Experience

Uncovering My True Self

Experience


by Tyler Young
Olympia, Wash.

I realized at a very young age that if I was fundamentally happy, I would want for nothing. Unfortunately, that never seemed to be the case. I was always depressed and struggled to find my self-worth.

At first, I didn’t connect my intense self-loathing with the fact that I would freak out looking in the mirror and seeing a female body. I tried to convince myself that the body that I had was OK, and that I needed to buck up and suffer through it. But I felt a maleness inside of me that was not reflected in the mirror.

Through practicing Nichiren Buddhism with the SGI and following SGI President Ikeda’s guidance, I finally pulled out the shards of depression and sadness from my life. I was able to see that I was a man and needed to transition. I needed to blossom and become my true self, and that was key to obtaining fundamental happiness and helping other people become happy, as well. After transitioning, I found this immense amount of freedom.

I needed to blossom and become my true self, and that was key to obtaining fundamental happiness and helping other people become happy, as well.

Many people probably think I have a hard life, but because of Buddhism, I feel great about myself. I have a body that reflects my internal self. I also have a loving wife, a great relationship with my father and a job that I enjoy going to every day. I have so much richness in my life because of the heart that I have forged.

Many people in my life who are homophobic or transphobic fear the unknown, and to them, I’m unknown. For me, it’s about seeing others as human beings and connecting with them on that level, rather than being framed by their hate or fear of me. When I open my heart and connect with them, they open up and listen to my story. If I listen to them, they come around and accept me, because I’ve accepted them.
Buddhism is really about being your true self and cherishing the person you are. That’s not for me to tell someone else what their true self is or for anyone to tell me how to be me. Buddhism is about becoming the type of person who can cherish others for exactly who they are.