When I first started the process of transitioning- changing pronouns, asserting myself as masculine, etc- I struggled with how to talk about myself in the past tense. Do I talk about my Bachelorette party? Should I mention that time I was the only girl at my own birthday party? It only got worse when I started being recognized as male on a regular basis. Every opportunity to talk about my past was a moment where I had to decide whether or not to out myself as transgender.
And while I’ve found that there is tremendous power in ‘passing’ (I hate that term so much) there is also something even more freeing about being open and honest about who I really am.
One of my biggest struggles in starting hormones was the idea that I was somehow erasing my past. That by starting a new chapter in my life I would never be allowed to talk about the previous chapters. And not that they’re amazing, but they’re still a part of me. I would talk about my past with my current name. I would talk about growing up a ‘little boy’. But, that’s not true. While I have a Rolodex of anecdotes that would demonstrate I’ve been a boy my whole life, it feels dishonest to talk about it like that. I didn’t identify as a boy growing up. I didn’t know I could. I didn’t know I was allowed to. I always attempted to make space for who I was at the moment. I have never experienced dysphoria in the same way that a lot of my trans friends have. I didn’t hate my body (beyond the usual teenage angst). Mostly because I refused to. This body is mine and it’s the only one I get, so whether I’m happy about it or not- IT IS MINE and I am going to love the shit out of it.
So, I’m learning how to talk about my past. I’m finally comfortable enough to talk about all the girly things I loved (And still do. I’ve started painting my nails again & it’s great). I’m getting better at talking about who I was in relation to who I am. I would never talk about myself right now using feminine pronouns or my birth name, but to me ten years ago… that was my truth. We’re still the same person. We’re just on different chapters of the same story. She’s part of who I am, and I like to think she’d like the man I am now.