by Zelda Wait. Zelda is a trans woman writing about the experience of her transition. Photography by Mikail Duran.
My body is an open forum for discussion. This has been true since the day I came out as trans, before I began to medically transition to today. My experiences in life are all subdued when it comes to the physical attributes of my body. The discussion around my body will likely never end, and it may seem counterintuitive to criticize something I am participating in, but this is the first time I get to control the narrative. This is the first time I am not an object of intrigue, but a fully realized person with a unique experience.
My body is not my body. Whatever personal value or privacy I had to my body prior to coming out evaporated into the air, or maybe more aptly, burned into ash with a smog of smoke you can see for miles. Each photo I post is a chance for someone to analyze my body and see how it has changed. Each person I see or reconnect with has already developed a list of questions pertaining to my body: “So, like, did you get the surgery? Like, THE surgery? Are your boobs real?” I navigate my dysphoria while being subjugated to invasive questions that I oftentimes try to avoid answering because it makes me uncomfortable.
My body is controversial. Being trans is very polarizing, particularly in this political climate. My body, much like the bodies of many other trans people, is a topic of debate. Where do I belong? Am I valid in my womanhood? Why do I want special treatment? Trans bodies are policed, voted on, drivers of policy change, and stigmatic to cisgender dominated spaces. Privileges and rights revolve around my body. Using a bathroom always leaves me a bit unnerved. My mind always wonders “Will they notice I’m trans, and how will they respond?”
My body is uncomfortable. I do not feel at home. I do not feel at peace. I see the effects of puberty and what it did to my body and wish I could reverse them. I cope with what I do like about my body and how it has changed since I began medically transitioning. Finding beauty in the changes I’ve initiated to feel more comfortable. This is a daunting task and is overwhelming. Over time I am certainly growing more comfortable in my body, but there is still quite a bit of uneasiness that will persist for a long time. I still am not truly comfortable. I still have a lot fear and anxiety surrounding my body.
My body is a journey. I am a caterpillar still inside of a cocoon. I know that eventually, I will be a butterfly, with beautiful wings and all. It is certainly not easy navigating my transition, especially as a lot of the navigation I am doing is on my own. None of the cisgender people in my life have experience in transitioning of course, and the trans people I do know are far and few. I tried to participate in online communities, but they became rather toxic. This might be a hard journey, and one that is not going to end for some time, but this is my journey. This is my body.