A question I get quite often, but secretly dread answering every time is "do you wish you were born cismale?" To those of you who don't know, being born cis male/female is being born in the body you identify as. To put it in simple terms, what people think of as a "normal" body. Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely proud of and love the man I fought so hard to become, but there are days I wake up and wish I really was. I feel guilty admitting that because I've been so lucky in my transition. Every day I am reminded of how blessed I am to have had such a smooth and successful transition, all the while acquiring the greatest support system of family and friends that I could ever ask for. I'm so grateful to be alive and where I am, what I am, and who I am today, which is why it pains me to admit that sometimes, I wish I were born…right.
One thing I've learned in the 3 years since I've started my hormone replacement therapy is that; no matter how hard you try, you will not be 100% confident 100% of the time. Yes, testosterone has helped me physically evolve into someone that matches the image in my head and has helped me gain a higher confidence level than I ever dreamt of having, but there will still be days I'm dealt a sucker punch right to my self-esteem. One day I could be admiring myself in the mirror mid workout wondering why there aren't any sculptures crafted of me on display in beautiful foreign countries, and the next day I'm suddenly staring in the mirror and the face of who I was before I transitioned is staring back at me, I talk and I hear her voice. It's on these days that I become angry with myself and with the world. Why couldn't I have been born normal? Why did I have to be the poor sap that got the short end of the stick? How was this fair? It wasn't.
I feel guilty again when I admit this and anyone tries to comfort me by saying they understand. I know they're just trying to help and be there for me, which I appreciate beyond words, but they don't. They don't understand what it's like, they don't understand these thoughts. How could they? They got lucky. On these days, I spend 90% of my day wondering how my life would be different had I been born in the right body, these are thoughts no one else ever has to endure. So while I cherish a cis friend reaching out and trying to convince me they understand how I feel about craving to be born correctly, I don't think any of them ever will. Sometimes that makes me feel more alone.
When I think about how things would be had I been born a cismale, I think about how much easier things and life would be. First of all, restrooms would be a breeze. That right there is enough to make me envious of any cismale alive. No more anxiety filled trips to the bathroom, wondering if this would be the time the wrong person pieces together that I'm trans and lets me have it. No more painful aches in my stomach from forcing myself to "hold it" because the only male restroom you can find is only a stall and you forgot to pack that day. In fact, no more having to remember to pack at all. Dating would be so much less awkward! Oh man, dating would be a walk in the park, along with sex. No stopping right when things are getting hot and heavy to "prepare" myself, which is such a mood killer. I wouldn't feel the need to apologize to my partner about being transgender at least 20 times a day, not because they make me feel like it, but because I feel like an inconvenience. I wouldn't even have to face the anxiety that is "the talk" with your partner about being transgender if they hadn't already known. For a lot of people, learning their partner or significant other is transgender can be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I think one of the biggest "advantages" cismen have over trans men is that they don't have to come out; they get to just exist. They don't have to explain themselves or prove their masculinity to the rest of the world. Cismen won't have to beg and plead for their own family's acceptance after being cut off and left feeling confused and like I was free falling on my own.
As much as I hate to admit it, there are days where I find myself miserable and angry at the world because I was born this way. But then I stop myself. I realize that, even though I was born into a body that will serve me as a disadvantage for the rest of my life, I'm still extremely lucky to have this body. I'm extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to medically transition and get my top surgery soon after starting testosterone. I'm blessed with a wonderful, accepting mother, and the best support system in the world. Not many transfolk have the same luck, it is a privilege to be able to be visible for those who can't, and to live authentically. Being a transgender male makes me who I am.
I think about all that I would have missed out on had I not decided to take the plunge and transition. I certainly wouldn't have found out just how strong I can be on my own when pushed to the limits. I wouldn't have the patience that transitioning has taught me. I certainly wouldn't have the confidence or heightened self-esteem that I have now from seeing the physical changes that testosterone has done to my body. Hormone replacement therapy allowed me to be able to transform into the man I've always envisioned. Looking in the mirror used to make me ill, but now it just feels right, comfortable. While it breaks my heart thinking about the family and friends that tossed me aside when I came out and started my transition because they didn't agree with my choices, I'm even luckier now with the ones that stepped up and filled those absences. Now I have an amazing support system of allies and fellow trans brothers from such an inclusive and accepting community, I no longer feel like I'm fighting this battle alone.
It's been a long, intensive, testing, hard battle, but if I wasn't transgender I would not have had the opportunity to live the experiences that have made it all worth it. I wouldn't be able to feel the instant relief every Monday as the syringe full of testosterone pokes into my thigh, a little victory each week. I wouldn't be able to look back and reflect on how my body and voice have changed so drastically, being proud of how far I've come and how I no longer look someone I tried so hard to hide from the world. If I wasn't transgender I wouldn't have had to pay eight grand out of my own pocket to pay for a top surgery, and while I'd LOVE to have an extra eight grand lying around, the moment I woke up and took my first breath with my bare chest, was the single most incredible and life changing moment I've ever experienced, I cannot find words strong enough to explain how amazing it felt.
Being transgender has thrown me through the ringer, but those obstacles and struggles have made me who I am. That is a man who has been blessed with finding the love of his life. I don't think my girlfriend now would have fallen in love with me had I not been the man shaped by all my trials and tribulations due to my transition. My love, is what I am most thankful for.
We all have such different bodies, who is to say what ones are right and what ones are wrong? What makes a cismale body any better or more deserving than mine? An extra appendage? No way. Not anymore. I wasn't born a mistake, there is nothing wrong with me. I was born right, I am strong, and I am deserving just as anyone else alive and breathing, cis or not. Although there are days where I think it's an extra hassle, I wouldn't trade this life of transition for anything. It took a great deal of time to obtain that mindset, but I am damn proud of myself for doing so.