Growing up ashamed of yourself as I did takes an awful lot of adjustment when you finally realise you have nothing to be ashamed of.
For instance, I can look in John's eyes, see that he loves me more than I will ever love myself, and feel not worthy of that love.
But this isn't limited to just John - I have similar feelings about anyone who likes me and I'm not sure I have ever accepted friendship or love unquestioningly.
At my worst, I feel there must be something wrong with anyone who likes me. I find it that hard to believe that I am a likeable - let alone loveable - person.
Which is odd, considering how much I've done to be loved and liked. I guess it seems more logical to me that to receive such kindness from people I must've done something to deserve it. And by "something" I don't just mean being myself - after all why would anyone like me for who I am? - but done someone a favour or an act of generosity.
But when I stop to consider why I like my friends or love my husband, I begin to recognise my double standards.
I like my friends and love my husband because of their personality not because they buy me presents or treat me to lunch or anything like that. Yes, part of their personality is that they're kind and generous and that is a very nice thing to be on the receiving end of, but that is not the be all and end all of why I like them.
For instance, the major reason why I like my friend Jayne is because she has an original way of looking at the world and isn't ashamed of it. This manifests itself in her sense of humour (which I can only describe as "off the wall"!), in her religious beliefs, in her political beliefs and in the way she approaches her day to day life. From her head to her toe, she is proud to be an individual and I admire her for that.
Now contrast that to myself and the insecurities I find so hard to overcome.
Now, as a reader of my blog (and perhaps also one of my friends on Facebook), you may find it hard to believe that I find it hard to express my opinions. But meet me face to face and the person you meet will almost certainly not match up to expectations formed from my online personality.
In person, I am not assertive and so I find it hard to vocalise my opinions because I fear being involved in the violence (which need not be physical) of an argument.
Thus, I have conducted the majority of my life, in what you might call "stealth" - I am the person keeping quiet, hoping no one notices me.
To assist me in this, I have often opted for a disguise of some sort. This involves suppressing who I really am and what I believe and choosing to present an appearance and opinions that I think will be more readily acceptable.
This is exemplified by the fact I chose to present myself as a heterosexual male for the majority of my life but it is also why, having found myself a social group who accept my true gender and sexual identities, I still suppress my differences to the common denominators I have identified.
This is incredibly dangerous. For, in trying to fit in, I am suppressing the truth and limiting knowledge.
For example, one major reason why I refused to accept that I am a transsexual is because I had a limited knowledge of what a transsexual was. Thus I could never hope to find the help that was available to me.
I was not going to go to a support group for transsexuals, I was not going to seek counselling for my gender dysphoria, and I was not going to go to a Gender Identity Clinic with the aim of seeking medical assistance, whilst I believed transsexuals were freaks and deviants. To do so would mean identifying myself as "one of them" and I most certainly did not want to do that!
Also, whilst I suppress the truth and limit knowledge about myself, I can never hope to have confidence that people like me for myself. How can they when they don't know who I really am!
So, without more ado, what this has all been leading up to is for me to come clean and share my truth, my whole truth and nothing but the truth about my gender identity. So please read the next entry above (such is the illogical way these blogs work!)...