When you look in the mirror…

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  • #94731
    Alexis Moon
    Participant

    Question for those who are still early in their transition (i.e. mostly still presenting as male): do you find that you start seeing yourself differently?

    I ask because I am basically still living as a male, and am just at the point where I’ve finally accepted that I am trans and am just taking some baby steps as I figure out the long term plan. But strangely, sometimes I look in the mirror, and it’s like I can see the woman there, even if I’m not presenting that way. To be clear, I haven’t started HRT.

    Is that weird? Or is it a side effect of acceptance? Curious if anyone else has experienced something similar.

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    • #119879

      I hate looking in the mirror at my male self I say to my self you ugly b…..start it doesn’t make it any better I try to keep myself as feminine as possible wearing  female underwear and I wear girls jeans and just bought some womens  trainers plus try to keep my body hair free I to be able to have some Christy time when my wife was at work but as she has now retired I don’t have the opportunity which makes me dysphoric i have a number of clothes which i haven’t hidden from my wife but no chance there days in wearing them

    • #117990

      I have found that if I shut down my conscious mind the best I can…relax for a few seconds and kinda meditate with my eyes open…I can actually see through all the noise, all the “you have male genitals therefore…” crap and experience my true and see the woman inside.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #117946

      What the mind processes from what it sees is a personal thing. Sometimes you see the woman in the mirror sometimes the man. It can change from hour to hour for me. No it’s not weird but it is emotional, your mind testing you like in those annoying dreams we have at night. If you can see her…she is there, that should help guide your transformation I think. HRT also pushes those emotions much harder, quite a ride that is.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #117897

      Thank you Alexis for sharing your experience. When I read your story I thought, “this is too weird.”

      I spend most of my on line girl time at our sister site, CDH. Last week I wrote about personally experiencing the same epiphany.

      At this point my femme time is early in the morning before my wife awakes. Expression is limited more to subtle female activities then dressing. One such activity is my facial care routine. Cleansing, anti-aging cream, moisturizer etc. Often I finish with a spritz of Burberry Weekend perfume and an application of a light muted red lipstick so I can leave a lip imprint around the rim of my coffee cup as I drink my morning flexor prior to my wife’s awakening. Breathing the scent of the perfume and seeing that tell tale sign of my lipstick on the rim of my coffee cup while sitting alone thinking girl thoughts is very satisfying. It helps me manage my dysphoria.

      I have successfully dieted to rid myself of my male gut. Unfortunately the dieting has also thinned my face. Looking in the mirror a thin older man’s face looks back at me. I am resigned to the truth that no amount of work will ever make my face look really “senior lady feminine.” Testosterone has done its sculpting well.

      Thus I was surprised and yet comforted and given hope when upon looking in the mirror after finishing my lipstick I saw me, Charlene. Obviously it was not so much in the facial features; no they were the same older man with a bit of lipstick on some thin lips. Yet surprisingly and plainly I did see me – in my eyes. As I looked in those pretty blue eyes they seem to sparkle with delight.

      A poet has said that the eyes shout forth volumes the lips fail to reveal. For a few brief moments mine were shouting, “thank you for embracing me as a vital part of the full you. Thank you for these few subtle ways of allowing me freedom and life. I am so happy.”

      It was a surreal experience. At first I thought, ” that is weird”, then “you’re being delusional” to “your mind is playing tricks on you because being a woman is so dominant in your thinking.” That third thought my be true, yet I am not so sure.

      I came away realizing that no matter how much “male” might still linger should I have the opportunity to fully express my feminine self that it wouldn’t matter. I understood in that brief moment that I don’t need to be a specimen women; no rather it is OK to simply “be,” me. Weird? Delusional? Mind games? No, I believe that is genuine growth. Growth that brings me a sense of contentment. Thank you all for listening.

      Hugs,

      Charlene.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #117870

      I totally get the whole mirror thing. For as long as I can remember, looking in a mirror was just wrong. For years i refused to do it. Entire bathroom trips with my head down. I never knew why. Oddly, I never thought to ask why. I hated looking in mirrors because I had low self esteem. Why low self esteem? Never thought to ask. I grew up in an enmeshed household so it was fit in or be the outcast. Everytime I told my parents about myself it didn’t go well. No your not was all I heard about everything. I wasn’t allowed to have my own identity. So, now that I’ve started transition and while wearing pink I see ME in the mirror…yet I still have my parent’s voice in my head saying NO YOU’RE NOT. My solution is to counter it with objective facts:

