Buying a Small Gift (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

I have been stuck in customer service hell on top of all of my ongoing ADA accommodation and other stressors. Multiple online processes in which I have normally been able to engage without any issues have turned into hours and hours on the phone without resolution. Moments like this convince me we are living in a computer simulation and that my sector has a glitch! I decided to channel my energy into generosity by buying a few people in my life a gift.

I have a lot of hesitancy both in receiving and in giving gifts. Something about the process feels very vulnerable and fraught with potential rejection. The moment of buying the gifts I did as of late, however, felt like an act of generosity. One of the recipients told me my action was kind. Kind is not a word I am used to hearing in relation to myself; I have repeated a mantra that I am not a kind person.

I think the root of this is that I want to be intimidating in my presence; I want a type of power that engenders respect. I would like to be able to soften over time as someone gets to know me, rather than to have to toughen and toughen again when they assume, based on my appearance, that I must be naturally soft. A lot of my gender dysphoria connects to this. Being kind by giving a gift seems right, now that, due to T and such, my physical appearance looks tougher than it ever has. Gifts are concrete and crude compared to other acts of connection, so they suit me in their inherent awkwardness.

If I dwell on it, I find my way of being is more nuanced. I’m drawn to the idea of practicality as well as romance as it relates to gift-giving–at times, I’d rather give someone something they’d use whereas, at other times, I’d like to give them something sentimental. I thrive on being able to help out in a practical way but also in being emotionally supportive. I can blend the “masculine” and the “feminine” in the same body and spirit and that makes me euphoric.

Do you like to give gifts? How do you express kindness? How, if at all, do the ways in which you show you care to others connect with your sense of your gender?

Taking a Self-Portrait (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

For a trans non-binary person who is now a few months on T, I’ve been taking surprising few photographs of myself. I think that I am scared about experiencing changes I don’t want more than I am focused on the ones that show up that cause me gender euphoria. This reflects my punishment-averse nature much more than it does my potential ambivalence about taking T.

My transition goal is to appear as androgynous as I can with some hints of masculinity (leading to me falling into the unfortunate “vaguely masculine” stereotype of non-binary people which ignores trans and non-binary femme people entirely). I think I’m already pretty much facially androgynous, so I feel uncertain about my next steps. In general, I love what T has done to my mind, my issues with my cycle and my energy level, but I have mixed feelings about its effect–present and future–on my physical appearance. On the other hand, I’ve been vibing on considering having people use “he/him” pronouns in addition to “they/them,” so I think there is some fluidity and ambiguity in terms of my end goals.

As I snapped a pic of myself, I immediately focused on any signs of aging and any negative aspects of my appearance. I had a full-blown eating disorder as a young adolescent and am extremely conscious of any signs that my weight has increased, so my eye was drawn especially to the puffiness of my cheeks. To me, beauty is reflected in one’s comfort with themselves. I am so comfortable with my personality and how I show up in the world, but I shrink back and feel exposed when any attention, positive or negative, is drawn to my physical appearance. This exercise has shown me the ongoing disconnect I have with my body. I want to trace the photograph I took and study it until I love it or at least until I know it as myself. How do you feel when you see yourself? If you appreciate your own appearance, especially if you did not do so in the past, what helped you achieve this?