To Those Who Support and Affirm Me

Note: This post is in response to all the comments and well wishes I received after publishing “The Open Letter” yesterday.

Yesterday I woke up early. I had slept fine the night before (surprisingly), but once 5:45AM rolled around I just couldn’t see myself dozing back off.

I was feeling pretty anxious; well a mix of emotions really. On one hand I was sort of glad that “the day” was finally here, but on the other I was definitely worried about what could be coming.

The moment came, I paused for a minute, and hit the button. I could not have imagined the magnitude of what would transpire over the next few hours.

What I saw yesterday was an amazing and transformational thing to watch. If I had been an outsider looking in I would have been moved deeply, but to be the subject of such an avalanche of support and empathy truly melted my heart.

Looking back it seems silly that there were times in my life I would have rather died than face all of you as the person I have known I was. And yet it’s true. Even up until the night before I posted that letter I lay in bed asking myself if I really had to do this; if it was worth it. “Is this just some dream?” “Am I crazy?” But I didn’t know what else to do.

I had spent a couple hours on the phone the night before last talking with a dear friend who was struggling with why I needed to do what I was about to do. I had sent this person a letter coming out to them and sharing my intention to let the rest of my friends know. It had arrived just that night.

This person wondered if there was any way possible I could go forward in life without having to do this. The blowback that both they and I had worried about was clearly top of mind. “I mean,” they asked, “you know who you are inside – and your family knows – isn’t there a way you can just know you are female on the inside and not have to display it on the outside?” It’s a fair question that I myself have struggled with, and even tried to do for several years in this process.

Knowing that this friend is a deeply spiritual and religious person (and someone who supports me completely) I responded by asking a question.

“I understand exactly what you’re asking. It’s like there’s this great job – a high paying one with great benefits. It means more security for you, for the family. It makes so much sense. To have all this requires only one thing – deny your spiritual conviction, to play the part of an atheist. After all, you and your family know who you are inside and that’s what truly matters. Is it really that important to externally display your convictions too?”

“I get it.”

Certainly there are limitations in this analogy, but one that many in my circle of friends may be able to identify with. Maybe one could live that way for a while, but at some point I think anyone who fundamentally wants to live their life in an authentic way will start to feel a kind of cognitive dissonance by not doing so. And after about 30 years, this is where I am. I’m willing to take the potentially lower paying job, to potentially lose friends, etc. The external problems seem less overwhelming than the internal ones – so I guess it’s worth the trade.

As your messages of support poured in I was touched by each one. At first I was waiting for the first note of disapproval or scorn – but it never arrived. Even some of those I thought would have had a particularly hard time with this messaged me in humility and compassion. It moved me.

There are far too many messages to respond to, but I hope each of you know that I read each one and felt immense gratitude for each one. Every response chiseled a little more of my fear away until by the end of the day I felt nothing but love and support and authenticity from you all. Thank you.

They say that a human being really only needs a couple close friends, and a community of a few dozen friendly acquaintances in a community to thrive. Yesterday showed me that I have many more than these. More than I feel I deserve.

After spending a lifetime of being the absolute best man that a girl can be, it’s a beautiful experience to look forward to the rest of my life just being me.

With abounding gratitude,

Madelyn

14 thoughts on “To Those Who Support and Affirm Me”

  1. Tommie

    You may not FEEL you deserve the love of those around you but you do. You are one of the most generous and giving individuals I’ve ever known. When I stayed in your home for a full two weeks last year and put you through #$%@#, you never once complained. When you had to get up ‘way before dawn to take me to the airport, you did it without griping. I could go on and on but I won’t. You have proven yourself to be a special person in more ways than one and I’m honored to have you as a member of my family. BTW, as Madelyn, you are even more beautiful than you were before. πŸ™‚

  2. Tom Solon

    The outpouring of support is a testament to your character, Maddie. You are so loved and supported. I miss you and enjoyed speaking to you on the phone yesterday, despite me rushing to the subway! (NY ugh)

    Revel and bask in all this love!

  3. Jackie

    You are truly an inspiration; even the short time together at school
    In Spain gave me time to see what a great person you are. Congratulations on the new and improved you. You will change many lives through your testimony.

