Filming in the Dark

Part of the reason why I made this film is because I wanted to freeze it in time.

For me, the past has a way of muddying up the present and future, and those memories become entirely too hazy to untangle. I figured this point in my life was one I would want to remember with the vividness that only film can capture; the sounds, the sunsets, the forced laughter, the genuine tears, the words on that letter. I wanted to remember them all. Especially those words. This film is more so a living memory of the moment I came out to myself and to my parents. I had to come out in a letter and hope that in my absence they would find it because I couldn’t bear to see their faces as they read it.

I remember writing that letter for weeks and weeks, anxiously editing it almost every night. And then I remember the call I got when they finally opened it—I had secretly left the letter on the kitchen table before heading out. My dad said, “Stepha – Jamie….you got your mother all upset over here. What if this testosterone hurts your body? I don’t know, kid. I love you but we’re worried about you. We just want what’s best for you.”

I don’t remember what I said next because my mother snatched the phone from my dad’s hands before I could reply. She was sobbing. She said, “Why did you leave a note? Why didn’t you just tell me in person?” And I told her that I didn’t want to see her cry and I knew she would.

The events that transpired in the weeks and months and year ahead was the most emotionally fulfilling time of my life thus far. My parents came to fully support me in my decision to transition from female to male and I finally became comfortable enough with myself to start smiling and start dreaming. It wasn’t until the age of 21 that I made the decision to start living for myself. It was the best decision I have ever made.

JamieandParents

I am a happy, fiercely ambitious dreamer who also just happens to be transgender. I am so glad that I made the decision to make this film even when I was in the thick of my darkness, depression and self-loathing. Now that I look back on it, I can have a living memory of how far I have come. Film has become an outlet of self-expression for me, and most importantly, a living memory. This film is a glimpse into the letter that started my life.

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