There was a liberating sensation that being unchained produced; the air was sweeter, my sensations more vivid. Is this is what non-gender-conflicted people feel everyday? It was overwhelming, delicious, and I dare say addictive; I was basking in the warm sunshine of life.
In the year that followed my coming out, I set new rules for myself. No longer was I willing to allow the words and/or expectations of others to define Me. And with this decision my walls came down, my guarded defenses were no longer needed, and I allowed life to flow through me.
I had always been a pretty easy-going person, and got along with most people. But now for the first time, the world was seeing Me -- 100% unguarded, instead of only the fragments I had previously made visible.
Like a whirling dervish tasting life unobstructed for the first time, I couldn’t get enough. I fearlessly went out to meet the world -- to bars, restaurants, clubs, shows, events in the mainstream, gay and trans-venues alike. And as the New York columnist for GIRL TALK Magazine, the print publication, and a contributor to Ladylike Magazine, Transgender Community News and others, I went to many events.
I had even become so comfortable in my girl skin that I traveled to Hollywood for a mainstream poetry convention where I was a transgirl amidst 1,500 regular folks!
I had become a free-spirit; spontaneous and light-hearted as the woman I felt myself to be. I said what I felt, and meant what I said. The honesty of it all was intoxicating; I had previously spent so many years as a liar and manipulator in an effort to protect my dirty little secret. Now, it was no longer necessary, and as a result of that (and other things) I was instantly a better person for it.
The closet door was open and my energy was freed up to enjoy people, places and life. In the early days -- like many others that identify as crossdressers --, I found myself frequenting the gay bars. It began as my secret hideout, where I surprisingly made friends -- some very close friends -- whom I have to this day.
The gay bar was an interesting experience because they had their own sense of humor, style and, at times, cattiness. They could be loud, proud and obnoxious, or low-key and subtle. In truth, like you and me, they spanned from one side of the spectrum of the other. And it was my time there that spawned The Gay Bar Survival Guide.
I think most groups are like that, whether political, social, sexual, color, or creed. Every group retains a certain percentage of the good, bad and ugly.
What was most interesting to me [of my own coming out] was that it didn’t turn out as expected. I came out and dove into my crossdressing life to find the seed of it’s origin, expunge it and cure myself of my crossdressing compulsion so that I could go back to life.
What happened instead was that everyday I lived as Brianna I felt myself pulled deeper and deeper. Each day I was compelled to push the girl experience just one step further, until before I knew it I was living a girl’s life, and liking it. I had found myself (or at least a contentment in myself) while looking for something else. .
How strange life can be, where a self-constructed off ramp from your life can lead to something unexpected, unplanned, and profoundly rewarding.
Not that I am suggesting that everyone follow the path I did; to the contrary, go slow, investigate yourself and the world around you with an inspectors eye, and then proceed accordingly. For me I leapt, headfirst, without a net. I guess middleage can do that, make one more courageous in light of the uncertain.
Nonetheless, the road has been perhaps the most exhilarating, confused, yet amazing journey I’ve ever experienced. There is something quite moving about meeting someone who on first glance is offended by what you are, only to eventually become your friend for who you are.
It rewrites our ideas of expectations. And I suppose that to embrace a journey like mine, I had to rewrite and rethink all that social norms had taught me to believe. I had to dismantle the status quo, find my true center and grow outward from there. Whether you seek a transgender life or not, the method and application can be applied to any life.
For more insights, personal experiences, poetry, fiction, reviews and interviews that I’ve written, check out my writer’s page on Tglife.com, visit my older website briannaaustin.com, or my blog Candidly Transgender