Name: Meg Amber Lightheart
I’ve had a sense of melancholy since I was a kid. Whilst never genuinely thinking of doing anything drastic, if you’d offered me a choice, I’d have preferred to not be alive.
Always thought it was just existential ennui.
On the 4th March, it literally went, and hasn’t come back.
I searched Impact Hub Brum’s What’sApp group and turns out I put a message in on 23rd March 2016 about experimenting with my gender expression (‘think Eddie Izzard, not Caitlyn Jenner’ - bless).
Then last year I went to Trans Vegas in Manchester, organised by Trans Creative, Kate O’Donnell, a festival by trans people for trans people. As well as hearing the incredible CN Lester sing, I met Kate, Juno Roche, Kate Hutchinson, Charlie Craggs and Kuchenga.
Here were a bunch of trans women who seemed to be living their lives and were comfy in their skin.
I weaselled my way into the speaker dinner on the first night and was able to be part of a conversation with other trans people like I’d never had before. Me in my dress and my beard, living my best non-binary life.
The next day, saw Kuchenga interview Charlie about her book To My Trans Sisters. I stood at the back of the room sobbing, feeling a shift in my bodysoul, a deep sense of recognition.
I walked up to Kuchenga in tears afterwards and said, ‘I think I might be a girl.’
‘Ok. I’m with you,’ she said. And ever since she has been. She also called me ‘sis’ and it was like a deep pool of longing just opened up in me.
Flash forward six or seven months of conversations with my people and I realised I needed to work out exactly what I wanted, separate from other people. I then spent a couple of months talking to a lovely therapist who specialises in talking to trans people.
Two things happened.
I had messed up my timings and was in Brum town centre for my phone therapy appointment, so ended up wandering around Pigeon Park, the busy grounds of the cathedral. We’d been exploring authenticity and Marianne The Therapist asked me ‘If you’d woken up this morning the most authentically you, would you be wearing these clothes and would you be using these pronouns?’
Everything in me said ‘No.’
The second thing was I was reading The Art of Being Normal, by Lisa Williamson. I was reading the end on the 4th March, having breakfast with Zed and Dan. The end is pretty happy for the trans girl main character and that happy ending just BROKE me. I sobbed and sobbed.
It lead to a big conversation where I realised my last worries about transitioning were about Zed and Dan’s reactions. They assured me that they loved me and fully supported me and wouldn’t be embarrassed or disgusted or anything else my mind was scaring me with.
Somewhere between first and second breakfast, I made the decision that I wanted to pursue a binary transition.
And the melancholy just WENT. It’s gone. My whole life just lines up, so much of my childhood (and adulthood to be honest) makes sense, and I want to be alive. I am alive.
In the past few weeks I’ve been telling my close people, all of whom have been so wonderful, including my Mum (who sent me a card), my Dad (who said he felt relieved and only wanted me to be happy) and my Auntie June, my Nan’s sister (who said she must be a witch because she’s been waiting for someone to tell her since I changed my name to its most recent incarnation).
I was off work on Wednesday which led me to going through name list websites to see which names pinged. I’d been pretty sure it would be Amber, but wanted to check to see if there was a name I hadn’t thought of. Arwen was a popular contender on my Facebook wall, but I’m not really a graceful elf.
It was Zed who said ‘Have you thought about books you love?’ which was his sneaky way of getting me to think of A Wrinkle In Time (he quickly left the room and got busy doing something APPARENTLY.)
A Wrinkle In Time was my favourite book in my childhood and formed a lot of my morality. I always identified with Meg, the awkward girl who didn’t believe in herself but found courage to fight the shadow and the dark.
It feels so good to be called Meg, so good I can’t believe it’s actually allowed. I’ve kept Amber as a middle name as (a) I do love it and (b) it gives me the social media handle of MEGALIGHTHEART.
Today on #TransDayOfVisibility, I’ve changed my name by deed poll so it’s reeeaaal.
I’m having laser hair removal on my face once a month to stop the hair growing and I’m exploring hormones. Everything else is up for exploration and, well, pretty private really. Happy for you to ask any questions you have by private message/email - if I think they are relevant to everyone, I’ll post things about them.
Tl;dr: I’m a girl and happier than I’ve been since I was a kid.