No one else's approval should ever take priority over your own, no matter what you face in life.
It was three years ago on March 27 when I did the scariest thing I've ever experienced in all of my (almost) 22 years of living; I told my mom I was transgender.
The first time I had ever told anyone the secret that had been eating me alive was two days prior when I came out to my best friend, Cali. I knew she was going to accept me and nothing would change but it still overwhelmed me with anxiety trying to find the words to say. It took a solid 20 minutes trying to type out the perfect text to explain what I was feeling, and even after those 20 minutes I don't think I ever got it right, but my shaky hands hit send anyway. For the first time, it was out in the open. I wasn't the only one alive who knew I was living a lie. As frightening and nerve-wracking as it was, it felt so good to get out in the open.
The 27th was Easter Sunday, I only remember this because I remember having the thought "well, way to ruin Easter Sunday for your mom, asshole." We had a family breakfast that morning, I didn't know it at the time, but that was the last family event where I was looked at as the daughter/granddaughter, thank God. Had I known, I probably would've made a scene to celebrate. Anyway, my mom was bartending that night at our local VFW and I was about to pop in to say goodbye like I always did before I made the 4 hour journey back to school at Edinboro University where I was wrapping up the last of my freshman year. I sat in my car outside the main entrance and stared blankly at my steering wheel for what felt like hours. I didn't want to tell her, that was the last thing I wanted to do, but I needed to. I couldn't take living in secret from the most important person in my life anymore, she needed to know.
I thought about what was about to happen and my brain immediately played the worst case scenario over and over in my head. "She's going to hate me, she's going to disown me, and she's going to kick me out. I'll be alone and on my own." My dizzy and overwhelmed head fell into my shaky palms and I sat hunched over trying to keep myself from hyperventilating. I knew all of these things were a possibility, but I also knew that the happiness that would come from transitioning would outweigh any of the negative situations I would face coming out. My happiness and my freedom was my first priority. I knew that I accepted myself, so it didn't matter if anyone else did, my mother included. I couldn't keep myself in the dark anymore, I didn't think I would survive it. I was prepared to walk out of there in 10 minutes on my own, myself against the world.
Finally, somehow, I worked up the courage to head inside. I walked right up to the bar (I was only 19 but nobody had a problem with it because nobody dared to give my mom any issues) and plopped myself next to my mom's, at the time, boyfriend, Joe. He was a good guy, he was always looking out for me, so it was no surprise that he instantly caught the anxious vibe radiating off of me. He was captivated by the football game until I sat down and instantly he turned to me and asked what was up. Not the ice breaking, small talk making "what's up?" but the kind of "what's up?" that reads "I know somethings off, spill your beans." "Nothing" I insisted. After a few minutes of painfully awkward small talk, he grabbed me by the shoulder and walked me out near the entrance doors.
"Let's hear it kid."
He just knew something was really wrong, crazy how people can pick up on that kind of thing. I told him I had to tell my mom something but I was scared to because she'd hate me. He asked what it was but I couldn't find the words. I felt like I was going to vomit. I tried to talk but nothing came out.
"Is it about you?" I nodded. "Are you okay? Did something happen to your car?" I was notorious for flat tires and stupid little accidents so it was no surprise that was his first thought.
"No, I'm fine, or I will be, but she's going to hate me and kick me out and disown me…" I kept rambling, listing off all the terrible things I thought was about to happen.
He stopped me, and again, he must have just known, "Do you feel like you're not…you? Do you feel like you need to change yourself?"
I stared at him in disbelief, how in the world did he know?
Tears fell from my eyes instantaneously and he wrapped me in a hug. He calmed me down and assured me my mom was still going to love me endlessly and nothing would change. He told me how they've talked about what would happen if this exact situation were to happen. I felt better.
Just then, the doors swung open and my mom bolted in looking like she had just seen a ghost. She immediately started asking a million questions a minute.
"What's wrong? Who's hurt? Are you okay? Logann, (my name before I had it legally changed, yes I just dropped the second N when I did. A drastic change, I know.) what's going on?"
Again, I was at a loss for words. I couldn't speak no matter how hard I tried. And I did try, nothing escaped my mouth, not even a sound. I couldn't breathe, and felt an anxiety attack just about to take place. I started to hyperventilate, my vision growing black. I couldn't get enough air into my lungs and it felt like I was breathing through a straw just after sprinting a marathon.
Joe must have sensed that because he took over and said, "remember that conversation we had about our kids? What we would do if they wanted…more? They weren't themselves?"
I saw it fall into place and click in her head, she turned to me and asked if that were true. I don't remember what I said or did, I think I worked myself up so much that I blacked out. The next thing I knew my mom had embraced me in the biggest bear hug I've ever received in my life. Her arms almost squeezing the life out of me, I could feel her start to cry as her chest began to shake against mine. She kept repeating that she loved me and nothing could ever change that. She finally pulled away but held me at an arm's length and made sure I knew that she still loved me. She was only upset that I felt I couldn't talk to her about this sooner.
"You're my kid no matter what body you have. I don't know the first thing about any of this but I promise we'll get you the help you need ASAP. Nothing's wrong with you. It'll be okay, I promise it will be okay. I'll make sure of it."
The wave of relief that washed over me sent me to cloud nine. I felt invincible and like I could conquer the world. I still feel that today, just thinking about it. Not many people who want to begin transitioning have the same wonderful experience I had with a mother so accepting, which breaks my heart. Since day one, my mom has been my biggest fan and my biggest supporter. She's bent over backwards to get me the help and resources I needed. It is because of her that just 3 short months later I was able to start hormone replacement therapy. It is because of her that the November that followed, I was able to get my top surgery and she was the greatest nurse during my recovery. It is because of her that I was able to get my name legally changed. I owe all the major and beautiful milestones in my transition to her. She truly is my rock and I wouldn't be the man I am today without her. I hope I'm making her proud.
I got extremely lucky with how my mom reacted to the thought of her only daughter becoming her son. I feel blessed every single day. It made and still makes my transition sail so much smoother. There will never be enough thank you's. However, in the moments leading up to telling her, I accepted the possibilities that she would not approve. That is something everyone who wants to transition needs to understand. Not everyone will accept you or welcome this "new you" with open arms. Just because someone is your family doesn't mean their obligated to accept you, I learned that the hard way. All that matters is that you accept yourself. No one else's approval should ever take priority over your own, no matter what you face in life.