+
upworthy
More

This woman's transition journey is redefining what it means to be beautiful.

True
Maybelline New York Beauty & Beyond

There's nothing more beautiful than being your truest, most authentic self. For Tamara Dodds, getting there was a long journey.

While she was assigned "male" at birth, Tamara knew early on that she just didn't fit in.

"I've always struggled with the idea that I had a feminine side," she says.


"I think it was grade seven when I finally decided that I was going to try putting lipstick on," she says. "So I did and I nearly cried because I loved it."

Since she didn't feel like she could express who she truly was yet, Tamara says she closed herself off from others. She hunched. She didn't talk to people. She forced herself into a stereotypical gender role that wasn't right for her.

Tamara Dodds. All photos via Maybelline.

This went on for 25 years.

"I did a photo shoot with a friend and I realized that the biggest difference is that I was smiling as a girl and as a guy I was just kind of forcing it." Tamara says. "I was never really happy."

Not being able to be open about who she was for over two decades took its toll on Tamara. And, unfortunately her experience is far from unique.

Despite the progress the transgender community has made in the past several decades, coming out is still an incredibly difficult proposition. According to recent research, trans people in America face a disproportionate amount of violence and discrimination.  Staying silent about one's gender identity, however, also comes with the risk of many negative outcomes, including emotional distress and self-harm.

For many, this means a choice of hiding who they are or risking backlash from those who don't understand.

"There is a stigma on being trans," Tamara says. "There is absolutely a fear associated with coming out. "You're worried about losing people that you care about."

"It makes me sad she was in such pain," says Monica Prata, the gender consultant who worked with Tamara on refining her femininity.

"The number of trans people who contemplate suicide is incredibly high. It's a byproduct of feeling like you're not accepted for you are. You can't share who you are with the world."

However, when Tamara made the choice to live out loud, she discovered something important: She felt truly beautiful.

Society's standards of beauty are incredibly narrow. Turn on a television, pick up a magazine, and you'll see the same types of faces and bodies staring back at you. So what do you do when you feel like yours doesn't fit?

For Tamara, coming out allowed her to discover who she is inside, and that person is radiant. Part of that was figuring out what makeup and attire helped her be as feminine on the outside as she felt on the inside.

"I started to realize that as a woman I was coming out of my shell and I was communicating with people," she says. "Isn't that how life is supposed to be lived?"

"I wanted to stop hiding."

"It's not putting on a dress or putting on heels that make you a woman, it's how you feel wearing those things that makes you who you are," Tamara says. "I am a woman. There is no doubt about that. I've always been one.  It's that I needed to unlock it. "

"You have an image in your head of what you want to look like...to meet that expectation is incredibly emotional because you never actually expect to meet the expectation."

Tamara is standing up for what's truly important. And she's helping others find their true selves, too.

She's not just being true to herself by being open about who she is. She's making a statement that transcends society's idea of what a woman "should" be, because being a woman isn't about what you wear or how you fix your hair. It's about strength, courage, and the knowledge that no matter who you are, you deserve to be treated with kindness, love, and respect.

"Being a woman to me is being unafraid of what people think, unafraid of how people will treat you," Tamara says.  Every trans person deserves to be loved because we're all in this together."

"I hope that anybody struggling with what I struggled with just decides to be yourself," she adds. "And never give up on your dreams because they're possible. They're absolutely possible."

"I'm here right now. I didn't think that was gonna happen. But it did."

To learn more about Tamara's story, check out the video below:

"The Carol Burnett Show" had one of the funniest outtakes in TV history.

"The Carol Burnett Show" ran from 1967 to 1978 and has been touted as one of the best television series of all time. The cast and guest stars of the show included comedic greats such as Tim Conway, Betty White, Steve Martin, Vicki Lawrence, Dick Van Dyke, Lyle Waggoner, Harvey Korman and others who went on to have long, successful comedy careers.

One firm rule Carol Burnett had on her show was that the actors stay in character. She felt it was especially important not to break character during the "Family" scenes, in which the characters Ed and Eunice Higgins (a married couple) and Mama (Eunice's mother) would play host to various colorful characters in their home.

"I never wanted to stop and do a retake, because I like our show to be ‘live,’" she wrote in her memoir, as reported by Showbiz Cheat Sheet. "So when the ‘Family’ sketches came along, I was adamant that we never break up in those scenes, because Eunice, Ed, and Mama were, in an odd way, sacred to me. They were real people in real situations, some of which were as sad and pitiful as they were funny, and I didn’t want any of us to break the fourth wall and be out of character.”

