I started noticing at a very young age that I was different than most other children. As long as I can remember, I’ve always been attracted to females. I think my first ‘ah-ha’ moment came transitioning into middle school and recognizing that I was never comfortable around my peers and what I saw in the mirror, didn’t match what my heart and mind felt. As scary as that was, I didn’t think too much of it because it seemed so foreign to me it was almost impossible to verbalize. At that age, if I couldn’t understand what I was feeling…I didn’t think anyone else could either, so I kept silent.
I know for myself, I was never truly exposed early on to the idea that there was a spectrum of genders. That’s usually the consensus across the board when talking with my peers and friends about their journeys. I always remember idolizing my father growing up but being extremely close to my mother, just as equally. Looking back now, it was no different than being raised as their son would have been (I imagine) had I been born biologically male. Physically, I dressed like a boy and I wore my hair in such a tight bun you’d think it’d fall right off the back. I liked to get dirty, go fishing, hang with the boys and I was always flirting with the girls. I remember pretending to shave in the bathroom because I thought it was the coolest thing watching my father’s daily routines. Despite being different, my parents never treated me as such…and I think that set the foundation for my life when I was brave enough to say, “Hey this is me…I’m transgender and I’m proud of it.”
My biggest mental and physical struggles came throughout high school because I was finally getting a grasp on my sexuality and my preferences but my entire living environment had changed. This caused me to slip into true survival mode and spend the next ten years fighting for my life from the outside in. It wasn’t until my late twenties when I stopped blaming everyone else, I stopped playing the victim and I started to love me from the inside out.
This question originally made me tilt my head in confusion. Isn’t our outward appearance supposed to reflect what we hold inside? Then you get to thinking, well…I’ve only been on hormones for three years and truly, so much has changed…it really is a valid question. So here’s my answer… every single day I strive to peel back away the layers, engage in positive self-talk and really get down to the pieces of who I am and who I’ve always been. This journey isn’t about…becoming anyone. I too am guilty of using the same verbiage…hell, I started mine with the “Becoming Nick” documentary. Really when you start to find inner peace, it isn’t instant and transitioning is not a “quick fix” to all of the problems you may or may not have when it comes to your identity. Soul searching takes a life time. So if I said, wow…you know all of the pieces they’re all perfect now and they fit and I’ve found myself, my soul is healed and life is great…that would be a lie. I am human. I struggle with rough days too. I experience extreme sadness and depression, accompanied with anxiety, PTSD and one hell of a fire that burns within me to keep fighting. I know I was built for this life, these struggles, and all of the hurdles that I still have yet to clear or even see. But you know, I am no longer afraid and that really is everything. No one can give you a pamphlet at the beginning of your transition which will provide all of the answers to taking hormones (specific to my journey as you do not need hormones to identify as transgender). No one can prepare you for how your body specifically is going to react. No one can really brace you for the fall or tell you if you’re going to regret your decision and feel as though you may have made the biggest mistake of your life. But, if you can have faith…that on the other side of those choices, is the “anecdote” to a new and improved you…as long as you’re willing to put in the work, give it everything you have, because it’s a second shot at life…then as long as you’re putting your best foot forward, I promise you…that you’re going to be able to find those answers you’ve searched your whole life for…because they’ve been there all along. Even if you get to “the other side” and realize, “Holy shit…transitioning isn’t for me”. The answers are always there. With me, what you see…is what you get.
I have a hard time with this because I feel we live in such a close-minded society that everything requires labels for the majority to wrap their head around such simple minded concepts. So, for the sake of conversation and education…I identify as a human first. From there, I would branch out and say I am a transgender male. The next question always seems to be, “Well are you straight now because you’ve transitioned?” and the answer is always…No.
The more I’ve been able to watch myself physically change and embrace the emotional rollercoaster along the way, the more I’ve been able to honor the pieces of myself that I’ve never known were in there. So, what I mean by that is I’ve always had an attraction to the male body but never to a point where it outweighed my intense pull towards the female body. In being able to recognize that, in the midst of transitioning I am now able to assertively say that I am (for the sake of labels) pansexual with a preference to females. I have had many romantic relationships in my life with males. I have also had many romantic and sexual relationships with females. I think my level of comfortability truly has to be weighed on a case by case basis because I am firm believer in energies and vibes because those are what will make or break you.
