Recently, I celebrated my six-month anniversary of starting hormone replacement therapy.
These past six months have been some of the best in my entire life, and they have me thinking about trans-ness and how I used to hate it, how I wanted to purge it from my body. I did everything I could to avoid it. I postponed being who I am until I couldn’t take it anymore.
When I allowed myself to live my truth, I eventually discovered that I love being transgender.
Transgender people are not a monolith, and our experiences are not all the same. But for me, I created who I am and forged my identity from scratch. I am both painter and canvas, and I don’t know what could be more beautiful than that.
Although I was assigned female at birth, I do not identify as FTM, or female to male. I am empty to complete. I am parts becoming a whole.
I never felt like I was born in the wrong body. I was born in a body that loves me, that never stopped loving me when I could not love it back. I learned to be grateful for the body I was born in because to take up a physical form, to exist at all, is a gift.
I am a man because I say so. I carry my narrow shoulders, my shorter frame and my wider hips with pride because they are parts of the body that have gotten me this far.
I used to nitpick these features and every part of me that made me dysphoric. Every day, these characteristics would torture me. I tried learning to accept them, but didn’t put pressure on myself to practice body positivity.
It seemed too big and too unrealistic of a task to love every part of my body, so I tried just accepting it as it was.
I figured that if I hated my body pre-transition, I would still hate it after medically transitioning. Because I would still be the same self-hating person, just in a different body. Self hate is in the mind, not in the mirror.
I was never trapped in my body, I was trapped in an immovable mind. I was trapped by norms and rules forced on me by those who could not understand or accept my existence. But now I know and accept myself, and that is enough.
Once I accepted myself fully, I could evolve. The choice to start hormone therapy was the best decision I’ve ever made. I was ready to occupy a new space. I had outgrown my old one, and it was time for an upgrade.
My goal used to be to be seen as male, and to be called my proper name and pronouns, a privilege cisgender people are given just by existing. I still want these things, of course. But that is not where my goals end.
For me, there is no finish line where I “become a man” and am done, in the same way that people don’t stop evolving once they become adults. I am transitioning to my highest self, constantly changing and improving.
I love discovering the ways I feel my gender transcends physical form. It is a soft-spoken poem. It is my grandmother’s smile. It is the scent of jasmine.
I wish I could talk to my younger self. I wish I could tell him I love him more than anything in the world and that one day the pain and confusion end.
It really does get better. He just didn’t know when.
I loved growing into my name. The first name I tried was the masculine version of my birth name. I ended up going for a name with similar letters that I thought sounded nicer.
I ended up rediscovering my love for Peter Pan. He was a boy, forever. And that’s all I ever wanted to be. Love flows through the air whenever I speak and hear my name. It is the greatest gift I have ever given myself.
Everyone is assigned genders and gender roles at birth. My existence flows past these labels, freeing me up to define masculinity however I want to. That won’t stop people from trying to police my masculinity, but now I can finally say with confidence that I know who I am.