So I wrote a blog post earlier this week about my latest outings. Whilst out and about I was struck at how far I have come in the 14 or so months since I first unleashed Daniella on an unsuspecting world (or is that the other way round). Please pardon me whilst I now bore you with a few hundred words of self-reflection.
Firstly I think I am so much more confident now than I was in July 2014. I am more confident in male mode but significantly more confident in female mode now. I remember my first time out. I was terrified. Every step was a step into the unknown and I did not have a clue as to how I looked, how I should behave or pretty much anything. I was terrified of talking and didn’t know whether I should try to mask my voice or just brazen it out. I felt vulnerable scared and unable to defend myself.
After 14 months of trouble-free outings I still have a healthy regard for safety and try not to take too many chances but I feel much more confident. I have a plan regarding my voice: I now speak normally and without fear when in ‘safe’ environments, that is when in trans friendly establishments and when with a group of friends; when in the ‘vanilla’ world I talk quietly and softly so as not to draw attention to myself and when interacting with other people (waiters, sales staff etc) I use as soft a voice as I can to try to limit their discomfort. I am not really expecting to ‘pass’ or ‘fool’ them here but I do want to try to limit the ‘cognitive dissonance’ they may experience as this should make the interaction easier for both of us,
I feel much more confident when out and about now and feel able to conduct myself well in the ‘vanilla’ world. I have shopped, interacted with sales staff and waiters, used fitting rooms, bought clothes and jewelry and pretty much gone about my day’s activities as pretty much any woman would. I still have some discomfort when it comes to using public toilets. I prefer to use ‘gender neutral’ facilities or if I must a ladies’ room that is relatively quiet. This is done to reduce the chance of upsetting other people (I believe I have a right to use the facility but I also realise not everyone shares this view and I am not sure provoking conflict will do the transgender cause any good right now). The quieter the facility the less chance of being caught in a queue and having to make conversation which would result in being ‘outed’ and thus resulting in conflict. For that reason I find using public toilets that are within a restaurant or a theatre are better options than those in malls. Of course those in ‘friendly’ establishments are best.
I have become much more confident in the way I dress and I think I am doing quite a good job of dressing appropriately. I have been working on my presentation. I have been doing an exercise routine with the aim of losing weight, flattening my tummy and developing my buttocks. I am not doing anything too hectic and I am aiming more at sculpting than changing things radically. This has meant a reduction in my bust size but hey you can always add a bit more padding here. (Boobs are the only padding I use.) I have been working on trying to dress appropriately for each outing and try not to overdress as this increases your chances of being outed. On the other hand I don’t down play my dress and dress pretty much as I want it is more a case of dressing appropriately than having my dress sense dictated to me. I was thinking that my overall presentation has improved over the last year and a bit, what do you think?
The picture on the left was taken just before we went out for the first time last year. The picture on the left was taken on Friday night. The more observant will note that it is the same dress, but my look is I think subtly different. I feel much more feminine when dressed and I think I move better some of the time too (although I run like a boy).
One thing I have some to realise over the last 14 months is that women’s shoes will give you blisters. They look beautiful but they can be a real pain. Beauty comes at a price and in my case the price is paid by my toes. But I would not have it any other way. I love my shoes!
Crucially, I am far more confident in my social interactions than I was last year. I feel less anxious and more relaxed. Perhaps I think that people have already ‘judged’ me for being trans, so if they still want to talk to me there is less chance of things going ‘wrong’? On Friday night we met a trans person (male to female) who was on her first time out, ever. I recalled just how terrified I had been almost a year ago and I tried to be supportive, reassuring and a little humorous too. Hopefully her experience was as positive as mine was and that it will inspire her to get more in the future.
I was also surprised at how much more confident I was in a social setting than I usually am. I am normally extremely introverted, even shy. I keep to myself and I am not great at small talk. But I am becoming much more willing to speak up. On Friday night I had a few interesting conversations with complete strangers and seemed more conversational than usual. I had a bit of an experience with a man who seemed interested in me. In the past I would have been unable to respond to this situation and would have sat silently hoping for aliens to decide to abduct me. Instead, I was able to hold my ground a bit and see off his banter with a bit of my own.
I surprised myself in that I enjoyed talking to these strangers and was confident enough to share some of my more personal thoughts and beliefs. This is quite rare for me.
In essence I feel I have matured a lot in the last few months I am a happier person as a result. I am grateful for the love and support of my wife through this process. It has not been easy for her but she has been a rock for me in this stormy sea and I only hope I can repay her love, loyalty and support adequately. I feel our marriage has been strengthened over the last year. Sharing this secret side of mine has had its difficulties but it has also brought us closer together. My group of friends (both ‘real’ world and virtual) have also played no small part. Their welcoming and accepting attitude have certainly helped me accept myself and become more confident. Thank you everyone.