I’m excited to share with you something I’ve been aware of, on some level, for as long as I can remember. I’ve been waiting for this moment for quite a while, but due to circumstances beyond my control (more on that later), it has now come a bit sooner than I was anticipating. I’m so grateful for the friends and colleagues who encouraged me to take this plunge even at such an uncertain time.
For much of my life, I struggled to articulate a sense of self that wasn’t defined in terms of how others perceived me. I felt like a hollow shell, at best a stranger in my own body. That dark cloud began to lift when I finally looked inside and confronted something I had long supressed out of fear and shame. And over the past year, I have been taking steps that have brought me not only relief, but joy I never knew was possible.
I’m trans, and I have flourished since I embraced that fact. Particularly since starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT) last November, I have felt my sense of physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing grow a hundredfold. For the first time, I am fully present in my own life—in my relationships, in my communities, and now also in my career.
If you’ve known me in the last year or two, you may have caught the light in my eyes—that was from finally starting to ground myself in who I really am.
Although I have been increasingly open with those close to me, I didn’t intend to come out publicly and professionally for some time. That plan changed when I became unemployed earlier this year. I had been dreaming of the day when my newfound confidence and sense of purpose could finally be allowed to manifest in my professional life. Instead, I am exhilarated, if a little terrified, to find myself pushed out of the nest all at once.
Being pushed out of the nest is never easy, but it’s something else entirely when the tree is on fire, along with much of the surrounding forest. Amid multiple ongoing national and global crises, I know it wouldn’t be uncalled for if I apologized for the timing of this post. However, I also feel strongly that the best gift I can bring to this moment is myself—unmasked, unashamed, and ready to get to work.
So, hi. I’m Mel. And I’ve never had more hope than I do now.