January 2005, December 2018, September 2019.

That 24 year old was so angry, so bitter at the world he was living in. That photo was taken in the tiny stone house that my mom and I rebuilt. For two years I slept on a futon in her living room while working at Borders as an early morning shelver. I had no prospects for the future, no plans for how I was going to escape, and no hope for ever finding anyone I could love. The next year my mother sold that house and made enough of a profit to buy us both our own mobile homes, allowing me to finally get out on my own and start dating. I met my wife that year.

It’s remarkable the differences visible just in the 10 months between these second and third photos. My waist has changed dramatically, my breasts are larger, my face looks starkly different, and my hair line has moved more forward. I think the difference in my self confidence is also clear as day. In the first year after I came out, wearing any of my old guy shirts was a painfully dysphoric experience. It took a long time before my body changed shape enough to where a large t-shirt didn’t instantly make me look male. These days I can wear anything and still get gendered correctly.

I love this shirt, and sadly it’s no longer possible to get a new one. This was a product tie-in for the old AppleGeeks webcomic, which stopped being produced in 2010. The shirt is super comfortable, and the power emblem glows in the dark. There are other shirts like it out there, but none of them are the same design. This is actually the second one I’ve owned, as the first one that’s in the 2005 photo fell apart in 2008 from over use.