Part of my ongoing process of accepting and loving myself is learning to distinguish between external and internal opinions.
For instance, for the longest time I was not comfortable, even with the idea, of presenting as anything but female. At the time, gender was still a very fixed concept for me. You were either male, female, or identified somewhere in between. Even then, I felt being trans* meant there were certain unspoken rules you had to abide by, a checklist of sorts, in order to “pass.” I did not meet some I felt that held more weight and importance than others, and so concluded that I must not be one.
Furthermore, my mother supported this train of thought by tying the stigma of appearing anything but female to negative consequences. “I don’t want you pretending to be something you’re not. You’re my daughter, and you always will be. You look so sad, and you become so distant from me whenever this happens. I love you. Please don’t do this to yourself.” Her argument was presented as being in my best interest, not an attack on myself, and because I trusted her I believed in her. My relationship with my mother was one of my strongest ties back then, and working to extract myself from her subconscious influence has been one of my longest - and still ongoing - processes I’ve had to bring myself to do.
During that process, I realized exactly how much influence she had over my opinions, and was ashamed at how I’d let myself not question any of it. It was very harrowing to see how my trust in her had made me unhappy in other areas of my life.
I bought my first packer last month, and have kept it hidden throughout my move back home. Living away from my family for a year has done a world of good; I can feel the surety in myself much more clearly than before.
I wish I had more friends who I could share this little bit of happiness with, but I don’t know many I can. The ones who would understand I am not particularly close to; and it’s not to say they wouldn’t support be, but we’re all a bit of an awkward turtle when it comes to discussing personal topics. They would be supportive, but I need to learn to be my own support.