Contact Photo

The photo for Katie in my phone was from this moment when we first lived together. I came home and found Katie making dinner, kitchen overwhelmed with dishes everywhere because that’s how she does anything – like a tornado.  She looked at me, grabbed the baguette and mimicked playing air guitar. Our kitchen in that apartment was tiny, barely enough space for two people. In the shape of a perfect square, the fake-wood cabinets and beige walls were the only “typical” space in an apartment where every room had quizzical 70-degree angles and wall outlets never conveniently placed. The apartment sat in the corner of a large complex, providing very little natural light, making the short 7.5 hour days of winter even gloomier.  It wasn’t our favorite. The space never felt quite right even with large attempts to organize and create space where it didn’t exist.

The photo is of Katie in her male body playing that baguette. She’s wearing a shirt with the Banksy baseball player throwing an Angry Bird. Her short, almost-buzzed hair and clean-shaven face mimic the face we all think musicians make when they are focused. I can’t imagine the entire event, me coming home and her playing the baguette, lasted more than 10 seconds, but somehow I managed to capture a photo of it. I love the photo because it represents the whimsy I love about Katie. She has this unique way of looking at the world that brings me out of my own head and reminds me to enjoy the little things.

I know I’ve talked about photos quite a bit on this blog. This photo, the one that greeted me every time Katie texts or calls, the icon that I look at on Find My Friends to figure out if Katie is close to home, this photo means a lot to me. I’ve told myself since Katie came out that the person in the photo is the same because they are. This photo is of Katie. I’ve asked Katie a few times if this photo is okay with her as I haven’t wanted to make her uncomfortable. She’s always been fine with it.

Today, for whatever reason, it felt like time to let the photo go. I updated it to a more recent one, one that reflects the vision Katie has for herself inside. The journey I have taken to get to this point feels so complicated and overwhelming sometimes. The photos are a reminder of the person I was married to who lived a life in 2D. Yet, over the past almost-two years, I’ve watched my life fill with memories shared with a person living her life in 3D. It is truly humbling to be part of, even with the sadness that sometimes accompanies it.

7 thoughts on “Contact Photo

  1. Kim

    I have had a terrible time with photos pre transition. For me, it represented a time when the rhythm of our life seemed more “normal”….even if just for me. I have taken photos down and put them away….I have cried over them….etc etc I am 5 years into the process with my trans spouse and am in a very good place. The road has been hard and the pain of letting go of what was and embracing what is….is sometimes a difficult and painful thing to do. You got there way quicker than I did and you inspire me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jessica Denardo

    My almost 4 year old son found my stash of photo books the other day. Every single picture of my wife is from pre-transition. All our baby books, wedding album, and all other family events. After he finished looking at them, I hid them away, realizing that I need to create new photo albums of the kids as babies that don’t include her so that she isn’t uncomfortable each time the kids want to look at themselves from when they were so cute and tiny. I look the moments that the pictures represent but putting the photos away doesn’t erase the memory of the event. I can still keep that and treasure that. This spring we had family photos taken and I need to create a new book celebrating the family we are now.

    Thank you for continuing to share your journey. It helps me feel connected to others on this journey as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. FABULOUSCONNIEDEE

    The last pic of the old me that my wife kept up (but never bothered to put in a frame) was one that a friend had taken when I was living an 85% female/ 15% male existence. It shows me on a stage as the lead male vocalist of a band I was in. It was the last gig, by the way, that I performed in that capacity. Through some finagling, on my part, the band accepted a job for a benefit called “Cross Dress for Success.” We were so well received that all the following shows we did were with me as the female vocalist. (It’s the reason for the “FABULOUSCONNIEDEE” moniker, and the “fabulous’ part is only because there is another woman singer who goes by Connie Dee – my ego is not THAT big, really :-).

    Anyway, after a couple of years, I just noticed one day that the picture was no longer there. When I asked about it, my wife told me that her mourning for that man was over, and that it was time to move on with life as it had become. I have always been aware that this is not only my transition. Although it was my decision to transition, as I had reached a point where I could see no other choice, I knew that I was, simultaneously, responsible for helping others around me to transition, as well – my wife’s being the most important one. My daughters are each in there own places in transitioning to having a woman as their father, as are their children. Our grandchildren will often go to our wedding album, which has had its place on the shelf for 47 years, but I think – from all the giggling I hear from them – they just think it’s funny that we were ever that young at all. My mustache and 70’s mutton chop sideburns are really quite hilarious, too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. FABULOUSCONNIEDEE

        I was inspired to tell it after reading your beautiful story! BTW, I was not making a focused musician’s face in my photo, but I can see the joy in my eyes, as I was engaging in the only thing that kept me sane through those pre-transition years. Even so, I am much happier with my new, more feminine musician’s face. 😉 My wife stuck with me, even after making her a musician’s widow, so maybe that conditioned her for this gender transition challenge.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This resonates with me. My aunt who I love dearly took our wedding photos, and passed away from cancer about a year later. Until then I’d planned and felt excited that she could take new photos of us (perhaps a vow renewal) that could be as special as our wedding photos. Now that my aunt has passed, I have a really hard time with the wedding photos. I love the pictures and they’re so special to me, but they don’t represent my wife anymore. She’s the same person yes, but she’s grown into herself in such a true, authentic way that it feels wrong to use pictures from back then. So they’re incredibly bittersweet – I love the memories of the day and the sentimental attachment I have to the photos. But they aren’t representative of the woman I’m now married to. I don’t really have a solution, it’s just hard. My heart goes to you and your wife, and thank you for sharing your journey (I’ve been following for a while).

    Liked by 1 person

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