Finding My Place in the World

The Girl You'd Like to Be The Girl You'd Like to Be

Do You Dream of Being Her?  Patience, it's a slow process. Over the past three years or so I have been fortunate enough to establish a feminine life in the everyday world.

To lay some groundwork what I mean by a” feminine lifestyle” is I shop, socialize and do daily activities primarily as a woman.

I’m 62 and like many of you I went through most of my life trying my best to live a “Male” life. I have a daughter who accepts me totally, was drafted and served in the Army, and yes, I played high school football.

The reason I’m writing this is that I receive a lot of feedback and questions on what steps I took to get to the place I am today. I believe in “paying forward” and anything I can do to help others is my goal and this is part of the process.  As you can imagine, it is rather complex and my plan is to break my ideas down into separate future columns. 

When I started to head out of my closet into the world, I was married to a very understanding woman who did her best to understand my gender differences. We traveled quite a bit to “meetings” with others in the same situation. She would even go to gay restaurants and clubs with me. Unfortunately she passed away quite unexpectedly four years ago. The whole situation taught me if I wanted to do something- I better do it. Tomorrow is never guaranteed.  I had a choice to make in my life: male or female.

Luckily, I had quite a few on hand experiences to make a decision I already knew.  During the past 5 years or so of her life, by mutual consent, I had a day out a week to shop or whatever as a woman. At that point I started to experience a whole different life away from the clubs in my past.  It started by interacting with sales associates and clerks in stores and proceeded to stopping places, getting waited on and eating lunch. I realized I loved the “real life” experiences and they felt so natural and I wanted more.

As I said, little did I know I would have a chance to experience a whole lot more.

Before I go farther, there are two major points to pass along. None of this happened quickly and (before you think it) appearance was just a small part of the process. As you can guess the experience has been very complex and the story is way too long for one post-so I’m starting here.

First of all, when you decide to open your closet door and explore the world-you have to decide how that will work. Assuming you have some sort of freedom of choice let’s say you want to go to a gay club for a drag show. I highly recommend the experience because you are more accepted in the club. There is a difference in being accepted than allowed. Being trans in a gay club can be as foreign to those around you as being trans in a straight bar (more on that later). Just remember the hardest place to present yourself as a woman is a gay venue.  Normally the best looking and most feminine women aren’t. On the other hand, it’s a great place to go, experience and experiment.

In my case, the more I experimented with gay venues, the more I felt I just didn’t fit. An example is I’m just more comfortable in jeans, sweaters and boots at a sports bar as a girl watching a game on a wide screen than I am at a gay dance club. It just so happens where I live there are no gay venues like that, although I do know they exist in larger metropolitan areas.

My problem became how could I establish the life I wanted to live as a woman and was it possible at all? Also could I incorporate my male interests into my female self?

Well I gathered all my courage, went into “trial and error” mode and ventured into the world to find out.

To experiment, I chose a couple of casual-dining chain restaurants because luckily I worked a couple of them with active bars in my past. I had a very good idea of how crews treated transgendered people.  I did think if I went to one, I would be at the most viewed as a curiosity and not abused.

I remember the first night I went to one I was so scared I wondered if I could even walk! I sat in my car for what seemed like an eternity summoning up my courage and trying to fine tune my hair and makeup. It's been about 15 years since that night and I remember every detail including what I wore:a nice pair of dress slacks, blouse, flats and blazer.

The restaurant was near a major mall and attracted a clientele made up of professional women getting off of work. I figured my best chance was to blend with them.

When I felt I was able to walk, I finally went in and told the hostess I just wanted to sit at the bar.

The bar actually was supported by two square posts on two corners.

That evening I was lucky to find a seat by one of these and tried my best to become a part of one of the posts. I was that scared! I ordered two drinks, tipped very well and left. The end result was I was still alive! No one screamed “that’s a guy” or outwardly laughed at me. I got some looks of course but I found I could exist in the real world as a woman.

Little did I know how long, difficult and ultimately wonderful the whole process would turn out to be!

I will have more later, so stay tuned.

Last modified onMonday, 31 March 2014 14:58
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