Short answer: yes.
Long answer: Yeeeeeeeeeesssssss.
I’ve always felt female. I guess, like many of the girls on this site, wearing women’s clothes has never felt like crossdressing to me; the clothes I wear (the clothes I’m wearing now) are simply ‘my clothes’.
Growing up I’d never heard the word ‘transgender’. It was only in recent years, as it started to get used more and more in the media, that I realised it was something that referred to me. That might sound like a bit of a belated realisation! Starting to actually apply the word to myself was, as you say, a bit scary at first; it sort of felt as though I was pigeonholing myself, at a time when I was still sorting out who I was.
I was completely in the closet until this summer. The first big step for me was joining CDH. Being able to chat with others, from all parts of the gender spectrum, was a huge emotional release for me. I started to feel much more comfortable about who I was. As you know, by late August I’d come out to Mum and one of my sisters (very happily, in both cases) about both the dressing and about being trans. It was terrifying in the run up, but totally exhilarating afterwards. I no longer had to hide who I was with either of them, and felt finally free to be me when I’m around them.
Even so, for some reason joining TGH felt like another big step … sort of me finally declaring “Here I am, World!” and nailing my colours to the mast for all to see.
Accepting myself for “the person I’ve always been”, as you put it, has taken a while … but I feel I’ve finally got there 🙂