You’ll understand the book reference soon, I promise! Just keep reading!

As some of you may remember I am new to the trans community. I have recently come out to the world as a trans man (via my first article for FTM Magazine actually).  And something with this new identity of sorts (I say “of sorts” here because I was born this way damn it!) has also happened for me: I began binding my chest.

Now, binding…. Just think of that word for a moment.

            Binding.

If you look up the word “binding” into Google the definition it gives is:

“A strong covering holding the pages of a book together”

I will get to why I think this is so beautiful soon.

When I finally got my binder, maybe a month ago or so, I got it in the mail and ran to the bathroom to put it on. My partner later asked me why I ran to bathroom and shut the door to try it on and I told her that it was because I wanted to have the dignity if it didn’t fit so to not be embarrassed and that I wanted to see “myself” for the first time.  And by “myself”, I mean I wanted to see myself how I’ve always pictured myself in my head to be. What finally happened was that how I have imagined myself to look has finally happened to my physical body (in a non permanent way for now).  I came out of the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror and cried a little. For the first time I saw myself. I saw myself as how I’ve imagined myself to be and it was a beautiful moment.  Honestly, I never thought I had that much dysphoria over my chest but I do. I’m on the bigger side of life, always have been. I am working out and focusing on getting healthy and leaner and I definitely want some muscle tone.  With that said, my chest really hasn’t been something I’ve focused on growing up and developing in a female body. The main focal point has always been my stomach but with that slowly shrinking my chest has been a tad more prominent. And none of this has really clicked or caused a lot of mental distress on me until I saw for the first time what I looked like without my chest as it is. It was awesome. I felt amazing. I felt like and still feel like in some way the binder is binding me together; sort of like a story, you know? It’s almost as if my body is a story and right now the binder that I wear is holding my words and me together. This might sound a bit cheesy, but in some crazy, beautiful, way it has given me more confidence in the past month than anything else has before.

While writing this I am thinking about my past therapy session and how I am living with a new truth. I’ll try to not go into too much detail but I have finally arrived at a place where I am discovering my self worth and am embracing what I truly deserve. I deserve to be happy. You deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. I sincerely hope I am not coming off as someone who has all they’re shit together, I surely don’t. I am a work in progress and frankly, we all are beautiful works in progress.

Isn’t it funny how a small piece of fabric can help put you in the right mindset of who you are and what you deserve? I would have never thought that something as simple as binding my chest would give me such freedom.

I'm AJ. I live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with my partner in crime, Bianca. When I'm not working I'm reading Philosophy, writing, watching Anthony Bourdain shows, drinking coffee or getting more tattoos.