As we approach the end of the year, I feel like doing a recap of my favorite photos from 2019. Some of these never made it to social media.

Where 2018 was a year of coming into myself as a woman and learning to love my body, 2019 was a year of personal growth and learning to express myself. With the success of my Instagram account, I felt driven to push myself stylistically and creatively to really make use of my wardrobe in new and creative ways.

At the same time, this year I finally felt comfortable enough in my transition that I was able to ease off of my performativity and start dressing more casually. I no longer felt like I had to wear makeup every time I left the house in order to be gendered correctly. When I did wear makeup, I didn’t need as much of it to be happy with how I looked. After two years of never wearing unisex t-shirts, I discovered that not only did they no longer make me feel dysphoric, they were actually validating, as the shape of my body has become so clearly feminine.

2019 was also the year where I really began to feel my own sex appeal and appreciation for just how curvy my body has become. It’s so strange to go from 25 years of feeling ugly and undesirable to now actually being a little bit hot. To having people notice me, and be attracted to me, and show interest in me romantically and sexually. It is both invigorating and validating, while also a little bit frightening at the same time.

At the start of the year the changes in my body caused me to have to give away nearly half of the clothes I had bought in the first year and a half. They were all much too large on me. Thanks to gifts from family and friends, I had the opportunity to refill my wardrobe with new dresses that I positively adored. Additionally, I lost a full band size and gained four cup sizes, forcing me to replace all my bras, twice.

I enhanced my makeup skills considerably over the year. Practice and patience, honing my understanding of how to blend color to achieve the looks I wanted for the shape of my face.

It was a year of family! My realization that my daughter is struggling with the same ADHD issues as myself helped me to understand her so much more, and gave me what I needed to steel myself for her hardships. We made efforts to get out as a family more, and I felt much more engaged during this outings than I used to be. My wife and I, now well past the struggles of my transition, have spent the year learning how to bond with each other again and rebuilding our relationship anew. We also took in two cats from a rescue agency, and they have enriched our household in ways we never anticipated.

Finally, it was a year of much emotion, both good and bad. A year of goofy faces, dancing feet, angry screaming, and bitter tears. I experienced my first major case of misogynistic abuse, an event that left me angered and in shock. I had numerous moments of intense euphoria, episodes of deep pain & grief, and also times of contentment and relief. I also learned many skills to help me manage those feelings.

What will come for the year of 2020? Hopefully more healing, more growth, and new connections. I have made a lot of new friends this year, and I hope to make even more in the year to come. Unfortunately, it will also be a year of physical struggle. As much as I love my fat body and adore these curves, it’s simply not safe for me to pursue major surgery at my current level of health.

So, 2020 will bring a new focus on exercise and eating better. Not dieting, because diets aren’t actually healthy. Simply a focused change of my lifestyle. Hopefully, come 2021, I will be in a much better place to pursue the things I need to complete my own journey towards peace.