I don’t believe that passing is something we should consider a realistic goal. I mean, my core belief is that there is no such thing and every girl, cis or trans, is beautiful and looks different and unique from everyone else. There are no standards that we must meet in order to be a girl. Passing is a myth and it’s something that too many girls wait to do before they start living their best life. I can totes relate, though. I thought I was too tall, too male, too… a million other things to leave my house. I will always be able to identify with a girl that wishes to be beautiful because I thought that way for decades and I still hope that every time I dress.
Being as public as I am (at least online), I get a ton of comments that range from nice to simply gross. It’s a lot of fun to wake up and read a DM from some idiot asking to send them a picture. An intimate picture, if you know what I mean. Still, it’s better than them sending me a photo along those same lines. I post a lot of pictures because I like to write about what I am doing, whether it is a photo shoot or meeting up with the MN T-Girls. Photos generate a lot of comments and most of them are nice and I enjoy reading them. Honestly the comments are very affirming and it makes me smile when someone thinks I am pretty. Why? Because I am trying to be pretty. I hope I am pretty.
I write a lot about dealing with the voices inside of us (and sometimes even the voices of others) and our doubts and desires and the expectations we have of ourselves and the expectations we think the rest of the world has of us. These are not easy to live with and they are not easy to ignore. Learning how to crossdress is one thing. I mean, it’s almost a practical skill. Learn your sizes, learn how to apply makeup, how to walk in heels… these things can be easy. What makes it hard is looking in the mirror and being happy with what we see. What makes it hard is looking at other girls and spiraling into despair because we don’t look as beautiful as they do.
Being en femme is the most humbling and amazing thing in the world. When you are dressed to kill and you are strutting (or floating) out of your makeover appointment, my god, you feel like a million. But sometimes you catch your reflection and it all comes tumbling down. I get it. I can relate.
When Hannah is out, she is going to do normal, boring things. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Dollar Store and a coffee shop. It’s about as mundane as it gets. It used to be I was only comfortable going to places where girls like us frequented and a girl like me wasn’t out of place. But there aren’t a lot of girls like us spending their afternoon running errands in heels and a cute dress at the discount store. My point is that I am really noticed when I am out because I am usually overdressed and well, I am a six foot tall t-girl. I am noticed because I am a six foot tall t-girl. I know I am trans (I hope I know this by now) and so does everyone else. Trust me, everyone knows.
How do I know? Sometimes the puzzled stares, the look on someone’s face as they process what they see, and sadly, sometimes the mean looks. How else do I know? My jawline, my shoulders, my height…. again, there are no standards to be a girl. But let’s be honest, not a lot of cis-girls have a square jaw like I do. I am read all the time and that’s fine. If I couldn’t accept that then I would never leave the house.
I do read comments about how I do pass, how I look “like a real girl”, and the like. Thank you. I am not trying to pass (and I don’t think I do), I am just trying to be pretty and enjoy my day. No one who sees me in the real world thinks I pass, but photos tell a different story. When I am doing a photo shoot, either for my own hubris and ego or for modeling, hundreds of photos are taken. Shannonlee goes through them, adjusts the lighting and cropping and sends over her favorites. I go through what she sends me and I either post the ones I like or I send over the best pictures to whoever the shoot is for.
If we take 100 pictures and five turn out good, well, that’s fantastic.
There’s a lot of factors that contribute to a good picture. The lighting, the color, the background, how my dress looks (sometimes a wonderful picture can be ruined by a wrinkle or a funny fold), my facial expression, and my pose can all make or break a picture. Everything has to line up for a good picture, but it only takes one thing to go wrong to spoil it.
Like an artist who only displays their favorite paintings, I only post the pictures I like. Of the countless pictures of myself on my website or on my Flickr page please know these are my favorites meaning they are the ones that make me look the most feminine. I don’t post the pictures that, in my opinion, make me look like a man in a dress. Trust me, there are more photos like this than good ones. I don’t post pictures at an angle that make me look too boyish. Most of the photos we take capture me looking very, very male. I don’t like these pictures (it can really add to my dysphoria) and I don’t post them. But trust me, if you saw them you would never think I “passed”. You would see what every cashier and every barista sees when I am out in the real world.
Why am I writing about this? Because I don’t want to add to your dysphoria. I know how… defeating it can be to look at a pretty t-girl and just want to give up. I am not saying that I am pretty but I think I can take a decent photo from time to time. What you see when I post pictures isn’t reality. It’s not how I look at all times when I am en femme, it’s just a quick picture where I was lucky to not look tooooo masculine. Sometimes I see myself in a mirror or my reflection in a window or in a selfie and it’s like….ugh. I have to keep taking photos or looking at my reflection at different angles until I think I look cute enough to move on or until I give up.
I want to be clear that I am not being too hard on myself or fishing for compliments or looking for reassurance. I know a lot of my photos are cute, but I have ten pictures for every cute one that looks like a man in a dress. If I was brave, or masochistic enough I would post one but I just can’t do it.
Dysphoria kicks in when I see some of the t-girls I admire. If you feel that way when you see my pictures, please know that I got lucky in the photo and I can and do look like a troll many times. It’s all about the angle, the dress, the lighting, and a zillion other things.