My name is a tool I continue to use for educational purposes until I can see some equality across the board that doesn’t require me, or my brothers and sisters, to live in fear that our liberties (and civil) will ever be challenged. I take pride in being an open transgender male advocate in a society that, while ever changing, still continues to condemn us for who we are. Legally my name is Nicole Kristen Kosobud and I go by Nick (or Uncle Nicky with my little babes ;). If I were to introduce myself, that’s typically as far as I go without presenting proof of identification when warranted. I choose not to legally change my name to Nicholas Theodric Kosobud because it’s simply not time…
Gender identity to me is being able to honor your authentic self. It’s embracing that unknown, the fear and really saying, “You know what, I shouldn’t be afraid to be me” and saying that to yourself every single day because you deserve happiness just as much as those who do not identify differently. Gender identity is outwardly expressing those inner emotions regardless of what society wants you to believe is right based on some brainwashed concept that “girls and boys act and dress a certain way.”
Honestly, in the beginning I think heart break forced me to see my authentic self to want to start the transition process. (Even though the true process begins at birth)
I was tired of a lot of things in my life. I was tired of living a lie and living in fear. I was tired of being unhappy and being in shitty relationships. I was tired of my own negative behaviors and my actions towards others, that I eventually said enough was enough.
Truthfully, it really comes down to this: it takes a village.
There is not one single soul that has not come into my life that hasn’t assisted me along my journey in honoring who I am. From down to the littlest encounters to the longest standing relationships, every one counts. My rock though? My rock has always been my mother.
She has guided me through a life of heart breaks, abuse in many forms and many many negative ruts and lessons but she always brought it right back to the one thing that continues to carry me through… unconditional love.
I think one of the most important lessons I’ve learned along my journey is to unlearn everything you have ever learned and keep an open mind. I know that everything prior to me learning this one simple concept, made life so much harder than it needed to be.
I really don’t want to say, “Oh you know it started when I was three when I decided to pitch a fit because I had to wear girl’s clothes.” No, I…think it would be most accurate to say that I can’t give you an accurate age or timeframe that my identity began to break down. I’d say I was born feeling different and until it was my time for me to find the necessary tools to be able to really question everything and everyone in my life, I simply lived in a blind world.
A scared human, with no real direction of which way was ‘the right way’ and I’ve never been great at puzzles, regardless of how much I enjoy them, the game of life just wasn’t fun for me. I was too stuck on what I didn’t have and where I wasn’t going and who wasn’t around and who had done me wrong and all this…bullshit…that I held a victim mentality until I said no more.
Eventually you get tired. You get tired of the lies and the false promises. You get tired of telling yourself, “Oh, it’ll get better” and implementing some half-assed attempts at really trying to get yourself out of the depressive rut you didn’t even realize you put yourself in.
You get tired of the animosity when you start to open your eyes. You get tired of the drama that you allow in your life for the simple sake of chaos. Chaos in the ugliest forms and sometimes with the ugliest people can occur because you had yet to really grasp the concept that you attract what you vibrate. Misery loves company and I was sick and tired of being miserable. So, I made a choice for change.
I kept questioning but this time, I kept moving. Every time I would stumble across a negative thought, I was trying to find ways to beat it (still do). Essentially, we are always our own worst enemies and I was on a mission to show my inner self, my true strength. Three years into this transition now, I can safely say that it’s been the most beautiful ride that not a single soul could have ever properly prepared me for. Yes, I have had ups and downs. Yes, I have loved and lost. Yes, I have some really rough days because I am finally embracing the pieces of me that I have had locked away. Yes, I too struggle with anxiety and depression which is a lovely side effect of hormones but I don’t allow those things to become crutches. Every moment is a new moment to say, “Hey, I’m doing this and I’m not giving up”. It doesn’t take a new day. Because I promise you that there is a place for you in this world and I promise you that you are loved but none of this and I mean none of it will change unless you start with loving you.
Life is all about choices; choices that will inevitably alter the pendulum of life.
A life which ultimately requires balance, sacrifice and a lot of patience.
Honor your authentic self, live like there’s no tomorrow and love so deep and so hard that people question your sanity. The world needs more of that… <3