically, I decided something had to change. I was not going to become that person.
The first thing I had to do, and this was the hardest, was to let a lot of people go. I had some people in my life whose impact was nothing but negative.
I relinquished my control of the household finances to my wife. It was a large weight off my back and it turns out she’s way better at it than I am.
We moved away from the city and into the mountains. Life is a little slower, the people a little friendlier. As I’ve said I’ve had a wonderful time being Natalie in the mountains.
I changed my job of eight years. This was a big one, very scary. I’m still not sure why.
And another house move deeper into the mountains, and that’s where I am now. This all took three years. And it was only four months ago that it had been 15 years since I had last even thought of Natalie let alone dress up. All the changes I made needed to be made regardless of what clothes I put on. If I didn’t do these things I probably would have lost my wife, my daughter, and just slipped into life of depression and marijuana.
Each step I took reduced amount of fear in my cup. Each reduction cleared my head a little more, making it easier to think of solutions to my problem. And each step pulled me further from the brink of depression and toward a happier me.
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- Out of the mouths of babes and angels
- My oscillations as Abby over time