Content note: Discussion of suicide, sexism, and self-injury.
Go kill yourself.
This isn't something a Twitter harasser told me. This is what I tell myself, what I've told myself, over and over again. Sometimes many times in a day.
My family of origin never told me this, not in so many words. They just said and did things that reminded me, over and over again, that I had no value as a person. I was an inconvenience, a burden. It was wrong that they had to put up with me. And since I was ritually unworthy, in the Mormon religion, it would be wrong for any romantic partner to have to put up with me, also.
die die die die die DIE DIE DIE
I self-injured in front of my mother of origin until she screamed, twice. My youngest brother yelled at me for that, and for trying to jump out of a moving vehicle one time during an argument.
Getting a (second) life
When I wasn't exploding in screaming fits, throwing furniture at people, or laying in bed thinking of suicide, I numbed my pain by playing online games like Final Fantasy XI. It wasn't just a diversion; it was an MMORPG, a separate world I could see through my monitor. I had a home there, and friends, and a character to represent myself.
Before I even bought the game, when I was reading up about its world of Vana'diel, I decided I wanted to play as a Mithra.
Mithra are an all-female species of catgirls.
I knew that, but I was okay with "crossplaying," as I saw it. I did not want to play her so that I could stare at her ass while running around doing quests. I just felt like this was what I'd be the most comfortable as. Somehow, I thought, I knew I'd respect and take care of myself if I looked like that.
Sometimes, I felt like I also would have chosen to be born female if I'd been allowed to.
Get to the point
So, right. How I said that I'd feel about myself if I had a female character?
That's how I feel now, when I look in the mirror.
I can be having a terrible day (or week), and the thoughts of hurting or killing myself are coming back ... not strong enough to actually tempt me, but sapping my self-respect and will to live. Then I look in the mirror, and-
"Is this me? Is this who I actually am?"
My brain breaks. For a moment it chokes on this new information, trying to reconcile the "fact" that I'm worthless with the image of someone I know not to be. Then it finally gives up and accepts it.
I can look at myself in awe, now. Sometimes I do. But mostly, I feel like ... this is how things are supposed to be.  It'd be unthinkable to call me worthless, or tell me to kill myself. I am supposed to be alive, and I am supposed to look and feel like this.
And talk about feelings and fangirl-y stuff on Dreamwidth. Apparently.
The point isn't that "men are pigs and should die, while women should be treated as gods." The point is that I felt that way pre-transition. For a lot of reasons, including messed-up church teachings on gender roles, which made it sound like men have to justify their existence by working but women are awesome just by existing (and, apparently, giving birth). Even after I'd come out as female online, I ... I had to stop watching a StarCraft II tournament with Alias once, because it hurt so much to see the interviewer and feel that I'd never look like that.
I'm probably still never going to. But far from these steps in transitioning being the start of obsessive tweaks to my appearance -- a never-ending, tail-chasing cesspool of false, "worldly" fulfillment that I have to pretend makes me happy to keep from realizing I've thrown my whole life away  -- I feel a lot more content and at peace now. Even seeing how much more work I have to do, to finish transitioning physically, doesn't depress me as much as it used to. It feels doable now. A tragic condition which defined my whole life now seems manageable.
I feel like an actual woman, who's just dealing with cosmetic issues. Given the choice between that and wanting to kill myself, I'll take this every day.
That's why I'm transitioning.
 Note for readers of jewelfox's otherkin essays: Out of our three personalities, one identifies as a fox-woman, one is a human-shaped eldritch horror, and one used to be a young human woman but is now a velociraptor. Being human-appearing and female are commonalities, here, which I think is why despite being therian / otherkin / fictive, we all agree that we look much more like who we are supposed to be now.
 This is actually a good description of how I felt as a Mormon. Judging by the fact that Salt Lake City is the world's capital of plastic surgery, I'm guessing a lot of practicing Mormons feel that way, too.