I went swimming this week for the first time ever as a woman, and I wore a two-piece bathing suit to do it. I bought the suit earlier this summer, choosing a dark skirted bottom and a bright spangly top to help with visual balance, but had been holding off actually wearing it in public, because even as comfortable as I feel these days in my skin, it still made me squirmy.
It went fine. Warm overcast day at Wells Beach, but ocean too chilly to stay in for more than a quick push out past the waves and one momentary dunk down to the neck. I was the only person in the water, but there were other people there to see. Someone called down from the overlook to ask how the water was, and I mimed a shivery response. I don't like shouting, because I'm anxious about man-voice coming back when I do.
Amazing how much had to happen to make this moment possible. Surgery to get rid of a key unsightly bulge; three years and counting on hormones to slim my muscles and erase my body hair; the electrolysis marathon to eliminate beard shadow; and the on-going life project of re-tuning carriage, mannerism, movement, facial expression, affect - all the tricks I have figured out and continue to work on to project femaleness despite having been born with a male body. Just so I could go for a dip.
The salt water felt wonderful. Like a baptism of sorts. And, another of a thousand small firsts accomplished.
I asked someone in the parking lot to take my picture. New bikini, I said, my sister wants to see it. (Hi Sus!) So, here's me - a sensible middle-aged body in a sensible middle-aged suit. Can you see all the techniques I'm practicing to look femme?