From time to time I reread my old diaries, revisit old blogs, recall old thoughts. Reflection, it’s a two-edged dagger—it can be something to hurt you if you don’t wield right.

That part—wielding that dagger—comes back to stab me from time to time, because I don’t keep control. Thoughts can be dangerous if you let your mind wander into dangerous territory, whether you’re familiar with it or not, without control or a guide.

My appearance can look anything from a prepubescent, androgynous teenager, to a an average man. We must be on our guard not to confuse how we present ourselves, with how we see ourselves.

From time to time I wonder if, in while undergoing my sex change, if I made too many concessions, too many compromises, and that maybe I should have considered other identities. I considered myself agender before taking that first T shot, and after that, I decided to call it quits on the non-binary bullshit and just I’m transsexual. I was lucky to undergo gender counseling before beginning HRT, as it saved me the hassle from much of that confusion.

Was I trans, when I first came out and identified as agender? I still planned to eventually obtain a mastectomy and hysterectomy, but I really didn’t think about nor realize at the time the consequential need for hormone therapy afterwards. (No ovaries means no hormone production.) I had a hard time thinking I was a man at points, despite seeing myself as a boy during my childhood, because the corruption of what “transgender” meant delayed my inevitable sex change.

While I continue to look at myself in the mirror, there’s also one more thing. I realize sometimes these oft dysphoric thoughts arise when I feel like I look androgynous, especially when a mask covers my face and I’m clean shaven. When I look “clearly” male, I don’t have these troubling thoughts that question my masculinity, if not ultimately my essence and identity.

After I play this bout of self-doubt with myself, here is what I come back to. I am a man. I am a brother, son. Masculinizing my birth name shows that I am still the same guy, just living his life as a man instead of as a woman. My body has healed, has been reclaimed. I can wear the clothes I always preferred without having to defend my masculinity anymore. I am attracted to women, but I am straight, not gay. I have a family, loved ones, workplace, and online community that support me as the man I was always meant to be.

My depression sometimes causes dysphoria when really there is none. Since I was young, I always wanted to be a boy and cried out when people tried to remind me I was a “girl”. What nature desecrated, medicine and therapy healed.

I am the man I always pictured myself to be; I wish my thoughts would just let that be. The mind can be your most powerful tool, but can also cause your ultimate self-destruction.

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