Truth be told, I prefer looking as young and put together as possible. On the other hand, if I had the privilege of a wider array of clothing, I would probably go to work in business casual every day. What people usually don’t suspect is that before I really began to explore who I was for myself, I hated dressing up in any capacity and didn’t really give two shits how I looked on any given day. I only did it out of necessity not because I liked myself or my identity. I felt I had no other choice but to be as masculine expectations dictated and no amount of care or style would relieve me of that.
Or so I programmed to believe for my entire life despite their being a subconscious tick inside me saying that I was different somehow. I spent my entire life seeking out what that could be and discovered many things in the process, but nothing spoke to me and was as definitively life-altering as admitting that I truly needed to decimate this persona I felt morally & professionally obligated to entertain.
There are some people who wish they had the knowledge and self-awareness they have now as a child. I am sometimes one of those people. These days, I moreso wish I knew more of humanity and the depth of self-identity that existed outside of my bubble of teenage angst, parental divorce, and Christian doctrine. I fall into the ambiguous “sometimes” category because I feel I am still young enough to make up for what I missed out on in high school in terms of external expression.
Through fashion and exploring the self-image I’ve longed to express outwardly, I can both enjoy dressing like a young adult and with teenage flair. Summer lends itself well to the latter and I revel in the crazy amounts of colors and options I can freely wear without too much care. Though apprehensions of my body still abound, I should feel so fortunate to be carded at a movie theatre for an R-rated film this past Summer simply by my style choices and makeup.
There’s much I have to learn (and purchase) of both sides, but the moral of the story is how much happier I am with what I usually see in the mirror. Having spent much of my life trying to find ways to either adapt to the undesired changes happening to my voice and body – like “oh I guess it isn’t that bad”, ignoring my reflection long enough to brush my teeth – or making changes for every other reason except myself, I now am a stereotypical Leo who often loses precious minutes (read: always late) from admiring the girl in the mirror. I don’t look at my entire body unless I’m dressed to avoid dysphoria, but being able to like myself for myself is a novel concept I’m enjoying for as long as I can.
Who knows what will happen once everything no longer is fresh and I grow up like a proper woman should. Few think on these things when they are children and teenagers trying to make the best of their lives despite the limitations placed on them. I feel that adopting a similar mindset regarding transitioning might be a healthy one as I come into my own, awkwardness, ignorance, and all that comes with it.
How is life for you now that you’re publicly out?”, a work acquaintance of mine asked.
My answer was so much more, but I kept it simple. Twitter character limit and all.
“Life is much brighter, but it hasn’t [magically] gotten any easier…”