When Life Gets In The Way

Hey, sisters! When did life get in the way?

For me, it’s been all of my life. I’ve never been married so I haven’t had to deal with the pain and heartbreak of loosing a spouse over the woman within. On the other hand, being a male-to-female transgender woman has time and again strained relationships with my family as family members have ridiculed me. I knew from the early age of four years old that I was a girl; I had no doubts about it. Growing up, my mom knew and supported me, and gave me extra allowance money to buy the items that I wanted. She even helped me select them. My grandmother (Mom’s mother) was another story, however. She would snoop in my bedroom while I was at school and steal my clothes just to humiliate me in front of the family.

It only got worse during my tumultuous teens as my grandmother ramped up her efforts to make me the young man she thought I should be. Depression set in and there were several times in my youth when I seriously considered suicide. I was taken to see a psychiatrist when I was fifteen, and I told him that if I couldn’t be myself and be free to express myself in the manner I chose, then I was better off dead.

Now, I’m in my early 40s and I have a new family member (a cousin’s wife) who for the last eighteen years has been bent on making my life a living hell. She has stolen my clothes, taken a box cutter to my breast forms, cut up my bras, outed me to my father’s side of the family, and recently told my boyfriend of two years that I have HIV/AIDS (which is a lie). My boyfriend succumbed to the lies a couple of weeks ago and told me that he wanted to break off our relationship even after I was tested for HIV/AIDS and the results were negative.

My father’s family is Spanish and most of them have disowned me because I’m transgender. I’ve decided that, at this point, I’ve taken all of the shaming and discrimination I’m going to take. I am not going to be depressed and moody because of other people who either can’t or won’t accept me for who I am. I am a woman, like it or not. The most beautiful thing about women is we don’t all come in the same size, color, or mold.

There are many times when life gets in the way but you have to remain strong, dispel the ugliness from your life and go on. I sat down in my bedroom in the midst of packing before I moved away from my parents’ home and reflected on my personal transgender journey. I wouldn’t change a thing in my life because it has served only to make me a stronger and more resilient woman.

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Vanessa-Marie Villarreal

Pre-op transgender woman. Live and work in Austin Texas. Healthcare worker in Alzheimer's home.

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15 Comments
  1. Layla Jynsen 2 weeks ago

    Hi Vanessa,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I knew at 7 yrs old that I was in the wrong body. I couldnt come out then and tell anyone whatsoever. My father and mother split up when I was 6 years old. A year later I was living with my father. My first pair of panties period, I stole from K-mart. I knew that I couldnt hide myself, but had to. I began depression in at an early age. Not having any female friends when I was younger. I remember back in school, see how beautiful all the girls were and the things they wore. I was sick in my head. If only I didnt have to hide I thought. I ran away from home, ended up in a state school because my father beat and abused me, Physically, mentally and spiritually. Over time I still was quiet about coming out even through high school, Job Corps and then here comes the US ARMY. I was in from Aug 04 – Mar 07. Was discharged because I admitted I was transgender. Thats when my life really went to hell in a hand basket. My entire family disowned me, aunts, cousins, uncles, siblings, nieces, and nephews. My mother passed away May 23, 2011. My father I have the slightest clue if he is even alive or not, frigg’n crack head, he turned out to be. Of all my sisters that i have, I thought at least one would be understanding and help me, allow me to be me in her home, but her excuse was: I quote… “I just don’t want you nieces and nephews to grow up to hate you.” end quote… How can you say such things to me, they only hate when they are taught hate. So I walk this earth alone. Weary it is on a daily basis. I to have had suicidal thoughts, but would never act up on them. a month ago in Houston Tx, I was in the Houston VAMC for suicidal thoughts. I had a girl play head games with me for 2 years. then when it came time to meet, she gave me nothing but excuses, which caused me to think highly of hurting myself. I just wanted all the pain to go away. Off and on for the past 3 years I’ve been on hormones. I got mine from a friend that has already undergone surgery, plus is on the injections. My biggest habit right now is I still smokke cigarettes from time to time. I’m trying to get off them, so my meds will work properly. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I really hope take make some wonderful friends here.

    I did have an exgf at one time that wass very supportive of my transition but always felt like I was gay fr some reason. I told her if i was gay, I would not be with her. Its the fact that the attention that she was trying to give to me, I did not know how to respond. I had been so alone my entire life. she f**ked my heart up. I have a wall that I dont know if it can ever be broken down and healed. plus she didnt do a good thing to make me think of all women to be like her. its taken me some years to get over her. now I’m learning that I dont want anyone like her. I want another unique girl all of my own. In time I know I’ll cross her path or she will cross my path. I just hope not to be so shy when I find her.

