So why do I take so many selfies?

Bretta**, one of many selfies. **(Bretta is an endearing Australia shortened form of Brettany - they'll shorten anyone's name if they can!)

Bretta, one of many selfies.

It’s actually a relatively new thing with me: for most of my life, I hated my body (to the point of self-harming it), and it was only as I began to affirm my female gender that I began to care about it. Early in this affirmation (we call “transition”), it was still difficult to see myself in the mirror and in pictures, but I started doing both as a way to see my body in a new way and come to terms with it…

…Of course, it has also helped that female hormones have been re-shaping my body over the last (approaching) four years. And I see these changes, and marvel as my body becomes more what I have seen of me in my mind’s eye…

…I don’t want to look like some stunningly beautiful woman I might see in some media somewhere, rather I just want to be who I have always known myself to be: I will let the genes my parents gave me, under the influence of (more) estrogen, show me what my body should have been. I am not perfectly congruent (body, soul & spirit 100% matching), and on this side of God’s eternity, I won’t be, but I am *so much closer*…

…AND these pictures help me celebrate my body’s *becoming* and wash-away the years of doubt, frustration and sadness, where my body competed against me, and continually told me (and everyone else) that I am not who I really am…

…And I think if you ask other transgender people why they take so many selfies, you may find that something similar is happening with them.

Come celebrate with me?

OH!! AND I’m still in puberty, and this is expected behavior for teenage girls (even 53 year old ones)!! Don’t worry, I’ll grow out of it!!

First published in LGBT Perspectives.

5 thoughts on “So why do I take so many selfies?

  1. So relate to this, I hated photos of myself so much that I took up photography, not because I was or am any good at it, but in order to be behind the camera. It is only in the last few months I have enjoyed seeing my reflection and image (7 months on hormones) x

    • *Thank You* for sharing your thoughts Jessica!

      It seems that becoming comfortable with our bodies is a process, and certainly one that we share with other women. I read recently that only 2% of women would say that they are beautiful, and that by age 9, girls have come to have body-image problems…

      …How sad…if only our standards could be expanded? If only we would open our eyes and hearts to see…AND our greatest human beauty is really within ourselves? I have longed to be beautiful and graceful and congruent, but I *FIRST* want to be those things inside myself, and then for these to be manifested in my external being.

      …Hmmm…maybe going further afield than my post, and possibly TMI for some…I will forge-ahead anyway:

      Working through my body issues, I have taken more radical steps than an overabundance of selfies. One of these was to be a Life Model for a college Figure Drawing art class: I posed nude for them as a transgender woman in transition. It was one of the most holy, healing and empowering experiences I have ever had, and I had several wonderful Trans 101 conversations with the student artists. Another was to master the art of locker-room nudity (which, for me, involves “advanced tucking”); now, changing openly with other women is something I do nearly every day, and it (somehow) adds to the intimacy of our spoken interactions. Still, I have body dysphoria issues, and hope that someway I will be able to complete my GRS (I had an orchidectomy last spring), and remove my facial hair permanently.

      Chapter 17 (Sexuality) in the amazing book: “Trans Bodies, Trans Selves” also helped me to grow in recognition that my (queer) body is legitimate, sensual, sexual, beautiful in its own right, *even if* it is of “mixed anatomy.” Re-naming my genitalia’s parts has been helpful to me (I am a woman with a *phallus*, not a woman with a penis: *everyone* has a phallus, mine is just larger than most women’s; I also have a labia, but my lips are closed). It has also helped for me to see the bodies of other trans people; seeing a trans masculine body was a kind of paradigm-shift to me because *to me* it was “queer” (I think I felt what others must feel when they see a trans feminine body like mine); it gave me new insights AND a new appreciation of what is possible and what can be beautiful even if such a mixture of primary and secondary sex characteristics is *unexpected* (as my own are to me and others)…

      …As you can imagine, coming-to-terms with my own body has been a profoundly humbling, deeply vulnerable experience, and it is one that is not yet finished.

      Blessings & Joy!!

      • Thank you for this response Brettany, while I generally prefix anything I write or say regarding being trans with ‘no two journeys are the same’ I can see a great many parallels between our journeys of self discovery, though you are further through than I.

        I too have stepped out of my comfort zone by signing up for burlesque classes; I’ve never yet changed with other women, but I will have to once my classes start, though only down to knickers. I’ve also agreed to be in a calendar girls style charity calendar. Both things that a year ago (pre HRT) I would never have dreamed of doing.

        Thank you also for reminding me about the book ‘Trans Bodies, Trans Selves’ I read this right at the start of my journey and it provided much comfort and inspiration, I suspect it would speak to me on many new levels now. I must revisit it.

        The points you make about almost all women having body confidence issues is so true and valid. We are all our own worst critics and the trans element of our identities adds an extra chink in our armour. Just one missgendering and no matter how good we are feeling about ourselves at the time self doubt and anxiety rear their ugly heads and drag us back down.

        Thank you again, your words and experiences are an inspiration to me x

      • Jessica? *Thank You* for your kind words and inspiration too! 🙂

        Burlesque classes sound like *such fun*!! I’d love to know how that goes. Back in my (in-between) “Fairly Uniquely Brette” (several years ago), I started belly dancing classes, and I had a great time. Now I do Zumba and love it!

        I don’t know if you’ve seen this video before, but it is *so moving* and it speaks with such an encouraging voice about our body images a women.

        Dove Real Beauty Sketches

        Blessings & Joy!!


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