So, I’ve decided that I look completely tragic these days. My hair is growing out and is about as long as it has ever been, which is precisely long enough to look completely hideous, but not long enough at all to look feminine. I essentially just look like a messy haired guy who desperately needs a haircut. I swear, it’s becoming completely unmanageable and no matter what I do with it, I look completely absurd.
Okay, thank you for bearing with that mini-tirade. I think I’ve gotten the vapid depreciating vanity out of my system for the time being and we can move on to the recent developments. On Friday my wife and I were invited over to dinner at a friend’s house (one of my coworkers who is aware of my true nature) which was quite fun. The reason it was rather fun was because we had, for lack of a better term, a makeup party! This friend was so wonderful as to not only give me access to her vast stores of makeup (and she had quite a bit) but went so far as to actually give me a bit of a makeover/makeup tutorial. My wife has been helping me learn the somewhat difficult art of applying makeup, but Friday’s makeup party took it to a whole new level. Not only was I explained in detail the do’s and don’ts of applying makeup, but I was given the opportunity to try out different looks and styles. While I cannot say that I am a makeup expert by any stretch of the imagination, I now know ways to improve my appearance without making so many of the tragic rookie mistakes. More amazing than the fun we had, this friend was even so kind as to give me some of the makeup I tried out so that I can practice the same look again.
All-in-all, that evening sealed one thing firm in my mind and that is the belief that when my transition is complete, and I am able to present 24/7 as Emma, I have the potential to actually be an attractive woman. Perhaps that sounds overly vain or even silly to some, but I believe that the fear about post-transition appearances is something that plagues just about every transgender person, male or female. Often times it is exactly this fear that prevents so many people from making the decision to come out or to live a life true to themselves. I can attest firsthand just how powerful and influential this fear can be.
As I mentioned in previous posts, there was a time a few years ago where I got very close to realizing and fully acknowledging my transgender nature. Thanks to a cross-dressing Halloween party, I had decided, for the first time ever, that I wanted to openly try to cross-dress on a regular basis. I’d been spending a good deal of time looking at myself in the mirror with my witches wig and female clothes on, and imagining a life where I looked like a girl. Additionally, I’d also spent a good deal of time watching Eddie Izzard standups with my wife (which, for those who aren’t in the know, Eddie Izzard is a transvestite). If I would have been in a different place physically, I probably would have come to the full realization of WHY I wanted to cross-dress so much (the fact that I was a transwoman), but sadly that realization didn’t come. The fear of how I would look overwhelmed my self-inspection and drove away the hope that I felt about living a more feminine life. I became so discouraged about the way I looked in the mirror that I decided to shut my desire away and lock in deep down in my mind where it would stay for several more years.
I know that I am not alone in that experience. So many of my transgender peers experience similar situations, usually in private, where no one can see them. So many of them have been like me and have stood in front of the mirror wearing clothes of the opposite sex (or altering their appearance to emulate the opposite sex) feeling bad about themselves. They’ve stared at their reflection and felt ashamed of who they are and what they are feeling. They’ve wondered why they have such a peculiar desire to be the opposite sex and have felt the crushing fear rush in when they considered trying to be that opposite sex. Many of them never escape that place. Some of them even allow it to drive themselves to suicide. Why live a lie when there is no (perceived) way to live the truth?
Understanding that place of fear and self-doubt, it becomes apparent to both myself and hopefully any who might read this why this makeup party was so important to my transition. It was one of the first times I could look in the mirror, see a feminine reflection looking back at me, and not feel completely ugly and hopeless. It gave me a brief hint of the beauty I could one day call my own. It reassured me that Emma didn’t have to be the monster that I used to fear, but could be a kind and beautiful woman who was proud and confident in her identity. And so, that is the lesson I learned this weekend; no matter how tragic my hair looks now, or how strange I look without facial hair (I shaved the goatee I’ve had for years the next day), everything will work out for me. I will be beautiful Emma, because beauty is more than just a reflection, it’s the result of self-love and confidence.