    Best of wishes to you Vanessa

    -Layla Jynsen

  2. Tara 2 months ago

    I’ve been there too, Vanessa. There have been times when I wanted to hurt myself. I think I’m past that now. But there were some dark times. And I was married for 14 years, suppressing my true self all the while. It was actually a blessing when she left, ironically for another woman. I’m finally free to live my life. I’m not sure whether I’ll fully transition this late in life. And now there’s another woman I’m in love with and she’s not onboard with me being a woman. She supports me, but she wouldn’t stay in the relationship if I transitioned. But that’s all stuff to work out with my therapist, which, thankfully, I’ve finally begun. I finally found a therapist and was comfortable coming out to them and explaining who I really am. I think there are good things ahead. I hope that goes for you too.

  3. Reuby Bell 2 months ago

    Pulling out a pistol? I could never carry one. Too many chances for innocent people to get hurt.

  4. Lea Henderson 2 months ago

    As with many Peoples and Cultures around the world, there is Man, Woman and Everything In Between. So you / we are Not Alone. So as more People move about and Cultures intermixing…the greater the general understanding and appreciation for All Peoples – Humans….and the rest of the Creatures that inhabit / share the Earth with us all… ☮️🙏 ❤️

  5. Cami Jansen 3 months ago

    I can relate to so much of what you’ve written Vanessa and wish you all the happiness you deserve Sweetheart..Thank you for sharing.

  6. Author

    I respectfully disagree, Bobbi Lee. We need to advocate more for the rights of transgender people. There are others who predate (physically, emotionally, sexually) upon us because of who we are and the fact that not enough of us report these vicious hate crimes. If more “gay bashers” were convicted and given even stiffer prison sentences, people might not treat us like they do.

    I live my life as a woman 24/7/365 and I wear womens’ clothing exclusively. If other people dislike me because of my gender expression, fine. They don’t have to live with me nor do they have to associate with me. If someone commits a crime against me, then I will not be ashamed to report it to the authorities just because I’m ‘technically still a male’. As I stated in my post, I am done, D-O-N-E, with taking other peoples’ abuse because they don’t understand why I identify myself as a woman.

    Transgender people should not have to live in fear because others might react inappropriately around us or treat us with cruelty. Transgender people are not inferior…we are not ‘second class’ citizens, or fodder for other peoples’ abuse or jokes because of our gender expression, we should be seen as equal. I absolutely refuse to live “in the closet.”

    Kindest Regards,
    Vanessa-Marie

    • Deborah Myers 2 months ago

      Hey Vanessa, I am going through much the same thing right now. I just lost a good friend after 45 years that told me he accepted me when he didn’t. I live full time as a woman and I am not ashamed of who I am. I have several years of college and work in an ER. I am not stupid or disgusting and neither is any one of us. What is disgusting is the hate and bigotry that is directed towards us. I have been living as a woman for 31 years and about 20 years ago I had to defend myself when I was driving a truck. My boss was supportive but the idiots where I fueled up were not accepting. I had to draw my pistol to to keep from getting killed and I never went back. I hope to never do that again. The point is that everyone has value no matter who they are. Take care of yourself, Debra.

  7. bobbi lee 3 months ago

    Sometimes its better to stay in the closet because people just refuse to understand the needs that us girls need to perform our life as we want to live it. Everyone should be able to live there lif as they see fit.

  8. Monique Gillespie 3 months ago

    very nice story it hits home. I wish I had come out years back . im looking for friends that want to let me be my self

  9. Author

    My Boyfriend and I are in couple’s counseling. We’re actively trying to save our relationship. But my Cousin’s dumb wife isn’t making it easy. She keeps saying that God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Also, I’ve charges on her for violating the HIPAA law. She’s looking at five years in the federal penitentiary.

  10. Erica Sparkles 3 months ago

    Thank You for sharing your story Vanessa…You Are Beautiful and Strong!

  11. Terri M 3 months ago

    Vanessa thank you for posting your story. You are a strong person and I know things will work out for you. It’s still amazes me how some people are so mean to transgendered people. God bless you.

  12. Chris Landwer 3 months ago

    You are a great person and always deserve the best. Growing up you have learned to submit to what others have put on you.
    It’s time to know yourself and forget what other say to put you down. You know what you want to do but you have allowed outside influences control you.
    We are ALL equal. Gender has nothing to do with kindness, it’s the shortcomings of others and they are unaware of the effects of their actions. That is their problem, not yours. You are your boss, not them. You can control what you want to let in.
    I try to surround myself by the life I would like, but it’s not perfect. I don’t allow much negativity in and you shouldn’t also. You deserve to be happy

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