This is an article based off a comment I posted on Lori's blog about gaining self acceptance with your reflected image, realizing your true beauty through your internal image, and the limits of external validation. My response to the article was as follows:
It's true, external validation can only get someone so far in terms of being genuinely comfortable in their own skin, however, I believe that virtually every woman goes through a struggle one way or another with being accepting of the reflection in the mirror. I have known well established professional models that endure a battle in self acceptance. There are too many external pressures from our supposedly 'objective' outlets in society, there is not enough celebration in the diversity of the beauty that makes us all individually unique and whole. When I am doing makeup for clients, I firmly believe in emphasizing the natural beauty the person has, and if they dare to object, then I dare to prove them wrong. I think as transgender people we suffer a greater burden of accepting our true selves in our reflective and in our internal images. A question that is brought up to me from time to time is if I wasn't passable, would I still transition. My answer, most definitely, being a woman is not necc accounted on by how well you blend into society but how much you shine as a woman. So much more relies on mannerisms than makeup.
Look at what society has done (or attempted to do based off of whom you ask) to Caster Semenya, Venus and Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, etc based off of these poorly perceived notions of what it really means to be a woman. I am fully aware that it is difficult, damn near impossible for me to be perceived as a genetic woman in most areas, simply because of my height (~6'6") But I am not ashamed of being a transwoman, I am not ashamed of my struggle, my dicothomy/dysphoria, my identity, my being, even my height, and with that being said-I would rather be perceived as a transwoman than being perceived as a person who I am truly not. I am growing a greater comfort in my own skin as I continue in the journey of transition, and further realising the truth that a persons inner beauty will project who they really are. Now don't get me wrong, I love makeup, a lot. I'm an artist, I love playing with colour and technique, however, I don't believe that makeup is going to be an end-all-cure-all. Makeup, in my opinion, is to help a person (feel better about their self by highlighting their natural beauty in subtle or dramatic ways) not to make a person.
A lot of people that I have known before transition upon meeting me in my true self for the first time, react in a matter of clarity as opposed to shock. I want to close this article and thought with a statement a good friend of mine told me when she first met me as Zoe; "it makes sense, you have always been Zoe, now you are just finally shining through". I have a bit of a ways to go, physically, emotionally, etc but I think with the support of family and friends and logic, I am stepping in with my best foot forward.