Broken Egg

Some people know that their gender is wrong at an extremely young age. I didn’t figure it out until I was in my mid 20’s. It hit me fast and hard. One moment I was seemingly content with my gender, and the next I realized the simple truth that had been in front of my face for my entire life: I wanted to be a woman.

I suddenly saw myself in a whole different way. Quite literally! When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a man any more. My concept of myself changed. I could feel it. I was a trans woman. Even the way I saw the past changed. Looking back on my life, I found countless memories where I was struggling with my gender.

I remembered the time when I was about 10 and I swapped clothes with my sister when we were playing on a trampoline. Wearing her clothes made me so happy. I remembered how much I had disliked puberty and everything that came with it. I was embarrassed by my body hair. I remembered looking at my hairy arms and feeling disgust. I always hated masculine traits (both physical and mental). I remembered how awful I felt when I got a short boyish haircut in 6th grade. I remembered being jealous of the way women were treated and thinking about how I didn’t want to be treated like a man. I wanted to be treated more like a woman. I remember a conversation with my friends about what it’d be like to switch genders for a day and how I was the only one who found the idea super interesting.

My distaste for my own gender had just become the background noise of my life. At some point, I didn’t think of it as noteworthy. I spun some narrative that explained it all away. I was just super woke and saw things that other people didn’t. How could you not find body hair disgusting? I liked my long hair because it made me different. My interest in being feminine is just a fetish. Everyone felt this way. This was normal.

It was all right in front of my face, but I had never put it together. My whole world turned upside down. I was disoriented. I didn’t know what to do. I was terrified of being transgender. Anything but that! I can’t live that life! Its too hard! I desperately grasped for alternative explanations. I had used psychedelics just a few weeks prior. Maybe this was some sort of lingering mental state that would fade over time. Maybe I could just wait it out! Its just a phase!

Every day I woke up and I felt the same. In my mind’s eye, I was a woman, and nothing was shaking that. I would sometimes be surprised by what I saw in a mirror. It wasn’t what I expected to see. I felt like a woman, but I saw a man. Every day was filled with painful reminders that I was in the wrong body. Every day, I felt a bit worse, but I kept hoping the feeling would go away. It took me four months before I told anyone. I was afraid of how they’d react. I was afraid that telling people would make it real. I was afraid of saying the words. Eventually, I just couldn’t take it any more. It was driving me crazy. I needed someone to help me. I needed to tell someone!

Over the next 3 years, I fought the idea in every way I could. Maybe I’m non-binary? Maybe this whole trans thing is an over-correction and I just need to adopt a more feminine appearance. The entire time, I knew that the rational explanation was obvious, but I refused to accept it. I couldn’t trust logic! Feelings aren’t logical, and so that line of reasoning was flawed! If I just kept trying different things then eventually I’d find a solution that didn’t involve being transgender.

Even on occasions where I would accept that I was transgender, I tried to convince myself that transitioning would result in a net negative amount of happiness. How could transitioning possibly be better than what I had? I’d never be the woman I wanted to be, anyway. I’d always be chasing an impossible end result. I’d not only need to deal with sexism, I’d also be battling transphobia. My partner said that she would leave if I transitioned. She was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. Surely, my life would be happier if I just let things be!

In the trans community, we talk about this process using an egg metaphor. When you begin to realize that you are transgender, we say your egg has cracked. You’re just starting to hatch. I clung to my egg shell home. I tried to patch up the cracks when they’d appear, but despite my best efforts everything was still falling apart. My whole world crumbled around me, and I slipped into depression.

I wish I could say I’m confident and excited about this next stage in my life, but I still have all the same fears. I still wish I could go back to the way things were. I knew how to live that life. I don’t know how to be a woman. I need to figure out how to live a life I’ve never known. Its overwhelming, but every step I take makes me a bit happier. At least I know I’m on the right path.