Loving yourself out loud is complicated and radical. Ty Deran (they/she) is proudly doing this and sharing their journey with their followers, helping to create and nourish an online community based in love and acceptance of yourself and others. Coming to terms with their identity just before the 2020 pandemic began, Ty has emphasized the power of language in helping illuminate parts of our identity and allowing us to connect with others who might relate to us.
How do you identify, and what does your identity mean to you?
I identify as a transfeminine non-binary demigirl. These are the words that resonate most deeply with me when looking to describe the quality of my spirit and my physical experience moving through the world. I believe that there are truly no words that can fully capture the complexity of the human experience and the human identity, but I also believe that words are a powerful tool we can use to shine a light on different pieces of ourselves. I use these words as a means to connect with myself and others who are like me. Once I found the language that most closely reflected the true nature of my being, I felt like I was granted space to release myself from shame. This left more room for self-love.
Let's talk about your inner child.
I first met my inner child by surprise. I had a profound experience of feeling this little girl in pigtails staring at me and smiling with the widest grin. She said to me, “You are free. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” I realized at this moment that she is always with me. I have access to that self at all times. Whenever I am going through a challenging moment, I often find it is my inner child who needs comforting. Allowing her to come to the forefront to play has also been deeply healing. The more my relationship with my inner child develops, the closer I feel to myself. This is something that I believe everyone should foster.
"My body LOOKS trans and non-binary in whatever form it exists in, because that is who I am."
How have you learned to manage your experience with dysphoria?
I find that my understanding of my dysphoria is consistently evolving. My dysphoria and body dysmorphia and insecurities are all swirling around my mind and heart. They are often at odds with each other. Sometimes they happen at the same time. For so long, I blamed myself for my dysphoria, writing it off as me just being “insecure.” I am learning that, while I do have insecurities that I can heal with loving attention alone, there is a separate experience of gender dysphoria that requires a bit more action and physical attention. I curb my dysphoria through many exterior forms of expression. I curb it through affirmation that my body looks trans and non-binary in whatever form it exists in, because that is who I am.
Where are you headed on your wellness journey?
I have come so far in my wellness journey, and it isn’t one that will ever end. There is no destination we will ever reach in this life. We are constantly learning, healing, growing, expanding… The destination is the choice we make in each moment to live as true as we can. That choice is how I know I will end up where I belong.
How have you evolved in your concept of self?
So many of society’s oppressive structures and ideals live in us. We have been so conditioned to see ourselves through a limited lens, and it is a definite challenge to heal from those toxic thought patterns. Whenever I feel that fear and judgement come up within me, it helps me to step back and witness those thoughts and feelings as a separate entity. What I have found is that the toxic thoughts that aren’t truly mine feel physically restrictive. It is a collapsing sensation, and the thoughts and feelings that are coming from me and my truth feel expansive. It feels like an inhale. Making this distinction has been deeply healing. The more I do this, the more often I find myself in that expansive energy.
Using social media to build community and allowing others to see themselves in Ty’s experiences has been a form of catharsis for over 132k followers online, but after talking with Ty, it’s clear they’re not just in it for the social media clout—Ty has a genuine love for the community they’ve found online. In closing, Ty invites you to take whatever words resonate with you into your life, and remember to be kind to yourself and those around you.
Want to keep up with Ty? Thankfully, you can find Ty all over the internet. Make sure to follow them on all social media platforms to stay up-to-date with their amazing content!