There was a time when my room was devoid of mirrors, where the sight of myself disgusted me. Where acknowledging my appearance in such a way was abhorrent to me. I dreamed of transition, of change, that I might escape the form that had been dealt me and become something more than I was. That, given enough time, I would finally be beautiful…
This consumed my existence in the two decades before I came out. Wishing away the days until I could see myself the way I wanted to be seen, that my body would finally become mine.
I was scared, worried that I was not strong enough to make the changes necessary to accept myself. Unable to even comprehend the amount of change possible if I could only take the chance.
There’s this idea that transitioning is like a switch, that suddenly everything changes. When I woke up after coming out, I still hated myself: I was still the same, even if I wasn’t.
I was finally changing, but my attitude toward myself wasn’t. I was unfaltering in denigration of myself; regardless of how much I changed it was never enough. All I could see were the flaws.
Hatred of the self in this way is untenable, it ends or you do. In hating myself I was missing out on so much, blind to the friends trying to reach out, or to those who could have been allies.
Over time this changed too, I was unable to see the beauty and strength in myself for the small flaws. Unable to accept that these were just another thing that made me me. With time I took small steps to accepting and loving my body.
My body continues to change, continues to grow and develop. And I am so proud of myself for continuing when everything in me wanted to stop. Proud of my body for always keeping me going, even if I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
Focusing hatred inward so much can leave you lost to the joys of the world around you. Acceptance is a long road, and transition saved me in a way I never thought possible.
It wasn’t a switch like I had dreamed, but it allowed me to see through the fog and consider the possibilities that might exist for myself and my body. Life has been filled with a vibrance I never could have conceived of.
I finally see beyond myself, every touch, every sight and sound, amplified by the knowledge that I am here to stay, that finally I am free. Waking every day to a body that is more me than yesterday.
Changing my body didn’t make me suddenly see the beauty in myself. But seeing beauty in myself gave me strength to change and develop, to become the person I always wanted to be.
I am still scared in a way, but I know my own strength now, have accepted that I am more than I ever could have allowed myself to believe.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and every day I see more of myself, accept a little bit more of myself.
My room isn’t devoid of mirrors anymore.
Header photo credit: Rosie Taylor