I’ve had a weird history with my self-image.
Like many people, I grew up with fragile self-confidence, and an opinion of myself that was far from flattering. It got better with time, specially around late adolescence, but I didn’t stop struggling. Part of it was physical, and part of it was more linked to self-loathing.
Before I continue, you know how some people make EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION about how they’re into crossfit, or they’re vegans, or atheists? Sometimes I feel like that, because no matter the subject, there’s always some connection to me being transgender.
Which is to say, the self-image issues I had and still have were not completely caused by my struggles with gender identity, but they were certainly magnified and complicated by it.
When I was younger I still believed in the god of my parents, the one who hated homosexuality, and who thought death was a fitting punishment for transgender people being themselves. You can imagine what that did to me.
At first I hated myself. I thought I was repellent and hateful. I deserved the worst, and so I didn’t treat myself with love. I was tainted, and my “sinful” thoughts justified anything bad that happened to me. I treated myself like a dog that’s been kicked so often it blames itself for the kicks.
It was awful.
Things were that way for a few years, but eventually I moved on. As I wrote a few months ago, I stopped being able to deal with that self-hatred, and I ended up abandoning the horrible flavour of Christianity I’d had force-fed to me. It took time, but I grew to appreciate my identity and love myself. I was proud to be a woman, and confident I was transgender. Well, to a point. Figuring out your gender identity is a process filled with a ton of self-doubt. For all the doubt though, it was much better than before.
However, a new problem began to arise. As I saw myself more and more as a woman, I also grew more and more insecure about my appearance. Where I’d felt depressed apathy about the way I looked before, I was now actively sad. I would never be pretty. I was too tall, had shoulders too wide. Even with hormones, I’d never grow boobs, considering how small the boobs of the other women in my family are, and that trans women usually end up a cup size smaller than their closest female family.
So on and on. While I was less miserable, I still felt a lot of sad resignation about my looks. Maybe I could transition some day, but I wouldn’t end up a woman, just some freak that looked like a man but dressed like a woman.
They were horrible thoughts. Horrible, transphobic thoughts, really. Still, they were mine, and much as I tried I couldn’t just discard them. Even after coming out and starting my transition in earnest, that was always at the back of my head.
You look soooo weird.
Everyone can tell you’re transgender
No woman is as big as you
You’re a freak and you look like one
It was awful. Many other women also feel insecurity about their appearance, but mine latched on to the fact I was trans, and it was more effective for that.
I woke up today and dressed myself in some new clothes I bought. I wore this adorable pair of high heeled booties, comfortable jeans, and a cute flannel shirt and neutral top.
On my way to the bus I couldn’t help but smile. I walked with more confidence than I’ve felt in a while, and I took every chance I could to look at a mirror. Simply put, I felt pretty. More than that, I knew I was pretty. The knowledge filled me all the way down to the very tips of my feet. I didn’t have to lie to myself or pretend, I was just secure in the fact of it.
It is such an intoxicating feeling. It’s incredible to have gotten to this point after all these years, and I’m so happy for it. Long may it continue!