I caught a glimpse of a beautiful, happy woman in the mirror today, and it was me. My hair was down from the ponytail I’d worn all day and it framed my face just so, my pajamas emphasized my still-blooming curves, and I smiled at myself. I saw a woman who was comfortable in her body and liked what she saw.
For so long, I was and did not.
There was the beard, which I’ve hated attending to even after trying to embrace it because it always felt like a cheap costume prop, and the chest hair that mocked me with just enough sparseness to remind me I had it, and there was my large, clumsy body, oversize of what I think I am. There was my short hair that I wanted to be long and then when it was I endured teasing and taunts so I’d cut it again, and there was the hesitancy of joining rough-and-tumble play when I was small because I would often get hurt and then when I was bigger I would still get hurt because boys challenged me and I didn’t understand why they did that or how to protect myself.
That body, even after running multiple marathons that took me to my peak physical conditioning in my 30’s, never fit well and left me with residual uncomfortableness. Physical attention from romantic interests was often fraught with worry and the wonder of if their attraction would remain if I inhabited the body I longed to have.
And before I knew I was trans, I would look into the mirror and say, “This is you. This. Is. You.” as a sort of mantra to convince myself it was really me and to try to accept it, but it never really worked and more often than not I would walk away, frowning.
So to see this woman in the mirror–wow.
The knowledge that these changes are not yet done coupled with a comfort with my body all these decades later is nothing short of remarkable and a joy. To look in the mirror and say with an affirming smile, “This is my body!” generates a contentment that I hope never wanes.