The Price

We talk about the price of things a lot
You always hear folk say
“Freedom isn’t free.”
Honestly, though
I’m not sure if those folk really know…
The price of freedom
How much it can really be

I stepped forward
I claimed my truth
I have learned better than most
What freedom costs

Freedom cost me
My parents
My grandparents
My self-esteem
Even a little bit
Of my sanity

I know what I’m feeling must be real
But why don’t others see it?
If it’s not obvious to them
Is it really there at all?

This feeling I have
I look in the mirror and see
The man they don’t…
I look in the mirror and cringe
At the girl everyone says I am…

I hear my voice in recordings
I want to cry
Every time I hear “ma’am” on the phone
A reminder of the man I’m not yet…

This life has not been easy
In order for me to have the freedom to be myself
I must pay a price
My freedom isn’t free

Do I give up familial ties
To be true to myself?

Do I give up the ability to find a job?

Do I give up using a public restroom in peace?

This life is only getting harder
More costly
More intense

Sometimes
I wish it were over
I wish I were normal
I wish I could hide

My queerness
My transness
My maleness
My femmeness
My whole self

Sometimes I wish it were over

Not over as in finished
Over as in paid for
Moved on
Over as in
Living my life
The man I am
Outside matching In
Over as in
Never getting ma’am’d again
Never being a Miss
Always being Mr. or Mx.

This life of mine is costly
I still don’t know its price
Bit by bit
I’m finding out

Freedom really isn’t free

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