Recognizing who you are and deciding to take steps to live that life takes a lot of reflection and time. There’s no one way.
Natalie Miller first knew that something was different about her as a kid but she didn’t know what. Her family, friends, and society told her that the things she was interested in weren’t “boy” things so she hid them.
“I kept moving forward and living a life that made everyone else happy but myself,” says Miller.
Miller says the only examples she had of transgender people were from talk shows like Jerry Springer where they were held up as freaks. The thought that she might be like those people she saw on television terrified her. It also made her suicidal as she wrestled with her identity.
“I would go through these cycles of going back in the closet, go back into hiding, pretend it’s all just a phase,” describes Miller.
But finally, after years of running from herself, Miller hit a point where she knew she only had two options: end it all or acceptance.
“I was finally strong enough to say I would rather live a short life as myself than a long life, living a life that was outwardly successful to everyone else but I was miserable,” says Miller. “So I did it.”
Living in a small town, Miller expected everyone to abandon her. That’s the case with many transgender people. But to her surprise, once she started telling people, they stood by her. They may not have understood but Miller says they still loved and supported her.
“I’ve been met with acceptance, caring, and kindness,” says Miller. “I wasn’t expecting the level of kindness I’ve experienced.”