I gave an interview to the Washington City Paper for an article about transgender medical procedures and resources. I thought the article came out pretty good. It's here.
I think I came across okay in the story, but I really don't like the photo that goes with it. I'd much rather I had sounded like a total idiot but it had been a really great photo of me. I know I'm oversensitive about my appearance, but, well, I think it's the least flattering photo of me I've seen in a long time. I'm squinting and making a weird face and I just look generally awful. To me, this belies everything I said in that article about not wanting to always be in the state of chasing the next cosmetic procedure that will finally make me feel happy with myself. I look at that photo and suddenly I've changed my mind and now I want every procedure they've got. Fix me. Now.
I spent the entire afternoon at work taking pictures of myself and deleting them, until my cell phone battery finally gave out. When I'm in this state of mind, every new photograph of me is awful. Every photo I used to think I looked pretty good in is now filled with flaws I couldn't see before.
I look in the mirror and I think I look okay. I don't look like that. I take a picture, and -- fuck! -- there it is again. I look horrid. Is that me? Is that what people see when they look at me?
Nobody tells you you look ugly if you look ugly. They tell you you look great. Beautiful, even. If you're actually beautiful and someone takes a really horrible picture of you where you look bad, people agree with you that the picture looks bad. If you're actually ugly, people tell you the photo looks good and you look great. I showed my friend Aida the photo from the news story and she said she thought I looked good. She liked it. It was about that time I had to leave for the day, not because it was time to leave, but just because.
To me, that photo looks like someone pasted a guy's face on a picture of a woman. If it's a good photo of me, then that means that's what I look like to people all the time. People who tell me I look pretty. And I'm not stupid; I know the people who tell me my photos up on Flickr are beautiful are interested in me in the first place because I'm transgender. But I still figured I looked okay, despite being trans. Maybe I was even getting to a point where I thought I looked pretty good for a girl instead of just pretty good as a girl. Now, I don't know what to think anymore.
I have a lot of my self-esteem tied up in my appearance. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do. I was talking with another trans girl online last night, advising her to seek help for her anorexia. As I was telling her how dangerous it is and how bad it is for her health, in the back of my mind I was jealous that she was 2 inches taller than me and weighed 117 lbs. I was 130 at my lowest point, which now I feel like I need to get back down to, or maybe even below that.
The irony is that when I gave that interview, I genuinely meant it when I said felt like I was getting to a point where I'm happy with myself. Now, because of the interview, I'm not.
This feeling will probably pass. I'll make some change that makes me feel like I'm attractive again, and go back to my delusional state of liking what I see in the mirror. Then maybe I'll just stop letting people photograph me. It's too risky.
4 weeks ago