Friday, October 7, 2011

My Body

I have been at peace with my body for a while now.  It's a good thing, too, because my soul is trapped in here and it's nice that they can both finally get along.  That wasn't true for a long, long time.

I think everyone has something about their body that they'd change if they could and I'm no different.  I've got a few areas that are either too big, too small, to loose, too tight, or too something.  But these are merely quibbles and in the scheme of things are hardly worth noting. 

Contrast today with a time when I'd change everything if I could (and, by and large, I did!).  I had a body make-over of the most significant kind and I continue to marvel at the effects of it all, not just on my physical self but on my social self, my spiritual self, my emotional self, and my rational self as well.  Finding congruence where there had been none before is a big deal, so alignment is more than simply about body parts.  It's bigger than that.

There are those who want to define being transsexual as a "birth defect" and I'm not heading into that territory here.  I do agree that this incongruence between body and spirit is inborn, and I agree that we treat it medically.  The bigger question, though, is whether or not it actually "fixes" what's wrong.  That's the crux of the entire dilemma.  Thankfully - it can, and it does.  But other things have changed in me, as well.

For example, over the years my sense of masculinity and feminity have changed significantly.  I've talked in the past about how our culture assigns gender-specific traits to things and behaviors and it can get very grouchy about crossing that boundary.  Sometimes it actually celebrates the non-conformity.  More often, though, it punishes it.  But it wasn't until I came to peace with that in myself that I could truly find peace.

I've written in the past that I started with some vision in my head of what a woman was supposed to look like and act like and do.  And as I transitioned that vision served as the steering mechanism as it reminded me when I wandered too far off.  The thing I came to realize over time, though is that the path to this mythological "thing" called womanhood and my path to simply being me were not one and the same.  The paths crossed from time to time, but abandoning the pressures to be stereotypical and simply doing what felt comfortable has made all the difference.

I've got two pictures of myself taken within the last two weeks that are good points of reference in this discussion.

The first were taken at the Colorado LGBT Center Gala in Denver the Saturday before last.  I'm very happy right now and I think that comes across in the photos from the evening.  The dress feels feminine, I felt good, and all things considered I'm very happy with them.

Compare that to a photo I took in the locker room yesterday.  I had just finished a workout and caught the reflection of myself in a mirror out of the corner of my eye.  I've been training very hard to prepare for Wrestling season and it's apparent in the photo.  I'm in very good shape.

The reason I even mention any of this is that I remember a time when I was ashamed of my shoulders and arms.  I had deluded myself into believing that they were somehow "un-feminine" and I worked very hard to erase them.  For years I wouldn't have touched a weight for anything, and the overall goal was actually to break it all down and wash it all away.  I'm glad I was only marginally successful.

I've come to peace with the fact that I'll never be 110 pounds.  I've also come to peace that I am and will continue to be athletic.  Over the years it has simply become part of my world.

Why should that matter to anyone?  It matters because I'm not the only one.  I know many of us who have had similar backgrounds and who have gone through a similar effort to remove/erase/minimize features that are part of our athletic prowess.  And while it would be easy to succumb to the pressures to do more traditional feminine things some level of validation comes from the realization that others seem to feel similarly, and are handling it well.

That's not to say that my own balance is everyone's balance.  Each of us needs to find that for ourselves. But what I will argue is that to be muscular (per the second photo) does not necessarily preclude feeling or acting or looking totally amazing (photo 1).  Ergo, it doesn't mean that someone has to choose one or the other - it's possible to be both once you become comfortable enough to go there.

It can be a complicated conundrum.  Thankfully, for me it's not all that difficult anymore.


Anonymous said...

Glammed up, or pumped up, you look beautiful, Donna. Femininely, womanly, beautiful. Don't ever doubt it, or think otherwise.

Of course, the essence of femininity ( or masculinity, for that matter ) is within - our outside appearance is basically the gift wrapping around the gift of gender within. It's nice, though, when the wrapping is congruent with the gift; and in your case, it most certainly is !

Love and hugs,

Mae West said...

Thanks for the pictures! I find muscular women to be the ultimate in sexiness!

Sophie Lynne said...

Both pictures are absolutely beautiful!

We ourselves define what is masculine or feminine. We ourselves must live it