Being Dana — Whirlwinds of change
I’ve felt the wind most all of my life. There have been days when the gusts push my body backward, to the side and even in some cases forward.
Over the past two years my winds have changed. They became stronger. Strong enough to topple many ideals I held to be true and unchangeable. These winds have also caused many whirlwind effects in my life. Whipping around me as I struggle to find their source. As soon as I found the source it would shift location.
Try as I may, I could not resist twisting and turning to face away from the source, to look in the direction the wind was blowing. I tried to stand my ground, was it really mine? It felt like mine, I had claimed it through my actions. The ground felt familiar but strangely foreign. The wind continued to howl and strengthen. I found myself taking steps with the gusts to my back, pushing me forward. I realized I was resisting the push of the wind less and less.
One gust was pushing me onward to again seek help with my struggle. I determined that even though this one was strong, I should let it push me to help. I searched online. I read books. Many were biographies of people I didn’t think were like me. I was drawn to the struggle they detailed. The winds the authors faced were similar to mine. I began a factual search of the source of my author’s winds. I turned my face into the wind to see if the source of my wind was similar. As I did, my wind swirled wildly pushing debris in my face. When I recovered, I knew the source was similar. As I turned, facing again with the gusts, I found myself willingly taking steps forward. Somehow my understanding of the source of my winds seemed to weaken the gusts.
I now know where and what my wind’s source is. It is the drive to live fully as myself. To no longer be satisfied with anything less. I felt great about identifying the source. I thought my storm would die down. Oh my, was I wrong!
Oh, the stress I encountered from knowing my source was to strong for me to cope with alone. I sought out a therapist. Her help provides a welcome respite from the ever changing winds circling around me.
How do I accept what/who I am?
What steps are available to me to withstand the wind?
How do I discuss my winds and their sources with those around me?
Will the person I thought I was be obliterated by the wind blown debris?
What/who will be left?
I’ve spent a many months in the shelter my therapist provided. Together we developed a plan. I came up with the actions I would need to take to abate my winds. She provides shelter as I figure out the priorities. She also assists me on my thought process. When I felt I was ready to face another gust I would discuss it with her. I also discussed each step with Becca, my wife. I also enlisted the help of a local peer support group and a few online groups too.
Many times the wind felt to strong to withstand. Each time my support team would provide the assistance I needed.
My winds reached hurricane strength in July of 2019. I had reached the point of needing to be myself full-time. I informed my family of my plan. It was now time to inform my employer. I came out as transgender to my on site manager on July 11th 2019. The tornado of stress and worry had reached it’s peak velocity. There is a phenomenon with storms. Some have forward momentum but seem to stall. A few storms will fall apart at this stage. Mine did not, it’s winds held their strength until September 19th 2019. This was my first day of work. Yes I had been working my entire life but never as my true self. It was on this day that Dana withstood the winds. I eagerly took steps forward with the winds I had fought for so long. (Those steps were in strappy black wedge sandals accompanied with a black lace skirt, a cream lace top & burgundy pullover sweater.)
I have now been walking with my winds for a month. I do still experience gusts, from family with their acceptance of me, from members of the general public with a judgmental look, from the processes I have to follow to recreate myself as who I should be. All of these gusts now seem more manageable. Yes, some gusts have more strength than others. Most I can now bear alone. There are some which in my view blow me back a step or two, especially gusts from well meaning family. In reality I have not been blown back. Perhaps a little to the side, or held without forward movement for a time. But like the winds I have already faced. These will also pass. I’m hoping they will eventually turn in direction and be at my back, pushing me forward.