Bad Photos

| Aug 25, 2008
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A friend posted some pictures she took at our last outing. And I was nearly shattered by them. I know I’m not the prettiest t-girl on the planet, but these were worse than I could have possibly imagined. (Warning: one of the photos is included. Don’t read on if you have a weak stomach.)


As you can see, most of my foundation has melted off, leaving a nice beard shadow shining through. My hair is a mess, my face is sagging, and the camera snapped as I was in mid-blink, so I look like I’m stoned. I wasn’t. Drunk, for sure, but not stoned.

I look like a man.

It’s funny how a picture can change your outlook, your self-image. A friend gave me a snapshot of me from last summer. Me with Beard. And dammit, if I didn’t look not ugly!

I know I try to project an aura of self-confidence whether online or off, because of what I learned in grade school. (Show weakness or vulnerability, and people will pounce on you.) But behind my stiff upper lip is a very insecure little twit.

This photo, combined with some other drama in my life, put me on a downward spiral for much of the last month. I haven’t dressed since the night we took this shot. Matter of fact, I butched up and grew a full goatee.

Okay, I get it. I’m not physically attractive. I’ve known it since I was a teenager, and for the most part, have adjusted to it. But every now and then, it gets rubbed in my face. And I spend a few days trying to talk myself out of it.

So much of my transgenderism is based on appearance, or at least my perception of my self-appearance. If I can’t fool myself into thinking I look good, I have very little interest in dressing up.

Or at least that’s what I’ve believed. Recently, bad photo or no bad photo, the urges have been returning. I almost shaved the goatee this weekend and got painted. Just after I got it filled in and groomed, no less. (It looks good, by the way. I’ve had a couple of GG’s tell me so.) I didn’t, but the temptation is there.

So, there has to be more to being TG than just looking good, doesn’t there?

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul, Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

Ronnie Rho has been writing for Transgender Forum since May of 1999. One of these days, she'll get it right. She's been described as the "world's most famous recluse," but only by people who don't know her very well. She is unmarried, and lives in Cincinnati.

Comments (2)

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  1. Renee_K Renee_K says:

    I did some blogging about this recently.

    Our self-esteem is inextricably tied up in our image of ourselves. When you look good, you feel better about yourself. When you feel better about yourself, you try harder to look good (or at least see yourself in a more favorable light). Appearance is more than just aesthetic…quite often, it’s symbolic of our greater wellbeing.

    The problem is that it can become a vicious circle. Without one, it becomes harder to have the other. You have to be self-aware enough to break the cycle, or have help.

    There is a treatment for Body Dysmorphic Disorder called “phototherapy”. In it, the BDD-sufferer is photographed in a variety of poses and settings, and then they work with a therapist to see those images in a positive way. They slowly, with the help of a trained professional, come to see themselves as beautiful, and from there, self-worth can be established.

    Flickr sounds an awful lot like amateur phototherapy, no?

    My point is this: Having photos you like as a reference point isn’t a bad thing. We all know that photos are lies…angles and lighting can do a lot to hide imperfections. But if they give you a jumping off point to feel good about yourself, then the lie is well-served. And I’m pretty sure if you look at the photo you posted objectively, there are things in there that will make you feel good.

    If not, perhaps you’ll be glad to know that many mental health experts are debating the value of self-esteem as a concept anyway. Apparently there is no quantifiable link between the indefinable idea of “self-esteem” and “success” or “happiness”. In fact, it may have been cooked up decades ago by authoritarians looking to normalize a certain path to what they considered to be a productive and worthwhile life. Rejoice…feeling good about yourself actually has no intrinsic value and will not make you happier!

  2. angela_g angela_g says:

    Ah Ronnie. It’s not that bad a picture. Other than the half closed eyes you look as good as any of us after a hot night in a packed night club. Shave that goatee! Bring back the glam!