Posts tagged: confidence

The Rest of Everything

By , September 27, 2011 5:55 pm
Hopefully won't end up in police custody, tho.

Hopefully won't end up in police custody like she did, tho.

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.

Not much of a man

By , March 7, 2011 12:38 pm
Not much of a man by the light of day

Not much of a man by the light of day

One of the oddest experiences of my transition was going off hormones to deposit sperm. (Almost three years ago!) It made me feel – perhaps more than any other single situation – as if I was balanced on a knife edge between ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ I wasn’t a woman (the thinking went) since I was at a doctor’s office attempting to deposit sperm. And I wasn’t much of a man (the same train of thought concluded) since my sperm count was so frustratingly low the doctor couldn’t get a viable sample. It was an agonizing paradox, of sorts: If my sperm count was high enough for a successful deposit, the hormones weren’t reshaping my body in the way I wanted them to. If my sperm count wasn’t high enough for a successful deposit, the hormones were working but I’d have to stay off of them even longer, in hopes of getting my sperm count up.

Either way, I lost.

Since then, I’ve had many occasions where I felt uncomfortable being too ‘girly’ or to ‘manly,’ and have been unsure of how to navigate my way through. I’m reminded of a time, a year or two ago, I was bringing home groceries with a friend. I was attempting to carry way too much, and she laughed and yelled, “You’re not a man any more! You don’t have to do everything at once, so take two trips!”

Continue reading 'Not much of a man'»

I have amazing boobs

By , October 28, 2010 5:01 pm

A few days ago, I heard wind of some of my students asking other teachers, “Why are her hands so big? Why is her voice so deep?” I don’t need doubts like that in my life. I don’t need to be second-guessing myself, my presentation, the way I carry myself, how my voice sounds. It’s insidious, and if I let it begin to happen, it’s difficult to stop.

So, suggested my therapist, why not focus on something positive? What’s something I like about myself? Well, I think my boobs are pretty great. So I’m going to focus on that.

I think there are worse ways to walk through life than saying to yourself, “I have amazing boobs.”

What’s one thing you like about yourself?


By , May 24, 2010 11:10 pm

Am I allowed to read this?

While I was in the hospital, my mom brought me a little care package. It had a stuffed bear, a silly coloring book, and a copy of Glamour.

The stuffed bear lived next to me on my bed. The coloring book was, well, colored in. And the Glamour was put into my bag of things, hidden away from sight.

It’s not because I didn’t want to know about “25 Times I’m Irresistible to Him (And Don’t Even Know It).” Or “My Top 10 Tricks for Sexy Hair!” Or even “59 Cute, Casual Outfits That Look Good On Everyone.” I mean, who wouldn’t want to know all those things?

It was because I wasn’t sure if I would be looked down upon for reading it.

Would the nurses think I was immature? Would my friends think I was silly? Would my visitors think I was….girlie?

Continue reading 'Glamour'»

Hospitals and Hair

By , May 6, 2010 7:48 pm

Tonight is my last night at the hospital. (Fingers crossed, knock on wood, etc.) The gallbladder was removed last night, along with the bazillion more gallstones it contained. My parents actually claim the doctor said my gallbladder had 100 more gallstones, which is disgusting if it’s true.

This morning, after lugging myself to the bathroom, I looked in the mirror to see something of a stranger. First, because one of my roommates had put my hair into two braided pigtails last night, before I went into surgery. I’ve been way to lazy to remove ’em, so they’ve stayed the last 24 hours. Second, because the IV fluids, coupled with little food, have given me a simultaneously gaunt and water-bloated look. On top of that, I haven’t really bathed all week, so my color is way off and I’m all blotchy.

Most obnoxious, though, was the little soul-patch beneath my lower lip, a  remnant of my facial hair that the laser removal hasn’t been able extinguish.

Continue reading 'Hospitals and Hair'»

Getting past passing

By , March 23, 2010 7:58 pm

Maddie at recently wrote a post, Passing Fallacy, on the idea of passing. That is, being perceived as the gender you are presenting as, rather than your assigned-at-birth gender. I really like where she takes her definition, though:

[passing] is a struggle to over ride what others impose and imprint on you in order to win the right to assert one’s self image, one’s self. It’s trying to win the right not to be made to feel like a failure, an othered, degendered oddity. It is trying to be “convincing” enough (read – meet enough of their stereotypes) that people are prepared to accept what you say. Rather than just listening to what you say.

That idea, of passing being an issue of whose reality ‘wins,’ is the main reason I try to say “perceived as a woman” rather than “passing as a woman.” Because it turns around passing and makes it about what it really is: a problem created by the gaze-er, not the gaze-ee.

Continue reading 'Getting past passing'»

The terrifying market

By , January 24, 2010 4:45 am

As of this weekend, I’m on the dating market for the first time in almost four years.*

That’s terrifying.

Continue reading 'The terrifying market'»

Do you measure up?

By , January 15, 2010 2:16 am

EDIT: Forgot to put a title to the post! Now corrected.

The advanced high school class at work is going to be in a performance this spring. (Not the class I’m teaching – the class at my full-time job. The class I’m teaching will also be in a performance this spring, but that’s not relevant to this post.) We’re buying costumes for them, but need everyone’s measurements before we can do that.

Since I was in the office during their class, I walked down the hall to ask for the measurements of the one girl who still hadn’t turned her’s in. I handed her a tape measure, but she turned and said, “Aren’t you going to measure me?”

Continue reading 'Do you measure up?'»

On pride, having and lacking

By , January 10, 2010 12:44 am

Recently, a friend of mine mentioned that she was impressed of my ‘out-ness.’ My pride in my trans identity. My willingness to share myself with the world, on this blog and through performance.

It was already kind of an emotional conversation, so it was only a slight surprise to me when tears started down my face, as I replied, “Do you really think I have a choice about being out?”

Continue reading 'On pride, having and lacking'»

Trans Form clips – Does Ariel Worry About Passing?

By , December 30, 2009 11:32 pm

I thought you all might enjoy a few clips from my recent solo performance, Trans Form. This is two pieces, from separate parts of the show, that deal with The Little Mermaid and the idea of Ariel passing.

A lot of the material from this video came from this post. I’m still working on getting the rest of the video in some semblance of order… Would people be interested in seeing the whole thing (I’d need to break it up) or is a ‘best of’ clip video acceptable?

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