Growing up, the beach was always a happy place until once when I was a teenager - I'd spent the day at my favourite bay and as the sun began to set, my friends began taking photos in their swimwear, displaying confidence without a care in the world. I wanted to join the fun but something stopped me. I had no idea what it was but I felt miserable. I hated myself for not feeling comfortable enough in my own body, and what was worse, I didn't know how to explain it.
I became very aware that my body was very different to those of my female friends. I quickly got dressed, told my friends I wasn't in the mood for photos and wallowed in self hatred until I went home and balled my eyes out. My body had betrayed me and I hated it. I hated myself for feeling the way I was feeling and hated the inability to express myself.
I learnt about the term Gender Dysphoria years later, and even if I hid it well through hyper femininity, my self confidence never really recovered. Dysphoria differs with each person, but for me personally, it was a disconnect between my mental self-image/identity and my body's physicality. It is the “battle of beliefs” - hanging on to your belief that you are who you are despite how others may define you, while also challenging yourself not to compare your insides to other people’s outsides. It’s a constant effort to align yourself externally with how you feel internally.
Even if I am now a lot more comfortable in my skin, the damage caused is still with me today. I'm extremely self critical and will find fault in my appearance, my intellect and pretty much anything I do. This is not a cry for help but an acknowledgment of my experience, as I also acknowledge my privileges and am grateful for my blessings.
No amount of likes on your pictures, relationships or other material possessions will ever replace the importance of the love you should give to yourself. Cis, trans, gay, straight, curvy, skinny, short, tall, big hips, flat chested, pre-op, post op .etc. we are all beautiful, we are all worthy and most importantly, we are MORE THAN ENOUGH!
Please learn to love yourself truly.
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