The other night, I posted this to my Twitter account:
Under a table tightening bolts. No wig or makeup, which is why you can see lip stubble … pic.twitter.com/zqcX5Zo9Dd
— Alison (@Ariamythe) January 8, 2014
I didn’t think much of it. I don’t think you are supposed to think too much about Twitter posts. That’s the whole point of Twitter! It was just a random post, plus, I kind of wanted to show off how long my real hair was getting. So I snapped it, posted it, and continued doing what I was doing.
I was a little surprised when a few minutes later I got this reply:
@Ariamythe You are a hell of a lot braver than me.
— cynthia H (@cynthia_0102) January 8, 2014
It took me a minute to sort out what she meant. Me, brave? For what? Then I realized: it was because I posted an undisguised picture of myself.
If you go back a year on this blog, you will see a mighty effort to maintain anonymity. No pictures; no location; no real names; a fresh, unused WordPress account started with a fresh, unused Outlook account. I was so paranoid of someone connecting me to my male identity — of finding out who I really was — that I scrubbed anything that might make a connection between my Self online and Him in the real world.
Early on there was also the fear of ridicule. At the time, I thought I looked ridiculous in a dress and makeup. [The beard didn’t help.] I knew I looked like a man, and I knew that no one would want to see that shit. Hiding myself online was just as easy as hiding myself in the real world.
Fast forward to 2014, and here I am posting an undisguised picture of myself. No wig, no makeup, no femme details to obscure what you see. Have I really changed that much? I suppose I have. Physically, I’ve lost the beard, dropped more than 60 lbs., started hormones, and generally started taking more care in my outward appearance. Even if I were “still a guy,” I look a heck of a lot better than I did in January of 2013.
More importantly, though, is the shift inside myself. A year ago there were two of me: my secret, real Self and the Self I was to the world. But now, this is my identity. This is me. I have mostly lost the fear of discovery, even though I’m still “in the closet” with most of the world. How would someone who knows Him but doesn’t know me even find this blog? And if they did, what’s the worst that could happen? I’m going to tell the world sometime. It’s a when, not an if at this point. Discovery would just mean I’d lose control of the message.
That picture is me. Ali unvarnished. No wig, no makeup, no femme details to obscure the person underneath. I still don’t think it’s “brave” at all; I certainly don’t feel brave. But I feel more comfortable with myself, and that makes a world of difference.