      I’ve never taken myself seriously as an adult. I’m 39. I always felt like an incomplete person. Presenting as a woman…I feel like a complete serious adult. It’s amazing! I’m a whole person! I see ME in the mirror! In public I was always aware of the whole room, scanning to see if anyone was staring at me because as a half-person I felt goofy. Presenting as a woman…I’m aware of the people around me so as to not run into them, but I could care less if they’re staring. It was all because I didn’t take myself seriously and was projecting. The first few times in public presenting as a woman I watched everyone around me as I passed and never knew how much everyone minded their own business. I was afraid they were staring while living as a man. Its AMAZING how much your perception of yourself affects your perception of the world around you. I’ve gotten a couple of second glances but they always went back to their own business like “what did I just see?… …Oh, never mind.” And I’ve gotten two genuine, unsolicited compliments from strangers in public while presenting as a woman. It’s like the universe is saying you go girl! And the sense of calm I get from presenting as female. Is this how most people live? Not as a mess of anxiety? Life is awesome. Also, the less I fear being judged by others, the less I judge myself internally. And the feeling of being complete. Its like my soul is forever embraced in an eternal hug from the universe. I caught my reflection in my phone screen while looking something up a few hours ago and it was awesome. It was genuine. Im more outgoing and have tapped into a sense of empathy I long ago locked away in grade school. Love yourself and loving others is that much easier. I always knew I had female emotions so I hid most of them away. All the lists of what your emotions will be like on estrogen…mine are somewhat like that now. And…the best part…the only thing I’m hiding now…is my social security number, lol I even see myself when I’m not presenting so much as a woman…its the woman I never knew I always was.

      Once I added all that up…the no your not voice was like…well, damn, maybe you are. Yeah, maybe, lol

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #117878
        Autumn
        FREE

        Hi, Hillary. Thank you so much for what you shared. I can relate to what you’ve written. I’ve spent most of my life avoiding looking at myself. I still don’t look at my face any more than I have to, but I am looking at what I’m wearing when I become Autumn. A LOT. Every time I use the bathroom I end up admiring what I’m wearing. It makes me feel good about myself, this is really the only time in my life that I’ve actually taken an interest in clothing. I have this tight pink top that I’ve fallen in love with. Every time I put it on…it just feels right. I am now always wearing a bra and breast forms when I’m at home. My toenails are always painted, legs shaved, and I LOVE wearing leg warmers, I seem to prefer a more 80s kind of style. Don’t know why, it just seems more like me…or Autumn I guess I should say. I wear lipstick, and I watch myself in the mirror as I apply it, but right now lipstick is more about how it feels than looks. I just like feeling it on my lips, I don’t have to look at it. Does that make sense? The feeling of something more than appearance? The feeling of what I’m wearing, too, that’s also become something I love. Looking down at my pink toenails right now and feeling very happy.

         

        Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. Hugs.

         

        Autumn

        • #117879

          When I’m dressing I always make sure it0s socially acceptable (and that leaves a lot of latitude far as specifics go) and it makes me feel amazing. I once read an article where a ciswoman was explaining that she dresses in what makes her feel good and basically it just so happens to be what some people find attractive. Ots a funny thing clothes. Mens jeans always felt lik a a diaper on me. I have a pair of women’s jeans that I wear daily and a pair of men’s jeans I haven’t gotten rid of yet. The mens jeans fit me slightly better, but the woman’s jeans feel sooooo much better…because they were made for my j
          Gender. Imagine going out in public wearing an entire Goth outfit with ghost white makeup and all. It’s socially acceptable but ridiculous for daily attire…that’s how mens clothing felt to me. It was like everyone expected me to wear a clown costume all day. Oh, and in men’s jeans I was a boys 14 (or relaxed 12). I’m 39. And shirts were small adult. In women’s clothing I wear adult jeans. And not even the smallest size. I have a small frame. 5’4″ and about 140lbs. Before I knew I was transgender I always wished I was taller and more of man’s man with woman chasing me. After realizing I was transgender I actually imagined myself in the body of that man. Is that me? God no. I thought I was a man. As a man I’m not much of a specimen. But guess what… I’m not a man. As a woman…which I am…Im more of what I should be. I just think of myself as an unfinished woman. Some women have more masculine frames. Mine isnt very masculine. Some women are a bit more masculine. I’m not very masculine, but I have my moments. I’ve made my peace with that. If butch women are a thing then why can’t I be…but I still love little pink frilly things…soft butch? Futch? Butch femme? Oh, butch and femme are like gender…a spectrum. Awesome. That’s when I stopped feeling bad that I’m not a girly girly but but to girly to be full butch. Dressing as a man around the time just before I came out (like the last year or so before I did) always made me feel like stone butch. I’m in mens clothing. Why do I feel…can a man be butch? Then one day it hit me. What am I doing? A man be bunch. I’d first have to be a man. Then I had the stop wishing I was a woman and just admit I am one so I can do something about it already. And here I am. I’m working on a wardrobe that was made for my gender. Which reminds me of what I told my best friend. Being transgender…a large part of it is the clothes. You finally get to wear clothes made for you…that validate you snd make you happy. But being transgender is also so, so much more. Clothes are just a huge part of it.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
          • #117886
            Autumn
            FREE

