nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 2:09

Being a transwoman: my journey so far - an open conversation with you

I am also a pre op transwoman, which makes life interesting to say the least. A friend of mine, Deborah asked me to join this app, thinking that it would be a cool way to carry on talking about my experience, which I do in the hopes of normalizing it. I truly believe that if people understand us better, that people become more accepting, so I do whatever I can to try and answer any questions that people might have regarding the trans experience

#motherhood #transgendee #transgirl #tattooartist #tattooart #photograoher

Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:28

Terence strikes a pose 🥸

Kids make you watch the darndest things. I guess the stick of me is a pretty good thing to watch. Actually, I laughed. I can't remember all of it, but I remember laughing. Hello. Hello. Hello. So happy that we are going to just be in this conversation along with everyone who joins. I'm so happy to be able to talk with you. Okay. For those of you who are just meeting Nicole, I met Nicole
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 3:36

A more indepth introduction 😊 @DBPardes

So while I may have looked very impressive, I was pretty broken. At that stage. I had formed a very unhealthy connection to alcohol under the guise of being my job, a friend of mine and I had started a drinking game business. We went from bar to bar holding drinking game events, and I had told people that in order to create a vibe and an atmosphere, I would have to drink so that other people would join in
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:41

Oh the body !!

It's amazing how we can abuse our bodies, and they seem to just stick around. In your case, what you describe is extreme sport, really between the alcohol and the alcohol and the alcohol and the steroids and more alcohol and then staying up all night and then having that lifestyle and your ability to sustain that is amazing. It begs the question of what is the body in that moment of your life? Is your body just this car that you're driving?
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 3:38

It took me hitting rock bottom to know which way was up

It's amazing that you put it like that. And it's so true. And it's so funny because the first thing I thought of when you say it like that was, you know, when you go hire a car, people tend. I know I used to adopt the methodology of go mental in the rental, basically stating that it's a rental car and they're meant to be abused. I know they're not meant to, but that was kind of the thought process that I had
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:56

From a to b to being

And if not, I apologize for asking about something that might not be true, but something along the lines of a person or a circumstance that lifted you to the bank, like from A to B, because right now, you just gave us A and take us to B, and was that a person or a situation
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 4:19

Never apologize for asking a question ☺️

And sadly, I look at my life before where I am now, and I think in comparison to where I am now, it is pretty doom and gloom. It is pretty sad, but I promise you, the story definitely gets better. I went to this party and I dressed up as myself for the first time with someone knowing that it was me and with myself knowing it was me. And I had sent my mom a photo of myself dressed up and in jest
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:43

Telling your story to those closest to you

And then ultimately, I'd love to hear when you opened up to Larry, I know that story from Larry's side, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what the build up for that and how that was for you. There's so much backstory to that, too. But I'll leave it to you to kind of weave those narratives separately, together or separately. It's really up to you that's the beauty of this conversation is just take it away
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 4:07

Insert Katelyn here

I had fallen into this mentality that I was gonna be alone forever. Straight guys wouldn't want me because I had a p****. Gay guys wouldn't want me because I identified as female. Straight girls wouldn't want me because I identified as female and gay Eagles wouldn't want me because I had a p****. Although I jumped a gun
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 4:13

Dealing is loving

I know it might be painful for you, but I want to know what that was like to have friends that weren't able to hold space for you, because in your telling will be more of the healing for everybody who's experienced that. So I would love to know more about that time if you'd be so generous to tell us
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 3:28

A little compassion goes a long way

But just to touch base on this, I think it's important that to have the compassion, something about me may be triggering something inside them, some sort of insecurity or some sort of memory, and it would be unfair of me to attack them back for that, because I don't know where they're coming from, and I don't know what it is about me that's triggering them. Yes, it's not fair. And yes, it's not how they should be going about it
Swell Team
@Swell · 0:15

Welcome to Swell!

nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 4:34

Losing everything can be so hard

My entire world had collapsed by that point, because my friend, my support structure, my business, my home, everything was taken away. I was lucky to still have family that I could move in with being my mom and my stepdad. However, they weren't my support. My friends were my support, and that was all taken away from me. And this is why the first year of transition is so dangerous difficult
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:35

The body / the decisions / health going forward

I know it's not easy, but this is the power of storytelling, especially when it comes to understanding marginalized communities that don't have allowed pulpit, allowed voice to help people see all sides. This is such an important sort of offering to the world I want to ask you about, not things that keep you up at night because we all have things that keep us up at night. I don't want to assume anything, but I want to go to your physical health right now
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 3:27

Fit as a fiddle

I think this is a great question in regards to the health and the risks that are taken. When I did go through all my therapy, my therapist definitely prepared me for the health complications that could happen. Being on estrogen and progesterone at the same time exponentially increases my chances of getting clots, so I have to basically live on a blood thinner just to make sure that I prevent that. I also have a higher risk of developing cancer
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 3:15

