I just want to preface by saying that my new life goal is to educate and inform people of trans issues, especially because it's an incredibly misunderstood and misrepresented topic, and so I want to be really open and answer any and all questions brought forward in good faith.
For those that don't know what transgender means, it is characterized by something called "gender dysphoria", which is officially defined as "having a marked incongruity between one's perceived gender and the one they were assigned at birth". This is an impossibly complicated subject to cover in a quick paragraph, but suffice it to say that gender identity and sex are far more complicated than which genitals you were born with, and even though genitals are typically the basis for assigning gender at birth, that's not always correct. If you want to talk more about the science in the comments, feel free to ask questions.
For me, I didn't know I was transgender until I few months ago. I had suppressed and hidden so many memories (which I'm still untangling and attempting to revisit) that related to discomfort with my gender that I seriously brainwashed myself into believing 100% that I was cis and just couldn't function like other people. I lost the better part of my 20s due to chronic depression, an inability to mature emotionally, and the sense that I had no hope or future because I couldn't imagine myself as a successful man. These are all products of the trauma I endured during puberty which essentially stunted my growth as a human being for over 10 years. I attempted to cope with it by taking on a hyper masculine appearance and attitude and developing a mindset of toxic masculinity, but I have always felt really uncomfortable pretending to be "one of the guys".
The process of recognizing that I was transgender was honestly pretty rapid, but as soon as I knew, I knew. I spent an agonizing week in April questioning everything about myself and looking up resources on trans people to better understand if I fit that criteria, and once I finally allowed myself to look into that world, I was immediately floored by how much I related to other trans people's stories. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged and that I wasn't mentally ill or too fucked up to ever function like a normal human being. I felt free. My entire life I had believed that I had to fill out a certain checklist or have certain features to ever be considered a girl, but it was striking realizing that I could be a girl just by...being one. I know that that statement is probably pretty befuddling and makes little sense to a cis person, but it was the sense that I could finally just be myself, even if I didn't fit into a stereotypical role or have the physical characteristics that went with who I perceived myself to be.
Since then, I have started hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which has helped me feel so much more comfortable in my own body. Today is the 1 month mark since starting HRT, and although changes are painfully, imperceptibly slow, it gives me hope that I seriously have a future ahead of me. There's a lot of work to be done regarding the damage that testosterone has done to my body, particularly the abundance of body hair and the theft of hair on top of my head. Both can be corrected but take a lot of time and money to fix while causing me daily discomfort, so I'm hoping to have some real progress on both by 6 months from now. (Again, if you have any questions regarding HRT and medically transitioning, I'm glad to answer anything in the comments below).
I am so much happier now with my life, and I'm becoming comfortable with who I am finally.
SIDENOTE: You may have remembered me posting about my gf. She's the biggest lesbian and loves me so completely for who I am, and that level of acceptance at a time when I'm still having difficulty accepting myself when I look in the mirror is so incredibly affirming and wonderful. She's the best in the entire world, and I hope I get to go see her soon so I can take lots of pictures and share :p.
EDIT: My name is Allyssa (ah-LEE-sah), and I use she/her pronouns. TL.net account will probably get changed soonish.