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Finding Samuel

Samuel William

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately - about myself, my identity, my past - and I’ve come to the conclusion that I was an incredibly gutsy teenager. Not a word is usually use to describe my introverted, painfully shy younger self, but that kid - that kid who was bullied and sidelined and lonely and struggling to fit in - carved out elements of my identity that still keep me sane today. Short hair. Masculine clothes. Masculine nickname. My teenage self stubbornly dug those trenches, and my adult self never retreated from them. 

But I only got so far. I’m not sure how or when or why, but at some point in my late teens or early twenties, I stopped fighting. Stopped admitting to myself that I loved it when people saw my short hair and thought I was a boy. Stopped choosing clothes just based on what made me feel good. Stopped dreaming that I could go to America for surgery and come back male. Started the complicated dance I’ve devoted two decades to. Hair short enough that I feel okay with it, but femme enough that no one says anything. Button-ups and jeans and slacks that come from the women’s section of the store but look masculine enough that I can wear them without feeling like an alien in my own skin. Watching life from the sidelines, figuring out what I’m ‘allowed’ and what raises eyebrows. Wasting far too much time on seeking approval, on following the lead of friends and family members with strong personalities so that I feel accepted. Consoling myself with junk food and TV binges and romance novels with a strong theme of quirky-person-loved-for-who-they-truly-are. 

Then came a few years of turmoil, both personal and global. Deaths in the family. Lockdowns. A lot of time spent alone. Loneliness. Turning 40 just before another lockdown. Realising how few people remain in my inner circle, and that none of them see me for who I truly am because I’ve spent 20+ years locking my masculine self down. Hiding. Conforming. Making myself miserable and overweight and disempowered so that I don’t have to rock the boat. Don’t have to find out for sure whether or not those off-hand comments about being trans being a form of mental illness would still be thrown around so casually if I was standing right there, owning my truth. 

And so, late last year, I started thinking. Googling. Watching YouTube videos and reading articles. Ordering new underwear for myself, and a packer. Letting myself just….try it out. Seeing how it felt. Gradually building up a picture in my head of who Samuel might be if I ever find the courage to unleash him on the world outside my front door. 

And you know what? I never feel freer than when I’m channeling Samuel. I’ve purged my wardrobe of all those ‘acceptable’ clothes and filled it with men’s button-ups and boxer shorts and (my newest addition) a long-sleeved Henley that makes me feel amazing when I wear it.

I’ve expanded my colour palette, because Samuel is secure enough to move beyond blues and blacks. I’ve realised that I love natural tones - ocean blues, forest greens, autumn-leaf browns and oranges. I’ve learnt, for the first time in my life, to have FUN with my appearance, mixing and matching clothes and shoes to get the look I’m aiming for.


I’m experimenting with scents, too - no more syrupy sweet ‘girly’ deodorants, bought because that’s what I was supposed to buy, but playing around to find what I like. Soaps that smell like eucalyptus or citrus or peppermint. Deodorants that smell like cedar wood. It’s still a work in progress, and again, it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever allowed myself to have fun with the process of finding what I like. 


And I’m slowly but surely starting to break the chains that hold me back from publicly becoming Samuel full-time - the chains of habit, of approval-seeking, of tentatively waiting for permission to make a decision, of passively waiting for others to run the show so that I at least have a chance of following the rules and getting it ‘right.’ I’m making myself stand on my own two feet. I’m daring to make my wardrobe 100% Samuel, even though sooner or later someone is bound to comment. I’m doing things for me, even when I know other people don’t approve. I’m building up the spine I’m going to need to stand up and live my truth. 

And I’m discovering just how necessary all of this is, because I’m getting pushback even on the most innocuous things, like the holiday I chose to book (one friend analysed the costs and asked how I could possibly afford X amount per day) or the dog I chose to adopt (a family member demanded to know how I’d cope with a third dog, including ‘all that poop in a small yard.’ I live on a 1/3 acre block - as does she. With her 3 dogs.). 

I’m sorry I ceded control for so long. I’m sorry I stopped fighting the way my shy teenage self fought. I’m sorry that sooner or later I’m going to shake up - or possibly implode - the life I’m living now, and that I may have to sacrifice important relationships to truly live life as Samuel. 

But I’m not sorry I finally realised my truth. I’m not sorry to have an opportunity to make myself into the man I want to be. I’m not sorry to feel proud of that shy, confused, gutsy teenager, who struggled to live his truth in a time and place where ‘transgender’ was unheard of.


I don’t know exactly what the next few years hold, but I do know there’s a lot of joy ahead, waiting for me to find it.  


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The "Gender Identity " thing has always been enigmatic for us, but I believe that we simply "Are" . It seems we have to "Learn to Live With What You Can't Rise Above".


Yep! Bruce!

Not your usual choice but someone who has lived with depression, isolation despite performing to millions.

My choice as a wedding song in 1988 & yes my wife insisted I wore panties, fetishist? No, we were both "Different" but reality bites. She died  3 years ago (56), we found some resolution before then.


 Gender is a myth.


That is just what is between your legs, you are what you are between your ears.


Ka Kite & take care out there, wherever you are!

Sara Bareilles - Brave.mp4  


The "Gender Identy" thing has always been enigmatic for us, but I believe that we simply "Are" . It seems we have to "Learn to Live With What You Can't Rise Above".


Yep! Bruce! Tunnel of Love.

Not your usual choice but someone who has lived with depression, isolation despite performing to millions.

My choice as a wedding song in 1988 & yes my wife insisted I wore panties, fetishist? No, we were both "Different" but reality bites. She died  3 years ago (56), we found some resolution before then.


 Gender is a myth.


That is just what is between your legs, you are what you are between your ears.


Ka Kite & take care out there, wherever you are!



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  • 2 weeks later...

I love this, and I resonate with your story 🤗

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