Sunday, February 26, 2012

Self-portrait with mom, 2012

Here's the newest picture of me and my mom.  I took the first image in this series in January of 2005, two weeks after my chest surgery, but didn't think to take the next one until 2010.  I now have photos from 2005, 2010, 2011, and here is 2012.  My plan is to continue to take this photo annually, documenting how our bodies change over time. 

Self-portrait with mom, 2012

This photo was made this past January, exactly four days after I got that tattoo on my chest.  For those of you with tattoos, you know that day 4 is when a new tattoo looks its absolute WORST.  Mine looked awesome for the first 3 days, and on day 4, it was peeling everywhere.  I thought that would show up in the photograph, but it doesn't really, so that's good, though even if it had, I would have left it in the name of accurate documentation.

It is interesting to me to look at these photos I am creating and to examine my own body.  Since this photo was taken, I've been working pretty adamantly on changing my body through diet and exercise (see cheesy cell phone photo below):
  
February 22, 2012

It has still only been a short amount of time, but I am hoping that by the next time we make a photo together, I will look really different.  As someone who isn't on testosterone, I am interested in how far I can push my body through weightlifting and diet towards better health, but also towards a more masculine appearance.  I know from past experience that my body changes- gender-wise- pretty drastically when I weigh less and am more muscular, ranging from my arms and chest to more subtle signifiers, such as the shape of my jawline.  

My chest surgery left me with dog ears (extra fat/tissue near the edge of the incision) on the sides of my chest, which I have always disliked and had a revision for in 2011, six years after my original surgery.

Revision, 2011

But, as you can see in the 2012 photo of me and my mom, my dog ears are not totally gone, which is due in part to my weight.  So, here's hoping by the time we make another photo together, I will have been able to change my body enough to diminish those dog ears.  Not only do I not want to have another revision, but I actually think it wouldn't do any good without losing weight first. 

Over the years, I have photographed my body whether or not I am happy with it (even pre-surgery), more as a means to understand it than anything else.  Looking back, I am always glad I did, even if I didn't like how I looked at the time.  I am interested to see how continuing to make these photographs with me and my mom plays out in terms of how we each relate to our bodies, and to how they change over the passage of time.  It is no small commitment on the part of my mom, either, and I am grateful she is on board with my sometimes emotionally demanding journey to understand my life and the world around me through my photographs.

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