Self Compassion

Tonight I was given the opportunity to be in public in “girl mode”. And like the first time I went out, it was a really nice experience, but I didn’t expect what would happen when I got home. First, some details.

Last week I attended a meeting of the Washington Gender Alliance for the first time. As I wrote previously, that first meeting gave me a lot of courage to go out of my home for the first time this last weekend in “girl mode.” That first experience was so natural, and felt so good to me, that I decided I would attend this week’s WGA meeting also in girl mode.

Unlike the last time I went out though (wearing jeans and a light blue sweatshirt, and only very light, hardly noticeable makeup) this time I decided I would go for a more appropriately feminine appearance. I was thinking all day of what I might wear, and finally decided on a dark purple dress, some black tights, and a black long-sleeve tee shirt underneath (since it’s cold out). I also wore some black flats.

I spent about an hour trying to both make my hair look nice (pulled back into a pony tail, but swept my bangs across the front and put a barrette to hold them), and also doing my makeup as well as I could. I wore light makeup, but had a much more defined look than before. This time I actually allowed myself to use a little eye makeup, and wear a complimentary lipstick.

I put in some nice earrings (thanks dear!), and a necklace and just as I was about to leave realized I had no place to put my driver’s license, money, and a credit card (not to mention phone and chapstick). Luckily I had a purse I got somewhere on sale, so I put my things in there and walked out the door.

I was nervous when I walked in the door of the meeting, but that soon went away as I remembered why we were all there, and that everyone was supportive. The meeting was great. I met some new faces this week, and there was some really beautiful people there. Some who’s gender lies somewhere in the middle and they were working on sorting that out, some who had transitioned from one gender to the other during their lifetime, and some who hadn’t. There was respect, support, and community at the meeting. Everyone was very kind.

The drive home felt a little surreal; just being out in general feels somewhat surreal, and yet very natural too at the same time. It’s sort of hard to understand what the feeling is. Maybe like the feeling of returning to your hometown after a few years away; it’s totally natural, and yet a little surreal and exciting too. I talked to a friend of mine on the phone on the way home, and then came upstairs to get ready for bed.

I took off my jacket, and put my purse down, and walked over to the mirror to take my makeup off, brush teeth, and get ready for bed; and I stopped.

I just stood there and looked at myself in the mirror for a minute or two; tears came to my eyes.

For what feels like the first time in my life I looked into the mirror and I saw a beautiful person looking back at me. I know this must be strange for someone who hasn’t felt gender incongruence, but for me it felt like this was the first time in my life that I looked in the mirror and saw me looking back at me; and it was beautiful. It wasn’t strange, or sexy, or funny, or odd – it was completely natural.

Now, I’ve worn female clothing at home for years, and spent a lifetime before that sneaking into my mom’s closet and wearing a dress around the house while she was away at work simply because it made me feel better and kept me from going insane. But this was different because I had other people affirming and addressing me as Madelyn (they only know me by this name), responding to me, and wanting to be my friend as a girl, giving me a hug at the end of our meeting, seeing me as who I always have felt I am at the deepest levels of my spirit. I suppose that the process of others accepting me, and seeing me as female created a moment of self-acceptance for me as well as I stood in front of the mirror. No, it was more than that; it was my own compassion, directed back at me for the first time.

After a lifetime of looking in the mirror in disappointment and seeing what felt like someone else, I looked in the mirror tonight and saw a beautiful human being that matched how I felt inside; it moved me to tears to experience that for the first time. It was unexpected.

3 thoughts on “Self Compassion”

  1. Jerica

    Awwww this post made me cry. Perhaps because I’m happy you were able to find this self compassion/acceptance…and perhaps also because I can relate to finding that same place in my own journey. *hugs*!

  2. Terry Shultz

    How beautiful! I’ve been on a journey recently to embrace fully my femininity and am discovering so many beautiful things about myself in the process. I wish I lived closer so I could be a part of your girlfriend support group!

  3. Abby A.

    Beautiful. This post also makes me think a bit about the Buddhist concept of loving-kindness, compassion – which ought to start with oneself. I think perhaps your whole life you have exhibited great compassion towards others, but had less for yourself. And it must be a great feeling now to look upon yourself in that way. I’m so happy for you. 🙂

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