Through the Looking Glass

     The mirror reflects the image that the surrounding light illuminates. While it reflects literally what’s right in front of it, the interpretation of what we see depends on the observer.

     At some point in my childhood the image staring back at me in the mirror became uncomfortable, undesirable, and ugly. Whatever anyone else thought, I struggled having any positive feelings with what I saw in the mirror.

    No matter what I changed my self reflection just did not generate any positive self-image. I tried growing facial hair, like my dad. My dad has almost always worn a full beard. But full beard, goatee, mustache, nothing seemed to help. At some point I just accepted it. That was the way it was for me.


     Early on when I was experimenting with dressing in femme I started to realize a big change in how I saw myself. Fundamentally I fell in love with the woman that was being reflected back at me.

     I was not sure how to deal with this change in my feeling about myself. Now obviously, I can see what the answer was. But at the time, while bringing great euphoria in seeing me, it also brought heavy depression with having to go back.

     It was also a struggle for me to realize that, ok I love me, but what will everyone else think of seeing the real me. This is a fundamental struggle a lot of us who are trans have to tackle.

     In the end for me I learned how to just love me. And if anyone else loves this new me then they will. Those who don’t won’t. I have to be me. We all deserve to be ourselves.

     Self love is so important. I do not know how I made it so many years, with so much self hate. But now that I am me, I can never even think about going back.

     Every morning now I wash my face. Put lotion on and then my make up. And I love all of it. I love how I look in make up, but I don’t need it. I love how I look in my wig, but I don’t need it. I have a wardrobe that I love, but the clothes are not necessary. I love me. I love the Stephanie that looks back at me in the mirror everyday. She is beautiful to me.

En Femme Style

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I am 41 years old, Pre-op MTF Trans woman. I transitioned late in life. I started HRT in May 2018, and went full time in September of 2018. I love to tell my story in hopes that it will help someone recognize themselves and hopefully help them answer the questions we all struggle with.

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4 months ago

Thank you for sharing your story Stephie. As you noted, self love ❤️ and acceptance is an essential prerequisite on our journeys.

Sara Rodgers
Sara Rodgers(@saral)
3 years ago

I see transformation as a long process. First is accepting the realization. I love the word emasculation because I do not want any male qualities. The outside appearance is probably more important to me than others. I told my hairdresser first and I had it cut to grown long and feminine. I dyed it. I shaved my legs, my butt and everything else and I loved my smooth skin. I studied skin treatment and now I treat my face completely different. Other people have noticed. I look 10 years younger. I started wearing jewelry. I researched and decided on complete… Read more »

Sophie Bourne
Sophie Bourne
4 years ago

Dear Stephanie, Thank you for such a beautifully-written and inspiring piece. And well done for learning to love yourself as Stephanie, and to love Stephanie as you. I so relate to hating my male self in the mirror, but then falling in love with Sophie when I finally saw her. And then wanting to see her all the time. However it strikes me that – like so many of my male self’s unfortunate romantic adventures – it was unrequited love. Sophie never loved him back, and never could; he was just in her way. And now, *as* Sophie I can… Read more »

Donna Ball
Donna Ball(@donnaball)
4 years ago

Thank you Stephanie for your beautiful writing. For me you hit the nail right on the head as I have felt the same way all of my life. I never liked what I looked like as a boy or man and whether true or not I always thought that people would avoid me because I thought I looked so weird. Of course that is not necessarily true as I have had two marriages and dated two women for one year each between marriages, but those relationships were earned through personality, not looks, and my theory is that, though they did… Read more »

Stephanie Kennedy
Active Member
Stephanie Kennedy(@qtystephanie)
4 years ago

Hi Stephanie I love your article.looking glass it is so true about so many of us including me. I have allowed society ,family and friends to influence how I felt about myself.. I always knew what helped me feel good about my self. We all did and do. What we put on our body should only enhance our inner self. My rejection and denial came only when I asked the question to my self what will others think You cannot build outer beauty without the foundation of inner acceptance and happiness of who we are as a person.It does not… Read more »

Sharon Lewis
Sharon Lewis
4 years ago

All so true.

Michelle Liefde
Active Member
Michelle Liefde(@elantari)
4 years ago

Well said! I think learning to love oneself can be the hardest task especially when we feel we do not conform to society’s standards. I am working on getting to the same point as to loving when I wear my clothes, wig, etc. but knowing that its not needed to love who I am. So thank you Stephanie for writing about your own story and reflections, I know for one that it helps knowing that others have similar thoughts.


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