“Mirror, mirror on the wall…”

What do you see when you look in the mirror?  Okay, beyond the obvious.  What do you see when you really look, deep into yourself?  A good person?  Someone you’re proud of?  Someone you like, or even better, love?

For all of my life (no, really, no exaggeration here), I’ve absolutely and utterly hated who and what I see when I look into the mirror.  So much so that I frequently made it a point to not look into the mirror, and most especially never look myself in the eyes—the pain was just too great.  I’ve never seen myself as attractive, or worthy, or someone to be proud of, or really anything remotely positive.  Part of this is due to struggling with an eating disorder and the accompanying body image and self-worth issues since the age of ten (and yes, it is still a constant daily struggle, but improving).  Yet, as I’ve come to realize, another part of this is feeling like some sort of alien in my own body pertaining to my perceived gender.  Who knows how much of the gender/body dysmorphia is from the eating disorder and who knows how much of it is from the gender issues.  I’m incredibly happy to note that, as of late (pretty much since I made the decision to transition), it seems to be improving.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve taken the plunge and begun to sneak glances at myself in the mirror here and there.  And over the past few weeks, what I’ve been seeing has been changing…and it’s scaring the shit out of me, but is utterly exciting at the same time.  No longer am I seeing myself as a female.  Which sounds crazy, because that’s evidently who and what I am on the outside.  But when I look at myself now, more often than not, I can actually see myself in a male form.  I don’t just envision and imagine and dream about what I’ll look like once I start hormones, but that I actually belong as male.  It really is crazy as I’ve never EVER seen myself like that, even years and years ago when I hated my feminine curves and wanted top surgery.  Seeing myself as male, or at least somewhat male (it’s hard to see myself as fully male when I look down and see my chest), and liking myself as male, has begun to solidify the decision to transition in my head.

Yet every now and then, the voices of doubt creep into my head, and sometimes it’s difficult to silence them—after all, a full transition is a really big deal and something that isn’t really reversible.  And before making such a dramatic change, I want to feel comfortable knowing that it is indeed what’s right for me.  And 99% of the time, I absolutely do.  But that other 1% of the time, when the doubt creeps in, can be downright terrifying.  For those of you out there who are farther along in this process, how did you know?  How did you silence your doubts and reservations?  This little voice that pops up sometimes certainly isn’t going to stop me from transitioning, because at the end of the day, it is absolutely what I want.  But I would like to shut that voice up before I start this physical process.

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Posted on July 10, 2011, in General transition thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. What a great post!

    The doubts never go away, in my opinion, even when the road to transition has been decided upon and we begin to make our way through the unknown wilderness. If we didn’t do the things that scared the shit out of us, we would never do anything. Be brave and love yourself for who you really are.

    I will see my reflection now and completely see a woman under the surface, but close enough to see. I get called ma’am a lot, even when not presenting as such, and let me tell you, with a balding head, I look nothing like a woman, but my aura must be screaming it, and so others pick up on that.

    To be who we are, who we were meant to be, takes a huge amount of courage. Once we accept ourselves, our reflection changes for the better. Yours seems to be doing exactly that.

    Be strong. Stay happy and focused. BE YOURSELF!!!

  2. I noticed the same thing! I thought I was losing my mind when I hadn’t actually had any physical changes, but the mental acceptance and moving forward allowed me to see what was coming, or see past the parts that didn’t make sense.

    I think you are absolutely right in wanting to make sure it’s the right call, but I also think doubt is normal. When I first realized I was trans, I had enough doubt to silence myself for a couple of years. When I came back to thinking about it, the way that I realized I was sure was by asking myself not, “Am I trans?” but “Can I be happy the way that I am right now?” I had already answered the “Am I trans” question, but had enough of my own body issues that I thought could creep in and mask themselves as that. So I thought to myself, “If I had the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect (female) body, would I be happy? Would I be fulfilled?” The answer was no.

    A great resource that was recommended to me was the ftm community on livejournal. I had never used livejournal before that, but I registered, joined the community and spent hours upon hours pouring through the tags. You get a lot of personal stories. Some of them resonate, some of them don’t. But for me, feeling like an outlier, it helped to see some that resonated. There are whole sections on how people figured it out.

    • You’re so right with the “can I be happy the way that I am right now” and if I had the perfect everything….the answer to all of that is no, so yeah, that definitely makes me feel like I’m making the right decision. Thanks for the lj info, I’ll definitely be checking it out.

  3. I have not medically transitioned, not even started, but my heart is so set, there is no going back. I still have doubts. I still wonder if I’m a faker. This is normal. I didn’t know that at first; you never hear about doubt being part of the Narrative. Mostly, I think, trans people are scared to talk about our doubt openly, when we already live in a world where our identities are under attack all the time, and where other people compel us *not* to transition. That is one reason I am so thankful for the Internet – we can say these things, out loud, and see we aren’t the only one.

    Also, don’t know if you’ve seen this thread:
    http://www.questioningtransphobia.com/?p=1366

    …or are familiar with the sort of philosophy in the article. Comments are vile, but some of the rebuttals might make the comments worth a quick skim.

    • Yeah, the doubt is definitely something that is super scary to voice, so good to know it’s not just me….thanks for that and the link 🙂

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