            Being transgender…a large part of it is the clothes. You finally get to wear clothes made for you…that validate you snd make you happy. But being transgender is also so, so much more. Clothes are just a huge part of it…Thank you for sharing this. Wearing what feels good, the clothing that makes me feel like the real me. I can relate to so much of what you’ve written. Thank you.

             

            Hugs

             

            Autumn

            1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #119767

            I agree with this 100% – wearing female attire is what allows you to see your true self when you look in the mirror. I think that’s why it’s so important to me to also do hair and makeup when I dress – I don’t want to look like a “dude in a dress” because that’s not who I am. I need to see a woman when I look in the mirror, and consider myself so, so lucky that I’m only 5’7″ with a 29″ waist – yet even at that my arms are too long, my hands are too big…there will always be “tells” you can’t get away from as a trans woman. But part of the magic of clothes, hair, and makeup is how you can use them as tools to help see yourself as you want to be.

    • #117773
      Diana W
      FREE

      I’m not on HRT, yet, and I get what you’re saying.  I’m lucky that I don’t have a particularly masculine face and sometimes I look in the mirror and I think I can see feminine me.  It gives me such a rush.  Other times I look in the mirror and my brain is like “who do you think you’re kidding?”

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #115129

      I have absolutely began experiencing this and it is magical.
      Self love and acceptance has been such an alien concept to me for so long I am positively addicted to it now. (Sure beats all the other coping mechanisms I’ve tried)

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #103009

      from time to time I will catch a glimpse of myself and for a split second see the girl trapped inside but for the most part no when I look in the mirror I don’t which has made me even harder on myself about getting my makeup right.  I am hoping to get my makeup skills up to par and maybe that will help but for now, I put on my makeup and just want to put on Wild Horses and cry. I know she is trapped in there I feel her, I hear her, I just can not see her.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #100675

      I don’t think it’s weird at all. You’re just accepting what you know. I’m on that path too. I have gotten to the point where I’m kind of 90% presenting as female, but I still have that 10% of the time I have to present as male for various reasons. Even during those times I still see myself as female, even if I have to outwardly present as male. I think I have primed myself to look for my feminine attributes at all times, because I know that ultimately those will be what define me as I get closer to that magical day when I can go full 100% to who I already know I am.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #100670

      Hi Alexis…

      I had only seen myself as a male in a dress who wanted something else… until, one evening my wife did my makeup for the first time. When I looked in the mirror I just couldn’t see past the image of a woman that stared back at me! I just couldn’t remember any time before that moment when I had thought myself attractive!
      I cried… I horrified my wife, who thought she had buggered up the makeup! But these were tears of pure joy followed by tears or confusions then back to joy! Ohh, Alexis… the realisation that here was Polly… finally!
      Nothing to do with hormones as I was considered to be an Alpha male by all who knew me (unbeknownst to me). But my life as I knew it was over and a magical being was breaking out of my old skin!

      Love Polly

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #102979

        I have begun to see myself as more feminine, even when in drab. I can visualize myself as Haley, and in the evenings when we sit in bed and 😎 I enjoy looking down at my long, thin, smooth, tan legs and feet. For some reason, it is easy to see those legs leading up to Haley’s body. Weird? Narcissistic?

        Haley😘

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #100260
      Sharon
      FREE

      I am starting to see myself in the mirror now.  It has taken a while

      The worst was when my hair was cut and it looked too short and too masculine.

      Out came the clip on earrings to make me feel better.  Since then I have had my ears pierced

      I do need to lose that 5 o’clock shadow though … when it feels safe to have treatments, in close proximity to someone, for which I can’t wear a mask

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #100671

        Sharon, darling,

        You look absolutely fabulous! I, too, have adopted the shorter hair style!

