Jazz Jennings

As A Trans Teen, My Body Has Never Defined Me Before. So Why Should It Now?

I missed baking cookies and snacking on cheese, but the scale was moving. Yet I wasn’t happy.

I hate scales ... but I'm addicted to them. But not as much as I'm addicted to eating, and therein lies the problem. 

A couple of weeks ago, I stepped on my scale and was totally horrified to see a three-digit number that couldn't possibly be correct. I stepped off, stepped back on, shook it, and tried again -- yet the number stayed the same. I peed and tried again. Yay! I'd lost .2 pounds, but I was still in an unwelcome number zone and decided it was time for a change. 

My dad suggested jogging (no way) and a new diet that he'd been successful with. With some yummy shakes, vitamins, cleansing juices, and healthy low-calorie foods, you're trim again in no time. It sounded too easy to be true, so I explained to him, "Dad, I think you forget that I'm trans. I'm on a testosterone blocker and estrogen. No offense, but what works for a middle-aged guy like you may not work for a teenager on hormone replacement therapy."*

*Side note for those of you not familiar with hormone replacement therapy (HRT): I'm on the same medication as my 75-year-old grandmother. Her boobs grew a whole cup size, she added a few pounds to her tiny stick body, and she's acting like a PM-esy adolescent.

I continued, "I know I'm not fat, but the estrogen makes me so hungry and bloated, and I've noticed some extra meat around my belly."

Dad, of course, says, "Well, I think you are beautiful just the way you are, but if you want to trim down a little, your mom had success with my diet, and she's full of estrogen, too."  

I replied, "I'm not happy. I can't stand the way I look on TV. [It's true: TV adds pounds, so if you're not a stick, it can be a nightmare.] It's depressing [fake tears]. It's not fair -- I'm taking estrogen for boobs, not this [me poking my belly]." 

So I decided to give the shaky juicy diet a whirl. On the first day, my dad hands me this brown liquid that tastes like a combination of cat piss and fish guts. Not that I've ever eaten either of those delicacies, but that's what I imagine they'd taste like. I held my nose and downed the shot glass filled with the juicy goop, and I was wrong. It didn't taste like piss guts, it was far worse. Gross. I gagged and threw up in my mouth. My father felt bad and suggested that I should forgo the cleansing day and skip over to the shake portion of the diet. The shakes were yummy and a major improvement over piss guts, but I was starving. I was allowed to drink two shakes a day, and even with the bonus healthy low-calorie dinner every night, I was feeling my food withdrawal big time. But I was determined, so even with the hunger pains and constant tummy growling, I continued on. 

After four days, I was miserable. I felt like I lost my best friend. Food was my buddy, my salvation. I missed baking cookies and snacking on cheese, but the scale was moving. Yet I wasn’t happy. A week later, I was a mess. Breaking up with food was terrible. Yes, I was thinner, only to realize that weight wasn’t worth the deprivation I was feeling. Plus, this obsession with the numbers on my scale was all wrong. As a trans girl, I’ve always prided myself on celebrating who I am on the inside, not on what package my soul was wrapped in. My body never defined me, so why should it now? 

Jazz Jennings

I’ve always said that life is not all about outward beauty, because true beauty comes from within. So why should I worry about what I look like on the outside? I won’t lie, I love to see the scale go down, but at what price? I know it’s important to be healthy, but then again, mental health is important too.

I found myself at a crossroads -- and decided to let go. I put down my shake, waved good-bye to the piss guts, threw my scale in the garbage, embraced my jelly belly, and remembered I’ve got to love who I am. I’m trans, I’m proud, I love to eat and celebrate life. That’s who I am, and that -- along with my cats (couldn't leave them out of the story) -- makes me feel good. Maybe I’ll never get rid of all of those extra pounds, but at least I’ll be happy, I’ll be free, and all of that is what makes me ... me. (Hey, that rhymes.)

Jazz Jennings

Now, where’s my cookie recipe?

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