Coming out gave me freedom
By Elias Briggs
Before coming out, I was a lesbian who enjoyed cross-dressing when left home alone. I felt so much happier when my chest was flattened from an ace bandage and my hair was kept under a beanie.
Something about using editing software to make my voice deeper gave me a sense of comfort I’d never had before. When I dressed more femme, I hated what I saw in the mirror. I had such an intense hatred of my body, I would force myself to avoid looking in the bathroom mirror while getting in the shower, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was I didn’t like.
This self-hatred led to a lot of mental health problems for me. I wouldn’t eat. When I did eat, I ate too much. Then I forced myself to purge my food. I would sleep all day, or I wouldn’t sleep for days. My anxiety was so bad if my appearance was mentioned in any negative way, I would panic.
I was becoming mentally unstable because I felt so incorrect and out of touch with myself. I had no idea who I was, and I was just trapped in it. I couldn’t find a way out, or even a way to understand until I was able to be educated and help myself.
When I finally realized I was trans, the first thing I did was get a haircut. It was just a haircut, but it was freeing to watch the hair I’ve had to keep long for years fall to the floor. I remember looking in the mirror, and for just a moment, I could see a man in the reflection.
I came out just after getting my haircut, and I was able to get a binder. Much like getting my first “boy” haircut, putting on a binder for the first time helped me to feel more “correct.” It was given to me by my best friend before school.
I remember standing in the bathroom mirror, crying, because for once I was gaining a little bit of love and acceptance for my body, but this time, I didn’t have to love my body secretly. I could love myself for who I was rather than hoping others would love me for who I wasn’t.
More than anything, what made me feel best when I came out, was looking forward to the future. Sometimes, I have severe dysphoria days where I do get into a bad self-image headspace. But knowing one day I won’t have to bind my chest, my voice will be deep, and getting called “Ma’am” by waitresses will be a thing of the past.
It hasn’t even been a year yet, and I’ve noticed a significant change in my mental health. I look in the mirror most days and think “This isn’t my ideal body, but it is mine, and therefore it is an okay body.”
I came out, and now I feel the freedom and independence to learn how to love myself.
Copyright The Gayly 7/4/2018 @ 1:00 a.m. CST.