If there is one thing I want someone to take away from reading my blog is that yes, I know it’s scary to go out for the first (and fiftieth) time. I know we all wonder what people are thinking, but the point I try to make is that you will never know what people think.
For the most part, I have had only positive, or at least unremarkable interactions out in the real world. I’ve been going out for more than five years now and I almost forget that I am doing something that I used to be terrified in doing. It’s always fun to go out, but it’s normal these days. I’ve gone from “I’m going out into the real world and I better have my guard up” to “I’m going out into the real world and I need a coffee.”
That’s good, right? That being said, my guard is always up, it needs to be, but having my guard up is second nature and I don’t even think about it. It’s just…always up. I’m always breathing, my guard is always up.
I’ve said before that what someone thinks of you is none of your business. And it’s true, I don’t want to know what you think of me, unless of course you think my lipstick is cute, you like my dress or you’re complimenting me on my ability to walk in stilettos. I don’t think anyone minds when someone says something nice about us, and I think for the most part people are generally kind and likely won’t say anything negative to you. But the world is filled with jerks who feel it’s their right, maybe their obligation, to tell you what’s on their mind and to harass you. I know that people at the mall don’t care what I think, so why do they suppose I care about what they think? Guess what? I don’t.
Although for the most part my adventures have been wonderful, I still get second glances and stares. And that’s okay, I look amazing and I don’t mind. You look amazing, too, by the way. I don’t spend any time trying to figure out why someone is staring, but I am self-aware enough to know I am well over six feet tall in heels and I am likely wearing a “look-at-this-fabulous-dress” dress so I am not surprised by the looks. I am also a t-girl and, let’s face it, not everyone has seen a transperson before out in the real world so it’s not unrealistic someone sees me and is processing it for a moment.
And this is okay. I knew I was ready to go out into the real world once I accepted the fact that people would
probably always react this way. Being prepared for the worst made the positive, even the mundane experiences, even better.
But people are people and some think that their opinion and perspective needs to be heard. I know that there are many people, for many reasons, whether politically or religiously or whatever, think that transpeople are…well, not okay. We’re unnatural, heathens, perverts, confused, or not part of God’s plan. I understand that others will have this perspective and belief system, but I am not on this planet to make anyone but myself happy. I am not living my life to make others comfortable and neither are you. Well, maybe you are, I don’t know. Are you?
I have no illusions about myself or how others see me. I fully accept that others “know” I am trans. And with that, I also fully accept that others will think of me as a man in a dress, a guy playing dress up or something derogatory. Some members of the transcommunity embrace the term “tranny”, but I think it’s offensive. Regardless, most people don’t care about me and what I’m wearing and they are distracted and engaged in their own life, or, more likely, staring at their phone. Some people do want to share their opinion and for the most part, it’s overwhelmingly positive. Some will compliment my outfit whether it’s because they sincerely like it, or because it’s another way of saying “I support the transcommunity” and will go out of my way to make me feel welcome.
But the point is that there will always be those that just don’t like us. If you go out at all, whether once a year or once a week or living full-time, the odds are pretty good someone will say something that will not be very nice. How you react to it is one thing, but being prepared and accepting that you’ll likely have that experience does make it easier to leave the living room. Last year at the mall I was having a nice afternoon shopping (of course) and a woman walked across the hall and intentionally bumped into me and loudly said “oh, excuse me, SIR”. At first I was confused. I was wearing a cute white dress with a floral patterns, matching accessories, nude heels, my favorite lipstick and carrying a purse. It took me a moment to remember that not everyone will respond to me as the gender as I am presenting as. Once that moment of confusion passed, I realized what had happened. Although I will never know why she did this, it was pretty clear she wanted to make me feel uncomfortable, stupid or embarrassed. Perhaps she felt that I needed to know that I wasn’t “fooling” her. I don’t know. I don’t know what she thought of me. I didn’t ask. I didn’t care. Still don’t.
So, what happened next? Well, nothing, to be honest. It wasn’t worth thinking about or speculating about. Rude people are not worth your time or energy. Don’t let them steal your sparkle. It didn’t ruin my day or bother me or hurt my feelings in the slightest. I didn’t feel stupid, I didn’t feel embarrassed, I didn’t feel ugly or male. Whatever she wanted to accomplish, she failed miserably. I went on to have a fabulous afternoon and evening, found two really cute dresses and had a fun, thirty minute conversation about politics with a grandmother, her daughter and her granddaughter from Missouri.
You’ll have good days, bad days and days that are unremarkable. You’ll have days where you’ll find the perfect matching heels for the dress you bought two years ago but have never worn. You’ll have days where you’ll have lipstick on your teeth and run your stockings. You’ll have days where you stumble a little in your stilettos and lose an earring. You’ll have days where someone will call you ‘sir’ and smirk. You’ll have days where a grandmother from St. Louis will call you the sweetest thing and waiters will call you ‘ma’am’. Mama said there would be days like this, and she was right.