It's Monday night and I stand in front of the mirror with my phone in my hand. I've selected my very favourite bra and panties: lavender-colored, shear, lacy and skimpy. Through the fabric you can just discern certain details, leaving little to the imagination. I spend ten minutes trying to decide on a pose, turning my body this way and that, examining every inch of exposed and covered flesh... which curves do I highlight? Straight-cleavage? Sideboob? Arch my back and stick my butt/hips out? Should I try to de-emphasize the belly bumps, lumps and lovehandles, the way my midsection ever so slightly over the waist of my panties, or do I just acknowledge that that's a part of me and present it in its full glory? What angle does the light hit me to play down the veins in my breasts, the stretchmarks that streak across my flesh?
Truth is, it doesn't matter, and I take pictures of myself from every possible angle, puckering my (brightly red-coloured) lips and giving bedroom eyes, twisting this way and that, leaning forward, showing myself in every light, imperfections and all. I feel like I better appreciate myself, because sexy underwear isn't cheap in plus sizes, and I look damn good. In all about thirteen pictures are taken... and sent.
The destination of these photos is a man named Dan Reilly, who lives in Rhode Island... and is, in actuality, the original/real Sophie. As we started conferring months ago, about my plans to forgo getting my previous body back, we got kind of close... not physically close, of course, but she admitted she found herself checking out women who resembled her old body more than women who were stereotypically attractive. This coincided with me getting deep into the body-positivity movement, and as we chatted, I somehow got into the habit of sending her racier and racier pictures of her old body. You can interpret this many different psychologically complex ways, but it's been dynamite for my self-esteem, and hers.
I didn't love this body when I first got it. Beyond being confused and scared at not having the only body I ever remembered, it was far from perfect: I was self-conscious about chubby arms, belly, thighs, butt and frankly unmanageably large boobs. Even as I started to accept, even appreciate, being a woman, there were still those problems with the specific body and I found myself wishing I had become Angie or Mona. This body came with so many caveats... as I'm sure Roy would tell you, sometimes even maintaining your shape as a woman is a chore. Then as months went by, I came to like my new home a lot, seeing a lot of great about it, and I was fortunate enough to meet Sophie's friends, who love her body too, and seem to care a lot for the person inside it, whether it's her or me.
And of course, guys love it. They just do. Girls too ;^P just ask James.
(As a sidenote, I never quite knew what to do with myself, who to aim my affections at as Grant, so this transformation has really brought that side of me out... that certainly doesn't seem like an uncommon trend among people who visit the Inn, but in my case it's especially relieving. But I wouldn't be surprised for people who decide such pursuits aren't a healthy use of time...)
So over the past year, I've gone on a journey from being scared, confused, depressed and resentful, to absolutely celebrating the way I look, to the point where I can't imagine being another way. I've even dropped the "Grant" from this post's title, because... well, that guy is gone. Part of me is nostalgic for being him, but... he's not me, you know? My year as Sophie feels more real to me than my whole life as Grant.
Which is scary, because that's exactly what's going to happen soon. I'll be moving on again. I don't know exactly where I'm going to end up, man or woman, young or old... I can only hope I feel as highly about it as I do this one. Maybe having rebuilt that confidence, it won't be a hard transition, or maybe I'll just collapse again. I don't know. My hope is that someday... maybe next year, maybe further... I'll be able to drop the quotation marks from whatever name I have and just be a person for the rest of my life, however long that is.
But the amount of things that have to happen before I can be satisfied for that... I don't even want to think about it.
Once "Dan" has responded, appreciatively, to my photos - and sent some of his own - I dress up and head out. There's a show to get to, some band or another, and the guys are always waiting on me. Oh, but first I forward those pics to my dropbox, and swing by "Keisha's" place... my friends have been asking about her. She made quite an impression the last time I brought her out.
Only another month.