I started my music studies in 2011 and haven't stopped studying since. I finished my Bachelors in Classical Guitar Performance in 2014 and went on to complete an Honours degree in music and cognition in 2015. I started my PhD at Western Sydney University in Australia in 2016 investigating sound and silence and am now a PhD Candidate building a new analysis model for musicians.
It was in 2016 that I interviewed fellow artist, activist, and performer Candy Royalle. Our conversation revealed the biggest secret I was hiding away from myself, from everybody. I realised I was transgender. I had to come out a second time and decided to be completely open and honest with the people in my life. We are only given one life and I knew I had to keep going. Heading into 2017, I not only managed my research but also engaged in difficult conversations with my family, friends, and supervisors. My supervisors are amazing and supportive women who have stood by me for the last 4 years.
I had felt invisible at conferences and symposiums. I knew I was not being heard. But it was another thing completely when I realised that I felt invisible for 40 years because I couldn't see my true self in the mirror. The end of my first 40 years of life was in sight. A new beginning was waiting for me. My new chapter started on July 2nd 2019. With perseverance, I have successfully completed my thesis and the first draft is being proofread as we speak. The best part of my life has just begun.
I feel amazing by passionately pursuing a subject I love. My research opened up the world to me, illustrated the simplicity of life, demonstrated the kindness of others - especially of other artists -, and displayed that sticking by your art and advocating for what you believe will change your life. It also taught me that you must open yourself up to support if you're struggling. Step away from work if you need to. Doing a PhD shouldn't feel like a life sentence. It needs to be the best years of your life.