10 BETTER BODY AFFIRMATIONS
1. Your body is in flux for the rest of your life. Think of your body as fluid instead of static — it’s always going to change. So get comfortable with those changes.
2. No one will love you or not love you because of your body. You are lovable because you’re you, not because your body looks a certain way.
3. The most intensely personal relationship you’ll ever have is with your body. It’s a lifelong relationship that’s well worth investing in and nurturing the same way you would with loved ones.
4. You don’t owe your body to anyone. Not sexually, not aesthetically. Your body is yours. Period.
5. What someone else says about your body says more about them than it does about you. Look past the actual snark to the person who’s saying it, because it’s only a reflection of what they think of themselves. That’s when you’ll see how little power their words have.
6. Your body is not a reflection of your character. It’s a physical home for the complex and wondrous and unique being that is you.
7. Take up as much space as you want. You don’t have to be small, or quiet, or docile, regardless of your physical size.
8. Everything you need to accept your body is already inside you. There’s no book, or diet, or workout routine or external affirmation that you need to feel good about your body right now.
9. Your body is a priority. It’s always trying to tell you things. Taking the time to listen to is of the utmost importance.
10. Wear whatever you want. Your body shape does not dictate your personal style, and fashion rules that say otherwise are wrong. Dress yourself in a way that makes you feel happy and confident and beautiful, because guess what? You are.
So go find someone who fucks you right and treats you how you deserve to be treated.”
When my youngest child started pointing at little boys in picture books, saying, “That’s me,” I was surprised. At first, we corrected her. “You’re a girl, but you can pretend to be this boy if you want to.” Then, after discussing it, we decided to take it at face value. We stopped correcting her. Yet I didn’t change pronouns or toss out dresses and pink shorts and other articles of clothing which were passed down from my older child.
If anyone was equipped to deal with a transgender child, it was us. When the time was right, we would change pronouns. We’d let him start hormone therapy as soon as he was ready. We would refinance the house to pay for top surgery. We would do almost anything to ensure that the transition was smooth.
When I cut Phoebe’s hair, I used clippers, using a YouTube tutorial as a guide. I left some length on top, skater boi style. The difference was pretty striking. She really did look like a boy. After the haircut, I noticed that I felt some loss around my perception of my child as female. I felt fear about how my child might be treated. My child attends a Montessori school filled with people who are like-minded in terms of empathy and rejecting cultural stereotypes, but kindergarten at a public school is only two years away. And what then?
That said, her hair looked adorable. The very next day, she wore her favorite sundress. After a few days, Shea pointed out that her sister’s old pictures didn’t look like her anymore. “Phoebe looks weird in pictures with long hair now,” she said. “I like her short hair better.” More importantly, so did Phoebe. She reveled in the fact that she no longer needed the tangles brushed out of her hair.
Strangers made comments like, “So why the short hair? Did her sister cut it?” They would give me a knowing look, as if to say, “I’ve been there!” Or this gem: “Did she have lice?” I shrugged and said, “She wanted it. And we all love it.” One stranger at the swimming pool asked why my son was wearing a girl’s swimsuit. I can understand people being curious, but the questions point to one thing — if your child deviates from gender norms, be ready to explain why.
The other day, when we were driving, Phoebe revealed that she didn’t want to wear “girls” clothes anymore. I asked her: “Tell me about the clothes you like. What kind of shirt do you want to wear?”
"What does a boys’ shirt look like?"
"Blue. Black. With cars on it or dinosaurs or sharks."
"So you want a shirt with cars or dinosaurs on it. Maybe even a shark!"
"Yeah, and blue!"
We went to the thrift store that week. The boys and girls clothes were all on the same rack. She picked out a gray shirt with a red 1965 Mustang on it, and a brown Diego shirt. Some khaki shorts “like Daddy’s.” She couldn’t have been happier.”