When you just don’t fit and don’t know why

Alex Wright

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Gender identity self-awareness

College is a journey of learning, not only academic learning but also one of self-discovery. We are deciding what we really want to do when we grow up; picking majors and building educational plans. We are all just here trying to figure things out.

Who am I? What am I good at? What do I want to be?

All my life, there have been few constants. I have never fit in, I have always been awkward and I have always suffered from depression.

I was not all that into “girl” things, even though I did some. Toys for boys such as Transformers were cooler than dolls. I would choose comic books like X-Men over Teen Vogue. I could tell you more about Hal Jordan than Britney Spears.

In 1994, I was accused of being a butch lesbian, which was a horrifying insult for a preteen girl in the 90s.

I took steps to present as female. I did my nails and tried makeup. I started to hate my body, my looks and relied on self-deprecating humor to cope.

I did not fit, so I assumed that I was just a late bloomer, an ugly duckling. I figured I would eventually bloom into a confident woman.

Flash forward fifteen years, I am going to college for the first time. I am still awkward and I still hate my body even though I have a bigger chest and curves.

My depression is now severe and mutated into anxiety and social anxiety. Even in my thirties, I still feel like an awkward ugly duck, though people try to tell me otherwise.

Why do I still not fit? Will I ever fit? Will I always be strange? Be different?

About two years ago, I peered at myself in the medicine cabinet mirror after a shower. My hair slicked back, I slouched. I could not see chest at all. I seemed flat, I liked what I saw and I cried.

I did not cry because I am not high school skinny and flat. I cried because I saw myself as a guy and I liked what I saw. Was I born wrong?

I have a good relationship with my father so I told him I thought I might be transgender. He said I was just a feminist that was sick of the world’s crap. It made no sense to me but I shrugged the experience off and got on with life.

I learned by accident that a long time gaming friend was secretly a transman. He seemed like a normal young guy in video chat.

He was terrified I would reject him. I didn’t and it changed absolutely nothing about our friendship.

This prompted me to really research the subject and question myself. After reading number scientific theories, therapy and a diagnosis of gender dysphoria I have accepted the idea that yes, I am transgendered.

For the first time in my life, things make sense. I bought my first chest binder. It looks like a muscle shirt and feels like a big hug.

Most importantly, I have stopped trying to be someone I am not.

I do not pass as male and it may be years before I transition, but the binder helps me feel better. I refuse to cut my long hair because long hair does not and should not invalidate my identity.

It hurts that while people see me, they do not see the real me. It hurts slightly when people who know I am trans use the wrong pronouns, though I think it is out of habit and not malicious. I know it hurts others far more.

In the end I’m just being me and I simply shake off the cruel remarks I overhear from others.