I talked with my therapist recently about ‘the rest’ of transitioning. I don’t mean The Surgery, although that’s something which is still on my mind, I mean moving from actively transitioning – changing my name, going on hormones, fretting about levels, watching my boobs grow, constant hair removal – to simply living as a woman. (As if living were ever simple, for anyone.)
More specifically, I said I’d been having trouble getting motivated lately. Sure, I could spend extra time doing my makeup, extra energy wearing a skirt, extra effort walking in heels. But I’m never going to look like Mexico’s beauty queen over on the right (using her as an example simply because she came up when I did a Google Image Search for ‘beauty’) so why not just throw on jeans and a t-shirt?
Laura, my therapist, smiled and said that’s part of what being a woman is all about.
Except I’ve become very used to the idea of transition as moving toward something: getting hair removed, growing breasts, buying a new wardrobe. The idea that I’ve arrived (or am close to arriving) at status quo, at whatever ‘normal’ is going to be for me for the foreseeable future, is battling it out with internalized transphobia and, more simply, internalized desire for the unobtainable female ideal.
On good days, I’m able to remind myself that I’m not only attractive “for a trans woman” (whatever that loaded statement means) but simply attractive as a woman. Touring this summer demonstrated that; it may not be that all the girls wanted me, but enough did to be a boost to my confidence.
On bad days, however, I feel stuck. As if I’ve reached my asymptotic height. And while convincing myself that transitioning was possible has helped keep me sane for so many years, I now need to put the breaks on that line of thinking: there is a limit to how I’ll look, determined by genetics and biology. I’m never going to be 5’6″ and 120 lbs, or have a 36-26-36 figure.
But that’s OK. I’m working on it being OK.