Mental shmental wellness

And I want to talk about the mental health now that we've gone through the physical health, the mental health uptake and the mental health upkeep, there's a reason why I really wanted to dig in with you, Nicole, to really open up a conversation to the instability that we all sort of traverse in terms of what is mental wellness. What are we looking for to say? I'm mentally?
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 4:33

The beginning

So again, my first, I think piece of advice with regards to this, especially if you're transitioning and I mean just in life in general. But once you're going through transition, you kind of experience more hate and more loss than the average person probably ever will. And based around you just wanting to be yourself. So it's not like you've gone and done anything malicious
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 4:29

Part 2

I can wear makeup, I can do my hair, I can dress femininely, I can lift my voice so that I sound like this so that I get misgendered less often. But ultimately, how I am perceived by someone else has nothing to do with me. I can sway their decision slightly, but at the end of the day, it's on them
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 4:17

Part 3

So I try and deal with all the hatred that I get through the different social media platforms in person. I try to deal with a little bit of empathy if someone is lashing out of me for absolutely no reason. I don't believe that people are inherently mean or inherently bad. I believe that that person must be going through something or has experienced something and something about me is triggering that
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 4:40

End 😊

And as for my state of mind and the cutting leading up to where I am now, I eventually started tattooing myself. Instead of cutting myself. I went and bought my own little tattoo equipment. I had a friend who was helping me learn, and I started tattooing myself instead of catching myself because it was the same kind of brush. It was the same kind of feeling. And I don't think I'm the only one who does this

a Shamans Appreciation of You. We Love you.

And I think by taking this step to join Swell and create this space and speak in this space, you're taking a step forward out of bravery and courage and out of love out of who you really are. And I commend you for that. And I look forward to listening on your many other swells that talk on the complexity and the intersectionality of your identity, especially as a mother. I think that's a beautiful thing. You are beautiful, and your relationship with Caitlin is beautiful
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 0:53

Thank you 😊

Thank you so much for your comments, Aaron. I really do appreciate it. I think that's the nicest thing about this platform is that people are able to tell their stories without judgment based on how we look. As a trans woman myself. I obviously struggle with my appearance sometimes, and I feel that people don't often give me the time of day to speak about things that need to be spoken about because I don't fit a certain aesthetic mold
Dewuan .
@FryedOreo · 0:58

So cool to have you here! @Nicole_louw_

A crazy story, but a story that is you none the less. And I look forward to hearing more of your stories. So, yeah, welcome to Swell. And hopefully you enjoy this experience
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 0:56

Legal name change @bowie

I want to link something that's happening right now on Swell Celebration of Bowie, who legally changed her name. And it's just so exciting. And I want to ask you about your legal name change. Did you do it officially in South Africa? And if so, what was that process like
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 0:51

Thank you 😊

But I do feel that the conversations that are being had and all the ones I've listened to so far from various different creators, are important conversations that need to be had. So I think this platform is important, and I think what everybody is saying is important, and I love it. I love that I get to experience it through all of you and find people who perhaps perceive this reality that we live in the same way. It's amazing. So thank you for replying
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 3:01

My name change was less then a stellar experience but I got it done

And I was told that I needed to drop my pants to prove that I was a woman. Otherwise he would not file my paperwork. So naturally I left. I then tried again about a year later, but in a different province, and they were very nice. But I didn't do my gender and my name. I just did my name because I was advised that our home affairs would lose the documents or would mess up somewhere if I tried to change too much at the same time
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:59

Morning thoughts

I don't know. In what universe that's okay. In a public setting where he only did it to be aggressive. I'm assuming it's a he could be a she. I'm sorry, or they. I don't know. But anyway, this person, I'm sure it wasn't a day because that's impossible to be that disgusting and have had journey like that. So that's not possible. Anyway, God, here you are in your glory, sharing your story
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 3:40

One coffee down. And still bumbling my words

And it's so funny because every time I release some sort of publication or some sort of podcast or some sort of anything on someone else's platform, I always get this pit of anxiety in the bottom of my stomach because I have created this beautiful little safe space around me where I know people accept and love me
Deborah Pardes
@DBPardes · 1:43

Confidence in living out loud

But continuing this thread just because you're featured here and we're focusing on you, I want to talk about the idea of agency, the ability to express yourself and to go and be in who you are. And you mentioned podcasts, and you mentioned the anxiety around that. Can you talk a little bit about how you have evolved from being who you were to who you are in terms of articulating your truth? Because I think for a lot of people, it's very inspiring
nicole louw
@Nicole_louw_ · 3:16

It's always been to help people

I think I started first of all, Hi, thank you for you response. When I came out initially, I struggled to find any representative, which I've gone through before, and I think I started doing a YouTube channel as a way of diaries in my transition and basically just venting what was on my brain at the time, and I think it slowly evolved into a point where I believe that representation is so important