Three years ago - on 9 December 2008 - Lucy Melford made her first public appearance. An awful lot has happened to me since then, nearly all of it irreversable. So when contemplating a post to mark this three-year stage in my personal development, I expected to find plenty of photos in the archives that would show how much I've changed. I'm talking about face shots of course, the bit of me that would most clearly show the before-and-after effect of feminisation.
But in fact I didn't find many shots suitable for comparison. For one thing, until well into 2008, close up shots of my head were few. Besides that, the expressions on my face then were mostly unlike the expressions you'll see now. However, here are four quite well-matched pictures from October 2008 and December 2011, with a fifth from September 2005:
By October 2008 I'd been on a serious diet for four months, and my face was much thinner than it had been during most of the 2000s. The shot from 2005 is more typical of how I looked before transition began.
In the 2011 shots I'm wearing no makeup except mascara and lipstick. The lighting is natural daylight in all five pictures, although the 2005 and 2008 shots were not by a garden window but out on sea shores. Obviously you have to ignore the different hair and different clothes.
You know, I don't see any startling changes! There's been a general softening of the skin, the eyes are open wider, and the mouth has slightly changed shape (it's all that speaking and smiling practice!). The cheeks and neck have altered in a feminine direction, the beard shadow has gone, and the eyebrows have been thinned out to the point of non-existence. Generally the face has become more rounded compared to 2008, but is much the same as it was in 2005.
And that's about it.
I think that you'd definitely say that my feminisation has come a long way in the past three years, and that the male look is much subdued, but surely I must still be highly recognisable to anyone who knew me before transition began. It's a salutory illustration that you mustn't expect a quick and fundamental transformation when going onto hormone treatment!
Of course, the years ahead will see an ongoing development in skin texture, and more shifting of flesh about the face. But the smoothing-out and reshaping process will have to contend with the drooping and sagging effects of gravity on aging tissue. Oh well. At least that will look natural.