Sometime last week, I was looking through old family photos. I rather enjoy seeing how the kids have grown up, and also remembering the holidays, trips out, or just general silliness, that, to me at least, go to make up your family history. A shared experience if you will. On a whim, I had a look at my stash of trans photos. Now, I don’t like having my photo taken. Or, more accurately, I don’t really like my photo being taken when I’m in Richard mode.
Conversely, with the purchase of a digital camera – hey, remember those? 🙂 – I had the opportunity to take a regular snap of me. If, and I doubt this would see the light of day, I could stitch them together in time-lapse, you could see me change and age. Please, don’t have nightmares 😉
I suppose, like family photos, sometimes I look back at my albums and think about what was going on. They are also, not unlike the snaps my female friends sometimes post on-line. Okay, in motive, rather than comparing myself to a woman. So, yeah, a way to show a look or seek reassurance of the same.
That reassurance thing. When I saw that happen pre-party at a big hotel do with my female friends, that was such an eye opener for me. Previously, I’d thought the outfit doubt and validation was very much a trans thing. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not. I can only talk about my feelings and experiences, not yours.
|Younger and older|
In the above photo – give or take a month or so – the difference is about 10 years between the left and the right. It seems much as I’ve sorted my photos by year and month – hey, I like a system 😉 – it seems that 2007’s photo, did not make it to the blog. I guess that back then, I was either more paranoid or maybe not as carefree (stoopid?) as I am now.
I think that 2007 was roughly a year after I started going to Chameleons (October 06?). Wee Man was actually small, unlike the giant teenager, he is now (I love him just as much if not more. He’s a good lad). My darling Little Miss was soon to be with us so the Ever Lovely Mrs J would have been pregnant then. In terms of history, the left-hand photo shows curtains that are long gone, and likewise, that bedroom is no longer ours either. Outfit wise, I’ve still got that cardigan and top, and quite probably the necklace too. The wig, not so much, much as I liked it. Funny the things you keep and the things that you let go, eh?
But what of inside? The person within. Well, I had yet to meet – and later beat – the Black Dog, but we’ve had that story haven’t we. Oddly, about a month after the left-hand photo was taken, I had, to quote a film, a moment of clarity. Something clicked in my head – hopefully not brain arthritis 🙂 – and I found I’d started to feel less, well, freakish. Yeah, stop that laughing at the back. 🙂 But jokes aside, it was a time when I started to feel okay about being all of me. Sure, I have the occasional wobble and downer, but in the main, nothing like the see-saw guilt trips. I’m sure glad to see the back of those. Self-acceptance was hard to come by, but I didn’t get there on my own. It was from the help and care from the good folk at Chameleons and the Ever Lovely Mrs J’s patience & kindness.
As to the more recent snap…. I am… content with who I am. Well, mostly. 🙂 Life is up & down with a lot of middle here-nor-there. How can you have the good, if there’s none of the bad or something to strive for? So, yeah, content isn’t a bad place to be. It’s not settling, or giving up. For me, it’s accepting. Learning to accept who you are and much as I may gripe about wanting a little bit more – time, money, holiday, respect, comments, smoother pins, weight loss, femme features, etc – I think…. I wouldn’t want to go back. Sure, I’d be younger, but I feel better now than I did back then. Oh, and I like my hair more now too 😉
So life is good, all things considered. I guess if I had anything to say to my younger self, it would be to be bold, be honest and keep pushing yourself. You’ll not get any satisfaction without risk.