Transgender Life

I don’t want this site to be solely about being transgender. From my experiences so far, it’s not even something I could write about every week – being in the closet is far more intense and frustrating and writeable. However, there are moments when things happen, unique to trans people. I’d like to share those moments with you, and let you into the mystery.

What Lies Behind the Smile

Gina-Maya-Smiling-18.07.18

What Lies Behind the Smile

The image I've included is my new favourite photo. I'm smiling, showing teeth more than ever, in a way so unfamiliar I barely recognize myself. In this image I radiate confidence, happiness, wholesome fuckability. Hardly Hollywood good-looks, but I feel beautiful. Let alien technologies millennia from now recreate me with this picture.

Yet what you see is the light of a distant star, long since collapsed on itself. I've been happy, I've been sad, since I clicked the image with my laptop. Isn't this how social media works? I send you visions of my alpha self, the kind I capture after ten failed attempts, and followed later by lows and general meh. This image is barely ever me: originally, I took it from the opposite side of the kitchen table, and I looked so bad: I was distressed. Repeated pictures showed how skewed and asymetrical I was, a face at odds with itself, the worst things accentuated. I tried the other side of the table out of exasperation, the sun now on my left. Suddenly every image was a winner. I could have stayed for hours, savouring a moment I might never again capture, almost like a curse: a particular place, at the certain time, my glow never to be achieved again. Days later I return to the same spot to take the picture. It doesn't flatter. I sigh, and delete. Click again. Sigh again, and delete. Encore. Stop. Give up.

I wanted to practise smiling, showing teeth, in a way I never used to. But it's soul-destroying to catch a vision of yourself, as close to perfection as you'll ever be, and afterwards, you can't recreate it. You go mad, perhaps, like Dorian Gray before the painting got corrupted. A glimpse of transcendence at a particular time and place. Then this window to your cosmic ideal, closes.

So what now, social media? I send life-affirming stories of transgender happiness on twitter and sometimes get 'likes.' I send tales of frustration and it's like whispering into the void. It's strange how social media makes and breaks you with barely a click. Since joining twitter, I seek validation like never before. It compromises my narrative, makes me more careful of what I post. I have a feeling this posting won't be popular, yet it's something I want to record. To be trans, as I experience it, is to watch as I transform, two steps forward, one step back, then with photographs, sometimes not even steps, sometimes soaring through the sky, the sunlight hits me (from the left side). Then days later, I fail to leave the ground, jumping up and down pathetically, flapping arms to no effect. Two steps forward, and then, like the steps were just a dream. And you're left wondering: is it the act of transitioning, or using social media, that has you chasing impossible ideals, in a soul-destroying hall of smoke and mirrors.
Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores
Learning to Smile
 

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Thursday, 03 December 2020

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in Books

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