Growing up, I didn’t have a single moment in which I realised I was transgender. It was more a long series of moments slowly leading me to that conclusion. One of the most vivid and most significant of those moments was me in my room listening to Reflections from Mulan and crying inconsolably at the lyrics.
Why is my reflection someone I don’t know?
Somehow I cannot hide
Who I am, though I’ve tried.
When will my reflection show, who I am, inside?
How I pray, that a time will come,
I can free myself, from their expectations
I was listening to a bunch of Disney songs yesterday, and when Reflections came on, I started bawling again, thinking of how much sadness I once felt listening to it. I really wish I could comfort younger me, and let her know everything would work out.
However, today’s post isn’t really about younger me. I only mention this because listening to the song left me thinking all day today about the way my reflection looks nowadays.Since coming out last year, I’ve worn makeup nearly every single day. Partly because I liked the way it made me look, but mostly because it helped prevent strangers from misgendering me. It was a sort of mask, or perhaps shield. Lately, I’ve been practising sports and it’s just become ridiculous to put any makeup on when I’m going to be biking a couple of hours, and spending an hour or so running around like crazy playing football, or volleyball. So I started by wearing only light foundation and a light lipstick some days, then just foundation, and now… nothing.
It’s a bit odd that having grown up without makeup, I’d end up feeling proud of being able to go outside without it, but I do. I went out shopping yesterday, my hair in a ponytail, not a spot of makeup on my face, and it felt fantastic. I was ma’amed at the store, and being treated like myself felt more authentic because there was nothing altering my appearance.
Not that makeup is bad, or anything. I still love it. However, it makes me very happy that I don’t need it anymore. My reflection really shows who I am inside nowadays, and it feels amazing.
Another of the more depressing moments of my childhood/adolescence was the first time I answered the phone and was called my dad’s name, and spoken to as if I were him.
It made me dreadfully aware of how my body was changing in all the wrong ways, and that every day meant I was farther from looking like who I was.
That was the story of my puberty, really. The regular insecurity and self-doubt of adolescence mixed dangerously with my gender dysphoria, to leave me feeling increasingly depressed. Every change to my body, that would normally cause someone to feel weird, made me feel a little more dead inside.
Anyway. I was visiting my parents today, and we ordered some pizza. The guard at the entrance to the building rang to see if the delivery guy could come in. I answered the phone, and the guard called me by my mum’s name, and spoke to me as if I were her.
I don’t think you could possibly understand how happy that made me feel, unless you’re also transgender. I felt deep joy to the very tip of my toes, and I could hardly keep a grin from swallowing up the rest of my face.
I dressed up a bit for Father’s Day today. I wore my favourite dress, and did my makeup all nice. I looked at the mirror when I was getting ready to go, and could hardly look away. The shock of seeing a different face looking back at me has worn off, and now there is only joy. Yes, the girl in the reflection is definitely me, she definitely looks cute, and she looks as happy as someone could possibly look.
I left the house with my confidence as high as it’s been in a long while. For once I didn’t feel self-conscious about being 6 ft tall in a country of short people. I didn’t care that everyone stared at me on the street. I was able to let go of the self-consciousness that comes from drawing attention everywhere I go, and just enjoy it. I lifted my head up high, walked with all the grace and confidence I have, and just smiled out at a world seeing the real me after all these years.
I was feeling so self-assured that when a taxi drove by and the driver wolf-whistled and made kissing sounds at me, I didn’t even bother feeling annoyed at the disrespect, or angry at the sexism. I just rolled my eyes, smiled to myself, and kept on walking.
Once again, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come, and that no matter how difficult life might seem, how tired I feel, or how scary the future looks, I’m currently in a better position than younger me would have ever considered likely.
My legal documents read Liliana Amanda Lancheros, Sex: Female. My voice is the voice of a woman. My hair is shoulder-length, curly, and fairly feminine-looking. My face looks like it could never belong to a man. Finally, finally, the world is seeing ME, the real me.
My reflection shows the person I know I am,
I have nothing to hide
I am me, that is all
My reflection finally shows who I am inside
The time has come
I am me, despite others’ expectations
I’m starting to tear up right now. For over 20 years my body was a prison and torture chamber, and life was dreary and empty. At long last I’m able to be myself, to be happy, and to be free.
Hang in there, past me. I promise you’ll be able to enjoy life properly one day.