Building Bari: Finding my truth, and loving myself along the way

Building Bari: Finding my truth, and loving myself along the way

I never knew that the word transgender even existed, until I was sitting across from my therapist and she asked me if I ever thought I might be in the wrong body. I sat there in shock and had an instant realization that this was exactly how I felt. Prior to this, I thought that I was unable to connect with the world around me, and the societal constructs that were designed around traditional gender norms. I was so set in “my box” and accepted that this was my reality.

At the time, I was also suffering with an eating disorder, possessed with the need to control. I had intense feelings of low self-worth and an unrealistic standard of perfection. I recognized later that my eating disorder also involved trying to remove my femininity, taking away those feminine curves and “ideal” characteristics. I was in pain in more ways than one, and I had no idea where to turn with this new concept that had been presented to me in my therapy session.

I discussed this with my doctor, who I believe saved my life through her gentle patience and support. She recommended Mazzoni Center to me and suggested that I reach out to them. Initially, I didn’t. I was terrified to do this alone, and independently take that step.

After several long years, and a continuation of my eating disorder which manifested into anemia, kidney, and liver dysfunction, endocrine and autoimmune disorders, and osteoporosis, I had enough. I moved away from my family to be closer to graduate school and started working with a new therapist. She once again encouraged me to reach out to Mazzoni Center, and this time I felt strong enough to make that choice. I made my first appointment with Mazzoni Center in 2019 and spoke with Dexter Rose. This first appointment solidified that I was in the right space. I’ll never forget what it was like walking into Mazzoni Center for the first time. I was in awe. This was a place full of people who were living exactly as they wanted to. There was no judgment, no feelings of opposition. I had not experienced this so freely before, and I became very excited about moving forward.

In August 2019, I went back to Mazzoni Center for my first shot of testosterone. I can’t believe it has been over three years now, and I have never been more confident in myself, and the person I know I am. I am so grateful to have discovered  Mazzoni Center, and taken that step for myself, to improve my life.

Mazzoni Center has provided me directly and indirectly with many opportunities for self-growth and self-acceptance. Since transitioning, I have accomplished more than I could have thought possible. My goal moving forward is to show others in any way I can that you too can live in the body that you feel is right. This is not only how you identify, but this is who you are, and that will always deserve recognition and appreciation.

Read Bari’s recent feature in Men’s Health magazine here.