since the moment i came out to myself a little over a year ago my relationship with and understanding of myself has grown exponentially and changed so much, especially on a physical level. realizing why i struggled with my body for so long, going through awful dysphoria, undergoing top surgery and feeling my muscles ache and heal, lose their strength and gain it back slowly, my skin heal from black and blue bruises to unmarked healthy skin, my incision scars go from being held together with stitches to mending to fading into smooth pink lines, starting testosterone and injecting myself with a needle in my own thigh muscle every single week for the past seven months, experiencing the changes and shifts in how i look and feel and navigate the world physically, understanding how my body works from the inside out and seeing myself evolve and learning all these small intimate things about myself and examining my mindset and thoughts and emotions every step of the way and surviving an absolute roller coaster of grief, sorrow, envy so powerful it tore me up, disbelief, a lot of fear and uncertainty, and slowly little inklings of happiness, contentment that snuck up on me without realizing so many times - all of that has changed me fundamentally as a person and i struggle to remember my life before.
it’s weird, because i know it was me obviously, i know i lived through those 19 years of my life and it was significant but when i try to remember even to how i felt before top surgery it comes back to me slowly and fragmented and with a sense of disconnect. i struggle to recall even the recovery process for top surgery and it happened only eight months ago. my psychologist remarked that after top surgery and starting testosterone my brain had a sort of post-trauma response in that it just deleted everything and hid it behind this weird milky haze. my brain essentially decided that everything that happened before was no longer relevant to me. it was fundamental in my growth as a person and impacts me to this day but my brain just sort of chose to forget a lot of it. i’m not entirely sure why that happened - whether the trauma of being forcibly gendered as a woman for 19 years just messed me up that badly or my brain didn’t know what to do with any of that or it recognized a new chapter in my life that i couldn’t turn back from. i don’t know and i don’t really care. i want to move forward.
in a lot of ways i feel more alive than i’ve ever been and the whole world feels brand new and overwhelming and vast and the person i am - the person i’m growing into - is slowly being revealed little by little, as i create myself, as i seek to understand myself entirely and really know the person i see in the mirror every day. i ran from him for my entire life and now he’s here a little more every day and i’m getting to know him. he’s the same person i’ve always been, and i am the same person, but it’s complicated. i gave birth to my authentic self early this year and i’m still figuring out what that means and where to go from here. i’m afraid of what i might find but there’s healing in every step i take, even when it hurts, and despite the pain i’ve been through since coming out if i really had the choice to go back and keep running from the person in the mirror i’d still come out and transition because the wealth of knowledge and insight i’ve gained about myself and the world around me is invaluable and i couldn’t have gotten it any other way.