Perhaps Demon isn’t the right word, but when I was younger, before transition, I used to think of myself as cursed. I thought that being Trans was a curse that destined me for a life spent alone and apart from the rest of humanity. A creature unable to form permanent lasting relationships. One that would only bring pain to those that welcomed me in. That sounds horribly sad, but it’s what I thought for a very long time.
It wasn’t something that I conjured out of nothing. Life experience taught me to feel that way. I always knew I was “different.” That knowledge and the reaction this difference elicited in others caused me to hide my true self. That self that others didn’t like I covered by a false exterior. A cloak of secrecy. One that I wore for protection. I later found that cloak more smothering than protecting. It dulled my senses. I experienced life in a muffled dull way. My highs and lows more in the middle range. No big smiles or laughs. No reckless abandon. Everything was experienced from a distance behind my insulating cover. But at least it only harmed me, right? At least my dulled senses and hidden secret didn’t impact others.
But it did have impact. The face I showed the world had “troubled artist” painted on it. Athletic and attractive too. People were drawn to my attractive mystery. I did my best to avoid them. I knew I was a troubled demon and wasn’t very trusting that anyone would understand. Indeed for the first 25 years of my life, I had no idea there were other demons like me in the world. And I was a lonely demon. I was well-practiced at the pretense of being a loner. People often called me that. They thought I preferred it. It gave me time to practice my Art, they imagined. I did have that, but way more alone time than I ever wanted. In fact, I was never really a “loner.” I craved companionship, but also feared it. What would happen when they found out I wasn’t really human? Occasionally I faltered and let a person a bit closer to me. But only so far. I could never tell them the truth. That their new friend was a changeling. Outwardly male but inwardly female. I learned later that people wanted to be closer, but they could feel the barrier. The wall I kept up was more obvious than I realized. Most would give up sooner or later. They felt confused or disappointed. Maybe even hurt. I couldn’t tell. My heart was insulated and my senses dulled. At least that’s what I told myself.
I was exceptionally good at protecting my true identity. I found new and creative ways of being alone or apart. I moved into my car at the age of 21. I worked with others in order to survive, but only just enough. I wanted as little contact with humans as possible. Contact brought complications. Feelings. Feelings that made me feel too weird or different. I imagined one day that I would evolve from the ugly changeling demon I felt into the complete and beautiful woman I was supposed to be. Then I could allow people in. But in this demon form, I preferred to stay away. I wasn’t sure how this change would happen, but I knew it had to. I had spent too much time in my insulated cacoon for it to be wasted. But the cacoon was crystalizing around me. I began to wonder if it was protecting me or choking and smothering me. I could feel its case hardening and growing tougher. It also began constricting inward. Tendrils of sinew attaching to my soft places and growing together. Rather than metamorphosing into a young beautiful new female human, I was becoming the crusty protective shell itself. The shell hardening to the point that cracks were beginning to form along its seams. I felt that inner me begin to disappear altogether. Soon there would be nothing left. I realized I needed to escape the shell. Even if only for a moment. It was a matter of life or death. If I allowed my inner being to harden into the shell, what would be the point? There would be no reason to go on at all. That was what motivated me to take my first small escape into the world.
During my first escape, my inner form was still twisted and misshapen from the years spent hiding. My protective layer’s encroachment had done its work on me. Fortunately, I managed to meet other demon changelings during one of my first brief evening escapes. We only met at night in safe places where regular humans rarely ventured. Places only the unwanted, like us would go. We fit in precisely because we didn’t. During our meetings, we were eager to talk and share our experiences. I found the other demons and I had much in common. All of us were changelings. All had been rejected by their families. All had managed to build a false outer layer to protect ourselves. That is, all but one. There was one demon who no longer had a protective covering she returned to. She had “transitioned.” She had discarded her protective exterior altogether. Some of the demons thought she was crazy to take such a risk. To go out among humans without your protective covering? Madness. But I was intrigued. I wanted to know how she had done it.