Body image. Something I think we are all conditioned to understand via constant adverts, overly retouched images and reminders. Divided into two categories of ideals, male and female.
Being told I was a boy, having everything that comes with that label forced upon me throughout my life, I couldn't understand why I physically did not resemble the guys that I saw around me. Growing up being told what I should look like and seeing celebrities praised for their athletic and often distorted physiques, I literally was left to feel abnormal in a world where no one discusses this shit. It's a very sad and real reality for many people and I wish there was more of a discussion around it. A funny thing I heard the other day in a podcast was someone was asking about why so many gay people work in the fashion and beauty industry. Lady Bunny suggested that being in a world where you are told you cannot be feminine, you are groomed to understand the effect of wearing something abnormal to your gender to the point where you learn an additional awareness almost like a survival instinct. I think it definitely hit the nail on the head there. If someone calls you out for wearing a pink scarf and it looking feminine, you really do develop a heightened perspective of whatever you're being told is not the norm and the power it has. The issue with me however is if I am told I can't do something... Of course I've got to prove them wrong. So I highlighted everything I ever was told not to be and gained power from my natural androgyny. I rebelled against the expectation and felt comfort, alignment and success in my more feminine look with full awareness of each detail.
I used female gym class since I was 14, wore full makeup to school and used either disabled toilets or the female bathrooms ever since that decision just to differentiate myself to this painful reality as much as I could. I wish I had someone to look to or to read about who had suffered a similar sense of misalignment with this culture, because I think it would have helped tremendously. Looking at myself in the mirror, my proportions are completely abnormal for what we're told a males should be. I'm six foot two, I have a broader torso with narrow proportions that make me more of an hour glass shape and my fat distribution is completely different. I don't put on weight as a man should do so, I put on weight like a woman would or a trans woman through HRT. I do not react to food in the normal way, eating does not give me energy and quite often I feel physically sick when I do. This lack of control manifested quite significantly with me into an eating disorder which I have suffered from my entire life. I cannot control the proportions of my body and if you have no control over that and you're being told you are wrong... Well that's exactly what happens. You find control in other ways.
Now I'm not going to go into the whole dynamic of this because let's just say today, I am five thousand percent better than when I was a younger adult. But this is how toxic the effects of non acceptance in a patriarchal society can be. So constantly battling this issue and no matter what physical exercise I took part in or how little I ate, I cannot reach a sense of proportion in my body that is actually stable. I am physically in a grey area and I resent it. So it's been something I have had to process through and I have come to a decision about it.
Now let's talk about gender expression and what it means to transition. Trans as a prefix is by definition a process of movement. It literally means across in latin. So am I transitioning to become a full bodied female? No, because I never was a full body male to begin with. I have been in a physiological grey zone for my entire life and part of my early teens I took HRT to regulate my hormones, which did not work to my favour. I thought during my early twenties that my goal would be to live every day authentically as female but my absolute desire in that was to have no breast tissue, an asexual physique and I was making plans to make that happen. The FFS I've had on my face, has been extremely under the radar and I advertised a lot of it on youtube as just touch ups. The intention really was to reach that goal... So what happened when I won YouGen is my plan was derailed entirely. Because I had been pushed to the forefront of every work decision I had made despite being androgynous so it never received a backlash until this competition. So I won, obviously I was paid off about three months prior to the final categories of the competition finishing which led me to believe, with the exclusive interview Simon Cowell completed at the start relating to makeup, that by default the makeup category was to win and they expected a marketable nice little girl next door to face something they were working on and the plan went to shit, because I won with talent. So my perspective of this was like... okay this is weird but I'm happy regardless because I get the coinz I can promote myself now and that's what I did.
So the company who represents Zoella and Pixiwoo, Gleam, asked to meet with me. I went to discuss and they sat me down, went through my demographic which was higher than most of the females they had on the books already and they asked me if I ever looked like a boy. Clearly, this was not what I expected. I then received none of the press from winning YouGen who had conducted a prior interview. I only ever received an email from the production company who tricked me into almost partaking in a makeover show because I looked ''out of the norm' and it was a joke. Completely insulting, debilitating and wrong. But coming from a small family, it's very important to make money to keep things going and I chose to fake a boy look if that was what I needed to do to create the revenue that would help everyone. So that's exactly what I did.
