A note to other people dealing with coming out: Just to be clear I don't want anyone to think that you need to explain yourself to the world if you don't want to, you are who you are! In my case I really enjoy writing about and sharing my whole situation and part of me thinks maybe this might be helpful to someone else perhaps!? I dunno. Anyway ultimately this is something I'm doing for myself... as a treat :3
Also to be clear I am still working on Drifter, and part of me thinks that I had to do this in order to fix a bunch of other stuff that would allow me to manage to continue working in games at all, let alone finish Drifter. I'll be posting more about this soon, I promise.
That said, without further ado, I shall play the winning hand I have kept close to my chest all these years...
Whoops I'm A Lady, It Would Seem
Hi everyone, I'm Cailín and I'm a girl! Nice to meet you!
So, the short version is that I've known that I am trans since I was quite young, despite having been born in the 80's and not really understanding what "being trans" was until I was maybe some point in my 20's? However also from an early age, for a large number of complicated and deeply personal reasons that I'm sure I'll elaborate on one of these days, I very successfully convinced myself that I was trapped in the body that I was born in and I might as well Do My Best Job At Being A Boy, Because What Else Can I Do?
Even after meeting a number of wonderful trans people and learning about all the things people can do to transition and become more comfortable in their own bodies I was still very convinced that this was not for me and transitioning seemed very scary and a huge unknown and at least my "boy cosplay" as I've come to refer to it was something I had become accustomed to.
Also even if deep down I knew the truth I felt like over the years I had kept avoiding really deeply interrogating these feelings. Like I knew, but if I never really truly and fully acknowledged it then maybe I could just convince myself it wasn't true? I mean, only if I really leaned into it would I truly know for sure I was a girl, so maybe I'll just dance around it and everything will be okay.
That said in the last 10 years or so a part of me, the real me buried deep down somewhere behind this facade I had constructed, I think finally started working to break down these barriers I had so expertly crafted for myself. Like, I knew somewhere deep down that I was being ridiculous and that maybe transitioning was possible and even desirable and I should seriously stop avoiding it.
I had actually finally gotten to a point in 2019, after lots of self reflection and various gender-swap apps showed me that OH HEY maybe I'd actually be pretty darn cute as a girl, that I had picked my new name and was very cautiously working my way towards the hatch to finally make the terrifying leap and come out. Then something happened that made me feel like it'd be just the absolute worst timing on my part to come out RIGHT THEN AND THERE and hey I waited this long I guess could wait a little bit longer.
And then a couple months later a silly tweet I made was nominated for Gaming Tweet of the Year in The Game Awards which was honestly a fun once in a lifetime experience but was also quite surreal and distracting from more pressing matters if I'm being honest.
And then 2020 happened.
The vast majority of my 2020, much like the 2020 of most everyone else reading this I'm sure, has not been a Fun Time. I've always been a naturally anxious person, and my anxiety has been close to max now for the last few years and it felt like 2020 put a brick on the accelerator. On top of the anxiety I also have ADHD, which I only very recently sought treatment for, which was a good step for me but the meds I had were no match for these unprescedented levels of anxiety.
So I kind of tried to distract myself from the general state of the goings on in the world with a bunch of hobby projects and kept trying to tell myself that maybe I could wait a bit longer even though it felt like I was starting to suffocate at this point.
That sounds very dramatic, and to me it certainly felt terrible, but I guess to be clear I mostly felt incredibly very guilty about the absolute lack of progress on things that I should be working on (Drifter of course included) and also my wife and I were increasingly stressing each other the heck out with a sort of self-inflicted feedback loop of being cooped up at home and having various things that were really wearing us down mentally.
That said I felt like I knew there was a solution!
If only I could think of it.
It certainly wasn't staring me in the face this entire time...
So in October I finally decided maybe I should seriously lean into this whole being a girl thing. Y'know, kick the ol' gender tires if you will. Hey for all I know maybe I really wasn't a girl and I'd be filled with doubts and I'd start second guessing myself and at least I could once and for all have an answer to this question I've been living with my entire life and definitely didn't already know the answer to but you know just to be suuuuure.
My darlings, I took that first nervous leap and it turns out I have never had less of a doubt in my mind about anything in my life.
Everyone would always talk about gender dysphoria but for whatever reason I never really felt particularly strong negative feelings about being a boy even if I also never had particularly strong positive feelings about it either. If anything I would describe what I felt as "gender ambivalence". I was incredibly "Meh!" about being a boy, if you will.
That said I would describe how I have been feeling since coming out in October as nothing short of gender euphoria! Despite, in recent years, having been generally content and confident in myself as A Person I don't think I've ever really felt truly happy nor have I ever felt that I was myself at least until now.
Also it turns out that my really awful generalized anxiety was a weird side-effect of more-or-less method acting as a man for the past 35 years and in retrospect I would definitely categorize it as gender dysphoria.
That said before I go on for too long I should probably take a moment to mention that never once was I worried about people who were close to me being unable to accept this about me, which I guess was comforting and certainly didn't add any extra difficulty to the process.
My friends and family have been truly loving and supportive and I am incredibly lucky to have such amazing people in my life.
My wife and I are doing great even if she was somewhat blindsided because I hadn't told her anything about this sooner. That said she is literally the first person that I had ever told, this, my most closely guarded and deepest held secret and as the person in my life who I have been the closest and most open with she understands why this was such a difficult and protracted decision to make.
My mother I feel I should elaborate on why I knew she wouldn't be weird about this. You see when I was a little kid, before I had started building my facade, I used to obsessively watch this home improvement show that aired on CBC called "Do It For Yourself" which was hosted by a woman named Mary Bellows. It got to the point where I made my mom buy me a canvas tool belt just like Mary Bellows wore so I could pretend to do the things she did. Except I also wanted to be her, and I told my mom as such, and yet she bought me that tool belt and let me pretend to be Mary Bellows. Also I should add I asked my mom buy me a My Little Pony (Skyflier to be exact) because I was obsessed with horses and I used to braid her tail and all that stuff. And despite this being the mid-80's and the concept of bronys wouldn't exist for another 25 years once again she never questioned it. So of course when I came out she remembered these things and various other clues from my childhood that made sense in retrospect and her absolutely biggest concern was... she didn't like the look of how I was styling my wig. Believe me this is Very Much My Mother and I love her dearly for it even if it drives me nuts sometimes (Seeing as I'm sure she's going to read this: I love you mom!)
Anyway, I think I'll stop there for now, but I just want to say thank you for reading this and thank you for supporting me and being there for me even if I've been quite a bit of a flake recently. I'm doing much better, amazingly so even, and I am working on digging out of the various ADHD + 2020 Anxiety induced holes that I've dug for myself so I can continue working on the things I want to work on and maybe even finally finish Drifter.
I'll leave you with a thought that has really resonated with me, considering all the uncertainty in the world right now and specifically in the context of me coming out.
In the legend of Pandora's Box when she opens it despite everyone telling her not to, all of this suffering and all of these monsters come pouring out and it was such a terrible thing... but despite all this there was still something left at the bottom of the box.
May you all find your hope,