“Him”. The unspoken one. He who must not be named. No, I’m not talking about Voldemort, though that would be kinda cool. No, I’m talking about his less evil cousin – the person who I was before beginning my transition. The old me who was the caretaker of my body for a good 32 years before I finally acknowledged my true self.
“He” is the reflection in the mirror who looks back and threatens to undermine my confidence every day. Despite all the physical changes and attention I give my looks, “He” looms menacingly in the background, whispering dark thoughts in my ears. “Look at how much your brow protrudes!”. “Are you kidding, those shoulders look like they belong on a rugby player”. “Hips? What hips? What made you think you ever had any?”.
“He” is the anxious and antagonising voice in my head when I go out every day. “They know, you realise that right?”. “That person you just spoke to? Your voice is too manly, you didn’t fool them”. “Go to the bathroom? Are you kidding? Just hold it until you get home”.
“He” is the person I killed the day I first started HRT. “He” was the character, and I was the actor portraying them. But despite putting “Him” to rest, despite performing in my final show, “He” still lingers in the shadows, waiting to peer out through the cracks. I guess when playing a single role for so long, it’s difficult to completely put the character to bed. In fact, it’s hard to.
Although I still see “Him” there, and “He” messes with my confidence and self esteem on a regular basis, “He” still was me. Is still a part of me. “He” wasn’t a really a bad guy when I think about it. “He” doesn’t mean to cause me issues and make me doubt myself. “He” made a few bad choices along the way, but ultimately realised that I wasn’t happy, and knew that “His” time was coming to a close. “He” took his curtain call, bowed for the audience and went back to the dressing room for the last time with dignity, allowing the real me, Sera, to take to the stage.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to listen to “Him” when “He” speaks to me and tries to make me feel bad, but instead of heeding it and letting “Him” control me, I remember that there are gorgeous women out there who have broad shoulders, or no hips. That there are women with deep voices and masculine features who are never questioned for who they are. I remember that there are other incredible trans women who have gone before me and braved the women’s bathroom without repercussion. I think of these things, take a breath, and move on. I realise that “He” has shackled me long enough, and now that I’ve come this far, it’s silly to let “Him” continue to do so.
There’s times where I curse “Him” and wish that I was born with the right body, but I accept that life just doesn’t always go the way we wish it would have. Sometimes we just have to work with the equipment that we’re given, and make the best of it. It’s not always easy, but like everyone else in the world, I just do my best.