Hello, my name is Jessie
Today I am proud and excited to announce my come out…
I am trans.
Over the course of my life I have struggled to come to terms with who I am, why I exist and where my place is in this life. That struggle has come for me in the form of my gender identity.
I have known for all of my life that I felt a little out of place, and that there was often not a perfect box for me to exist in. I spent the majority of these past 29 years ignoring and supressing these confusing feelings because they were scary, unknown, and often made me feel alone, incomplete and less than.
10 years ago, this February, I came out as gay. That was a huge step for me in finding myself as it got me a little closer to who I am. It provided me a label that I could share with the world and that people, for the most part, understood. Getting to that place 10 years ago was an incredible milestone and opened up my ability to feel self-expressed.
Over the course of the last decade I have lived many stages of life, and in doing so, have made countless self-discoveries. Coming out as gay was just the first step, and the last year has been an incredible journey in finally allowing myself to find full and complete expression in who I truly am, and that is, and always will be at my core, Jess.
What's most exciting about this is that, just like 10 years ago when I came out as gay, and today as I tell you that I am trans, nothing really changes. I have been, and always will be, Jess.
This life has handed me some amazing opportunities to live bigger and bolder than most people ever have a chance to. I have been given this gift in life to live outwardly in a way that encourages openness, growth, acceptance, fearlessness, learning, and love. I exist in this life and was handed these circumstances in order to share them in pursuit of leaving the world a little better than before, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
I haven't always been this proud of who I am and as strong in my convictions - this past year has handed me the greatest battles of my life. I lived in incredible shame and fear, I struggled in an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and I battled with the persistent and terrifying thought of suicide.
I lived for a significant period of time in denial. I learned at a very young age to suppress these feelings of difference and confusion, and instead, found ways to adapt to fit the world as it was designed.
I found ways to adapt to a world not built for me by living as big as possible. I had an incredible amount of insecurity when it came to the world's perception of me, and so I adapted in a way that had me define myself for them before they had a chance to do it for themselves.
I was the class clown and the joker. I was the athlete, and the performer. I was the loudest, the boldest, and the one who broke the rules. I was the one who danced the longest, drank the most, and took it one step past everyone else. I was also the one who went out of their way for others. Above and beyond in acts of service and giving selflessly. I figured that if I was the centre of attention for reasons that I created, then I couldn't be the centre of attention for reasons that the world created. I feared that people might actually see the hidden me, I feared someone catching me when I wasn't 'on', and I feared that people would find out who I really was, so instead, I decided that I would create a story for them.
The funny thing is, these qualities are really who I am. They are all a real, core part of what makes up Jess, and they couldn't be erased. They are qualities I was born with, qualities that live within me and qualities that I admire in myself. The distinction now is simply that I am learning to live into them more authentically. I am learning to live into these qualities in a way that speaks to who I am at my core. These qualities of fun, passion, drive, enthusiasm, positivity, energy, excitement, humour, health, fearlessness, rebellion, curiosity, confidence and love for connection are what drive me, what fuel me and what give me so much strength in my purpose. I have been afforded these human qualities so that I could live boldly into my purpose of living vulnerably and authentically as myself to create space for others.
I believe deeply that every experience we have in this life is a gift. I believe that our circumstances hold infinite opportunity and I believe that we always have choice in how we move forward with these circumstances.
My circumstances are that I was born female. My circumstances are that I was born in a body that I didn't identify with and my circumstances are that I was born into a world that was not designed to fit me.
The opportunities I see in these amazing circumstances I call gifts are endless. I was handed the incredible gift of sitting somewhere in the middle of the gender norm. I was given the incredible gift of being a connector and an engager. I was born into incredible privilege as a white, affluent, educated Canadian from a healthy loving family who supports and encourages me every day to be self-expressed, authentic and vulnerable. I was born with the gift of playing host to a set of human qualities that make me uniquely qualified to drive forward in the face of fear. From these circumstances was born my purpose, and I am incredibly excited to live into it fully and completely as I journey through this great life.
So here I am. Exposed, authentic and vulnerable.
With all the love I have to give these words, I thank you.
Jessie Hutton Nelson