As summer of 2017 approached, I greeted it with wild optimism. And not without reason. Not only had my drinking been tamed, I had started going to the gym and my hair was so long that it was starting to brush my shoulders. I finally finished editing my new book and submitted it to some LGBT publishers. My weight was down and my hopes were up. June went so well with Chicago and coming out to my in-laws. Then July came and it sucker punched me hard, destroyed my optimism and left me feeling awful, depressed and curb stomped in my soul.
This is basically my own fault for setting my expectations too high. It started with a bikini. I've been losing a lot of weight. I'm down like 20lbs from my peak weight a couple years ago. That's been making me feel good. Right now I'm at my 1.75 years on HRT and the effects are starting to show more and more. So I went and bought a bikini. It was black, stringy, and cute. I was skinnier, curvier and I wanted to rock a bikini. I felt like I was ready.
I actually took Monday off work so that Kath and I could hit the beach on a non-busy day. Previously, Kath had been on a weekday and reported back that the beach was nearly deserted. Deserted was good. That meant that I could go in a bikini and not feel too self-conscious that I wasn't, like, Bond Girl levels of hot. I was super excited. I was gonna be a real girl in a bikini on the beach! No more of this tankini cheating like last time.
I showed off my new bikini for Kath to gauge her opinion. Excited though I was, I wasn't 100% sure that I could really pull it off. This began a long period of vacillation. Could I really pull off the bikini? Would it be better to save it for when I lost a few more pounds? I still have, for lack of a better word, a little bit of a gut. Not a huge one, mind you, but a little bit.
Ultimately, I decided that I wasn't quite there yet. I wasn't going to be a beach babe. Not yet. So I went with the safe option even though it really bugged me to do that. So now my life has become like a Cathy cartoon. Bathing suits have become a source of stress and my own body issues are leaving me seriously depressed. After every meal I now feel guilty about having eaten. Even though I know I've been doing better, even though I know that I'm better now than I was even three months ago, even though I know that transition is a marathon and not a sprint, I'm still left feeling frustrated, insanely frustrated by how I look.
Still, I went to the beach. And I realized, based on a number of people there, that I probably would have been okay if I had gone with the bikini. Ah well. There was one good thing though. This was not the same tankini that I wore the last time at the beach. At least this one was a size smaller. So there's that at least.
While I did go in the water, because I was wearing a wig, I wasn't able to fully dunk my head under. It was okay. My hair still got wet though. And after the salt water and the insanely strong beach winds (it was so windy I could barely read my book without the pages flapping crazily), my hair was pretty darn wrecked. That's just how it is with wigs. At least with my wigs. They get fucking wrecked.
After the beach day, I still had to wear that same wig to work. Sure, I had thought about getting a new one, but I didn't want to. I didn't want to because I had a made a hair salon appointment for Thursday night. The plan was that I would go in Thursday after work and maybe, fingers crossed, be done with wigs forever!
This was my major mistake. Not the haircut, but rather letting myself think that I could be done with wigs forever. My hair is actually getting pretty long. It's almost down to my shoulders. Plus my hair has a really nice natural, wavy curls. My hairline is still an issue. Despite a year and half of finesteride, it hasn't really gotten better. This has been my hugest stumbling block and the thing that has caused me the most stress, frustration and depression during my transition. Other people have normal hairlines. Why does my hairline have to look so fucking awful?
But, I figured that maybe bangs could be my salvation. Maybe with bangs I could hide my hairline and still look cute. There'd be no more wigs. There'd be no more getting read as male when I was in lazy mode. This was going to be the thing that took my transition to the next level, that made it real. Finally I'd be a real person and not someone playing dress up. Bangs. This was the answer.
So many girls with bangs look fantastic. So I went into my hair dresser and presented her with a challenge. Give me some bangs that will hide my hairline and make me look cute. I'd searched the internet for cute, short haircuts with bangs and tried to find ones that sort of matched my hair's natural waviness. I printed out the pictures and gave my hair dresser a vision board. This was what I wanted. Make me look like this and then I could be a real girl. Finally. Please.
She spent two hours cutting my hair, doing a few styling things, adding various products. I have no doubt that she is a seriously skilled hair stylist. I have no doubt of that. But even the best artist can't work without a good canvas. And apparently, my hair was not the right canvas. When we finished, all the other hair dressers were gushing and saying things like "Oh it looks so good."
It did not look good. I was pissed. It looked horrible. It looked like a 70s bowl cut. But what can you do? I tried to smile and be positive. At least until I'd paid. A hundred bucks, including tip. And I came out looking like this:
Yes, I look pissed in that picture. Kath had texted to ask how it went. Well, it went badly. I looked terrible. Instead of cute bangs, I just had a bunch of hair brushed forward because that was the only way to hide my awful, awful, awful, hideous hairline. So I looked bad. Terrible. All my hopes were dashed into a million little defeated shards.
