Most days I shower at the gym but when I do shower at home I take my time. I wash my hair, shave, and contemplate for a bit. It's amazing what you can come up with in the shower. This time the epiphany came when I was shaving. Girls shave their legs, right? Usually anyway. I started shaving my legs when I was 17. Made sense at the time. And I do like smooth skin. My skin just doesn't like shaving and it tends to get irritated. I also really dislike the actual shaving of my legs. And, thinking about it, other people's smooth legs are much more appealing then rubbing my own. So why do I shave my legs?
I teach BodyPump at the gym. This means there are 20-40 people staring at me, watching my every move. Or at least some of it anyway. I am very self conscious when I'm in front of the group because I know those people are judging me. They can tell me they don't but we're all human and we all know we do it. When ever someone is standing in front of a group, they are being judged. And as a fitness instructor you should be setting an example of what a healthy body should look like. This includes personal hygiene. So I have been shaving my legs. But I don't really want to. If I was a 'real boy' it would be acceptable for me not to shave my legs but not everybody knows I'm not a girl. So there is this group of people who judge me on my appearance with no knowledge of who I really am. And I care. Obviously. Else I would have stopped shaving my legs ages ago. Actually I would have started my transition ages ago if I didn't care what people think of me but we are all human and all need to be accepted by others.
There is another thing I noticed while teaching the other day. I have trouble using my voice properly. As in, when you are instructing people to 'drop that butt an inch deeper' or 'push a little harder' and 'keep going, we're almost there', 'come on, you can make it' and 'go Go GO!', you need to use your voice in a different way then you usually do. Your voice tends to go up, get higher. And it annoys the hell out of me. I know the people in the class really don't care about something like that but it bothers me and I hold back which means I can't help them push further to get those results they want that they can't get on their own. So I need to either get over the fact that my voice does something I don't like, or I need to find words etc. I can use that don't force my voice to pitch like that. Both are difficult. I really can't wait to start testosterone so my voice will lower.
A little detour. I googled for images of phalloplastics the other day, as one does, and came across my own face. It linked to and interview I had done a while back: http://www.tijd-voor-t.nl/portretten/portret-tyler-fokker/ I googled the Dutch word actually which may explain something as the article is in Dutch as well. Honestly I was shocked. I had not expected to find myself so quickly searching for something trans related. I don't want to be defined as a transgender. Sometimes I think I do, but that's bullshit. I don't. No one does. You want to be defined as you. But that's not an option for anyone, no matter what gender you are. You are always a man, or a woman, or something else that has to be defined. And being a transsexual I find myself forced to fight this battle for equality. But men and woman are not equal either. None of us are. Because we keep defining people as either male or female, or something in between which causes confusion. We are not defined as people. Currently, because I have boobs, most people define me as female. The people that know I am male (mostly anyway), try to define me as male. Sometimes that's easier then other days. When I'm at the gym and I wear a sports bra even people who know I'm trans and fully accept and support that still sometimes slip up, because they get distracted by the boobs. This is the main reason why I hate having boobs. Right now I hate having boobs more then I hate not having a penis. I know one day I will have surgery and the boobs will go away. And the surgery for getting a penis is possible these days, but honestly, the thought horrifies me as it will never be a real penis. So far, all the results I have seen, look fake, stuck on and I'm afraid I would hate having that mockery between my legs even more then what I have now.
But what is this really all about? It's about self acceptance. It is? Yes. As long as I don't fully accept who/what I am, people around me won't either. They won't know who I really am if I don't let them know somehow. This is really hard. Because I don't want to be the way I am. This period of transition is horrible. It really, really is. That goes for every transgender that decides to modify their bodies to make it more like who they really are. People know I am transgender, but they don't see anything different about me, so I stay the same mostly. Then the changes will slowly come and people will start to notice something is happening, including people who don't know me. And people will get confused. I probably will as well. I wish I could cocoon like butterflies do. Go in hiding while the changes take place and emerge as the new me. But that's not an option. The only thing I can do to make this transition easier is by embracing it and start making changes where I can. Hiding my transition does not make it easier. Can people really tell if I shave my legs? Do they really care? Does it matter if my voice goes up a bit if it helps those people? Or do I feel more secure when I hold back and can I compensate that way? Do I want to start wearing a chest binder at the gym? Or do I want to be practical? Do I really need to stress about possibly one day getting something that looks like a penis or can I just let that go for now and cross that bridge when I get there? Who knows what might be possible by then?
One thing at a time. For now, I've decided to not shave my legs. That's one down, a million other details left to go. Baby steps, that's the only way to do it. One breath at a time. One day things will get easier. They will start to feel more natural. I can't wait, but I will. I've come to realize that this is probably the biggest journey of my life. If I can do this, I can do anything. I never imagined that not shaving my legs would be such a huge thing to do.
Follow me on tumblr and Facebook.