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.