This is something I wrote in the very early stages of my transition; at a stage where I was becoming increasingly focused on my life path up to that point. I realised that my life had followed a pattern, which had been going with the flow, regardless. I believe what I came across then, remains very critical to how and where I have managed to get to today. It’s why I have chosen to edit and post it here, in hopes that others may equally find an answer to their own conflicts once they’ve acquire certain knowledge about themselves. Apparently, things are not quite as obvious as we might think them to be.
The first stage of healing is to accept that you need to face up to an issue in your life. Possibly one of the biggest choices you may make in your life. Once that has been overcome, you can begin the process.
A life-long search
As long as I can remember, I have searched within myself and sought information from books and articles in an attempt to help me calm the inner-conflict residing within me; to understand why I felt different to the people around me for most of my life.
It was winter time, I stayed in the house, mostly to keep warm. I had already purchased clothing, shoes, and all the other stuff I needed, returning to my deeply rooted desire to dress and live as a woman. Dressing and being happy. The more I did, the more I reflected upon my life. It wasn’t long before I reached a stage where I needed something major to change.
This particular day began just like any other, only this time, I chose to continue my quest for information online. I found myself looking at site run by a couple offering relationship counseling. It included some very interesting ideas and advice, which drew me into its pages. I started to discover a great deal that I could personally relate to. Something I hadn’t come across very often. There were a number of free resources and others that you could buy. I spent time looking at the free things and was soon interested by a few topics, getting pulled further into the site.
Loving yourself completely
Intrigued by the title of an article “Loving Yourself Completely,”* I chose to investigate further. I had only read a small part of the text but already felt it had been written about my life. How could that be? I had to continue reading. The further I went on, the more I related to what it was describing. I became a little emotional as I was relating to my life while reading, but finished the article. By which time, I felt a little overwhelmed by the discovery. I am not sure I did much else that day other than think. Turning over the statements and concepts, linking my life, experiences, problems, sadness, disasters and relationships to what I had just read. How could I have not seen this before?
It had described how being unable to love yourself you would find it difficult or impossible to love others or feel loved by them. I can’t recall the exact wording that outlined the importance of self-acceptance playing a huge role. And that was exactly what was knocking at my door that very day. Coincidence or what?
The article began to sink in to my consciousness and struck home, giving me a moment of clarity. I suddenly understood what I had lacked and failed to understand. I had never been able to love myself very much; it had never entered my thoughts. It was a problem that I had suffered with for years. I believe one effect had been that I had turned my frustrations towards those close to me in my adult life. I believed that my dressing didn’t impact on my relationships or those around me, albeit I kept that a secret for many years. I now view it in a very different light. As I see it now, keeping a secret life of dressing wasn’t healthy and therefore created other issues, which at the time I could not see. But that’s the past and I am living now – I have no regrets!
My head was spinning for a few days while I reprocessed the events of my life from a new perspective. At times, it was if I was able to distance myself and see past situations for how they were; like finding the missing pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, the picture became complete. It was an extremely emotional time, and I recall crying a lot while dealing with the collateral damage.
For the first time in my adult life
Things became more settled as days passed and the thoughts of living my life as Sophie become a more realistic concept. In fact, it soon became a serious need that I felt compelled to pursue. For the first time during my life, I began to feel free. Free from feelings of guilt, self-disapproval, shame and more, which had kept me repressed in a life of silently suffering. I have continued to build on loving myself completely. Nothing can change fully in a short space of time. But simply knowing this has begun to make differences in how I view myself and my everyday life.
Just over four years have passed since that day; I am Sophie and have always been Sophie.
*The article is no longer online but you may be interested in a book of an expanded and in-depth alternative: “Learning to Love yourself” by Gay Hendricks PhD