Who Do You Think You Are?

Chapter 7: Imaging, Imagining

Sweet Princess

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Marina as an awkward tween, wearing semi-formal clothing and a necktie that looks like a fish.

As a tween, I know I'm nothing special. "I'm not good-looking, but that's okay!" I tell my mom one day. She is shocked. "You're very handsome!" she insists. But that's what a mother would say. I am plain and have funny ears.

In my first year of public high school, I don't really have friends I hang out with outside of school. There's a group of dorky boys I eat lunch with, and I goof off with teammates during cross country and track. I'm a weirdo, but I'm smart and good at drawing. People ask me how the transition is, switching from being homeschooled all my life. "Not bad," I say.

- ---x-xXx-x--- -


It's 2018. I'm scrolling through old Facebook photos, thinking about my transition. When I hit some of the earliest photos, I'm shocked to see the smooth curves of my face, the subtle delicacy of my brow. My skin glows richly, my face lacks the aggressive blue tinge of stubble.

I see a beautiful, darling girl, staring at me from the past.

Marina lounging on a sunny beach with friends.

I remember her. How she hated herself, how she loved herself...

Marina sitting on the beach, looking at the camera.

How she struggled so hard to take it all in: the wonders of friendship, of longing, of being alive...

Marina standing on playground equipment with her eyes closed and arms spread wide. Trees in the background are lit brightly and majestically.

Her mind was like a tiny plastic communion cup in a Great Lake of emotion. "I've never talked to anyone like I've talked to you..." she said.

Marina at a track meet, smiling at the camera and clutching a letter jacket.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
Proverbs 3:5, NIV

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20, NIV

Marina in her track uniform, standing on bleachers in front of a track.

It felt so wrong to her, to feel so strongly. Like a dark and secret sin. It wasn't her place to choose a path, to be informed by desire, to draw her own lines in the sand. This wasn't her body, this wasn't her life.

Marina sitting in the grass, back to back with a friend, at a cross country meet.

I wish I could comfort her, I wish I could comfort you. I want to help the world be better.

- ---x-xXx-x--- -


As time goes on, I fail to style my long hair nicely, and testosterone slowly etches itself deeper into my features. I don't really have a conceptual framework for understanding how I feel about my own appearance. Maybe that's fine.

Marina making pasta with friends.

As if I could have possibly conceived of the concept of puberty blockers at the time. Life is a journey. Life is a journey.

Marina hanging out in a parking lot with friends. Her hair is tied back.

I am thankful for the body I have now. I am thankful for the life I live with it. I am thankful to be on HRT. What a wonderful gift.

What Do You Hope To Gain?