A Journey to Self-Love: A Letter

I am elevating a voice I hope reaches the tiptops of mountains and the sea’s murkiest depths. Love, Jaclynn

I love you! ❤️ You are one of my dearest friends, and I hope you stay that way for years and years to come. I cherish our relationship and the conversations we have. If it’s okay, I’d love the chance to explain everything I’m going through and who I am.

You said. “I thought he was perfect how he was.” I love that you cherish me so much. It actually brings tears to my eyes; to know that you have had such care for me. Thank you! ❤️ Thank you so much.

However… The person you knew was drowning. I don’t know if I told you this, but I’d often considered killing myself for 10 years. Even before that, I constantly wished I didn’t exist. And in the final years, it’d gone from consideration to intent.

In my mid-twenties, I concluded that I would kill myself. I hated too much of who I was. I was so resentful towards myself, the world, and God.

I wasn’t perfect. At all. I was sinking deeper and deeper every day. I hated the way I looked, the way I acted, the way I thought, and the way I felt. Joys in my life were fleeting and bittersweet. I tried so hard to keep the mask up and keep my friends and family from realizing I wouldn’t make it.

I thought that I could maybe make it to my thirties. That I could at least wait until my siblings were grown and secure in their life. But even that possibility had slipped away from me in the end. And the truth is, near as I can tell, that it was all because of that mask. As soon as I accepted I was feminine at heart, the instant I took it from denial into truth, the depression left.

I may have said differently last time we talked, but I no longer believe I was made wrong or with gross genetic/hormonal mistakes. I genuinely believe that if there’s a God and any intent behind my existence, every aspect of me is made with purpose, and I wasn’t supposed to be born any other way.

That includes my gender identity not perfectly lining up with my physical body. It’s not a mistake, but it is real. I don’t curse it or resent it. And if God is real, I thank them for making me this way.

My experience in life as someone in this position has given me a perspective and understanding that few will ever have. It’s grown my heart and blessed me with a way of seeing myself and people in a way that I feel is more whole. It’s an unchangeable part of who I am at my core. If I had been born in a genetically female body, I wouldn’t be ME. I’d be someone else. Would that person be happier? I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. I am who I am, and I love who I am.

That brings me to the other thing I wanted to talk about; loving who I am. Self-love, confidence, and self-acceptance. You mentioned that you’ll miss the person you grew up with. I understand that; I completely understand that! Hell, there are times I miss that child too.

However, I want you to know something. They haven’t left. They haven’t actually gone anywhere. All the things intrinsic to the person you knew are still here. Every aspect of my identity I cherish and hold near and dear will never leave. I am who I am, and that will never change.

The parts of me I’ve left behind are nothing but superficial details. Bits of a broken mask and coats of paint. And with every bit of dead wood I carve off, I feel closer to the core of my heart than ever before. There were so many things that I’d wrapped myself in that weren’t really me. They were aspects that I felt I was supposed to embody.

I was playing pretend for years. Fear of being alone, shame, ego, a desire to be loved, to be acceptable, a warped sense of purpose. But regardless of the reasons, many of the things people attributed to me weren’t really me. They were just a mask. Something for me to hide behind so I didn’t have to be afraid.

I’m willing to face my fears now, though. That’s what I’m doing. I’m choosing to take a path in life that will take me closer to my heart at the expense of my feelings of security. I thank God that I’m blessed to be surrounded by people who love me and care for me regardless.

I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to shed all these disguises without you all. Not everyone has that luxury either… But please, please, please, please. Know that the person you love and the things that made him beautiful are still here. In fact, there’s even more than there was before. So many parts of myself that I hid in fear I’m now slowly nourishing. They will be just as beautiful as the parts of me you already knew.

I hope, in time, you’ll realize that I’m working towards being the purest expression of my spirit. That I’m not deluding myself. I question myself, doubt, and criticize more than ever before. But it’s healthy now, instead of judgemental. It’s a positive way of questioning my identity.

In the year and a half since then, I’ve never had a depressive episode lasting more than a few hours. The self-hate has left. I have hope now. I have joy and grace and forgiveness and love. So much love. For myself, people, the world, and God. I have passion and drive, and dreams.

Since I started transitioning, I have loved how I look every day. For the first time in 15 years, I don’t look in the mirror and hate what I see. I don’t just not hate it; I’m beginning to love it.

Two days ago, when I took the pictures I’d like to share, I looked in the mirror and was so overcome with euphoria that I had to step away and collect myself. I understand that not everyone may think that the way I’m changing is an improvement, but for me, it is. Undoubtedly.

I want you to understand that this change is positive across every aspect of my life. That I’m not shifting away from the truth of who I am, but coming closer. Every day I embrace more of that child than the day before. I cried the other day when I saw a picture of myself as a child because, for the first time in over a decade, I finally recognized myself again. I finally know that child inside me once again.

I love that we can talk, disagree, and still love each other. But I hope so so so badly that this doesn’t have to be one of those times we agree to disagree. This is a conversation about the core of who I am. The truth of my soul and heart. I hope my words can reach your heart and you’ll start seeing this like I do. Even if only by the smallest amount. I love you. So very, very much.

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