My Dysphoria

For me, dysphoria is hard to understand and describe. I didn’t realize until recently that I’m non-binary, and even then I thought I wasn’t allowed to claim the word transgender. I thought dysphoria meant that you wanted a full transition and that’s all. I didn’t know that not all transgender people experience it or that non-binary people can.

I thought I was a simple femme. I still like dresses. I like styling hair. I like doing makeup. I can’t have dysphoria if I enjoy the things that girls do, right? However, that thinking is still heavily binary and needs to be addressed. As I did more research on dysphoria, I realized 2 aspects of dysphoria for me (please note that there are my personal definitions based on my experiences of dysphoria): social and physical.

Socially, I feel torn. As a kid I was told I should’ve been born a boy because that’s who I surrounded myself with and I acted like them. At a certain point, I started finding interest in makeup and clothes, but my guy friends didn’t. Somewhere around middle school, I felt like I had to choose. Am I going to be a girl or a boy? I chose to be a girl. I leaned hard into dresses and hair, and I pretty much only had friends who were girls. Eventually I found that I didn’t like making the effort to be so feminine all the time, so I pulled back. Then bit by bit, I realized that I was missing how free I felt as a kid.

Physically, I look in the mirror and I see a stranger. I never noticed it before, but when I look in the mirror, it’s never truly been a familiar face looking back at me. Some days it’s the curve of my waist that feels wrong. Some days it’s my hair. But every single day, I look in the mirror and see a face that is so feminine and dainty. And that face is not truly mine.

Each of these aspects give me a strong sense of imposter syndrome. My soul doesn’t belong in this body and I live with constant anxiety that someone is going to call me out on it. I float in a limbo. I am not a woman, but I’m not a man either. I am neither, yet some days, I feel like I could be both. One day, I will look in the mirror and see myself. I know that one day, I will find the right people to help me get there. In the meantime, I can take baby steps towards becoming me.

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