When I first started this blog, it was my intention to remain completely anonymous. No name, no pictures. Hence, the name of the blog and my pen name. I broke that rule once early on, when I posted a picture of myself that had been altered by a combination of FaceApp and another makeup app I have long since forgotten the name of. I felt that it was necessary at the time to post that picture, because it was critical to contextualizing that particular “On Depression” post. I guess, what I’m trying to say is, I once again feel as though posting a picture of myself has become necessary.
This is also an important post, because it is the start of a new category, one which is directly related to my present reality, rather than ruminations on what led me here. I suppose this also represents a shift in my overall mental state since I first started this blog a year ago. More on that later.
In a very real sense, I have begun my transition from male to female. No, not yet physically, though I go in for my first consultation for hormone replacement therapy in less than a week. But from the very moment I came out to myself as being transgender, from the moment I stopped repressing and hiding behind the walls I built for myself, I began my mental and emotional transition.
Every transgender person ever has wished for a magic wand, or switch, or whatever, which could take them directly from their assigned gender to their authentic gender. My therapist duly reminded me that no such switch exists on our first day of therapy three months ago or so, but I have found this “mental” transition to be the one exception.
I was asked by a friend when I came out what it “felt like” to identify as a woman. I didn’t really have an answer for him then, and I still do not now, but I can say that there has been a very definite “shift” in the way I see myself. Or perhaps, it can better be described as a shift in the way I allow myself to see myself.
That allowance, I have found, is key. It is vital. I’ve shed plenty of tears in granting myself permission to be female, but I have also gained a degree of emotional calm unlike any I have ever known before. If dysphoria is a voice that screams at you for being a freak and a degenerate every waking hour of every day, acceptance of oneself is the death of that voice. It’s not that the voice is suddenly saying nice things about me, but that it is suddenly saying nothing at all. I cannot begin to express what that silence has meant to me.
However, to the question “what does it feel like to identify internally as a woman?”: silent, and calm. I might even allow myself a dash of hopeful.
Actually, screw it. It feels amazing, because once you are suddenly aware of all the chains and cages you have spent a lifetime willingly subjecting yourself to, it immediately becomes obvious how arbitrary all those things were in the first place. Transition is not easy, but internal affirmation is a godsend.
Anyway, I like to contrast the above picture with the fabricated one I posted a year ago. There is no editing or photoshopping this time. That is my hair, those are my clothes,. Those are my nails which I did with my polish. That is my face with my makeup that I did myself.
And that is my smile and my confidence, in my eyes and on my lips. I might be smiling in last year’s post, but it is a forgery–a fake.
This is who I truly am.