At an early age in my life, about 10 years old, I began to feel different from other children. From a young age I had always acted as one of the guys. I hung out with the guys. I played sports. I looked like a guy. I served in the US Army. I got married and had children.
Yet, at that young age I started experiencing something that I couldn’t explain, and for which at that time almost no vocabulary existed to describe. I was more than just fascinated by girls because deep in my heart I wanted to be one. I truly felt like one. In those days it was not acceptable to explore or even communicate the way I felt. So I did what most of the people in my circumstances would do, which was to hide it and live with feelings of immense anxiety for more than 40 years.
After a significant life event and surgery for cancer a few years ago, I discovered that I could no longer deny who I was.
I began a journey of discovery, and started to seriously address my gender issues. A lot of very painful work ensued as I began the process of finding myself. It would be difficult to conceive the amount of work I had to do to reach that point. The reward was that, for the first time in my life, I actually felt peace and was able to accept the fact that I am transgender.
I now know that there is nothing “wrong” with who I am, (regardless of whether the rest of the world likes it, hates it, or can’t understand it,) and I believe that, somehow and in some way, there is a purpose, a good purpose, in all of this.
In doing so, I hope to live my life in as authentic a manner as possible, in line with my true gender, and to support others on the path to true wellness. That is how the ITWA was born, and I am eternally grateful for your support.
I want to thank you for helping in whatever capacity you can, and would like to leave you with some words of encouragement I found during my journey:
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others!” — Marianne Williamson
Jacqueline Renee Patterson