Brysen left this as a comment on one of my posts, but I thought it better as a post of its own, and implore you all to give Brysen the benefit of your time and experience:
“At 42, I’m at an impass. I myself was my fathers son/daughter. He not unlike others, had no idea how to relate, nor did my mother. I was abused by my father as a child and my mother hid from his alcoholism and his abuse of others in religion, forcing my sisters and I to follow suit. Decades of therapy and “two middle fingers” (thanks for the loan, lol!) have healed most of the damage and trauma. due to the religous fear, and all around fear of rejection, I lived in hiding of being gay until I was 30. Living in hiding sucked. I wasn’t just “not out” I was not out, not dating, not involved, and filling my life with my career to avoid facing what I was missing.
Here I am at 42. I am once again tired of hiding. I’m a masculine lesbian that is niether male nor female within but as so eloquently put recently…some where in between,…and I like it. It is who I have been my whole life and he/she/we are dying/living to get out. I don’t consider myself trans, but I don’t like my chest as well. I’m totally cool with the bottom bits ( Your terminology cracks me up) but I am NOT good with my name. I have started calling myself Brysen and have mentioned changing my name to one of my friends and my twin sister, I’m not sure what to do. I feel like it’s the right thing for me, but who changes their entire name at 42. I live in good ole conservative southwest Florida, and for the first time I went out as myself today. Unshaven legs in shorts, unshaven armpits in t-shirt, my handsome short boy hair styled, and armed with anxiety I greeted the world with a smile. Thankfully I was in turn greeted with a smile.
At this point I’m at an impass of what to do for me. Change my name? live out loud? Let go and be honest of who I am? Any and all advise, relation, experience, suggestions would be sooooooo appreciated. From any and all brothers/sisters at arms.”
My advice, Brysen? Who changes their name at 42? You do, it sounds like. And why is that not a good enough reason? Doesn’t your desire count? I’m 34 and I’m changing my name because it is right for me, and if anyone has a problem with that, they can fuck the fuck off. I know what’s best for me because I spend a helluva lot of time contemplating it, and discussing it with the ones I love and trust, and I came to a conclusion. I decide what is right for me. And Brysen decides what is right for Brysen.
What I have found in my early encounters in coming “out” in public (with unshaven armpits and hairy legs) is that I care about it a shit-ton more than anyone I meet on the street does. No one notices it but me. Maybe it’s because I live in a liberal area populated with lesbians. Maybe it’s because I am from Chicago. I don’t want to advise you to be unsafe, but I really don’t think you’ll be run out of town by pitchforks and torches for wearing cargo shorts in public. Butches are strong in numbers in America. But now let’s look at the LGBT scene in “southwest Florida”
-The Gay Social Network is a site dedicated to providing a social scene for gays and lesbians in SW Florida.
– A Siesta Key and Sarasota Area LGBT resource page can be found here.
-PFLAG chapters in Florida can be found here.
What do I recommend, Brysen? I recommend you get an LGBT-friendly therapist. (a list of which can be found here for Ft. Meyers, here for Estero). I recommend you get used to living a life you want to lead, and I recommend you start thinking seriously about who you are authentically, because it’s the only way worth living. I recommend you start unpacking all this baggage you have been carrying around with you, because you are going to be spending a lot of time in this new skin, this new identity, if you work for it and want it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 42 or 62 or 82: you are alive, friend, and I want you to start believing you deserve the space you take up, the air in your lungs, and the love you feel in your heart for yourself. i want you also to give yourself a break, to know this is a long road of self-work in front of you, and know that you are doing the best you can.
I speak boldly because I am in a position to do so: I have been spending a lot of time with my therapist (who I found on the same website I linked to above) unpacking my own shit. I have a supportive partner and friends who have known me a long time and care about me. Do you have those kinds of people in your life? Be honest with them, be honest with yourself, and your whole world will shift in ways you never imagined.
Good luck, Brysen, and know I am here to support you.
-Your Pal Eli
Readers, you all are good and kind and intelligent people, and have a helluva lot to say about gender. Let’s help out our friend Brysen. What advice do you all have to give?