Many times I’ve found myself lying awake at night thinking about how far I’ve come in my life. How the past seems so distant yet something I still hold so close. It’s crazy how life can work out so perfectly but it takes great pain and loss to understand its true beauty. Never would I have ever believed, having grown up in Missoula, Montana, that one day I would be a confident young woman living on the upper east side in New York City with a wonderful job in the fashion industry. I’ve achieved so many things in my life and I have yet to even scratch the surface of what I’m truly capable of. I can sincerely say for the first time in my existence I am happy. I’m happy with my soul, my body, my mind, the woman, daughter, and sister I’ve become. I’ve faced so much adversity in my twenty-two years on this earth. From bullying, insecurities, identity issues, anxiety, depression, broken family, and always feeling like the person I am doesn’t align with the person society told me I was. I want to share with you how I became a happier more authentic person, the battles I’ve faced and how I overcame them. This is my journey to happiness, a mind space I never thought I would exist in but I’m so grateful I’m finally here.

My first memories were always as a girl, from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. I dreamed as a girl, I brushed my teeth as a girl, I moved through the world like a girl. But it wasn’t something I articulated, it was something that just was. Something so simple and so deeply ingrained in my brain that no one could make me think otherwise. That is until I became more self-aware and it was made apparent to me that I wasn’t a little girl but I was actually a little boy. This moment was devastating and I remember being so confused and wishing every-night before bed that one day I could be like all the other girls in school. I distinctly remember crying to my mom at the age of 5 telling her “I give up, there is just no way I’m going to ever be a mother or a grandma!”. I often look back on the thoughts I was having as a child and think how could I not have known I was transgender sooner? The problem was I didn’t even know it was a possibility or that there were even trans women living in this world. I struggle a lot knowing that I’ll never know what it’s like growing up as a girl or that ill never experience a lot of the same milestones cisgender females experience. But fast forwarding to my life now, there is so much I am grateful for. Transitioning was one of the hardest, craziest, exciting, and greatest achievements I’ve ever accomplished. Mentally, physically, and emotionally I am a better person because of it. The life I live now has meaning, all the dust has fallen and the sky is finally clear. The clarity I have in my head now is something I’ve never experienced before. I often explain it as being abusive to myself, the abuse became so normal to me before I transitioned that I didn’t think anything of it. After completing my transition I understand that the way I was treating myself before was horrific. I was starving myself, binging, and purging to find some sense of control over a part of myself I didn’t fully want to accept or understand. I remember constantly having thoughts of what it would be like if I was dead. Whenever I looked in the mirror I would want to cry and I felt so insecure swimming or showing my body in any way. My life was empty and I remember drinking and smoking a lot because I just didn’t care. The only thing I wanted to do was sleep and dream of my life as a woman. I would dream about what I would look like when I was older, what my husband would look and act like, how many kids I would have, my career, and what a good mother I would be. Life seemed so perfect inside my dream, something safe that no one could judge or touch. It was something completely my own that was the manifestation of my soul’s truth. After some deep conversations with my friend Chrissy one night in her backyard, something clicked in my brain and it was an answer so obvious I couldn’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. I finally accepted myself as transgender and understood what I needed to do, I had to transition. From that moment forward the floodgates had been opened and there was no stopping me from completing my journey. It was finally the one thing in my life that I was certain of. I started taking hormones, I got my bottom surgery, and finally my breast augmentation. This was definitely the most difficult and liberating 2 years of my life, I felt like I was constantly in and out of doctors offices and hospitals. The most challenging thing about transitioning, in my opinion, is the way people perceive you. Going from one gender to another is very difficult and it takes time for changes to start being noticeable. My mind changed far quicker than my appearance which was really hard because I wanted everyone to perceive me as a woman so badly that when they didn’t it would destroy me. The first year of my transition I became insanely depressed, it was a low I have never felt before. The depression and anxiety I felt was no longer just emotional but I felt them physically. I remember waking up and having so much anxiety and being so depressed that my body literally hurt. I put so much pressure on myself to be passable, pretty and pretend like nothing was wrong that it became exhausting even thinking about going out in public or seeing my friends. I remember lying in my bed and not leaving my room for weeks expect to use the bathroom and eat. Looking back it makes me just want to cry because of how worthless and insecure I felt. I want to give that girl a big hug and show her the future she will have one day. I wish I could have taken the extreme pain away she was feeling about the years of bullying, abuse, and never being good enough. I want that girl to know how strong she is, and that one day you will love your body and that you will finally be a beautiful, strong, confident woman. After I had my bottom surgery and breast augmentation my life changed forever. The woman I had always imagined when I was younger was finally staring at me in the mirror and I simply couldn’t believe that she was real. All the years of pain, dedication, and patience finally lead to this. For the first time in my life, I wanted to have a future, be in relationships, and for lack of a better term just kill it! All the years of me thinking if I was a girl I could do that, If I was a girl I could do this, or if I was a girl that would be so easy were over. I am a girl and I believe I have always been a girl in my soul. The strength and bravery I have shown myself in the past 2 years has given me a sense of pride and self-worth. I created this body from scratch so I can be happy living the rest of my life as authentically me as possible. Today I reflect on all the struggles I’ve faced and it truly seems like a lifetime ago. I can finally close that chapter in my life and focus on creating a legacy bigger than myself. I want to help empower all women, I want to be a mother and a wife, I want to be a good daughter and sister, and I want to be a role model for my future daughter. I want her to know that she is perfect and that she must follow her heart and do anything it takes to make herself happy. The happiness I feel today is indescribable and sometimes it feels like a complete dream. The way I move through the world today feels so easy and instinctual like it’s the way it was always meant to be. I can’t imagine where I’d be right now if it wasn’t for that quick conversation in the backyard of my friend’s house. The lesson you can take away from my journey is that you should never settle in this one life you are given. If there is something you feel so deeply about you must act on it. The only way to truly be happy is making sure your soul is being seen for what it truly is. The more authentic you can be with yourself the happier you will become. It might be the hardest and most terrifying thing you do but you have to search within yourself for the answers you need. Chances are what you are searching for is right in front of you in plain sight. We all have our own journeys in life, just make sure you’re making every moment count and living the life you love. Finding happiness can be hard, but once you do, it is almost like you can’t remember what life was like without it. I would like to leave you with a quote from my favorite movie, The Help, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important!” and don’t you forget it! 


You’re Welcome and Love always,

Dayton Sims for NYChic ❤

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