It was a noble goal, and one that went right out the window—with Burnett leading the way—in a "Family" sketch during the show's final season that ended with the entire cast rolling with laughter.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

More parents are taking 'teen-ternity leave' from work to support their teenage kids

Parenting through the teen years takes a lot more time and energy than people expect.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Raising kids through adolescence is not for the faint of heart.

When you have a baby, it's expected that you'll take some maternity or paternity leave from work. When you have a teen, it's expected that you'll be in the peak of your career, but some parents are finding the need to take a "teen-ternity leave" from work to support their adolescent kids.

It's a flip from what has become the traditional trajectory for modern parents. Despite the fact that the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world to not have mandated paid parental leave, most parents take at least some time off when a baby is born to recover physically from pregnancy and birth and to settle into life with their tiny new human. Many parents then opt to have one parent stay home full-time during their children's younger years, as full-time childcare is often cost prohibitive, and raising babies and toddlers requires an enormous amount of time, attention and energy.

Parents often return to work when their kids are in school full-time, and many feel a bit of a respite from the relentlessness of parenting as their kids become more independent and capable of doing things on their own. It's not that older kids don't need their parents, but their needs are different. Physical parenting gives way to more complex emotional parenting as kids get older, and for a while, those emotional challenges are somewhat simple.

Then the tween years come along. Then the teens. And for some parents, a realization hits that parenting kids through puberty takes almost as much time, attention and energy, as toddlers do. Only now, those needs are much more complicated and consequential.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gen Xer shares some timeless advice for Gen Z.

Meghan Smith is the owner of Melody Note Vintage store in the eternally hip town of Palm Springs, California, and her old-school Gen X advice has really connected with younger people on TikTok.

In a video posted in December 2022, she shares the advice she wishes that “somebody told me in my twenties” and it has received more than 13 million views. Smith says that she gave the same advice to her partner's two daughters when they reached their twenties.

The video is hashtagged #GenX advice for #GenZ and late #millennials. Sorry older millennials, you’re too old to receive these pearls of wisdom.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

People are debating the merits of a 24-hour daycare and the discussion is eye-opening

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the need for this.

StableDiffusion

Are 24-hour daycares a good idea?

Millions of American parents utilize daycare centers while they work. Since most people work during the day, most daycare center hours fall somewhere between 7:30am and 5:30pm. It's rare to find a daycare that's open after normal working hours.

But one "24-hour" daycare in Houston captured people's attention—and sparked a debate—when a mom posted about it on TikTok.

Adventure Kids Playcare in Houston isn't actually open 24 hours a day but it does offer childcare up to 10:00pm during the week and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. In the video, the mom drops her daughter off and we hear the employee tell her they close at midnight. The mom later says she picked her daughter up at 11:55pm.

Reactions to the video rand the gamut from "24-hour daycares are a brilliant idea for parents who work odd shifts" to "Moms shouldn't be leaving their kids at a daycare late at night just so they can go out," sparking a fascinating and eye-opening discussion.

Keep ReadingShow less

A dad is looking for a little more respect at home.

The title of dad or father is a sweet and respectful way to acknowledge a child's special bond with their male parent. It signifies love and respect and shows appreciation for his role in their life. But the title works both ways. The term dad reminds fathers of the responsibility to guide and protect their kids.

The importance of the unique role dads play in their kids’ lives is why a father named Steve was upset with his wife for repeatedly using his first name when referring to him with their preteen children.

The father vented about the situation and asked if he was wrong in a Reddit post with over 10,000 responses.

“My wife recently started using my first name when referring to me to our preteen kids, as in ‘Steve's gonna pick you up from school tomorrow,’” the father wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum. “I asked her not to when I first heard it, saying I don't really like when you use my first name to the kids. Can you say ‘your dad’ or ‘dad’?”

Keep ReadingShow less

Husband's portrait of wife is so bad that she nearly stops breathing

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what if what your eyes behold is objectively...not good? In what appears to be a creative way to spend quality time together for a married couple, things go hilariously wrong. Ted Slaughter, uploaded a video to his TikTok page of an activity he and his wife did together.

Slaughter's wife seems to be holding the phone so you can clearly see what appears to be a painting of Slaughter, who is sitting at the other end of the table in front of an easel. The text overlay on the video says, "husband and wife paint portraits of each other (gone wrong). But what could possibly be wrong, sure his wife's attempt isn't art gallery ready just yet but it's not bad.

Based on the critiques the man had of his wife's painting, surely his looks much closer to professional level work. Right?...Right?

Keep ReadingShow less