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Sometimes I just go under

By Sam Hall

Sometimes I just go under

PHOTOGRAPH by Sharon Kilgannon, Alonglines.com

One of my psychotherapists said, “Whatever changes you make, if you do it for yourself then you’ll be driven and it’ll happen”.

But sometimes I just go under, I can be found sort of quivering in a corner, going “How the fuck did I end up here?”. But I think most of us just do our lives, like what arrives in front of you is what you deal with. People who know me well would suggest that I seek stuff, like hardship or battles. I’m not aware of that but maybe that is exactly what I do. I have to say, I do relish the battle. I’m aware that it gives you a boost in self-esteem, when you stand up for yourself; whether you’re a trans person fighting for recognition in society or whether you’re a parent who’s twelve year old is being a little shit. 

I didn’t do it for a long time, I didn’t stand up for myself and it took transitioning to get me to do it as well. I was in a really unfortunate relationship for a long time, getting the crap beaten out of me. I think that’s a mark of not coming out actually. Of hiding in the closet, because your self-worth is so low, you’re prepared to tolerate almost anything. I stayed in a marriage for much longer than I should have because you don’t get divorced in the Catholic church, you just suck it up. But it took a couple of priests to say “It’s all right, you know, if you’re having the crap beaten out of you, to leave the marriage”. I guess that was the first time I stood up for myself and that was quite recent really. It’s not over, but I definitely feel like things are getting easier.

I had a funny dream, specifically about transitioning. I was in the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon’s really different, it’s the opposite of a mountain and the exhilaration is in the second half of the journey. Anyway, I was at the bottom. I’d had the easy run down, taking some rest, and getting some cool water. I had the hardest part of the journey ahead and yet somehow I knew I was equipped for it. I’ve only just recently started taking hormones and surgery will happen in the next year or two. So physically it’s going to get harder, but actually in here, emotionally and mentally it’s not going to be nearly as hard. I can see that.


This is Sam's testimony in Chapter Three (Dysphoria, mental health, stress, coping, escapism, fantasy) of the ground-breaking Brighton Trans*formed book.

To read more intimate, heart-breaking and heart-warming stories from transgender people, click here.

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This page was amended on 18/12/2014
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