Recognizing Myself

Old pictures bring people together. Anytime my family would gather, you knew the old photo albums would come out. There would be old family vacations, old houses we lived in, old people we knew and more. The stories are endless. Some of my favourite memories are just sitting back and listening to my mum and grandma talk about the years that have passed. I’ve learned so much from just a few boxes of photos, no matter how many times we’ve gone through them.

Pictures have been on my mind lately. I’ve only been out for such a short time that there aren’t many pictures of me…as me. It was only just a couple of months ago that Megan and I decided to take our wedding pictures down off the walls of our home. I had an internal war with myself. It was one of the happiest days of my life but I also didn’t recognize myself anymore.

A person wearing a black tux and a person wearing a white wedding gown standing on rocks on the ocean.
Megan and I on our wedding day. It is hard for both of us to recognize this person.

I first encountered this issue last summer. My stepbrother found some photos of us when I was a lot younger. He and my stepsister-in-law graciously asked if it was okay to share some of the old photos and memories with their children. I didn’t think twice about saying, “Of course. That person lived too.” Now, I have a much harder time with old photos of me.

Over the weekend, we travelled to Arizona for Megan’s grandmother’s funeral. The whole family has been tremendously supportive of me and I’m so incredibly grateful. There was a slide show and several of the photos that were included showed my old self. I got so upset, and just about had a panic attack in the washroom. I was really caught off-guard, felt slightly offended and like I was outed. I was frightened someone at the conservative Christian church would chase me out of the building, or tell me I’m going to hell. I felt like everyone in the room was staring at me. Much later, I felt guilty for having this reaction. The weekend was not about me and some pictures. It was about celebrating the life of Megan’s grandmother. After much thought following my initial panic, I knew and realized they weren’t trying to offend me. As I so profoundly said all those months ago, “That person lived too.” People grow up and change throughout their lifetime. I just happened to grow up into a woman.

Two women standing next to a macaroni penguin who is sitting on a counter.
Megan and I celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary at SeaWorld

I’m in the process of making a little movie using the app “One Second Every Day.” It allows me to snip together a second of video each day to create a timeline of my transition. It’s been fun to watch and see how much I have changed since my first day of taking hormones. I may share this video on my one-year anniversary. I still haven’t decided.

One thing I’m trying to do this year is take more pictures. I regret that we don’t have enough of Megan and I. I hope to look back fondly on the person I used to be and the person I’ve become.

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