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What It Feels Like To Be Trans

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Written By: Lorelei Valentine

I have dreams that I’m out shopping. I’ll find a cute pair of boots, a small, but practical handbag that would tie together a look. I go down a few isles, flicking my fingers through the racks, until I find the perfect halter top. I have some friends with me, despite never being able to remember who; we’re always laughing. I’m just living life without a second thought. I go to the fitting room and lock the door behind me. I slip on the halter top, feeling soft fabric against my skin, I slip my feet into the boots and zip them up.

I stand there, I look in the mirror and it’s me. The real ME. The undeniably female ME

I stand there, I look in the mirror- and it’s me. The real ME. The undeniably female ME. Everything I want to be ME. Curves in all the right places and a smile so beautiful it’s hard to describe with words. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, I feel complete. I feel this is how everything should be.

But then, I wake up and everything feels unreal. I look in the mirror and I’m this unfamiliar person again. Trapped in a body that went through the wrong puberty. Hair on my chest, stubble from three days of nonstop depression, All my proportions are off, my body unbalanced. Nothing feels real as I grapple with the loss of euphoria. I walk to the bathroom and it feels like I’m not even controlling my own body, everything feels disconnected. I see the tired lines of fatigue on my face, the bags under my eyes, the small bit of fat that sits under my chin, the hair on my arms.  My cheeks and jaw feel Velcro-like when I run my palm over my freshly shaved face. I take a deep breath as my eyes are closed, I open them up, but it’s still the same me. The lie that physically manifests as my surface level reality.  More manageable, but still the same flesh prison that I have to learn to love. It feels like no matter what, I’ll never be her. I’ll never be me. 

The worst part is when I get glimpses. Maybe I go to the bathroom and catch a look of my reflection, maybe I’m sitting on Bart, staring at the window, I take out my phone to take a picture so I can capture it and for a brief moment, I see her. She’s actually there. Lorelei. In all her glory. She’s beautiful and stunning and SHE IS ME.

And then I try to hold onto that moment — that joy. as I’m looking at my reflection, it slowly disappears. It melts away as I see all the things I hate the most. I’ve become repulsed by the sight of my own body and I’m brought to tears. On the worst days I’m completely debilitated, at my lowest I want to take a knife and carve up my face. I want to erase the lie. It’s a long process to get to where I want to be. Time can never heal this wound, it can simply teach me how to live with the pain. The constant pain. The constant struggle. Day in, day out. Every time I look at my reflection. 

I’ve talked to my friends about it. And one by one, I see the ever predictable comments or texts.

“You’re beautiful just the way you are!”

“You’re completely valid!”

I know at that moment- they may love me. They may support me, while I appreciate their love and support.

They will simply never understand the nightmare that living is for me, and I’ll never understand the dream that it is to be them.

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