I was standing in front of a dorm mirror in my girlfriend's clothes. It was hardly femme. Hell, if the top was a bit bigger and I was a bit bigger it would've looked like a manly gym tank. But I looked in the mirror and saw something so, so not that. I saw someone so not me. Someone who was smiling and laughing. So I cried. I fucking wept.
I was scared. For the next year and a half I was scared. All of a sudden every drip of my tongue was a poisonous lie that infected everyone and everything it touched, including myself. So I lied and hurt my whole world for a year and a half. Through a pandemic I gritted my teeth. I kept a stiff upper lip like a good boy and I pushed through until I couldn't. I had a new name. I had been dressing femme consistently around those who I was closest to and those in public who I would never see again. And every time I looked in the mirror I saw them. They were smiling and laughing and it was going to fucking break me. I had to stop hiding.
So I did what I dreaded the most. I came out to my parents. The people who I relied on for, well basically everything. And I could almost hear their disappointment. But they "tried." They apparently would regularly hold conversations where they would use my pronouns, never in my presence of course. When I was around it was "he" and "you're so handsome" and no joke, "your shoulders are getting broader." When my grandma was staying over, they said, "you should keep this quiet around her." So that was another three months of silence until, on my birthday, they had the audacity to out me to her behind my back.
And I kept seeing them in the mirror. I kept seeing them when I sneak in the bathroom and put on my thigh highs and my only skirt. They kept smiling and laughing. I wanted to hate them, to be envious and to shatter the mirror and pretend that the blood pouring from my hand was pouring from theirs. But I didn't. I never punched the mirror, and I never changed into my skirt anywhere but my car and my bathroom, and I never hated them. I didn't hate them because I knew I would have them. I would steal them from the mirror and become them.
But first I had to grip the mirror. I had to tell my parents, who had control over my health insurance. "Oh, so you want to be a woman," was their response. "You should see a counselor first," they followed. But I was done. I was done I was done I was done. I stood back up and yelled until they backed down. I booked my appointment to get HRT, and after a month I finally had my grip on the mirror.
Over the course of three more months I've been pulling them from the mirror. I had already stolen their name. A couple of weeks later I had started to steal their chest. Two more weeks I had stolen their hair. Two more weeks the world had drawn out my angst. So in two more weeks I had stolen their confidence. And now, I look in the mirror and I am smiling and laughing.