Overthinking?

| Mar 11, 2019 | 2 Replies
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I’ve been me—the authentic me—for nine months as I write these words. There have been so many wonderful things about living my truth at last. One of these is what I recall one writer describing as “the easy intimacy of women.” Now that the wall I had built around myself has been smashed to rubble, I can interact with other women as I’ve always longed to.

I’ve had—and still have—some close and lasting friendships with men. But even when I was forced to pretend to be one of their tribe, I found that I almost always connected with women much more easily than with men.

One of the regular delights of my new life is being complimented on my nails, hair, lashes, purse and more. I’ve been eager to offer similar kudos for years, and now I finally can.

A friend asked me if I’d been watching other women, wishing I could have my hair styled like theirs, or wear a dress similar to the one they were wearing. I smiled at her, “Only for fifty years or so,” I answered.

The older I get, the more I realize that I tend to over-analyze things. After several weeks of thoroughly enjoying all of this, I began to wonder if this was really shallow behavior on my part. After all, my hair, nails, lashes and clothes don’t make me a woman, right? On that rare lazy Saturday when I get to stay home all day, I skip the bra and the makeup, slip into an old hoodie and curl up with a good book or movie (or both), and I don’t feel any less of a woman on those days.

But then I told myself that I was overthinking, and that in fact these kind of exchanges do serve a larger purpose.

For one thing, they’re great icebreakers. It’s an easy opener to strike up a conversation with another woman. I like to think I was always courteous, but now I count many store clerks and baristas I see regularly as friends. Beyond that, I think it’s a great way for women to support and affirm each other. Too much of the world still treats women as second-class citizens. Saying “I love your hair,” is a nice thing, but it says so much more. It says—

–I notice you.

–I notice your efforts to look good.

–You’re a woman.

–You matter.

Isn’t that what life is really all about? Affirming our common humanity, whether we are cis, trans, or any other label the world puts on us, or we put on ourselves. We are all humans, sharing one planet.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul

Claire H.

About the Author ()

Claire Hall was born and grew up in a large city on the left coast and has spent most of her adult years in a beautiful small coastal community where she's now an elected official in local government after spending many years as a newspaper and radio reporter. In her space time she loves reading, writing fiction (her first novel was published by a regional press a couple of years ago), watching classic Hollywood movies, and walking.

Comments (2)

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  1. MelissaD MelissaD says:

    There’s more to life than clothes and nails. Oh and Graham, passing is more than appearance. A crossdresser can look great until she moves or talks. While these are my opinions and your mileage may vary.

    My back story: I started my transition in 1987. Officially Jan 1988 when I started seeing my psychologist. In those years we did the RLT for 1 year before starting HRT. So in Jan 1989 I started HRT.

    While we all enjoy a compliment, some are not as genuine as first believed. The majority of woman are not consumed with makeup or fashion. At least not in the Mid-West. Simple dress or jeans and a top. No makeup is common, maybe eyeliner and lipstick for work.

    Life is about how you live, move and talk. You will always be you. You don’t change who you are. How society views us is what changes. When you can roll out of bed to answer the door and you are still properly gendered. That’s “passing” in life.

  2. Graham Graham says:

    I think we all appreciate compliments … although it’s probably true that men generally don’t receive as many as women. Does this mean that men don’t take as much care in their appearance as women? Definitely. Does it mean that women are more shallow than men? Perhaps. Does it mean that women place too much emphasis on the way they look? Very likely! However, in their defence, (western) society judges women far more harshly than men on their superficial appearance, so getting it “right” (whatever that means) is much more important to women than to men. One only has to look at the number of so-called beauty products aimed at women compared to the number aimed at men to realise how insidious and invasive this is in our everyday lives.

    My job is playing in music concerts. I receive a lot of compliments; most of them are on my musical performance, but a not-insignificant number are about my long purple hair, or my immaculate nail varnish, or the sandals I’m wearing. Frankly, that pisses me off! While a certain formality of appearance is required in my work, the question people should be asking is “can this guy play the piano?”. That is, after all, what I’m there for. I’m not there as eye candy for audience, and I’m not there to distract them from the music itself.

    As you say, Claire, “too much of the world still treats women as second-class citizens.” Sadly, I believe they will continue to do so all the time women themselves buy into the idea that appearance doesn’t only matter, but is often ALL that matters in how we value ourselves as members of the human race. It’s an affirmation of the personal belief that one’s value is based on how pretty one is … or maybe how clever one is at applying cosmetics! I might add that crossdressers are perhaps the worst culprits in this: not only do they buy into the idea that femininity and beauty are paramount, but the crossdresser’s holy grail – passing – is SOLELY about appearance.

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