(Becoming) A Natural Woman
For this post I want to shift gears and talk about something we have all been taught to pursue, beauty. There are many types and definitions of beautiful, but natural beauty seems to be most sought after, and the one that has endured over time. Beauty is an interesting ideal. How do we define it? This is a question that eludes me, but one I am definitely curious about. By society's standards, inner beauty doesn’t shine as brightly as outer beauty, and I find this to be problematic. To achieve your most beautiful self, you have to be a beautiful being on the inside, but for most women, I feel that being told what they look like has a major effect on how they are on the inside. For women, a large part of feeling beautiful comes from the validation from men, (or other women, or even your parents.) At the beginning of my transition, I had essentially no validation from men… or boys rather. My mother told me I was “handsome” and then during my transition, “cute.” She might have even said I looked pretty, but I did not feel it. I so badly wanted to look like the gorgeous girls who attended my high school, Millburn High.
The girls at MHS were sooo beautiful. Growing up, I always imagined myself as one of them, but in reality I clearly was not…yet. I made friends with the “cool girls” but it still didn't make me a girl or make the guys treat me like one. I couldn't express myself as the woman I was and it was heartbreaking for me. I knew I was transgender but I couldn't figure out how to be myself. I was still perceived as male and I couldn’t just go to school one day in a skirt and a wig. I mean, I could’ve, but remember, being transgender wasn’t recognized the way it is now, and I didn’t want to dramatize my situation and make anyone uncomfortable.
While I didn’t feel good on the outside, I relied on my personality to get me through everything. I transitioned very slowly and never had a large coming out announcement. Fall of Junior year, I started wearing my mom's jeans, shirts, cardigans, and jackets to school. By winter I moved on to nail polish, and then mascara and a bra in the spring, all while I was growing my hair out. During this time everyone sort of just caught on that I was transitioning into a girl. Although I was “cute” I didn't feel good about my appearance. In my mind I was this gorgeous, feminine being, but it still didn't feel plausible at the beginning of high school. I was coming to terms with myself and feeling beautiful in my day to day life.
I did begin to figure out my identity as a woman in high school, luckily, when I started to dress as one. The first time I felt pretty wasn't until I was 17, when I got my broken nose fixed with plastic surgery. It immediately made my face more feminine; it brought out my eyes, my cheek bones popped more, my profile became sleeker, and my lips looked even poutier and plumper than before. I finally felt like the girl I had always dreamt of blossoming into. Everyone says that I was born to have this nose. Before I had my nose fixed, I was stressed about what I looked like. Appearance was everything when it came to high school social life. For those of you who don’t feel beautiful, I understand you, I was there. I know what it feels like to not look or feel beautiful. Some people are probably rolling their eyes but it's true. Although I was a very cute “boy” I didn't feel "right" because I wanted to be a girl on the outside. I wanted everyone to see what I saw in myself and being in the body of a boy, it was impossible for me to have that. This robbed me of the self-assurance that I was as great as any other girl.
My point is, if you truly will feel better from having plastic surgery, then do it, if it'll make you more confident. For me, getting a nose job allowed my true and natural self to come out. The confidence I gained from the procedure gave me the boost I needed to rock my natural beauty and not wear too much make up. We all wish we could have someone else’s body parts etc., as women it's basically in our nature. Light plastic surgery to make yourself feel more beautiful is fine, that’s what is was for me, but it shouldn't be done too often or too much.
I believe that everyone has a natural beauty about them, and I am all about promoting that natural beauty. There is something to be said for a woman who can leave the house and go about her day with little to no makeup on, and still feel comfortable and confident. I’m a major advocate of going out without makeup on. When I do wear makeup, I keep it as simple as can be. In the interest of beauty tips, I’ve always said all a girl needs is mascara and a lip moisturizer. For my everyday look, I put two coats of mascara on, first coat: Maybelline Great Lash (the OG pink and green bottle,) and as a top coat Maybelline Mega Plush Volume Express - (aka teal and pink bottle). When that process is over (takes about 5-7 minutes, I’m very particular about my lashes,) then I’ll put on some Burt's Bees pomegranate moisturizing lip balm, with Aquaphor over that, or a lip gloss depending on my mood.
What do I do to make myself feel the most beautiful? A routine that always helps makes me feel refreshed and keeps my skin looking great is (properly) washing my face, both in the morning and at night. No matter what, no matter how high or drunk I am (or both), I will always wash my makeup off my face at the end of the night. Or pass out and wake up at 5am and do it and go back to sleep. When I go out clubbing I’ll maybe wear a highlighter on my cheek and eyebrow bone, and possibly some eyeshadow. That's about it. There have been very few times that I’ve had a face full of makeup on. I probably look a ton sexier but my face (and skin) really can’t handle it. I can go from natural beauty to looking like a drag queen quickly with too much makeup on. I think makeup is great on occasion, for special occasions.
A radiant face is all about the skin, not the makeup you cover it up with. To help with improving your skin my best recommendation is drinking tons of water and letting your skin breathe.
The best tip I can give when it comes to making yourself feel most beautiful, is believing it. Your confidence, the way you wear your face and carry your body, is key. The most attractive attribute to a man is a confident woman, I can promise you that nothing is sexier. You want a guy to fall for you for you.
Even though I am transgender, I have never felt that more makeup would make me feel more beautiful, but that is not the case for everyone (trans or not). In the beginning phases of a transition, experimenting with makeup and playing around with what works best for your face is totally fun and such a “girly” experience to look forward to. No one transgender experience is the same, and no transgender face is the same, either. How feminine one’s face is before and after hormone treatments can be drastic (depending on the age you start taking them). Some people who transition later in life may need to cover up 5 o'clock shadow, or the redness from getting electrolysis on their faces. Some transgender people truly feel that they need to wear makeup to make themselves look more like their self identified gender, or even to appease society. Let’s remember that, in most cases, less is most definitely more, and to KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). If you feel that you’re only wearing makeup to look presentable for society's standard, I am telling you now, that you don’t need to look pretty for anyone besides you, and that goes for all women. Look good for yourself, and if you feel good you will look even better. That confidence will exude off of you.
Written by Corey Rae --- Edited by Emily Turner