There is an older couple that comes into my job about every other day for sandwiches. They get the same thing every time but I always ask if that is what they are getting just in case they mix it up on me.
A little over a year ago I came in wearing an Air Force coat that has the saying “Air Force don’t die we just go to hell to regroup” on the back. I’ve worn this coat for years. The man is a retired Vietnam vet and so he commented on the coat. I made their sandwiches that day and we got down to the register when the wife asked me if I was sick to which I replied with a no. She then asked if I was stuffed up with my nose because my voice sounded different. I explained that it was my medication but not telling her which medication (it was the testosterone). She said, “I’ve never heard of any medication causing that” so I explained that I am transitioning into male. She acted as though I was joking then realized I wasn’t. They sat down and ate then came back up to the counter individually. Her first asking who was paying for it. I explained that my insurance was and she said that no insurance covers that. Yes, she is obviously very uneducated in this aspect. I said that mine does. As she was walking out her husband came up to the counter and said, “You know that place on the back of your jacket? You’re going there while I’m going up there (pointing to the sky)”. I just stared at him. I had never been talked to like this in my life and had no clue what to do or say. For the next 8-10 months I refused to help this couple. One day I was the only worker so I had to. They had commented that they hadn’t seen me in awhile and asked where I’d been. My response, “Hiding”. It was not a lie.
Wednesday the same couple came in and I asked if they were getting their usual, her with the American cheese and him with the shredded. The wife said, “Yes ma’am” and I asked her not to call me ma’am. They looked at me funny and asked why not so I explained again that I am a transgender man. She goes, “Well we didn’t know”. I said that I had told them about a year ago and they had told me to go to hell. They looked shocked that they would say something like this. I just stared them the entire time. I know that my feeling of anger and hurt could be heard through my voice but by the time I thought about it the words had already left my mouth (which is typical of me). I do not remember what the woman was talking about after that but I do remember that she had referred to me as ‘him’ when talking to her husband. All these months I have been angry for something that they didn’t even remember saying only for them to accept (somewhat I’m sure) who I am. I was mad for not talking to them all those months and kept playing the scenario over again in my mind when all I was doing was withholding joy from myself. How could they know that I was angry and why? I stole time and happiness away from myself. They did not force me to feel what I did and for so long. It took this for me to realize all the time that I deprived myself from.
Do not hold grudges. You are the only one this effects. The other person moves on with their life and 9/10 times does not even know or understand the wrong that you feel they have done to you. I hate to sound like a Disney movie, but let it go. You deserve to be happy and if forgiving those that have upset you, no matter how big or small, sets you free to live the life of happiness that you deserve. I have sat here for hours since this encounter going over all the ‘wrongs committed against me’ forgiving the other person. It is me that won’t let it go, me that won’t move on. Not them.
I challenge you today to think of just one person that you feel has wronged you, whether family, friend, or stranger, and forgive them. Make today a great day by doing this one thing for yourself. You. Are. Worth. It.