My Holiday Gift Was Being Welcomed As My Authentic Self

My Holiday Gift Was Being Welcomed As My Authentic Self

I knew this holiday season was going to be one to remember, but little did I know it would be the best one yet as I was called Ian from some relatives.

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I never told my family I was going to start testosterone, I just started it on my own. I did not want to be questioned or talked out of something that had been on my mind for a while nor did I feel comfortable talking about injecting myself with testosterone. Recently I have had a hard time looking family in the face due to the greater deal of acne, the small peach fuzz, and the deepening of my voice. Of course, this makes me happy, but these apparent physical changes had me anything but confident when approaching my family this holiday because they did not know of my changes in person.

Although my family and I have always been close, I have been keeping my identity a secret for the sake of disappointment. The sake of being the only daughter. The sake of changing my name, a name I very much loved to another name that suited me well now. There have been countless thoughts about my identity in regard to my family and how they think. Thus, I was unsure if I could look anyone in the eyes this season as I have a small stache growing on my upper lip.

As I am not going to mention any of my family members names, I do know the thoughts certain family members have expressed of me transitioning when I wrote my "coming out" letter. I did not see all of my family this year because of their views. Thus, while it might have been too much of a shock for them, it too was a shock to see some of their reactions. Thus, when starting my transition back in August, I decided to keep the weekly testosterone shots to myself except for the occasional Instagram or Snapchat posts.

Christmas Presents -Ian

As the festivities began this year, I was filled with excitement as I was handed Christmas presents. I was not excited because I had presents, but I was excited for how the presents were labeled. As the presents were sitting under the tree this year, I saw them labeled as "Erin", however when being handed the presents to open on Christmas, I saw that some had new labels with "Ian" on them. I held in my emotions as I was the last person to open my presents. I took it in and when asked "what I was doing?" I responded with "keeping the labels, its my first Christmas as Ian".

However, this year I was welcomed with arms wide open from some of my family members and for them, I am so overjoyed and thankful. This Christmas taught me to focus on the family members that are supportive and accepting now. The friends and the "family" I have made because family does not have to be blood related. I cannot change the way some of my family think, but I am very fortunate to have some family that want to see me happy. Does it hurt knowing parts of my family and I cannot speak knowing our differences? Or that I cannot be open or myself around them? Yes, of course. But, I am so happy for the family and friends I have to date. So, being called "Erin" or "she" this holiday season was alright because I know it is a process. It is a change and change takes time. So, something as simple as acknowledging my presence was enough for me as I know not everyone within the LGBTQ community receives that during the holiday season. So from my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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You Don't Have To See Your Friends Every Day

We all have lives that we're trying to balance.

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For as long as I can remember, whenever I would have no plans and go on Snapchat to see all my friends having fun without me, I would get FOMO. I'd get really sad and think that they didn't care about me because they didn't invite me. It would get me in such a bad mood that it would ruin any chance of going out with someone else who wanted to hang out.

I don't know if it was just my anxiety of people hating me or if it was a fear of missing out (FOMO). Even recently, it has gotten me down. However, over the past month or so, I finally realized something: you don't have to hang out every day to still consider each other friends.

Everyone has a life that they're trying to balance, especially after high school. People work (maybe even more than one job) and go to school. Some have to take care of family members or do things for their family. Some people are focusing on themselves. Some have relationships to maintain. Whatever it is, we all have lives that we're trying to balance.

We all want to have fun, but school, work, and our families are the priorities.

Even if they're out hanging with other people, it doesn't mean that they don't want to hang out with you. Free time is served on a "first come, first serve" basis. It's hard to balance hanging out with multiple people.

I also learned that it doesn't matter the number of friends you have. What truly matters is the quality. Ask yourself, "Who's there for me when I really need someone?" The people who are there for you when you really need someone to talk to are your TRUE friends.

It's not easy to be there for someone and make them feel better. If they offer to listen or give advice, they care!

I know that it may feel like you have no friends sometimes, but that's not true. Life after high school is hard at times. You're an adult. You have to do adult things and take care of yourself first.

You have to realize that everyone has a busy schedule and not all your friends' schedules will align with yours, but that's okay! You don't need to hang out with friends every day to consider them your friends. What truly matters is if they are there for you when you need them.

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