My Summer Skin — Transitioning into a Thrilling, Breathtaking Future

The silhouette of a woman walking out into the ocean as a metaphor for transition and optimism

One of the most amazing aspects of transition is the change in perspective it brings you. For so many trans people, pre-transition our futures were dark, vague, or missing entirely — a black spot where all of our hopes should be. The future looked like just another part of the prison sentence I was born into when I considered it at all. Most of the time I didn’t think about it.

Nobody really prepares you for the shock of waking up one day and… you’re excited. And then the next day you’re excited. And you think about next week and you’re kind of excited. Then the spring. Then the summer. Nobody warns a trans person about the part of transition where you have a future suddenly appear where all that blank, inky, misery used to live.

And it’s the little things that really make that future. You have to understand for my entire life my body and my soul have been policed either by my own suffering or by how others decided they should be. I’ve worn nothing but jeans and t-shirt for years on years on years. The idea of letting someone see my body made me ill. When I did anything it was in this masculine role I’ve been given. And this spring and summer? This spring and summer will be different.

This year I get to rewrite everything I thought I knew about all these common experiences that people have. It feels fresh and kind of scary that way. My skin is different. My shape is different. My sense of taste is different.

It sort of feels like I’m some storybook princess — freed from a long curse — taking my first, clumsy steps forward out of the darkest spaces of my life into an enchanted world of wonder. And the thing I am most excited for, that I crave, is to visit the beach. I want to feel ocean air on skin again. I can’t wait to smell beach air with this new sense of smell. I want to sit on a blanket and joke with my friends and talk like nothing else in the world matters. I wonder sometimes if others feel the same expectant joy I’m experiencing as I imagine what the sand will feel like on my toes, or the way the humidity will feel against my bare legs.

This might all seem so small to you, but to me these experiences mean the world. They’re everything I transitioned for. I transitioned so I could really, truly live in these small moments.

Earlier today I went for a walk with my dog with my shirt tied up in a knot around my waist like a friend recommended to me on Facebook. It was a revelation. I could feel the way the spring air moved around me as I walked and every part of that sensation was new and light and static. The smell of storms arriving used to be something sort of dull and heavy, but today that smell was totally new and vibrant like the way that soup on the stove hits your senses.

Every time I experience the banal becoming new and amazing, I feel more and more excited for the future. How do I put into words elation I feel at the idea of sitting around a fire pit on a hot summer night drinking cheap beer and laughing at bad jokes with my friends. I wonder what the smoke from the wood will smell like to me now. I want to go on picnics and be outside in the sun. I want to go camping — and I used to hate camping.

I marvel at everything these days. The taste of foods. The feel of someone’s skin on mine. The smell of candles and the air. And I wonder at who I’ll be in another ten springs and summers. I can’t wait to grow into that person. For the first time in my life, the future feels warm and inviting and I can’t wait to skip towards it.

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