Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and I took a recent trip in their Way-Back Machine landing safely in 1965—a little journey into the past. The scenery was stunning…one moment in their time machine, the next in a middle school P. E. locker room. I was taken by an old, familiar feeling, ANXIETY!
I spied myself sitting on a bench staring blankly into a locker full of shorts, t-shirts, and old tennis shoes. They wanted me to get undressed and change into gym gear—and it was WRONG.
I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t belong there. I wasn’t supposed to be in there! But at the same time, I didn’t know why I didn’t belong or where I was supposed to be. I couldn’t even explain to myself what was wrong or why I didn’t belong. I didn’t have the words or the concept to express my concern. And the culture of the times forbade disobedience. It was simply the wrong place for me. So, I watched myself slowly begin to change clothes and resign myself to another day of numbed involvement.
This, my friends, is the nature of dysphoria as I experienced it.
It was a few years after this, at about 16 years of age that I learned words to understand what was wrong with me. On a late-night Sunday radio talk show there was a lengthy interview and discussion with Dr. Virginia Prince. For the very first time, I had a concept with which to start understanding myself. I lay in bed intently listening, crying silently alone as I learned I that I am a girl lost in a boy’s body–a Transexual. I eventually found sleep that night, though terrified, confused, and yet somehow relieved.
I spent days, maybe years considering my newfound knowledge. My efforts to research and learn more were virtually non-existent, and there was no one to talk to. Even when my sister discovered me in one of her dresses, she rejected me, and I faced the family Tribunal Inquisition that night. I was threatened with a psychiatric hospital in order to find out what was wrong with me. I clearly got the point!
So, what was I to do? I know; I’ll keep it secret. I’ll hide so deep underground that nobody ever, ever knows of my “aberration.” Reasonable. Outcome? I was a World class swimmer and water poloist in high school, a US Air Force Academy cadet, pilot school, honorable service, advanced education in clinical psych, semi-pro musician/rocker, esteemed career, pillar of the community, successful father and husband. I hunt and fish, drink beer, and play Friday night poker with “da boys,” you KNOW, just living life! With confidence. With conviction. With extreme competence. An alpha alpha-wolf. In that way, no one will know, and they will love me.
Live life falsely, duplicitous, dishonest, dishonorable. NUMBLY! And pretend it’s all okay.
Don’t misunderstand me ladies. I’m not complaining. I am the first to admit that I’ve had a blessed life. I’ve been able to do things many people never get to experience. In hindsight, I couldn’t have asked for much more. I am proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far. I would have enjoyed doing it all as my full self, but I will not grieve over the past.
So, Carly, what’s your point, kid?
I am thankful for the life I’ve lived. He taught me so much about who I am, what I can do, and that I can do anything if I put my mind to it, and that I will do it well. I learned that I am already loved, accepted, and embraced. That I have exactly everything I need to be me today and to do so beautifully and with my own special flair.
Here I am. I’m Carly Ellen and I am! I’ve always been me, whether I could say so or not. I just have a new haircut, wear makeup differently. I only updated my wardrobe, otherwise I’m not any different. I’m the same old me, have the same old off-the-wall sense of humor, same old likes and dislikes. It’s just the 2020 revised director’s edition with never before seen scenes; the way I should have been originally. I wasn’t bad or wrong before…I’m just as I should be and want to be, and I’m imperfectly perfect the way I am. I won’t have it any other way.
Our life is ours. We can choose to make it as we desire it. We will always have trials and heart aches. There will be tears along with the love, the laughter, and the joy. We are given these days alive in order to make ourselves into something glorious, someone beautiful, something whole and loving. In this way we take our rightful place in this amazing universe and give it unto others with love and sacrifice. In this way we become fully human.
I am a work of art… a masterpiece (mistress piece?) So are you. We’re not meant to be put away on a shelf in a backroom closet. Oh, no! We’re meant for display, to be seen, to be heard, and to be appreciated just for being. Otherwise, the master work is wasted. We deserve better than that, you and I.
Know that you are loved. Know that you are just fine. Know that each gloomy day will give way to clear skies and sunshine eventually. Know that you are just the way you’re meant to be, torn stockings and all.
We are simply waiting for the world to wake-up.
And thank you all for being you. Thank you all for indulging me with my rambling thoughts.