“Here is a picture of me from senior year.” I said, handing my phone displaying the Instagram photo to my friend.
“Wow, you were so pretty!” they exclaimed.
Their words hit me in a way I hadn’t felt before. I’d heard that same comment from total strangers on the internet trying to “talk me out of” being transgender. But now, four months into hormones, I’d never been as taken aback by that comment until I heard a close friend say it. I knew they meant no malice by it. I knew that they weren’t going to follow that sentence with, “You should stop T, right now!” It was just something that came out wrong.
"THROUGHOUT THE FIRST 19 YEARS OF MY LIFE, I COULD NEVER SEE MYSELF AS 'PRETTY'.”
Even so, it left me in a weird mindset for the rest of that night. Throughout the first 19 years of my life, I could never see myself as “pretty.” I hated everything about how I looked, and I was constantly changing my style to try to find that “prettiness” that was supposedly there. But that night, looking at those old photos, I saw the prettiness for the first time.
This kept me up that night. It was unreal; how had I not seen how beautiful I looked as my assigned gender when I was living as it?
Because that’s not “you” anymore!
It suddenly all came together at that one thought. It’s easy to see how beautiful others look, but hard to see your own beauty. Once I was no longer having to be that “beautiful girl,” I could see her from the outside. Nevertheless, I began to worry if I’d made a mistake by transitioning. But I quickly realized how stupid that sounded. If I was just being a woman for the sake of being pretty, I wouldn’t have anything else to live for or ever be truly happy.
Every now and again I look back at those pictures. Every time I do, I can’t help but feel weird seeing how pretty I was as a woman. Every time that feeling occurs, I’m reminded of how it doesn’t matter, because that “pretty woman” wasn’t the real me.