On Internalized Transphobia and Self Love
While I was on Tumblr the other day, I came across this quote from a femme who had just gotten married:
“I was going to say I didn’t know what I did to deserve this love but really, I do know. I honored myself and I made a conscious decision to stop settling for less than I desired and deserved and loved myself in a way that commanded that kind of love back.”
Emphasis is mine.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about self-love.
Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how I still have a lot of work left to do in that department.
I had something of a revelation over breakfast the other morning: When I come across someone, whether platonically or romantically, who understands, accepts, and supports my identity and my physical expression thereof (i.e., my choice to have had top surgery, etc), I tend to automatically think that that person is a great, wonderful person. I tend to automatically feel lucky and relieved that they are able to “get” me. Granted, these people often are wonderful people whose company I thoroughly enjoy, but it is very telling that I feel that these people are automatically worthy of some kind of praise and gratitude on my part just for liking me the way I am.
When I ask myself why this is the case, I don’t like my answer. I like it even less because I know it is true and I don’t want it to be.
…It’s because some part of me, deep down, still feels fundamentally unworthy of love. Some part of me still feels like I’m weird and broken and wrong. Some part of me still feels like it takes some kind of act of god for someone to really love me just the way I am. Some kind of act of god for someone to truly love my gay-boi, butch self. Some kind of act of god for a lover to find my chest not just acceptable but great and sexy.
When I find people who do seem to be able to appreciate me in some or all of those ways, I almost instantaneously feel quite attached to them. I put them on something of a pedestal. I let them get away with things that I wouldn’t let others get away with. When we have conflicts, I am always looking for what I did “wrong” and being quick to apologize for those “transgressions”.
I look at the person like a rare, precious gem that I am oh-so-lucky to have in my life.
In other words, I take a person’s ability to love and appreciate me as I am as some kind of exceptional quality of that person, rather than seeing it as the bare minimum of what I should expect from everyone.
I don’t know yet what to do with this revelation. I don’t know yet how to love myself truly and completely. I don’t know yet how to work through all of this internalized transphobia that makes me feel like I am unworthy of such basic respect and care.
I do know, though, that I am going to commit the next year of my life to figuring this out. I’ve decided that 2012 is going to be my year of being committed to myself, my year of being committed to learning how to love myself in the way I deserve to be loved.
I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do know that, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m on exactly the right path.