What Lies Beneath My Being

What Lies Beneath My Being
Name: Nyari Garrett
Pronouns: They/them

The entity of pain has broken me down many times, but it has made me who I am today. I could talk about my moments of despair for a lifetime, but one, in particular, plays a large part in my journey to fight for and understand my identity. One day I was in the living room with my mom and we were watching the news, and a segment came on about the treatment of transgender individuals. I made a remark saying, “Transgender people should be treated with respect and like human beings instead of people who don’t belong in society”. I had no idea that a fiery argument would ensue just from me sharing my truth, which needs to be included in our standards of human expression. My mom’s boyfriend at the time felt that his opinion had to be expressed by saying “if you identify as a transgender or something that isn’t the gender you were born as then you need to be treated for mental illness”. I felt so hurt and infuriated that someone could say something so cruel; as someone who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, it felt like my identity was being tortured by his derogatory words of hatred. At that moment my heart broke into a million pieces.

Growing up I always felt uncomfortable in my skin, as if my heart were trying to tell me something but I didn’t know what it was. I was born a female, but inside I didn’t feel like one. When people would call me she, I could feel a piece of my identity crumble. In my upbringing, I wasn’t taught about gender and different ways people could identify so I only had the societal norms of gender to follow. My agony grew inside of me day by day and I felt that I would be better off dead. I would think to myself, “What’s the point of living if I can’t be who I am?” My inner scars began to come to the light when I was 12; I began cutting my wrists to try and cope with surviving in such misery. I felt like I was drowning and the closer I swam to the surface the more my lifeline descended.

Throughout my life, I have tried to take my life multiple times because I thought my existence would only end in an eternally poisoned quality of life. It has taken me many years of hard work to get back up from such a drastic fall into self-mutilation, but little by little have gained back a little bit of clarity. I decided that keeping my identity a secret would be the end of my future, but that future was also my savior. I came out to an old friend and after that, I started to feel I might not be a mistake in creation after all. As I came out to more friends and some family members I didn’t always find acceptance, but at least I had the relief of not hiding in the dark any longer. Over the years I have learned that my identity isn’t an illness, but a gift that I’m so grateful to have received. Now that I’ve started opening myself to my full potential, I am no longer ashamed of who I am.

My journey has been a wildfire with many triumphs and downfalls and it has taught me a very important lesson which is that pain isn’t permanent. For many years I thought that my suffering would never end, but after much effort, I’m finally at a point where I can rebuild my life. I still have days of sorrow that feel like they won’t end but other days the important people in my life remind me that I will be okay. I’ve also learned that gender isn’t black or white: it’s actually very complex. My awakening every day is like a pair of dice it rolls, somedays I feel like a female, others a male and some I feel like I’m in between the two. It’s not that I want to abide by society’s version of a female or male because gender isn’t about what you wear it’s about how you feel. Now that I am a young adult I’m ready to start my life and achieve my goals and dreams. I still have my low points but I never stop fighting to keep my lifeline. My whole life I have spent time wanting to die, now it’s time for me to live. Never give up on being who you are.

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