It doesn't matter what I swore to myself or how much I denied it. Its always been there like a pall hanging over me begging me to look at and acknowledge it. I can see it now because the fog of decades of denial has lifted slowly over time. It now feels like standing on top of a hill and finally being able to see your surroundings with perfect clarity for the first time.
Today, even in drab I know I am female on the inside, and that acknowledgement brings me comfort even when I cannot present as myself. There is no more fear, trepidation or shame about being who I am. All that remains inside of me is peace and joy.
My feminine instincts were quashed early on and then indoctrination took over. It was a long battle to come back but I made it and I have the rest of whatever life God gives me to be the person I was meant to. Even my lovely and intelligent son supports me no matter what I decide to do. Now that's really something.
Things can always be better in our lives but for me this is huge and, no matter what my body looks like, I have the comfort of having managed to become myself.
There is absolutely no better prize than that.