“We’d worry a lot less about what other people think about us, if we realised how seldom they do”
David Foster Wallace
I came across this quote online yesterday, and it instantly struck a chord with me. I had been ‘dressing’ in secret for years and years, but was so worried about what people would think about me that I kept it hidden from the world.
This was not a healthy way to go about things, as the more I wanted to live as me and express myself, the more frustrated and depressed I got that I felt I couldn’t. I decided that if there were no other people in the world then I wouldn’t have a problem, I could be whatever I wanted. But this wasn’t that realistic a hope, so I stayed in my bedroom instead.
I think it’s a weird part of my personality that I’ve always looked for validation and approval, be it from parents, teachers, managers… whoever really! Maybe it’s about a lack of confidence or self-esteem. Either way, balancing this with what I felt was such a dark secret was never going to work.
And so in recent years I’ve tried to understand what’s going on in my head and to work with these feelings rather than letting them fight against each other. I’ve proved to myself that being trans isn’t a dark secret at all, I am a normal person leading a normal life and I don’t need approval from everyone else in the world to progress.
Most people, as David Foster Wallace pointed out, aren’t actually as interested in judging me as I think they are. And for those that do? Well, rather than letting them see me as a drone desperate to conform in all areas, why not let them see me as a happy, interesting person who is enjoying their individuality?