We are not who we are because we choose to be.
We are who we are. I have said many times that this is not a phase, this is not something we will grow out of.
We can decide to listen to our hearts and accept who we are, however. This is the choice we make.
We choose who to listen to, we choose who we respond to, we choose what we pay attention to.
When a girl like us decides to do anything in public, whether it is shopping for lingerie in boy mode or going out en femme, we make even more choices. Not only are we choosing which heels to buy or what mall to go to, we are choosing what we pay attention to around us.
Of course, a girl like us needs to pay attention to EVERYTHING around us. Is there anyone in the store that we know? Is there someone looking at us in a creepy way? Where is the nearest exit, if it comes to that?
Although most people don’t care a girl like us is shopping for a cute dress or spending an afternoon at a museum, we will nevertheless likely turn some heads. I know I do. Not because I think I am sooooo petty or anything, but let’s face it, I am super tall and the heels, the makeover, the cute dress is certainly not helping me blend in.
People give me a quick double-take because I am trans. I know that. It comes with the territory. 99% of the time it’s a more cursory look and I have had very few negative experiences living while trans. When I went out en femme for the first time I was super paranoid and super on edge with every step I took and with every person I passed by. I wondered what they were thinking, how I appeared to them, and a million other things.
Over time I realized I will never know what they are thinking. It could be a zillion things from them wondering what to make for dinner or admiring my dress or literally anything else. And even if I knew what they were thinking did it really matter? I can’t let someone’s thoughts or feelings stop me from living my life.
So, I chose to stop paying attention to other people. I mean, I notice everything and I am aware of who is around me, but that is for safety reasons. I don’t know what you’re thinking, and I don’t care.
I am very public, not only online but in the real world. I go where I want. I get asked a lot where to go when en femme and I really don’t know what to say. I go where I wish, I go to the same places en femme that I do when I am a boy. Modeling has required me to be even more public. Not because I am famous or anything, but a photo shoot requires me to be in public spaces, whether downtown or in a mall or someplace else.
A t-girl is going to draw some attention. Someone doing a photo shoot will do the same. A photographer shooting pictures of a girl like us at the mall will get more than a few lingering glances.
I did a shoot a few weeks ago at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It’s a very popular place to visit, especially on a summery Saturday. Basically, it was filled with people. The type of place ten years ago I would have been too paralyzed with fear to leave my car. But look at me now. Shannonlee wandered around the art taking pictures and mingling among the other visitors. And there a lot of visitors.
And I tuned every one of them out. Of course, we had to be aware and considerate of other people looking at the art while we taking photos, but if anyone looked at me in a less than friendly or curious way, I didn’t see it. That was my choice, and I as happier for it.
Is the world becoming more tolerant of girls like us? Probably not. Sorry. Am I getting better at living my life and not concerning myself with what other people might be thinking? Yes.
This attitude, this thinking, this enlightenment takes time and experience. I hope you all can live the life you wish. I hope you all can spend at least one afternoon en femme. I hope you all stay safe. I hope the world gets to a point where a girl like us only turns heads because of a cute outfit we’re wearing.