- Cefiro Samaco shares their experience as a transgender nonbinary person.
- The discovering of one’s own identity may be scary, yet liberating.
- It is necessary to embrace your past identity, as it allowed you to become yourself.
There’s a certain beauty in womanhood that I know I’ll never truly experience nor understand.
This beauty is inherent in all women—regardless of who they may be or where they may be from. Womanhood, from my perspective, is seeing the innate beauty in each other. And, my god, it’s a wonderful thing. As I think about these female attitudes, I feel a wave of bittersweetness taking over me. There’s also a sense of melancholy as I know in my heart, I will never truly experience what it’s like to be a woman. Womanhood, as beautiful as it may be, was never meant to be for me.
Through fluidity of gender and expression, I learned to go beyond the binary. I was taught and experience all aspects of who I could be to finally see myself for who I am. By liberating and exploring myself, I was able to discover my real identity. I felt comfortable being myself.
“Not Like Other Girls”
The last decade or so of my life was spent in confusion and discomfort. Looking in mirrors and not recognizing the person staring back at me, the special kind of loathing at the weight on my chest. I watched in confusion as my peers found beauty in their body, the swell of their chest and the curves of their hips. The softness of their features, the plumpness of their thighs, and the sweetness in their voices.
As the media had ingrained in me, I thought it was simply another case of me being “not like other girls”. I allowed myself to demonize femininity for the longest time, falling victim to archaic notions of society. This collective fury led to a relentless pursuit of finding comfort in who I am and what the body I had truly meant, for a person like me. It felt wrong for me to be “girly” because I never genuinely felt like it was me.
As the years went by and I allowed myself to be free of my previous ideals, I began to understand more of myself through research and support. The term “Transgender” and “Nonbinary” were added to my vocabulary and finally, the wrongness of my body, the discomfort I felt in my skin, and all which I had experienced up till that point made sense.
I wasn’t meant to be the girl I thought I would be. In fact, I wasn’t one at all. In allowing myself to not be labeled by anyone other than myself, to express and dress the way I want to, whether it be to bind my chest or accentuate my curves, I found joy—almost euphoria. I first experienced it when I finally saw myself in the mirror and recognized who was staring back at me.
I grieve her still, yes, but I’m no longer afraid to do so unabashedly. I honor her memory, by living my life to the fullest. Everytime I do things that she loved, I remember the imperfections that made her human. The ones who gave her a warm embrace when she felt like she wasn’t meant to be alive, who whispered truths of her worth, and her value to the people who love her. I may never experience the beauty of womanhood, but I will live the rest of my days honoring the life she sacrificed, so that I can be the person I was meant to be.
The Memory of Her
Yet there are certain pitfalls when the sun sets and I lay awake staring at the ceiling. In the shadows of my bedroom, I see her. The ghost of the girl I once was and the woman she could’ve been, flitting around, staring at me, an emotion in her eye I could never properly understand. Every reflection of myself is a crude reminder of that girl and all of which she stood for. As I find myself, curling up and this overwhelming melancholy boring itself in my chest as I remember my sins against her.
I murdered her. As I meditate on whether or not I wish to further my transition medically, I imagine the children she will never bear. Her dreams of raising a new generation of kind, compassionate human beings will never find fruition. As I bind my chest, I wonder if she could’ve learned to love all her curves and all imperfections which make her a woman. As I brush through my hair, I think of the hairstyles she’ll never get to wear.
She could’ve grown it all out, cut it all off, and she would’ve still looked beautiful. Had she lived, had I not killed her before she could blossom, would she have seen how beautiful she is? Would she have loved the darkness of her skin and the plumpness of her frame? Would she have seen the kindness of her eyes and the brightness of her smile?
Embracing My Journey Ahead
All the ‘what if’s’ and ‘what not’ keep me up most nights, as I think about the girl I killed and the woman she could’ve been. It’s difficult to grieve, especially something you know you were responsible for. I’ve taken a human life, cut it short and burned her remains to ash. I wear the mask of her face, carry her name on official papers and IDs, and live the life she could’ve had. I stole all the opportunities that were rightfully hers. I’m a monster.
Yet as I find myself embracing feminine expressions and all that falls under it—makeup, skirts, dresses—I feel her. All that she has deprived herself of, in the name of keeping me happy. The dresses in place of oversized sweatshirts, sneakers in place of heels, tear-stained cheeks over rouge. Depriving herself of joy and comfort, for my sake as a person.
Suddenly, she’s no longer a dark reminder of what I once was nor a crude reflection of what the future might’ve been. But instead, a part of myself pushed herself to the sidelines, taking away the sadness, the discomfort, the desire to peel my own skin off, so that I may find joy in who I truly am. She isn’t something I should run away from, but someone I should embrace as a part of my growth. She sacrificed so much, so that I could be who I am today. The chance to experience and live through the beauty of woman – she willingly gave that up, for me.
Accepting self divergent identities is a challenging process filled with reflection (or even doubts). However, embracing who you are will allow you to keep growing and have a healthy relationship with yourself.