Ahh picture day. Some people love it, others avoid it like the plague. Personally, I never minded picture day. I was usually allowed to wear whatever t shirt I wanted, and I was never forced to wear my hair a certain way. People always told me I had a nice smile, so I enjoyed the compliments when that time came.
I never thought much of picture day, until after I had begun transitioning and realized that my high school senior portraits were obsolete–the girl in those photos didn’t exist anymore. Although I still enjoy the things I posed with in the pictures, like my snowboard, tennis racquet, and dog Lily–I no longer saw myself in those photos.
As I continued on in my transition and my physical appearance grew farther from that of various photos of me around the house, I begun to feel a strange sort of disconnect between myself and those older photos of myself. Baby and toddler pictures of me have never bothered me, since I was too young to understand gender anyways. I only start to dissociate from myself when I see pictures of myself from school. It’s me in those school pictures, but at the same time, it’s not me. It’s a version of me that no longer has a purpose. I imagine my transition similarly to that of an update on my phone or computer. I am Kam, (birth name) 2.0! I am ever evolving and ever growing.
Fast forward to now. I currently work in a school, and we had picture day a few weeks ago. Even though there is no yearbook, they still take pictures so the parents can have them, and they take photos of the staff as well, which I really enjoyed. When it was my turn, I sat down and smiled. I was allowed to see the picture right away, and I was immediately emotional. There I was, short hair, beard and all, with the standard light blue backdrop of a school-age photo. This was a sight I had never before seen. The only school photo I have of myself since I started transitioning is the picture that was taken of me right before I walked the stage at my undergraduate graduation. I was sick that day too, so it’s not my best picture if I do say so myself.
When I received the six copies of my picture a couple weeks later, I was once again overwhelmed with emotion. I finally got to see myself in this light, something I never even considered when I started transitioning. This experience is one of the many positive experiences I have encountered lately, and I am excited to continue sharing these positive things with you all!