Things are still reverberating from the “Nothing But Light” photo shoot I did, but I’m doing better. It was a definite (and unexpected) mindfuck.

The photographer is doing an exhibit and may post them online. It’s possible people I know may see them. I knew that going in. (I recently found out that someone I know recognized me in the “American Beauty project” shoot I did that got a lot of publicity.)

Am I OK with it? Not sure yet… I’m leaning toward leaving them as part of the project. There’s already a number of photos from my burlesque performances online, and arguably I look as much “not female-bodied” in those — albeit with the benefit of make-up.

She’ll send me copies of the photos in about two weeks after she finishes the current round of shoots. Maybe I’ll be better about then (or maybe it’ll re-trigger, we’ll see…).

As part of the project, I’m supposed to write something. Whether it’s about the experience, myself, whatever…. it’s pretty open-ended. I’ll probably be writing some version of what I posted Sunday night. About how it ended up (despite good intentions all around) being an intensely uncomfortable experience for me, and the subsequent reverberations.

Partly I think it was bit of reaction due to being at my mother’s for the Thanksgiving weekend and feeling like I had to hide part of myself. (Mom knows about the cross-dressing, drag and burlesque — she doesn’t know that I’m dual-living. Part of it was (the day after) having to let my beard grow out again for electrolysis, which has been making me more dysphoric, since I’ve got stubble four days out of five during the work week. Part of it was a bad hair day — especially annoying because the photographer was running late and I would’ve had time to fix it, if she’d let me know that.

Part of it is that I came in during the tail end of her preceding shoot with an adorable couple (both about 20) in which the male-bodied partner identified as gender queer. They were playful as a pair of puppies and clearly comfortable in their skins.

And I was fucking envious of that. Envious of how they had their whole lives ahead of them in a far from perfect, but far, far more accepting world than I had at their age. Envious of their youth, of their good looks.

It did help that the Sunday after the shoot I had another event where I put my hip pads on. When I got home I left them on instead of taking them off like I normally do, and changed into a cami and yoga pants. Looking in the mirror, seeing my (now) curvy self, I kept thinking this is what I should look like. This is the body I should have.

So yeah, is that telling me something? I suspect so…. Though I suspect it would take more than just hormones and breast augmentation, it would take a fat grafting to the hips to get the sort of curves to balance out my broad child-bearing shoulders.

In the meantime, we’ll see how long it takes for me to go out without hip pads again — something I’d just gotten comfortable doing in the last month. (At least comfortable doing in jeans, instead of the sundresses I was wearing this summer that had enough structure to disguise the fact that I wasn’t wearing hip pads.)