I went home and tried to be positive. I futzed around with it. Pulling it back in a pony tail sort of looked okay. At least it looked better. It gave me a sort of weird looking chelsea cut, which is at least better that than a 70s bowl cut. I tried to be happy. I tried to be positive. I tried to chalk it up to how every haircut looks weird at first. But this wasn't just any haircut. This was the haircut that was supposed to free me from wigs forever. This was the haircut that was going to transform my life. This is the haircut that was going to make me normal.
What's worse is that my mom is coming this weekend. She's staying with us. This is the first time she's meeting Faith. Already I've been stressing over this. There's so much to do before hand, so much cleaning, so much self-maintenance (my nails look like crap too). It's been a serious source of stress. The past couple weeks I've been preoccupied, busy and on edge. And now this.
This morning I woke up, got ready, and tried to play with my hair, tried to do something, anything to make it look okay. Maybe I could look decent enough to show up at work with my real hair instead of a wig. The last thing I wanted to do was throw on a wig and go back into that prison. But it was no luck. I ended up breaking down in tears. I just couldn't handle it.
Already I'm the freak at work. Looking my best is the only way to reduce my freakishness. I realized that there was no choice. I couldn't show up at work, I couldn't meet my mom looking like this. I still want to cry as I write this. Who knew transition would be this hard? So, I'm left realizing that I have to do the wigs again. I have to be fake. I have to deal with wigs getting ratty and nasty. I have to deal with them being hot and uncomfortable. That's my life for the foreseeable future. And the worst part is, this is all my own fault for getting my own hopes up too high.
Guess I'll throw the wig back on for now. Sigh.
Well, I guess surgery is my only option. I have to fix this hairline. It's destroying me. I don't know how much longer I can take this.
Hi Faith, first, thank you for sharing your story thru your posts and podcasts.ReplyDelete
I transitioned in 2006. It took me many years to come to grips with my body flaws. It also took a long time to realize that most cis women deal with these same insecurities, regardless of how good they look.
My advice is to start loving your new body and stop holding yourself to the impossible standards of feminine perfection that media and misogyny perpetuates. The sooner you can do this the happier you will be.
Good luck, Leah
BTW, you are a good looking woman, own it!☺☺
Thank you so much for your thoughts, Leah. "stop holding yourself to the impossible standards of feminine perfection that media and misogyny perpetuates." You say that like it's easy! :)Delete
I try to work on it and and thank like that. I try to follow the idea of never comparing yourself to someone else; only compare yourself to where you started. I try. Sometimes it works.
Thank you again.
I've had the same thoughts/feelings as you have - and you look awesome regardless without that wig. Personally I'd say you look wonderful in that 2nd to last picture - the one with the burgundy shirt. You can't just try to pull it off - you are already, from what I can tell.ReplyDelete
We all have our own flaws and Leah above has some of the wisest advice I have seen. Be yourself :)
Thank you so much! Glad you liked that picture. Personally, I hate it, but that's just me. I'm probably my own harshest critic.Delete
I think we all are! It's so difficult to get past what I have seen in the mirror for so long to see that I'm actually at the very least not ugly, and I can imagine that you likely can feel the same way. You're doing awesome - keep it up. I personally think you should ditch the wig :)Delete
Faith, so sorry you are having a tough month and thanks for being vulnerable.ReplyDelete
I don't disagree with the other commenter about not comparing yourself to the societal standards of beauty, but at the same time, you had a strong vision for how things would turn out, and they didn't. I'm sure that totally stinks. I'm glad you felt permission to express that.
You seem to be incredibly motivated and strong, so I'm sure you are already figuring out a plan to win in the end.
Also, I happen to really like the bangs. Compared to the photos you shared of your 'real hair' when you go to the gym (from a few posts ago?), you look 100% unmistakably female. I know it's not what you pictured, but the bangs totally scream 'girl' and look great to me.
I have some experience with that length of hair, and I always found that half-up styles looked great. Best of both worlds and also feels distinctly feminine, whereas guys can also wear ponytails and buns. Pinning back (or braiding) a piece behind each temple with a bobby pin was my go-to for a while. I'm sure you are experimenting with other ideas, too.
Wishing you the best as you chase your goals.
Thank you, Lindsay. Once life returns to normal a bit (stay tuned for Friday's exciting blog post!), I plan to try some things with my hair to see if there's any magic style that'll work.Delete
Just a garden variety cross dresser here. Been out in public for 30 years but am now 65 years old and can't compete with my own expectations. In your case, don't be so hard on yourself. You look better than most women. I agree with Linsay's advice. Why worry about perfect hair; what you have is good and will get better. For me, the attractiveness of your soul is thru your eyes. Some of the best I have seen.
ps; you rock your tankini...............and your blog is great.