Obvious privileges aside, my life hasn’t always been this easy. Much of that controlled chaos and karmic debt was self-created and self-inflicted, of course, but the trespasses and tribulations I faced for simply being me were unfair and uninvited. What I didn’t realize at the time was I’m nonbinary. Two Spirit. The disconnect I’ve always felt was a symptom of denying my feminine half because society punished “men” like me with ostracization and violence. I began that conversation with myself when my kid came out as nonbinary at eight-years-old, almost two years ago during Pride Month. I could have used some of that mojo at the same age, but it wasn’t really an option in 1978.

The consequences of living life in direct contradiction to your inner monologue are beyond toxic. It’s the precise recipe for failing to reach your full potential as a human. Over the last few weeks, I shared this new realization with family and friends and coworkers, a soft launch of my fully-realized self. The reception has been super positive. In the case of my mom, positively effusive. Anyone who finds out via this blog post, I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk ahead of time. I look forward to the conversation! What everyone I’ve told agrees on is that it makes perfect sense for me. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never felt a peace like this. A chronic pain I hadn’t known existed is gone. The relief is both palpable and pure.

The most healing part has been dipping back into my past to see how this lack of self-awareness led me down dark paths better not taken and brighter paths often not seen. Getting bullied for being too sensitive or too smart or too whatever led to my insanely short fuse and explosive defense mechanisms. My inability to meet women is all wrapped up in my fractured identity for sure. I’m certain it had negative impacts on my marriage. I could have been a much better partner by being more in touch with my feminine aspects, more empathetic and patient. I’m hopeful this final piece of the puzzle fixes that lack in my life as well. I’m already seeing the roots of my hesitancy differently.

I finished the final rewrite of my first fiction novel last year about this time, having started it shortly after my kid was born in 2014. Tapestry was loosely based on me trying to make sense of my family coming apart at several well-worn seams. Writing it required me to go several layers deep as a man and a woman. These characters demanded every bit of my empathy and emotional intelligence to tell their story. I shared the latest draft with a long time friend who provided invaluable feedback early on in the process. She detailed each part I had fixed and how much better it was, but her biggest takeaway was an appreciation for how I wrote the female characters with an authentic voice. That’s always been my strong suit.

Being present in the female ethos was easier for me as a writer than as a man. Embracing my two spirit nature makes me hopeful I can find someone special to join this journey due to the shift in my energy. There’s a delicious irony in that outcome, though a bittersweet one as well. Until I found my true self, it was impossible for me to find someone else. I’m excited to see what the universe has in store for me on that front and am looking forward to living the family life again. My nonbinary expression lets me keep my male identities alive – brother, dad, husband, son – adding an undefined feminine aura to the mix and seeing what kind of human that creates.

They’ll be amazing. A story as yet untold. Who better than a writer to take on that important task?