It has been an interesting month.
I’ve been going through a lot lately, dealing with a feeling I’ve had for as long as I can remember. But something suddenly happened inside me — like a light switch turning on — and now, I’m being proactive. Many futures seem possible, and yet, I’m terrified.
For pretty much my entire life, I’ve had the very strong feeling of being both male and female — a boy and girl curled up into one. Some days I feel more like a boy; more often I feel much more like a girl. But they’re both there, always — sometimes battling one another, but usually just complementing each other.
As you on Flickr likely know, my body has somewhat mirrored this. I’ve got hips. I’ve got cleavage. I have a feminine shape. And this has reinforced my feelings and my own self-image.
People can tell. Strangers can tell. It’s like they know before I even say a word. Especially when my hair is longer — and I’m growing it again — I’m mistaken for a girl on a regular basis. I’m happy for this — it feels like some sort of validation for what I’ve always felt. To be seen as you feel you really are, even if it’s accidental on the other person’s part, is an amazing feeling.
I’m not upset or ashamed. In fact, I feel lucky to have such a unique experience — to feel a connection to both sides of the gender binary, falling somewhere in between the two.
Then, this month, I read a book that changed my life. It’s called "Annabel," by Kathleen Winter.
It’s about a child who was born with both male and female reproductive organs to parents in a tiny town in northern Canada. The child’s parents raised him as a boy, and they kept his true nature a secret, but as he hits puberty, his body begins to reveal the girl that been hidden inside for years. I was not born an intersex child (though my own hormone balance is questionable), but reading this book, I felt and thought many of the exact same things that this character did. And, as someone who has been dysphoric and identifies as both male and (slightly more) female, I felt like I was learning more and more about myself as I turned each page.
(Here’s a great review, if you’re interested.)
After reading "Annabel" and identifying so closely with the main character, I realized that I wanted to do something about everything I’ve been feeling forever and ever. I truly want to be both girl and boy — to be what I’ve felt in my heart for decades. I’ve been more restless in this last month than ever before in my life.
Tomorrow, the 21st of February, I’m going in for my first appointment with a therapist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She specializes in gender dysphoria and transgendered studies. It’s going to be perhaps one of the most important days of my life.
The people in my life who are close to me don’t seem to be surprised by any of this. Most of them are excited, in fact. As I’ve said, they always sort of saw and loved both sides of me. And I love them for that.
I feel like I’ve been watching my life go by like a movie this last month, with little control or connection to what’s actually happening. I really have no idea what’s going to happen now. What I do know is that I want to move closer to that androgynous place. I’m lucky that my body has done some of the work for me already, that I’m starting from a relatively easy point. (I could be 6’3", 250 pounds and built like a tank.) As I’ve gotten older, my body has kept more of a feminine, softer form, and I feel like time is saying, "It’s OK. Go ahead and be what you want to be. We’ve been waiting for you."
In a perfect world, I’ll begin taking some sort of hormone to stop any masculine traits from developing further, while adding perhaps a low dose of female hormones to attain a better balance, to find an androgynous spot that allows me more freedom and more expression. Like, I could walk out the door as either boy or girl and no one would blink an eye. That’s a less common wish than many trans people, who simply want to go from one gender to the other, but I’m hoping someone with the right experience can help me. And while I’m holding on to my youth.
The changes for me, physically, might be slight, or they might not. But I plan to continue taking pictures as always, so I figured it’s important to tell you, Flickr friends, about this journey as well.
What I do know is that I’ll know a lot more tomorrow.
I think it’s going to be an interesting year.
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