Getting old is weird, as in I caught myself looking at pictures of my 19-year-old self and realised just how far 39-year-old me has come. My young self did not eat right, was slim to the point needs to eat a decent meal, and while the pictures rocked, were a brief flicker of what my body actually healthily should be. As I touch 40, it is the self-acceptance of living in my own skin, the realisation that I have spent 22 years as this woman I am that makes it easy to accept the curves and softness that have rounded out my shape.
Be comfortable, especially in the social media era when trans women are beacons of glamour and femininity to the wider world, can be hard. After loosing my hair my passing privilege has receded, being mis-gendered is part and parcel of my everyday routine unless I make a point of accentuating certain things. Yet, I would much rather be comfortable in clothing and self than force myself to wear uncomfortable clothing or conform to an ideal that is likely not physically possible for me any more.
Indeed, at this stage in life I am wondering where all the comfortable trans folk are in the media, where those trans women who like to be comfortable and at ease are presented as normalised, rather than seeing the hyper feminine selves that seem to be the armour that the world expects. This is not to say there is anything wrong with being femme or glam, but if the expectation is that we always must be on, must be en point, then it becomes a restriction and a bind. Getting comfortable with myself and my outward expression is more than wearing jeans and a hoodie; rather, it is understanding that to be me I need to be at ease and not force myself into an ideal that no longer fits my curves and contours.
I am no special snow flake, but being a bald woman who does not wear make-up and does wear comfortable clothing means that I stand out in ways that are not necessarily easy to convey. It has messed with my head a bit, especially when I simply know innately within myself the gender I am, but the biggest complications are not people’s reactions but the hope that maybe I can once again grasp hold of that younger version of myself.
Icarus could reside in me, edging me close to some warm sun of passing privilege once more, yet for all the glamour it still holds a fake discomfort that will be washed off at night and put back on the peg. Is it for me to chase the svelte and size 12, or is it for me to be comfortable and live life in my own skin? It is a challenge, and not one often discussed in women’s circles let alone amongst trans women. Growing older is not about the poison of faded youth, or at least it does not have to be; rather, as the years accumulate it is the curves and softness that signal triumph and lessons learnt. Of good food and cheer. Of the moments spent enjoying the wider world. My hips don’t lie, for they show the woman I am in the life I have led.
Maybe what I ultimately crave is not the younger me, but the version of myself that can play sport into my 50s, walk many miles, dance the night away, and provide ease not pain. Comfort, at least for me, is about enjoying life on my own terms, and letting the world slide on by. I may have a chrome dome and curves now, but the 39 year old version of myself is a darn sight more secure in herself than the 19 year was any day. I have the pictures and memories, and yet my smile is for those that are still to come. Viva 40, and to the body that will carry me over the threshold in comfort and style.