Marcy. Jacksonville, Florida.

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“The people in my life know me as David. All my life, I’ve struggled with figuring out how I’m supposed to act. Even more, I’ve looked into the mirror day after day, year after year, hardly recognizing my reflection to be my own. Now that I’m an adult- an adult with theatrical training, no less- I have many faces at my disposal which I have previously used to blend in. Before I had these tools at my disposal, I constructed my own role based on how I thought a man was supposed to act. I had to do this, because when I was younger my interests are not what you’d consider manly. I wasn’t interested in cars, explosions, guns, sports, macho things, even women for the longest time. Instead I loved drama, nature, books, dresses, and a multitude of other things unconventional for little boys to be interested in. So, in order not to embarrass my parents, I substituted my own image of myself and my own feelings for those that I believed society was telling me were acceptable. At different stages in my life, this meant different things…but all of it was punctuated with a belief that men were intended to be indomitable, so I became the invulnerable, temperamental person I have grown into. Quick to anger, destructive attitude.  A lot of times, I was fine in public, but dealing with my insecurities concerning my body image, self esteem, and immense amount of anger at myself and everything around me- all of this became harder and harder to manage as I grew older. In high school, I got involved with acting, which began to alleviate some of my pent up energy, but still I was often so cripplingly depressed that I felt subhuman, as if there was no point to existing; I wasn’t an asset or a boon to anyone I knew. I, like many others before me, enrolled in a psychology program in college to help “figure it out” and learn why I felt all these feelings. The danger with this is that we all run the risk of self diagnosing- as if I could find all the answers on WebMD. However, later in my college career I ran across terms that seemed familiar, even though I’d known nothing about them previously. And so, I began to suspect that my “confusion” lay in the realm of body dys-morphism, specifically gender dysphoria. Without jumping to conclusions, I decided this was enough to prompt me to regularly seek counseling. After years of multiple counselors, gathering second, third, (and even fourth) opinions, I’ve had them all agree with each other. To have so many professionals all saying the same thing, with no prior knowledge that I suspected as much myself? I became quite satisfied that my feelings were not coincidental, and gradually came to admit to myself, and my family, that I am indeed transgender, and I need to take actions different from what I’ve been doing in order to make myself happy in this life. Fortunately, my story does not include a lack of support. Though this will be the first time many who know me hear of such details, my father said to me: ‘I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say to me, but I am sure I’ll learn. In the meantime, you are my child, and I will love you no matter what. Even if you turn purple.’ Thanks Dad.”

#IAmNotMyLabel, and I’ve chosen to let go of my self hatred.