  4. Larry Lee Purdy

    Madelyn, Indeed it does seem strange to call you by your new name, but I’ll get used to it. I didn’t post a response to your letter though through tears both Glenda and I read it this morning as well as as the responses that were posted. I can’t begin to imagine the struggles you have endured in your life and the courage it has taken to do what you have done as well as share what you are doing. I myself have changed how I see people who are dealing with these challenges in their lives and having you as a friend really brings it to life, that I need to accept people for who they are. My prayer for you is that you will continue to find not only success, but happiness in your life.

  5. Daneen Akers

    I love this line: “After spending a lifetime of being the absolute best man that a girl can be, it’s a beautiful experience to look forward to the rest of my life just being me.”

    We’re looking forward to that too! What an amazing experience to witness yesterday. It was a life-affirming, God-affirming thing. And it all started because you had the courage to show up as your true self.

  6. Judy Montrose

    Hey, Maddie! I love the person you are and the one you are allowing yourself to become! Congratulations for being true to yourself and having the courage to forge ahead to find the happiness and fulfillment and freedom that God intended for you. I have no clue if you are French or were even aware that yesterday was Bastille Day, but what a symbolic day to proclaim the real you to all of your friends! You have truly broken out of the prison of your former life. You have an awesome family and such wonderful support for this challenging journey you are undertaking. I am proud of you and of each one of them. Vaya con Dios . . .

  7. Fran

    Maddie, isn’t the response wonderful? Three summers ago, as I was edging toward coming out at last, my closest friend in Fresno told me I’d be surprised at people’s reactions when the time came. And three years later, I’m still surprised — sometimes astounded. At a certain point down the road, I’ll bet there’ll come a day when you say “Why was I so scared in the first place?” Even though we’ll always know why.

    Congratulations, hon, and welcome aboard. I’ll be keeping a watch on your blog.

  8. Terry Shultz

    Hey Girlfriend!

    You’ve been on my mind all day today. I can’t help but feel celebratory…like this is one big party. πŸ™‚ I know this is one scary step after another, but from where I sit, it’s party, party, par-TAY! Everyone deserves a life abundant in joy, peace, love and happiness as well as many other things…that includes you. To come to the place where you give yourself permission to bring those things to you is definitely a moment to celebrate.

    MUAH!!!

  9. Pennie

    Hello! Hey I don’t even know you and yet I feel that I am missing out on knowing a really good person!! Whatever you are doing, keep doing it! With friends like these you can’t lose!!! Pennie

  10. Kami Hawks

    Only one disagreement Madelyn – I believe each person is given the number of friends she earns. Even people that DON’T know you (above response) can sense what a special person you are. I cannot wait to see the real you expressed on the outside as well as the inside. Congratulations.

  11. Lee Tetz

    Madelyn I must first apologize for not responding sooner, I can explain. I am never on face book so the world tends to reach me about 4-5 days later usually through other people. However your user name on Google plus now make more sense to me. Just want to say you will always be my friend and welcome in my life stay in touch. If you still feel like splittin time I look forward to the day we both go flyin again. Were probably both way over due for our medical and bi annuals but would be fun. I wish you the best Maddie and really respect your courage and strength in this undertaking I cant imagine the amount of fear and courage it must take to do this. Ironically id say it takes some pretty big balls to do what your doing πŸ™‚ not sure id have them! Hit me up some time best wishes.

    Lee Tetz

  12. Michelle (Burden) Dillon

    Madelyn,
    I have to agree with Lee on this one, it seriously takes some huge balls to do what you’re doing. But don’t worry, we girls secretly have them too, and often they’re bigger! I have so much respect for what you are doing, and how you are going about it. Like all the rest of the Angwinites, I’m sorry we couldn’t be more supportive during the younger years. People can be so stuck in their own little world, little realizing the heartache and trials going on in those around them. Your letter brought tears to my eyes and has taught me so much about what an amazing person you are. I’ve always thought you were a good looking guy, but I think you’re an even better looking woman! Thank you for sharing your life. God bless as you discover a whole new world!
    Michelle

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