Embracing the Non-Transition Experience

centerfielder08's picture

I'm a trans*guy who does not fit into the "expected" trans* narrative. I didn't grow up knowing my difference in gender identity, didn't ever really consciously think of it until my teen years, and the list goes on. I am not on hormones or getting surgery. While some may see this as me not being "trans* enough," I want to say one thing: I am who I am. My trans* narrative is just as valid as any, even if it isn't the "normal" experience associated with a trans*person (ftm).

Below are some "body tips" I have acquired from my own experiences within a body that I'm not in love with and having body dysphoria. None of these are easy, and I haven't necessarily been able to do all of them. Its just some of what I work toward. Here are four tips to become a little less critical of your own body and its completely FREE (you don't need a binder or packer or anything, unless you would like to use one or all of those things).

(Please note: part of my experience as a trans* person is that although I identify much closer to the male end of the spectrum rather than female, I have recognized something important about myself: if I was born in a cisgender male body, I don't think I would have been comfortable either. So these tips are especially useful because I know that no matter what cisgender body I may have, I have to leave some of this up to my imagination).

Body tip number one: to embrace your body as is, you have to learn to not look at a mirror literally. By that, I mean don't take the sight of your body as an indication of who you are. Sometimes, I'll look at the mirror and a part of me--the "societal voice" talking, wants to shove it down my throat how I'm a girl and that's how everyone sees me. Instead, I think of one part of myself that I like, even if its something as small as one eye or an eyelid or sometimes even what it looks like when I wink...something as insignificant as that. And I focus my view on that when I look in the mirror. I try to see it as art. As some sort of really amazing thing so that I can get absorbed in it and not focus so much on what the body represents to most of society, but rather see the body as just a body--without gender. No doubt it is easier said than done, but even if it just works for one minute, it can help immensely.

Body tip number two: take pictures of yourself and your outfits when you love how you look. This may sound selfish, but again, can be very successful. I've found that if I take a picture of myself wearing clothes that represents my own take on my gender identity, I can look back at the picture later when I'm down and feeling gloomy about my gender. And I can look at it and think to myself how maybe other people don't see it, but I am a boy. I keep these pictures and sometimes I feel so terrible that I look at a whole collection of them. But over the months that I've done this, even without any "transition," I can see a big difference and I find myself feeling happier looking at these pictures because they have a subject that's easier for me to accept. (I tend to accept others much more readily than myself, so giving myself distance from my own image is quite helpful).

Body tip number three: own your body. OWN IT. Don't let anyone else's looks, comments, sneers, or anything else get to you. Let's say you identify as a male. Just because not all males have the body that you do, doesn't mean you don't have a "male body."

Body tip number four: do not be ashamed of your body. Don't shame yourself into thinking that your body is not "right." If you do not plan to transition yet or not transition at all, that is your choice. Do not rush it because others are. You are still the gender you identify as, even if you don't have the "typical" body for that gender.

While all these things are hard to achieve, especially when dysphoria hits really hard, it can be super helpful to have at least some sort of thoughts to try to work toward in order to learn to accept your body, or at least be okay enough with it that you can live with it and yourself.

Remember: image isn't everything....there's no one way to be trans*....and please be nice to your body.

~Eli.