First Person: Becoming Beautiful


Brettany Renée Blatchley
LGBT Perspectives columnist

ASHEVILLE, North Carolina — There must be something in the water, but no, I know it’s not the water. Still when I stood before the mirror unclothed after my swim, I saw them, or rather I didn’t: it’s those ‘lines” that run up and down the sides of some of our abdomens, demarking that layer of visceral fat that is part of everyone’s body …

… I’ve been noticing that I have been slimming over the last few months of exercising and more careful eating, but something very different has happened: the lines…are…gone. They’ve been there for so many years, I don’t remember when they weren’t there, but I noticed they were gone, because what I saw instead was a smooth gentle, continuous curve across my belly from hip to hip. In the two dimensional mirror image, it looks flat, but I know it’s not. I had been so aware of the curving line separating my tummy from my pubic triangle, that I hadn’t been paying attention to the other dimension. But there I am, in a skin-tight jumper, and it looks … right … it finally looks right …

… But there’s something else: I am beginning to become beautiful … yes, I *know* that’s a shocking thing to say … it’s more shocking for me to believe of myself because I had since childhood seen myself as ugly, but I’ve always longed to be beautiful. Now as a woman I have something of an opportunity, at least I have permission, and I’m old enough that it is not expected of me. What I have suddenly noticed with all my body’s changes is that NOW what remains of my masculine features are *WORKING FOR ME* instead of against me!! I never thought I that would ever happen, nor that I would even think to say this. As my body has trimmed, I have become lithe, Tolkien-elf-like, but the curves are in the *right* place, and my height is working for me and not against me, and the angularity is working for me now. …

… I am becoming beautiful in my own unique way, a way that is not strictly feminine nor masculine, but some blend of the best of both, and I am the last person on earth who could ever have seen this in me. I feel like I don’t deserve this, something *this nice* to be happening to me, for me; I am so humbled…so humbled…but in a lovely, healing, holy way …

… When you place a seed in the ground, it looks like nothing special, no more special than an ordinary pebble, and yet with time and water, it “dies” to reveal new life within, and the green shoot pushes against the heavy soil, inexorably forcing its way upward. Innately, this young plant *knows* which way to go, yet has no idea how its form will appear. And it reaches the sunlight, *so different* than the seed that once held it’s embryo. And tall and slender it springs upward, verdant green, nourished by the dirt of the world, but with clean water. And it grows and grows and branches and blossoms, never at any stage knowing exactly how it would be in the next. And after, because of the bloom, there comes the fruit, and the fruit is for others to enjoy, and for the amazing circle of life to continue. This is what my gender affirmation is like, and I am *so blessed*, so blessed, so blessed to *be*…

(Image: by Edgar Degas)

  • This series features first person narratives about personal LGBT-related issues and experiences.

5 thoughts on “First Person: Becoming Beautiful”

  1. Lovely article! I am so glad you’re now seeing the beauty that is always there.

    Trivia question: You say you were “unclothed” before your mirror, then “in a skin-tight jumper”. Which was it? Or was this two occasions? I ask because many have found that reclaiming a love of nudity adds greatly to their positive self-image.


    1. I was unclothed at first, and then clothed with a form-fitting sweater (“jumper”).

      Yes!! I *very much* agree that nudity can help our positive self image. As part of my effort to become more comfortable with my queer body, I was a Life Model for a local college figure drawing art class; posing nude for them, AS a trans woman in transition. This was one of the most holy, healing and empowering things I have ever done. I wanted to answer the question for myself: “could I walk on a clothing-optional beach, in my sunhat, perky breasts and penis *FULLY* as the woman I know myself to be?” I have come to believe that I can, though since my posing experience above, I have had some genital surgery, and hope eventually to complete it…

      …Oh, what I did not say in the post (because it’s only relevant here) is that I have mastered locker-room nudity: I am nude with other women in this context almost daily – I tuck what remains of my male genitalia well enough that I can move naturally about and it all looks vulval. Today, I jumped into a conversation with a couple of other women about our children as I was changing back into my clothes – I guess I’m “assimilated?” 🙂

      Sorry if that’s “too much information.”


      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I can tell you’re already a nudist at heart. 😀 You may already have discovered that nudists are the friendliest, most accepting folk on Earth. Most of the ones I’ve met, including myself, have no difficulty being around and talking to a trans person.

        Blessings to you.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. *Thank You* for your kind words Jochanann!! 🙂

          Goodness, no I was not aware of this with naturalists. I suspect that I am a nudist at heart. For one thing, I consider nakedness and nudity to be two different things. The former connotes deprivation and defensive-passive (don’t hurt me) vulnerability; the later seems to me to be a mark of wholeness, an “active-vulnerability” characterized a willingness to risk openness to promote greater good. AND it seems to me that there are some who are delightfully nude while fully clothed, and when unclothed they cannot be seen as naked – I want to be a person like that whose inner beauty shines through what clothing they are or are not wearing.

          Blessings & Joy!!


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