“I think I look like a girl.” How in the world I’m still wondering this after more than 3 and a half years of being full time?! This is yet another one of those contradictions that rule my life. On one side there are times that I see my reflection and I see the same person as it looked before I started my process. Then there are other times where I see my reflection and I see nothing left from the way I looked before. This really messes with my mind. What do people see? What is it, am I being read or not? Little hint: it actually doesn’t matter, but…
I am aware that I’m cis-assumed, and to be honest I don’t question it very often, but when I do it takes me some effort to snap out of it. The way I clear the doubts is by looking outwards, something that is hard for me to do. Instead of seeing inwards, trying to see how I look and what I’m doing, I need to pay attention on how people interact with me. Once I feel that others have no doubts of my gender expression, that’s when I manage to snap out of it.
Here’s an example of one of these mind f#!ks. In the family room we have a computer plunged in to the TV often playing a slide show of our photos. Most of my pictures are from the time before I started my process. Then, the other day, a recent photo of me popped on screen. It was a surprise and took me a split second to recognize the photo. This is what went through my mind in that split second:
Who’s that? -> Oh, it’s me?! -> Damn! I think I look like a girl! -> LOL
What I’m trying to say is that though I’m getting more and more used to my current appearance, I still have moments where it catches me completely off guard. It’s not only that; it’s more complex. I often think it is “the unlikeliness” of what I’m doing because before 2015 the thought of starting HRT was not in the cards for me. In other words, it’s like saying “you’re not supposed to look like that” but I do look like that!
One theory I have to explain this phenomenon to myself, and not to anyone else, is that the vast majority of my life I didn’t present the way I do now. It’s as if I were more used to presenting the old way and when what I’ve done to change my presentation hits me like a rubber band on the face, that’s when I realize the new reality.
Another plausible theory is based on that sense of guilt and shame that I grew up with from hiding and knowing my irresistible curiosity and interests. Maybe I was too used to hiding what I wanted but now that I’m doing it, it slaps me with “this is not right”. The stunning thing is I’m now getting away with it and on my own terms.
It’s a Good Thing
Getting these jolts of reality is extremely satisfying. First and foremost it’s because I’m doing what I was always curious to do. Not so much that I’m doing it but rather that I’m experiencing it. I think experiencing is much richer than just doing. A close second is that I really really like what I have done. And then I’m extremely proud of what I have accomplished. When I put my whole life in perspective it’s a little bit like being in a fantasy.
In conclusion there are many thoughts here. I’m still not 100% used to the way I present, I sometimes have doubts of what people perceive, and when I realize what I’ve done and how people interact with me, then the rewards are super sweet.