Friday, 30 June 2017

Learning to be body-conscious

    As you get on with your life years after transition, you reach a comfortable point of socialisation that has little to do with medical matters, you are just Getting On With Things. A point at which you are left with the impression that there are few more surprises, you've got it pretty much down.
    So, boobies. It's not been something at which I've expounded on at length here, but yes, as you might expect for someone several years down the line, I have a bust. Not the world's largest, but not the most insignificant either, and even now it is showing signs that it has not yet achieved its full potential. I've been through the need a lot of padding to the need a little padding and the don't need any padding stages, and even the maybe you need a bigger bra stage. I like having them, I like the way they look, I like the way they feel, and I still find wearing a bra to be one of those experiences that just makes things feel right.
    For all that, they haven't really figured much in my interactions with the world. Never been ogled, never been shown off, never been paraded. I didn't wander around without a top on before transition, and not a lot has changed.
    It's been a little odd, one of those surprises, then, in the last month to find myself twice unexpectedly being made aware of them. The first time was for my doctor, who needed to give them a routine examination. No worries, I said, and pulled my top off. To which she reacted with horror, it seems this is something to be done on the examination table with loads of curtains around. Heaven knows why, given that we're in a private consulting room without an audience, but that's the way it is.
    And then a couple of weeks later, I went with a few friends to a small tech/activist camping weekend on an organic farm on the edge of Wales. Very basic camping, inadequate shower, earth loo you have to chuck sawdust into. Back to nature stuff, not too far away from my ethos, so not bad. There I am then, thinking I need a shower but can't face the facilities. The campsite water supply is a cattle trough, it's just after dark on a summer evening, I have the place completely to myself because everyone else is knocking back the cider, and it's sufficiently rural that I can't see any lights. Sod it, I think, I'll just wash myself at the water trough. Which I proceeded to do, a surprisingly pleasant experience. Standing there baring my meagre assets to the darkness, had it been lighter the sheep would have had an eyeful. I should be all ashamed of all this or something, shouldn't I, I thought, but the need not to be all sticky trumped the need for modesty in the face of a rural night.
    I was left pondering the whole thing, where the boundary lies between not attracting untoward attention, and being ashamed of our bodies. Of course I don't want to flash my boobs at people who will give them untoward attention, but the thought of my doctor looking at them or even their briefly seeing the cool air of a summer night in a Welsh field does not perturb me at all.
    What does perturb me is that I am expected to be ashamed of them in such harmless situations. Is it just me who stands back for a minute, and remarks "That's just not healthy!".


  1. WOW! you do know how to have fun!

    No, you're not the only one, the trouble is we start off teaching our children to be overly conscious of their bodies from such a young age that it's really hard to break the cycle.

    1. It's funny, with my recent endocrine issues it's an issue that's got a little more pressing IYSWIM. :)

      But yes.