"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Sunday 30 January 2011

A Stronger Internal Image

It may not work for others here, but it seems to me that what goes on between my ears is way more important than what clothes I wear. Without adding to a divisive discussion (please), I understand there are wide differences in our motivations, and what in fact 'turns our crank' here in Blogistan. I enjoy reading about yours, so perhaps some more insight into mine won't hurt; nobody expects you to nod and say “oh yes, that is exactly the way I feel too” on every occasion (although it is surprising how many times while I read, some part of what is conveyed feels very familiar).

To begin today's ramble, a short tour down memory lane: 

I was a splay-footed sloucher with nails bitten down to nubs, and cuticles that often bled. I must have looked a wreck. I was told in nasty, pestering voices “don't slouch”, “stop picking at your fingers”, “quit biting your nails”, “point your feet forward when you walk” and a myriad of other critical admonishments. I would think; "Why won't they leave me alone! It's my body and not theirs." I didn't care about 'superficial' things like my appearance. Hatred of my body knew no bounds. It went on for years, ending only since I stopped suppressing my true feelings about who I am.

What was missing was any kind of positive self-image to live up to. The way I saw myself in the world was not something to work toward, but to be avoided.

Fast-forward to the present. Taking care of myself is just part of who I am. Now and then I backslide and catch myself slouching or find myself about to attempt a nail repair with my teeth. I remind myself that a nail-file does a much better job. I pull in my tummy and put my shoulders back. The change has to do with an internal image of myself that I really like and want to live up to.

A new influence in my positive self-image arrived a little over a week ago. An opportunity to buy some hair, and fill out the wardrobe with some jewelry and create a 'look' for myself presented itself in the form of my sweetie on holiday (my own version of 'Home Alone' I suppose. LOL).

Skipping over the boring details, I had a chance to see what I look like; a 'mature, but hopefully somewhat stylish woman', top to bottom.
It gave me a chuckle to see how much I resemble my great aunt and great-grandmother at the same age. Looks really do skip the generations! LOL

The glow from that experience is with me now; sitting here in everyday drab, comfy clothing. I can replay the feelings it brought, and especially how comfortable and natural it felt. The experience has confirmed that taking pride in one's appearance only comes naturally for someone who likes who they are. That is a very nice turn of events. What next? Time will tell; it is not a concern at the moment.

By ignoring the demands of society to conform; now dressing in gender-inappropriate clothing and feeling good about myself for once in my life, suddenly I don't need any help with these 'superficial' things that my parents pestered about. More important than that; I do not feel like a visitor in my body anymore. More even than that, I have time and interest in others and their lives.

All of this, just because I like who I am and who I am becoming; taking things a little at a time. “Baby steps” is working very nicely; not worrying as much about the future, and not sweating the past. It has become possible to really know that who I am is truly between my ears. Today, that feels right to me, and what else matters?




  1. I like this post Halle. I am also a big believer in the power of a positive self image.

    I think you give a good measure for others to consider: "The way I saw myself in the world was not something to work toward, but to be avoided."

    That is SUCH an inhibiting way to live. It's so clear in retrospect but almost invisible to you when that's how you're accustomed to living.

    Great post!

  2. Great post indeed, and yes I too find that was goes on between my ears is more defining than the actual wardrobe

  3. It's great that you got a chance to see a different you in the mirror. It's also great that you can hold onto that in your mind, even in your daily life. It's so good to see that you are working through this and keeping it together! There's really nothing better than being happy with who you are.

  4. Hi Halle,

    You have hit upon a key point for all people, including transfolk. Self image is important - vitally so. Being trans adds just another dimension of complexity to developing a complete and integrated self image that is consistent with our identity.

  5. What else matters indeed. You have found a pretty means to a beautiful end.

    Hard to argue with that kind of success.

    Been an awful long time away from so many favorite blogs Halle. Really happy I chose to start the catch up effort here with you on this post today.

    xxoo - Petra