Fear is the greatest enemy of freedom. Fear limits us. It discourages us. It deprives us. It blinds us from continuing down our path of life, and deafens us from sharing and understanding the lives of others. Fear of taking a chance on love. Fear of taking a job across the country. Fear of the unknown. Fear of those who ‘look’ or ‘act’ differently. Fear is a killer of living one’s life.
Life is full of fearful moments, but I felt I’ve lived in fear for the greater part of the past fifteen years. Whether it was pursuing a degree, or living on my own, I was afraid at every step – and continued to do so even after the accomplishments. Even though there were people telling me of my intelligence and strong disposition, I never truly believed it. Chief among them was my grand-mère, Elisabeth. Since my grandmother’s death three years ago, I light a candle for her every 17th of May (or close to the day). It was the last day I spoke with her before her untimely death. My grandmother always guided me through every step of my life, a constant inspiration and one of my proudest advocates. No matter what, she was always there to support me. She never doubted my potential to myself and the world.
Fear nevertheless manifested into the 3 ‘S’s: self-belittling, self-doubting, and self-devaluing. I never celebrated an accomplishment for as long as I could remember. And there was never a time I did not truly appreciate a compliment, often if not always making a joke at my own expense. But how much a difference a year makes.
Within the past year, I have never felt more accomplished for the achievements I made. Sure, there have been a few bumps in the road. But I am simply…not fearful anymore. I have nothing to be afraid of. It is as if my eyes opened to the future that I can make, a future that can be shared with so many others. Realizing that, I have become more accepting of who I am. When one is without fear, one has the greatest euphoric experience.
In December of last year, I finally decided to take the next step. I began hormone replacement therapy, and am more proud to say I am transgender. And while I am still in my infancy on this path, a fearless woman is in the making. Enemies be damned!
More and more, I’ve started to treat birthdays like my second (third, if you count my drag debut) as a do-over. Another anniversary of one’s birth comes with it a wealth of knowledge and certainty. This year certainly no different than the before. And yet, it is something new. It is a celebration of my rebirth. A celebration of a new path. A celebration of being true to myself. And there’s no better celebration than that.