There are relatively few pictures of me because I’ve never liked being photographed. I think I hated cameras because they documented my trauma and gave the images away to others to keep or wave about at their whim. Away from photographs I could plunge into work or play and ignore my slow-crippling dysphoria. Procrastination and denial worked for an incredibly long time, but ultimately failed. In order to live I had to embrace my own evolution as a woman.
I love the interaction captured in this photo. I’m happy, laughing, enjoying a candid moment in a semi-awkward collaboration with a new friend, and her skill with the camera has preserved that. The old rage in my eyes is replaced mostly with joy, the lift of my face hints a little cautious confidence, and the pain is nearly gone from my smile. My body language acknowledges how I struggled, endured, and achieved to be here as myself.
I offer this photo into the world as a deliberate act of healing, of living fully, of nurturing a future and opening the way for others.