As hard as it may be to believe, I have a very difficult time talking about myself. I am often embarrassed? Self conscience? about myself. I am uncomfortable with praise and I struggle to receive compliments. This could be anything from my boss telling me I did a good job with something or Hannah receiving an email about something I wrote or a photo I posted.
At least in real life. If I get a nice email or a comment on social media I find it easier to respond to it, probably because I can take my time to process what I am reading and I can take as much time as I need to write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite a reply. I often agonize and over-analyze every word I write in a reply to make sure I come off exactly what I mean.
But it’s not just compliments. It’s everything. I have had a website for a long time and I have written a lot about myself, my experiences, my opinions, thoughts, fears, and dreams. I have bared my soul (not to sound tooooo dramatic) often. It’s easy for me when I am writing something and then posting it for anyone in the world to read.
I do feel… awkward when I write something and then someone mentions it when I see them in real life. If Hannah sees her friends and one of them asks about something I posted on my website then I feel incredibly self-absorbed. What I post online are not necessarily the same things I would talk about in real life, if that makes sense.
I suppose I forget sometimes that I have a social media presence and people read what I write and sometimes mention to me what I posted when they see me in the real world. I think my website makes my life look more glamorous than it really is. I don’t think of myself as famous, or as a celebrity. Not at all. God knows I am easily humbled when I see my reflection or see how many more followers another t-girl has on Twitter. Yes, photo shoots look glamorous but please know that when I do shoots outside there’s a really good chance I changed outfits, such as in the picture below, in a port-a-potty.
I know! Shattering so many illusions!
Although I don’t think of myself as famous, I am aware that what I write is read by others. Whether it’s two people or five hundred, I am just grateful that someone finds what I write about worth spending time reading or commenting on.
Just as I have a hard time being a (again, this sounds very egotistical) public figure or a voice in the transcommunity (I do believe that ALL t-girls are a voice in our community) I find that in my boy life I have a hard time discussing Hannah and her life. It’s one thing to talk about a new eyeliner with my wife, it’s another thing to talk to her about an upcoming photo shoot for En Femme or about a big box I receive in the mail of clothes to review. In my boy life I find it… well, a little embarrassing to talk about Hannah’s life and the things she does or is asked to do. The lives that both of my gender identities have could not be more different. I write something on Facebook and I may get a couple of likes. Hannah posts a picture on Twitter and gets a hundred. No one cares about the boy’s opinion, but companies send Hannah makeup and shoes to review.
I think I would feel just as awkward if I had the same… ah, status in my male life as Hannah does. The boy will never be famous, that much I know. And I’m totally fine with that. As I get older I am relieved by that, not that the boy does anything that would lead to any sort of notoriety. If I were to write a book in my male life I would feel just… weird talking about it. If I were to be asked to sign someone’s copy or go to a book signing or whatever I would feel really awkward about it. The boy being in any sort of spotlight is not a comfortable idea for me. The boy is not, nor does he want to be famous. Thank god he’s not. It’s strange enough that Hannah has some level of “celebrity”.
I started thinking about this last night when talking with my wife about a photo shoot I have scheduled for Saturday. Sometimes in boy mode I have a hard time talking about Hannah. On some levels my lives couldn’t feel more different. I can’t imagine scheduling a photo shoot for the boy, but it’s pretty normal for Hannah. Sometimes that drastic difference hits me and I feel very self aware and, in a way, kind of silly. To clarify I don’t feel silly being en femme. Not at all. But my god, scheduling a photo shoot? It’s about as vain as it gets. Who do I think I am doing something like that? It’s pure hubris, pure ego.
In my boy life I never think about whether I look attractive. I don’t think about my boy clothes. I might wonder if my tie goes with my shirt but really that’s about it. Hannah thinks about cute all the time. Do I look cute? Do I feel cute? Is this dress cute?
I am often struck by the huge contract in my closet. A few dress shirts and pants, some ties… on the other I have everything from gowns to skirts to PVC dresses to… well, the list goes on. But every once in awhile I think about how different my lives are. What I do in either of my genders, what I think about, and of course what I wear. There is very little overlap between Hannah and the boy. I think this side of me would surprise almost everyone I know in my male life, but photo shoots, writing a book, modeling, running a trans support/social group, having a website… that would be even more of a surprise. I know my male life is pretty mundane and predictable to most people and that’s fine. It’s true! I like routine, I like planning my day, I am a creature of habit. But Hannah’s life is anything but.
Sometimes I’ll be in a meeting at work and I’ll be daydreaming about a dress I ordered. Sometimes during a makeover I am thinking about an upcoming work project. I think it’s normal for us to think about other aspects of our lives, but sometimes I wonder what my colleagues would say if they knew if I was wondering if the stockings I ordered would arrive in time for my next photo shoot. Fortunately that is something I will never know.
I like having two genders, and I enjoy the lives both the boy and Hannah have. My two genders, my two lives, are a wonderful break from the other. When the boy life is stressful I can look forward to a makeover and a photoshoot or shopping… On the opposite side of the same coin, I love ending a hectic but wonderful day en femme unwinding with a book.
7 thoughts on “Different Sides of the Same Coin”
Love your reflection here! Really sounds a cord with me… (in the same boat in seems) I am not alone! Love your writing, Hannah
Hannah, This is really well written. Your insights into both of your gender personas really reveal how both sides of your self expression complement each other.
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I don’t have the same freedom you do to express your feminine side whenever being the boy becomes too much. But I can take comfort reading your posts and discovering that I am able to relate in my life on a similar level. Having someone who puts themselves out there and writes about their feelings and experiences, gives me the encouragement to try my best and be happy for who I am. Thanks
I have the same problem. But I have done something that has helped me to relieve the stress and make my day at work in male mode even better.I have had my nails done they are meduim long my hair come’s down to the middle of my back I ware it in a pony tail during the day at work. I have had my eye brows done en femine. I im not afread to have that look. when i get home I change to en femine and my stress levels drop dramaticaly. I just relax so dont stop what you are doing you need this. It makes you, you youy have much more potential by having both of you in the same place you can draw from that to make yourself and your career better and improve your life. by having both of the feelings of male and female alows us to better improve ourselves and make us a better person whether in male or female for how we present ourselves. we just had a new hire join the crew and he mentioned that I am well manicured and presented, I told him that there is nothing wrong for a male to try to look after himself by having a manicure or pedicure, he acualy had a pedicure and felllasleep whilehaving it done. so nomatter what there are ways around the problem of how we persent
As I read this I wondered about the permeability of the boundary between your boy life and life as Hannah. I certainly can relate to day dreaming about my female life at times when I’m obliged to present as male.
As your life as Hannah has expanded, do you find that it is increasingly infiltrating aspects of your male life?
That’s a good question! And no, not really. The pink fog used to control me pretty significantly but I balance things much better now.
Appreciate the complexity you post about in your thoughts and perceptions.The progressions you have made in developing a “Hannah” I enjoy reading about. Glad you allow others to live vicariously through you doing things we can only imagine.