I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, that I can admit. I’m sure to some of you, at times, I just seem like a crazy person. Everyone has a story though. I happen to be one of those people who have lots of stories that provided lots of scars to this body and soul. This story of mine has been a lot of heart ache, stress, heartbreak, laughter and tears.
I’ve done many things to make my parents proud and I’ve done some things that make the more close minded parents of mine ashamed. I apologized to the man who raised me, whom I call dad, for making him ashamed of me. I apologized to his wife who had a part in my adolescent upbringing. I’ve apologized to countless women who claimed to love me, who I actually loved. The problem with all of these apologies is, I’m not apologizing for the right reasons. I’m apologizing for them, not for something I did wrong, for something that made them ashamed. I didn’t know they weren’t supportive of me until they were angry though. People have a funny way of being supportive until they want to hurt you because things aren’t going their way.
Then you have those people that you’ll never forget. People who empower and encourage and love you. People who give you new names and people you can call in the middle of the night when you just want to die. They are amazing people they are friends and family. Most importantly they are the family I choose.
The problem is, I spent so much time worrying about apologizing to the wrong people and I haven’t spent enough time thanking the people who do matter, the people who’ve got my back no matter what. The people who love me and the people who encourage and empower me to be who I am. To all of you, I’m sorry for spending so much time on the negative and not nearly enough time on the positive. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you. Thank you for telling me you’re with me and you’ve got my back and that you’re proud of me. You’ll never know how much that really means.
You see, I wanted to tell my story. The whole story, but it’s too long. So I’m going to do my best to make my point here shortly.
You see, I believe I’m a good man, a man who has integrity and compassion. A man worth being friends with. I’ve struggled with many things. Women, Ha! God knows I’ve had my fair share of failed relationships. Mental illness, God knows I’ve had one too many suicide attempts. Injuries, the loss of my babies, brain surgery, PTSD, sexual trauma, abandonment issues. There’ve been many many things I have survived. I guess that’s why am writing this.
You see, some idiot decided to go shoot some of my friends in Orlando the other day. People who were and are good people just out having a good time. People who just wanted to relax and have a few drinks and dance. They wanted to dance and they were killed and severely injured.
To all of you, I love you. I’m sorry this happened. It isn’t fair. To the families, I’m sorry, I will do my best to honor your sons and daughters in my daily life from now on by not living in fear.
You see, I’m a pretty lucky guy. I’ve got some family behind me who’ll always be there and who support me. To the ones who don’t, I hope you find The peace you’re looking for. And to my ex-girlfriends and one set of parents, you don’t have to try to put me down anymore or tell other people my personal business because that’s what I’m writing this for. I still wish you all peace though.
When I was eight years old I decided I wanted to join the army. I knew it would make my dad and the rest of my family proud. During my military service I encountered my fair share of stress. Short deployments, military police work, normal Uncle Sam bullshit. One of those things was extraordinarily stressful. Military sexual trauma. I was raped by another soldier. A Soldier who knew my situation. A Soldier who knew me. You know what caused more stress than being raped though? Not being able to be myself.
I moved across the country to live a “stealth” life where people didn’t know anything about me. I’ve been keeping a lot of things to myself out of fear. When I was in the army it was fear for dishonorable discharge. When I moved to Bible Belt Kansas it was fear for my life and my families life. But I will no longer live in fear. You see, when I was born in a hospital room to my mother, I was her beautiful little girl. She was really excited when they said “it’s a girl!” That was almost 29 years ago.
Growing up though, I was rough-and-tumble, stole my brother’s or neighbor’s clothes every chance I got, and did everything I could do to fit in with the boys. My mom knew I was different than other little girls though. And she let me be. Except for the time she paid me $20 to wear a plain white Easter dress to go see my Poppop. She was doing the best she knew how. “There was no such thing as transgender then.” It’s what she says. She didn’t know about counseling options and such. Anyway, I wanted to be the boy I was. Then I wanted to join Army.
When I was a teen I asked my mommom “What would you say if I said I wanted to be a boy?” She said “I would say to make sure it’s what you want to do, but if you do that you can’t join the army.”
I had to make a choice. Army, or being the man I knew I was, the man I so desperately needed to be for my sanity.
The Army won. I needed to serve my country. They wouldn’t let me be me. I had to hide. I was in the army for nine years. That’s a long time of hiding. Outside of the uniform I was living my day to day life as male. In uniform I couldn’t and I wanted to kill myself every day.
When I went home on leave we had a baby shower style party where everyone picked a name. That’s how I got my new name Kayden. My longest friend, Lexi, chose it and my mom picked Blake. Now here we are and here I am being who I am, living my life, enjoying my life because I can now. Just because I was born one way and had a different name all those years ago doesn’t mean I should live in fear.
So, there’s my story. I’m still just a normal dude who lives in a stupid HOA who gets mad when I don’t cut my grass enough, Who babysits and mentors neighborhood kids, who pays his bills, who goes fishing and camping and who is finally learning to laugh a lot and accept himself for the good man he is. Thank you for the support. You know who you are. I appreciate and love all of you and I hope those who aren’t supportive can find peace in their own lives.
Be you. You’ve only got this life.
Peace and love
(This was written June 15, 2016)