Self-Confidence in the Face of Beauty

The unfamiliar space holds the promiseamanda swafford2

Of immortality in black and white

A photographic print

To match the mirror’s reflection

As a transwoman of confident stature

I still seek affirmation.

Will this frozen image capture

and portray the woman I see myself to be?

All around gathered as if in answer to a call

Stand the beautiful people

Perfect in their presentation

As blooms in a queen’s rose garden

Smooth skin and perfect smiles,

Shining with the brightness of summer sunshine.

Their portraits lining the walls reflecting, radiating

The coveted feminine ideal.

My practiced smile, a disguise,

The fragility of self-confidence revealed

In growing discomfort

And faltering self-assuredness.

My armor has proven to be an illusion.

Does theirs afford more protection?

Does their beauty immunize

Against self-doubt?


Am I Old? or I Am Old!

I look down at the bruise on my arm, I haven’t the faintest idea where it came from or what caused it, which speaks to several points. First, that it looks like my mothers arm when she was older and secondly, things like this never happened when I was younger.

If you asked me how old I am I would say 39. That is how old I feel. I’m attracted to women for the most part and they all seem to be about 39 or close to it, just coincidence? The calendar has another idea, it shouts out that I’m 64, when I insist that can’t be true it begins to roll through the milestones of my life my marriage at 28, birth of my daughter at 32, the jobs, the moves from city to city, each with its corresponding year attached. I add them up again and again, the result always comes out the same.

My mind still resists the facts. If they hold true then I have missed most of my life. Now that I have finally found the courage to live the life I deserved, time is running out. There is so much I want to do, so much I want to experience as the woman I am. Experiences that I was always denied. I want to be in love, I want to be desired, I want to be cherished as the feminine soul that I am.

All that came before this time was akin to a prison sentence. Time stretching out before me without an end, a time to simply be endured. Now is the prize to be savored, but as much joy and satisfaction as I draw from this moment and as insistent as I have been about never wasting precious time on regret, it appears that it is not possible to keep the “what if” questions from arising. It is such helpless feeling, there is simply nothing that can be done, no way to redo the past, no way to recapture my lost youth. It is not only the youth that escaped, I would not go back to my childhood as it was, that is not what I long for. I long to go back to my childhood that never was.To have grown up as the woman I knew I was, but when I was young, this metamorphosis was not even a remote possibility, there wasn’t any sense in dreaming for something that could not ever going to happen, but….

Things change, people change, society has certainly changed. I now live my life as I should have lived it all along, however so many things are pinned to points on life’s timeline. I struggle to accept that those days are long gone. Proms, college, weddings, the milestones of a life as a woman. I can only watch as others move through life’s events  and hope that they are as appreciative of their good fortune as I know I would have been.

What really hurts are those years when these changes were possible, when I knew they were possible and yet I still could not muster the courage or the will to commit to that first step. That ten  years feel like they belonged to me and I feel now as if I squandered them. If I could only have those years back, but there is no bargaining for such things, leaving me to grapple with the question,

Is what I can have going to be enough?

If not what then?




Does She Know?

 She called to say that she was leaving town.
I swallow hard and ask, “How Long?”
A couple of months, but I want to see you before I go.
When are you leaving? “Tomorrow,” she replies

I meet her at the Mothlight after the poetry class.
A Tuesday evening, late with only 6 people at the bar.
I sit at the end, animal channel cuteness plays silently above.
I have a beer as I wait, wondering how will I feel when I see her

Apart for several weeks, have I forgotten how much I care?
I haven’t, at the first sight of her smile, I remember it all
Drinking so deeply of her, I fear I will drown
I feverishly save reserves against the coming famine.

We talk, we laugh, alone together we reconnect our lives
She leans in, her hands on my arm, they linger as our eyes meet
I reach out and place my hand on her cheek
I say, “you know how special you are to me”

Her tender countenance touches my soul, cradles my heart
She replies, “you are very special to me too”
I look into her eyes and with every ounce of strength I have
I don’t say, “I love you”

I don’t need to