I’ve had many people tell me that they’re so happy for me, even congratulate me, because ‘I am now my true self’. Thanks to all the well-wishers, allies, and supporters for your acceptance, but I see things a bit different.
I’ve Always Been My True Self
I’ve always found the comment about ‘now being my true self’ a bit misleading and sometimes even a little intrusive or arrogant.
You see, in my mind I’ve always been my true self. Yes, I’m different from a few years ago and I have very contrasting interests from what I had a while back, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t my true self then. It just means I have evolved. To me it’s like telling someone that now they’re their true selves because they’re a parent. I don’t know, but I think they were their true selves before becoming parents. Another way to see it is ‘I’ve always been my current self’. Similarly, a parent has always been themselves before and after their first child.
I like to make the distinction because saying that ‘I am now my true self’ implies that I wasn’t before. This is the reason why I find the comment sometimes a bit intrusive or arrogant. When someone says that to me, I feel they assume I was not true to my self in the past. Having said this, I do understand where people are coming from with the comment.
Others do Become Their True Selves
Changing gender expression appears to be a monumental feat – it may not be easy but it certainly is not insurmountable. A fair way of explaining or understanding such a dramatic action is by sensing that the person was not being true to themselves. I believe the majority of transgender people do feel that they were not being their true selves before transition or before accepting themselves as trans. I do understand that and more importantly I respect people that feel that they are now their true selves. It’s just that I don’t identify with that dichotomy.
I Was Hiding But Not Lying to Myself
All my life I had the curiosity of how it would be to live presenting as a girl. That’s a fact. But pretty much I did not share those feeling with anyone. Like most trans people I became a master at protecting that burning desire and making sure that no one had a clue. I see this as hiding my curiosity and what I wanted. I don’t see it as ‘not being my true self’. During all those decades my true self was this guy making sure his deepest secret would not sneak out. Now, and for a few years, my current true self is out presenting the way I had been curious about since day one.
No Internal Conflict
Though I have so much in common with every trans person, I believe I divert in a few fundamental aspects. This concept of ‘not being our true selves before‘ vs ‘now being our true selves’ is one of those characteristics I believe I differ from the common transgender experience.
This doesn’t mean my view of myself is worse or better. Rather I’ve always found it fascinating that I don’t identify with some of the most common and important traits or experiences amongst transgender individuals. The discrepancy between the ‘before’ and ‘after self’ is one of those common circumstances.
I also believe always being ‘my true self’ has saved me from some heavy duty internal questioning and conflict. I don’t think I ever had the question of ‘who am I’, or at least I never had it in the context of my gender expression.