        💋💋💋 Polly

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #96122

      Hi Alexis, thanks for this post. My history with the dreaded mirror has gone on for a long time…longer than I can remember. Like you I am at the beginning of this journey and still living as my male self (bummer). I have moments where id be in front of the mirror and for the briefest moment I see the real me, and it genuinely brings feelings of happiness and joy. I kinda thought that maybe I was being a bit delusional but that was before I realised what being trans actually was. This has sparked more than a couple of lightbulb moments, and I’ve decided that life’s to short to live as someone you feel is a lie, life’s to short to live miserably, happiness is not an impossible dream and dreams do eventually become reality 🙂

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #95486
      Anonymous

      When looking in mirror as male self can see my female self wanting out so bad to be the main reflection for ever.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #95484
      Anonymous

      I am living my life as a male. I came to realize that I am trans about 11 months ago. I look in the mirror now and see a stranger. Someone I don’t want to be anymore. Tried coming out as a crossdresser to my wife at first but she was 100% against it and I got scared to tell her anymore. She has told me at one point, not to tell her I’m transgender. In the past year, I’ve lost all male sexual function (which I could care) but my wife is upset over. Just living a nightmare and hoping one day that I can be ME.

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      • #95495

        I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m on the verge of bringing this up with my wife, and it is terrifying. My thoughts are with you.

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    • #95468

      This was literally my lightbulb moment. In December 2020 I looked in the mirror en-femme and a slightly nervous Catherine smiled back. It took a couple of weeks, but Catherine has been here ever since. I have a long way to go to pass but the important thing is that I’ve taken the first step.

      When I look in the mirror I see Nicole looking back. Particularly since I haven’t had a hair cut since last March. I want to continue letting it grow out. I think that is good enough for me, at least for the time being.

      💕 Nicole

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    • #95426

      Question for those who are still early in their transition (i.e. mostly still presenting as male): do you find that you start seeing yourself differently?

      I ask because I am basically still living as a male, and am just at the point where I’ve finally accepted that I am trans and am just taking some baby steps as I figure out the long term plan. But strangely, sometimes I look in the mirror, and it’s like I can see the woman there, even if I’m not presenting that way. To be clear, I haven’t started HRT.

      Is that weird? Or is it a side effect of acceptance? Curious if anyone else has experienced something similar.

      I have accepted that I am trans, but I’m a nervous wreck about surgery, hormones, clothing, makeup, hair, and God only knows what else!!!

      Is it possible to accept yourself as transsexual and not do any of these?  I have a friend, and a partner that have been very helpful, but I can’t rely on them indefinitely.

      Can I go through life looking like a man, but feeling like a woman?  I know inside that I am a woman. I don’t really care what other people think. I don’t want to go through the things I mention above just to make a statement to other people.  I can come here and hide behind an Avatar which represents  who I see inside.  Inside I am a vivacious young woman that is outgoing and fun.

      💕Nicole

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      • #95464
        Dawn J
        AMBASSADOR

        My feelings, exactly, Nicole.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #95428

        Interesting, and I can see how that must be helpful to know you can still express your femme side without everything else. Yesterday, my dysphoria was kicking really, really hard, and I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. All that stuff you say is scary, but there are some days when I feel the need to go there. Just being the avatar isn’t cutting it…

        3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #95178
      Anonymous

      When I look in the mirror I see a woman who wants to be herself.    When I am looking at my other self it’s almost as if it’s a stranger is looking back.  I don’t like the hair on the face.   I don’t like the look without makeup.  I immediately what to improved her appearance.

      Once the makeup is on and the woman is looking back at me, life feels right.   When I go out into the world as Annie, I am calmer, patient, and cautious.   I think as a woman thinks because that is who I am.    I’m careful in parking lots.    I stay where it well lite and people are around.   I walk with smaller steps and am more purposeful with my movements.   My purse is protected. My phone is In my hand.   The womanly insecurities are with me.   They protect me.

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      • #95466
        Dawn J
        AMBASSADOR

        When I look in the mirror at my male self, I’m not happy with that guy looking back at me. But, as myself, I’m very happy with the way I’m looking. Very depressing to go back to male mode. I easily “pass” in public– as a woman 20 years younger than my true age. I look & feel younger when I’m me. When I exercise, for some reason, I feel stronger & more energetic as myself. Many people, who have seen me or pictures of me, say that I look better as a woman than I do as a man. I have to agree. There was a time, when seeing myself in the mirror & expressing as my inner woman, that it sexually stimulated me. But now, it gives me more of a feeling of joy & satisfaction– like this feels right & it’s who I should be.

