This happens to the best of us: we open a browser or slide into a transgender dating app, and everyone’s photo starts to look the same. All of the sudden they seem more two-dimensional, even if you’re trying to read your profile, giving people a chance. At some point, it’s easy to forget that behind every computer and phone is a real person, with hopes, dreams and fears. Many of them are looking for a real you: someone to share your life with. Maybe they’re looking for you.
But is wasn’t always my first reaction when I saw another picture of someone holding a freshly caught fish. Was he trying to prove that he could catch hie own food? Is he sending a message that he’s looking for prey? Instead, I didn’t see anyone at all, and my eyes began to glaze over. Then I knew it was time to take a break.
In those moments, I leave the computer, or put down my phone and take a deep breath. I recommended what my therapist had told me about slowly holding my breath, looking around, really noticing where I was, feeling the ground under my feet, maybe noticing the clothes I was wearing, or the chair I was sitting on. I went back to my body instead of living in the world of online trans dating.
Interestingly, I often find it difficult to focus on others when I can’t fully express my humanity. When I only have one second to refocus, it’s usually easier for me to look back at past photos and try to sort out the life behind them. I began to see possibilities.
If you have trouble with blurry photos and profiles, start with yourself. Make sure you treat yourself like a person. TS dating may be a priority, it may be a concern, but it shouldn’t be a cause of stress. Take care of your physical and mental health. If you start feeling anxious, walk away for a while. Everything will be all right when you come back.
Why not slow down when it comes to other people? Spend some time on your profile, like you do when you have coffee with someone (or speed trans dating?). Read through who they are. Remind yourself that no matter how different they may seem, they have one major thing in common with you: they are on a trans date online. You may not be the one, but they want to find the one, just like you. At the very least, they deserve your consideration and respect, even if you choose not to interact with them. I get into the habit of spending a lot of time looking at my profile. You deserve to be loved and belong.