A blogger I follow recently posted about how one’s sense of self changes and becomes more congruent as we deepen in our transition. This has triggered a lot of thoughts and feelings for me. Specifically it has woken me up to the realization that the body dysphoria I have always experienced really is from my gender identity.
Whenever I visit my sister, Fern, I end up getting more depressed. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great relationship and always have a great time and connection. But there has always been this part of me that compares my physical and gender expression with her and how she does it. Fern, looking at her, dresses in a way that is a true expression of her, creative, colorful, earthy…. I dress very comfortably. Very casually but not real creatively. Friends joke with me about my sense of fashion. One said I should model for Vague magazine (no not a typo). Others find humor in my sense of business casual (jeans and a nice t-shirt). I do not like women’s clothes and I have always bought men’s clothes but I haven’t let myself go all out with men’s clothes. I bought a blazer a month or so ago, and saw all these lavender and light pastel colored shirts I would never have been caught dead in as a women. Now that I am embodying and embracing the man that I am, I can wear those lavender shirts under my blazer and I feel good. I didn’t make a very good female and now I have much more understanding as to why.
Having grown up in the time that I did when transgender wasn’t “normal” and certainly wasn’t talked about, I did not have a frame of reference for why I felt off about my body. Yes I always felt I got the wrong one and should have been like my brothers but even that was fleeting cuz that just sounds crazy. Right?! So I always tried to figure out and come to terms with my body dysphoria from the perspective of how media and societal expectations of a woman’s beauty has distorted my sense of self. Whenever I thought about it in that context, and whenever I pondered why being with Fern depressed me relative to body and gender expression comparison and my obvious inadequacy as a woman – I would get all fuzzy inside. I would push up against something that I just could not identify, I didn’t have the language to identify. I pushed up against my difference and couldn’t see it wasn’t inadequacy but rather I didn’t belong to the gender I was born in.
So today yes I feel like my sense of self is so much more closely matching my self expression and my self expression is matching my sense of self. How liberating. Yes I am still riding the space between feminine and masculine presentation – I pass with people who don’t know me (until they hear my voice) – and those who do know me see changes but they are subtle. But inside I am giving myself permission to leave the comfort zone of androgyny and move more into my masculine self. And as I do this, congruence and peace comes.
I am ever so grateful to all those who came before me and blazed the trail making it easier for me and all of us who are arriving here now and walking the path of the transgender.