I have spent much of my life as an outlaw in my own family and my own body.
My entire existence growing up was one act of defiance after another. From a failed attempt at being the lookout during the Candy Bar Heist when I was 7, to when I stole a hacky sack when I was 8 (and couldn’t even look at it!), to when I prayed to God at 10 that he made a mistake and that I really was a boy, to later when I was 14 and left my family.
I was taught you’re never supposed to leave your family behind but I did. I traded them in for a future.
I was supposed to lie, cheat, and steal like my country kin. I was supposed to have a 3-page rap sheet like my parents and my siblings. I was supposed to grow up to be an addict and spend my adult life in and out of prison like they did.
But hurting people always weighed too heavily on my sensitive soul. And that makes for a pretty shitty criminal.
As far as being an addict and why I didn’t go down that path either, well, I chalk that up to my innate ability to learn from the mistakes of others. (Oh, and fear too. That definitely played a huge role.) I personally witnessed the people I love turn into Zombies. They are either the Walking Dead still or they are simply just dead.
My mom died in 2011 after 25+ years of heroin and meth abuse. This goody-two-shoes betazoid who carries the burdens of my family and who always feels too much, TOO FUCKING MUCH, had a front row seat to my mom’s slow, tragic demise.
I didn’t know until then that all of the hardship and trauma I had experienced in my life had strengthened my foundation so that I could endure this moment. I had taken comfort in riding the line and picking my battles as an adult for the most part. But if you treat a loved one of mine like shit, then you better Watch. The Fuck. Out! I totally released the Kracken in the hospital those weeks my mom was there.
I had family members who didn’t really care about my mother until she was tragically dying in a hospital bed. Then they swooped in like death vultures to basically snuff her out. Even the staff asked me to block them because they were just that horrible. One of these relatives said this notable gem, “What kind of life will your mom have? Just a junkie in a nursing home waiting for a fix.”
A Junkie. That’s all my mom was to them and to many in this world. But not to me. I had never seen someone so strong and I had no idea I got my twisted sense of humor from my mom until I saw her fight for her life in that hospital.
As my siblings were high or incarcerated, I remained an anchor at my mom’s deathbed, voicing her last wishes. When she wanted to live, I fought for that. When she wanted to die, I fought for that too. The latter defied every bone in my body but I did it. For her. I gave her the power the world took away from her.
My mom literally died in my arms. I held her for two hours as she let go. Her death, and several other deaths in my life, have helped me now fight for my own life.
This year I finally came out as trans* and am transforming into who I always was on the inside: a beautiful, fucking, manly butterfly.