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        • #112580

          I could of written exactly what you wrote here because that is how I feel too.

          I know who I am but I am a bit scared on moving forward. (1 month on HRT)

          The only reason I am afraid to move forward is because of what my family will think. Although I want to do this.

          What my friends think, I don’t care because friends come and go…

          2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #95498

          Yes! Exactly this. Especially the part of sexual arousal. I used to think that was the only reason I did this, and even though there’s still a tinge of that, it’s really faded. The pure, unadulterated joy comes from seeing yourself as the woman that you are. I know some people don’t have that need to look on the outside like they feel on the inside, but for those of us with the severe dysphoria, it’s often the only relief there is.

          I definitely feel like I look younger as a woman too. In general, I look young for my age, which helps, but just hiding the greying, male-pattern baldness takes years off!

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #94994

      It is interesting as we begin to travel down this road.  I carry myself differently… a bit more sway in my step, a bit better posture, arms closer, and not quite as large of a stride… with regards to my image… yes, I am still living mostly as a male, but I do see hints of mikayla even in “man-mode”…

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #94960

      This was literally my lightbulb moment. In December 2020 I looked in the mirror en-femme and a slightly nervous Catherine smiled back. It took a couple of weeks, but Catherine has been here ever since. I have a long way to go to pass but the important thing is that I’ve taken the first step.

      • #94998

        Good for you! We’re in this together, girl…

    • #94909

      I think I’m walking differently too. Not like, swishy, but smaller steps, arms closer to my body, and hands out, that sort of thing. And I’m not doing it intentionally, it’s more like I just catch myself doing it unconsciously. Weird…

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #94908

      exactly the same happened me, I wondered was I delusional. I think it is all part of our minds coming to terms with our authentic selves

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #94737
      Carly Holloway
      AMBASSADOR - EDITOR

      Hi, Alexis.   I’ve enjoyed your article and found your story extremely familiar in many ways.   I’m now about 18 months into this grand adventure, and really enjoying the ride.    Ahhh, the elusive mirror image….for me, that image was so familiar, greeting me each morning.  But oddly unsettling.

      About 4 or 5 months ago, that image changed.   There I was, long hoped but never present, until that day.   The old familiar face and body was absent and there I was.  I recall looking for me carefully, evaluating changes in cheeks, chin, skin smoothness and complexion, all the signs I was told about as I began meds.  I couldn’t really judge fairly.   I quit examining myself for several weeks.   Then came the day I stepped out of the shower, patted my face and wrapped my hair in a towel, and began to apply my moistureizer.  And I was shocked.   I stood staring at a new image.   My face, arms, upper body, while familiar, was NOT the daily usual.   I was staring at Carly.   For the first time, I could see who I was without adding a thing.   Just me, looking back.

      I’m still happy to have that girl in the mirror greet me each morning.  That odd, out of place feeling has evaporated, and I grow more and more accustomed to being me.  And over time, we are able to incorporate a “New normal” into our roadmap for life.  These changes often happen slowly and undetectable in the short run, then BAM…the “New normal” is simply life today.  At least, so it happened for me.

      I wish you the very best, with an abundance or peace and love in your adventure.  You are one in a million, and a bright shining star.

      Carly

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #94742

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carly. That sounds so amazing, and I can’t image what it must feel like to look at yourself in the mirror everyday and feel so pleased with it. I feel like what I’m experiencing is just a glimpse…

    • #94735
      Anonymous

      <p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi  Alexis, I’m in the same boat. I’ve just accepted in not a crossdresser with 2 personalities, I’m trans with one.</p>
      Yesterday when getting ready for work I was looking into my wardrobe on and thinking what should I wear. I’m recovering from Covid and my lungs are still iffy sometimes, so dicided no bust or hips, a woman’s tee, leggings, a skirt and a wig, (ps I love yours) and no make-up as I wasn’t feeling well. I have to wear my uniform at work but always change into and out of it there.

      I went shopping afterwards. I felt just as feminine without my bust and hips and no make-up. In fact I felt more comfortable dressed androgynously than in drab. I guess it’s just my head catching up to my body, but I definitely see more of my feminine features in my currently all male body.

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #94732
      DeeAnn Hopings
      AMBASSADOR

      That would seen to represent a shift in terms of realization and acceptance. Or said another way, settling into your groove…

      2 users thanked author for this post.
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