Yesterday I finally did what I both have had an intense fear of, and a lifelong desire to do. I finally got the courage to go out to dinner and a move in “girl” mode (okay, not really a movie. More on that later.)
I have to say I was surprised.
I’ve spent much of my entire life with deep fears about what might happen if I were to show “the world” the real me, deep fears about my ability to “pass”, and fears of the unknown. I say I was surprised because what I found out was that the world just doesn’t care that much (in a good way).
It started last week when I went to a local trans support group and got a few compliments about my androgynous look (which I took as a huge compliment). I haven’t started HRT (Estrogen), so I’m not full time or anything like that. I picked out my favorite light blue sweatshirt, and nicest jeans, and put my hair back and swept my bangs to the side and pinned them there. At the meeting I wasn’t wearing any makeup or anything, but it all did soften my face a bit I guess.
I was so inspired by the compliment that I finally decided this weekend I would go for something that’s closer to “me”. I wore the same light blue sweatshirt, and same pants, but this time I worked on my hair longer and tried to make it nice and clean, swept the front bangs across, and put on foundation, clear mascara, and lip gloss. I definitely felt cute! It was some of my nicest “boy” clothes, with a little of a “girly” look I guess.
So we went out, my wife, sister and I. First to dinner, and then to hear Michael Pollan speak here in Seattle.
We walked into the restaurant we wanted to go to, but it was full. I was standing there feeling a little nervous, but soon realized that nobody was staring at me. People did look up when we walked in, but then went right back to their dinner. Well, one girl was looking over at us, but she looked a little bored with her dinner date to be honest and was probably just noticing the door open and people walk in as a distraction from her date.
Anyway, we went to another place (Pizza) and same thing. They sat us down and people just saw us come in, then didn’t really give us any special attention. I was amazed at how easy it was. Here I had visions of people pointing and laughing, or throwing their food at us, or getting drug out to some back alley etc etc etc. You know the story when your mind races and comes up with fake fantasies. Some of you reading this probably have had your mind race over these same issues. It’s silliness.
I paid with my credit card (boy name on it) and the waitress said nothing. She clearly didn’t care she just wanted a tip. Maybe she wasn’t even paying attention. And we were off.
On our way into the parking garage at Benaroya Hall I stopped at the gate and handed the attendant our $11. He was standing above the car and couldn’t really see my face or hair. Seeing just my arm and chest (which is basically flat) he said “thank you sir”, but as he leaned over to hand me my change he saw my face and said, “oh, thank you maam. Sorry about that.” It was all very genuine – I don’t think he was just flattering me or anything – just reacting naturally. It was a nice moment.
Anyway, we sat in one of the boxes during the event so we had a good view of the audience. It felt very good to be surrounded by well over a thousand people, and yet feel like I blended in. It wasn’t weird at all (except weirdness I myself was experiencing by everyone’s non-reaction). We had a really nice night. We even rode very crowded elevators three times, and I think maybe a couple or three people looked twice at me – but they didn’t really “care” either you know.
I just want to post this because first off I’m really proud of myself (and grateful to those who gave me a little encouragement like Jerica and others at the meeting), but also to serve as a source of courage to others.
I discovered that other people don’t live in my head (which until now was swirling with all kinds of fears), they aren’t thinking about me, and even if they notice me they don’t really care if I’m androgynous or femmy looking. People have their dinner, or their movie, or their life they are attending to after all.
I am eternally grateful to my local trans support group peers for inadvertently helping inspire me to take this step. And to my sister who gave me courage by telling me I looked cute and going out with us. And especially to my wife, who I know doesn’t want to see her “man” become a woman, but who shared this memorable night with me in grace, and support.