First off, wow. That didn’t take long. I think we’re only three weeks out from when I said I hoped this blog would help me find the courage to come out, and I’ve already changed my name publicly on all social media, and I made a big ol’ post about my new name & identity. I’m Chloe Jade Skye, and I’m here to stay.
So… why now? How did I get here? What led to this decision? And… now that I have a name, is the title of the blog going to stay the same…?
BIG QUESTIONS! Don’t worry. I’m going to get around to all of them.
So… why now?
I’d be lying if I said current events weren’t a factor. The combination of being locked indoors for over four months, the collapsing economy, and the general sense of isolation and doom we’re all feeling because of COVID really made me ask myself, “What am I so afraid of? What the hell am I waiting for?!”
I couldn’t scratch the thought, “If I die next week, I’m going to be pretty devastated that I never had the chance to show people who I really am.” I don’t think I’m the only person thinking, LIFE IS SHORT!
So, privately, over the last few months, I’ve been exploring my gender. Allowing myself to truly feel the things that I always just had a hunch were true. And even though the world feels like it’s falling apart, I’ve found happiness in my own personal growth and evolution. The issue was, all of the personal development that I was doing in secret was taking me farther and farther away from the person I was playing socially. When I was alone, or with my partner, I was free to be myself. But as “myself” evolved, it became more and more difficult to embody my old self. “Snapping back,” so to speak, was getting harder and harder.
And I started to realize that, on top of constantly pausing my growth to play an older version of myself, I was holding myself back from growing further. Things that I wanted to do, like post pictures of myself in makeup and dresses, weren’t happening, because I was afraid someone might find out.
So… I started this blog. Because I thought, maybe if I have a place to put all of my worries and thoughts and lessons and growth, I won’t feel the need to put it anywhere else. But that only made it worse! Once I’d written about all my thoughts and fears, and once strangers had read them, and validated me, and encouraged and supported me… I wasn’t feeling the fear anymore!
“But I’m not ready.”
Brief detour. I’ve been watching The West Wing. I never watched it when it was on, so this is my first time through. I got to the season 3 episode where the president has to go to therapy because Toby tells him his father never liked him. And the therapist tells the president that the reason he always “plays it safe,” the reason he never takes a stand for what he really believes in, is because he’s still trying to win his father’s approval. It’s more important for him to play a little dumb so that more people like him.
And it was the final nail in the coffin. It clicked all of the last pieces into place for me. Why I wasn’t coming forward. Why I was afraid I would alienate my friends. Why I constantly pretend to be someone I’m not because I think it will make me more socially acceptable.
And when I sat down to write my blog post for the weekend, everything I wanted to write felt false. Every post I wanted to write about my growth or how far I’ve come, or “what I learned this week in my gender exploration”… it all felt like bullshit. Because what I really learned was that it’s more important to say something than it is to fit in. And in a country where it feels like almost every day transgender rights are rolled back another decade, I couldn’t just sit back and let all of my trans brothers and sisters fight alone.
So I came out. And I was terrified. But I did it anyway.
I have to say… it went over exceptionally well. It makes me feel a little silly for being so afraid for so long. I didn’t even realize, but I had a little list in my head of all the people in my life who I hoped I wouldn’t lose. People I was afraid wouldn’t understand, or who would react negatively. But within the first 2 hours of my post, every single one of those people, and some people I never would have imagined, responded with love, support, and encouragement.
There’s another bunch of people who I know for certain will reject me, but… fuck those people. I don’t have time in my life for those people.
Now! What I’m sure is the REAL reason you came to this blog: Am I keeping the title? Does “A Trans Girl Has No Name” apply when you actually do have a name?
I’m keeping it. I think it does something special, in that it captures a moment. It’s the perfect title for the moment that I’m sure happens in a lot of trans women’s lives. The moment where you know you’re trans, and you’re ready to start exploring, but you have no idea what your name is supposed to be. I believe it’s a moment that binds us together. The realization of, “I am not the name that was chosen for me.”
Much like the journey of Arya Stark (or Cat of the Canals, or any of those identities) from A Song of Ice and Fire, it’s not meant to be a permanent destination. It’s a growth opportunity. You shed your name. You assume no identity at all. And during that time, you’re able to look deep into yourself and see who you really are, and decide who you want to be.
For Arya Stark (at least on the show), that meant choosing her old identity. For me, it meant choosing a new one. One that more fully encompasses and represents who I feel I am inside. One that ensures the people who stay in my life will only be the most open-minded. One where I don’t have to pretend to be anything less than I am.
So… what is this blog going to become?
It’s going to be a place where I continue to explore my gender, for sure. I’ll post stories about transformative moments in my life where I considered that I might not fit my gender identity, or moments that scared or shamed me into hiding myself. I’ll write about the struggle to come out. I’ll write my experience.
But I also want to write about things that have nothing to do with being trans. I’ve been a writer a lot longer than I’ve been a woman, and I have ideas that have nothing to do with gender. So I’ll post some short stories I’ve been working on, and maybe some other stuff, as well. I’m not 100% sure what this blog is going to become, but I know it’s something I’m going to devote a lot of time to.
Hopefully “A Trans Girl Has No Name” clues people into the fact that it’s going to be a little bit nerdy. If not, well… some people might be in for a surprise 🙂
-Chloe Jade Skye, July 26 2020