Of all the lost causes I’ve embraced in my life, the worst has been the battle against my body. I have hated my alleged enemy with a passion. It felt alien, monstrous, wrong. I just couldn’t be myself in this container.
I have had many excuses for my unholy war. There was an obvious mismatch, gender wise. How could I feel right in a female body? So after years of self-loathing the answer became evident: modifying it. And I did so, to a great extent. Testosterone has gone a long way for me. But again I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be able to love a body that is far from perfect. It wasn’t enough to be a boy in everyone’s eyes. I was still flawed. I wasn’t a handsome, muscular and more than a well-endowed version of Brad Pitt. I was just a trans man who hated working out. I still had breasts where I needed to be flat. I was too hairy, too chubby, too soft, too trans, too weird. The whole world was out of my league. So I punished my body for being unable to magically fit the bill. When I was a teen, the punishment was sometimes very literal. I wanted to bleed. As an adult I took a more passive aggressive approach: I just didn’t look after it. I ate unhealthy treats daily and then whimpered about being fat. I avoided doctors as if they were the disease. I smoked too much, relaxed too little. I even stopped having sex at a time. We were not related, that body and I, so why would I derive any pleasure from it?
“I need to make the huge effort of loving and caring for the only body I’ll have in this lifetime.”
Recently I’ve been sent a warning. I’m 35 now and the latest blood work has shown that choosing to continue this fight won’t leave me unscarred. I have to make peace. I need to make the huge effort of loving and caring for the only body I’ll have in this lifetime. The one that allows me to travel, to love and even to write these lines.
Acceptance seems to be the name of the road ahead. Hell of a hard road, if you ask me, but I’ve faced worse.
I still feel I can’t like it on many occasions. I still struggle. But little by little, it is starting to dawn on me: I am worthy of love. In all my imperfections, I am beautiful. Beauty is uniqueness. It is diversity and self-love. It is striving to be the best version of you and letting your light shine in a world that is often dark. That is what I find stunning when I look at others.
“We need to dare to be beautiful outside the box.”
We need to dare to be beautiful outside the box. And when I say we, I don’t mean only trans people. I mean humans. We all fight wars against ourselves sometimes. Against those things, big or small, which make us less than picture perfect.
As for me, it’s time to call a truce. Time to understand that we are not enemies, that my body and my mind are actually one. That not being the idealized version of a guy I created in my mind doesn’t mean that I’m a monster. It just means I’m me and maybe that is amazing in its own way.