I have had a very troubled upbringing. I lived in Old Delhi with my parents. Being the only earning member of my family, my mother is a government teacher who travelled for three hours every day to reach school. My father was a freelance photographer who never took his job seriously because he was drunk most of the time. He physically abused my mother very often.
Growing up was not an easy task. From a very young age, I was not comfortable with my identity as 'Manisha.' Being a girl and feminine did not click with me. I was perplexed about my dilemma, and I could not finger what was wrong with me. This internal battle made me restless. No one asked me about my problems, which only retreated me in my shell further.
Going to school felt like a nightmare for me. I spent my initial years in an all-girls school, and I was extremely fond of wearing pants and t-shirts and stood out as a 'tomboy.' Everybody made fun of me because of how I dressed. While Everybody was deciding on a career path, I struggled with my identity, which had a detrimental effect on my academics.
All of these problems became very hard to tackle. I thought of running away from home, but the thought of my mother being alone stopped me from stepping foot out of the door. What if I don't see her ever again? Therefore, I decided against it and faced them with a brave face.
Coming To Terms With My Identity
When I joined a college in Delhi for Media Studies, I felt the most comfortable, and I could do whatever I wanted without anyone judging me unnecessarily. However, this did not last long. Multiple rumours about me dating women disturbed me to no end, and I was romantically linked with my friends, which only made matters worse. The insecurity and lack of confidence in me impacted my mental health, because of which I dropped out in my last year of college.
Eventually, this time made me realise that I wanted to get sex reassignment surgery. Since it involved a lot of money, I started to think about a lucrative career option. My heart told me to do something in either Journalism or Performing Arts, but my family's dire financial crisis prevented me from doing so. I worked with an NGO that worked in the field of sexual literacy. My experiences there made me open up more about being a trans man.
Since 2018, I have been getting hormone therapy. Its side effects are not easy to handle, but I am fighting through them. I am saving up for the first phase of my sex reassignment surgery, and I hope I collect enough money to get it done this year.
It took me years to realise who I was, but here I am! In this pursuit, I want to help other people around me who may feel that they are not worthy, and I want them to know that a shining ray of hope is just around the corner. My experiences have taught me how to soldier on in the chaotic road of life.
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