Little did I expect that me presenting as a boy would get the positive reaction in person that it did. It was a hard and arduous journey to get there, I really asked a lot of my gay friends to help style me and show me how to do boyish things, or look more boyish. I have never in my life been perceived by the world as a man, so this was like a bit of a shock to me and not an overnight situation. I went from my long pink hair to having white hair, I cut the white hair and styled it into a boyish cut with the back tied up. I plucked up the courage to cut the back off and went to brown, and then stopped hiding behind white makeup and coloured lenses and let myself shine. It was like going through puberty... again. So I thought I would hate it and it would be an awful experience for me, I actually really loved it! I love being able to wake up and get ready in 10 minutes and still get the same reaction I have when I do a feminine look. I love being able to not wear heavy makeup and save my skin. I love being able to choose. So this really was a situation that took me by surprise and it changed my entire outlook which helped tremendously in all areas of my life. I think it was the realisation that I could choose that did it. Part of the break I took from posting was to really explore this side of me and it was two years of fun and frivolity which I really grew from. So that is my outcome.
So within the realm of reason and without the feelings of dysphoria dominating my mindset, I have been very eager to create my ultimate dream of self, which would be a masculine torso which I can control the expectations of. So I went to discuss this with a doctor who could help either by a process of liposuction or fat transfer, to refigure the proportions of fat in my body. So where I would typically as a cis male put on weight, I would like those areas to be more in alignment with that image today. This is not to conform to a stereotype, it's to actually open my gender option out fully. And that doctor said to me through the examination that the reason why my proportions were off, why I didn't have fat and I had glandular tissue and I didn't have an Adam's apple or a brow ridge, is likely because I was likely to have additional chromosomes. Skip ahead three months, bam.
So chromosomal differences, are the most likely contributing factor to why trans people are able to identify that they're misaligned with their body and no one tests or talks about it. It's absolutely absurd. 1 in 5000 people have a difference and it could be told to expected parents when they opt to have the commonly phrased, 'test for down syndrome' in the first trimester which would reveal this. Now I remember on 5AT, one of the members asked me if I had Kleinfelter which is an additional gene creating XYX as they did. I did not actually have the same symptoms so I never looked into it further than what we discussed. But that is because I didn't know anything more. Kleinfelter is one option... it goes on and on and on. Caroline Cossey the supermodel who helped combat the EU regulations on gender identity successfully, had mosaic chromosomes which is when they exceed the commonly known XYX. So the list goes on with varying outcomes.
I never had any obvious symptoms at all, I sometimes say that I look like a woman who has begun her transition from a fully cis male's form. Because my hair texture, skin texture, bones and fat distribution are more female. But that's pretty much it. I have none of the other side effects and I just wish this was a common place thing... so there aren't kids like me going through the same issues with no explanations or help. Doctors ignored me consistently through my teen years it was a helpless, wrong situation.
So to conclude... The process of surgery for me is to fully transition into a controllable situation. For my life that means being able to express my femininity which I feel I have attained 100% confidence in. Now I need to achieve that with my male expression. Which at the moment is all but there other than the fat distribution. I want to work out and know if I follow the correct steps I'll loose weight as I should. I want to be able to go swimming and take my top off and all those basic things I'm sure people take for granted. So I am super excited to be working with a surgeon in LA who has offered to do the procedure for free on me and I will be documenting the journey!
Now this surgeon is reputable and the best I've found so it took a long while of consulting to actually figure out the plan of action, but at the moment what we are hoping to achieve is the glandular tissue removed from my breast area. The sides of my torso which exaggerates my hourglass shape to be squared off, the proportion of fat that works to my thighs to be more masculine and create more of an androgynous, tipping towards the masculine body.
I am so scared about surgery and I'm nervous about how it will come out, but I'm so excited to share this story and show that not everyones transition starts from a and ends at b, or vica versa. Sometimes you don't have a clear definition and you have to navigate through your lived experience until you are able to find an explanation. So I'm going from an ab, and I'm going to end up a z. So can't wait! Will be updating as things go!