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summoning the courage

Coming out for me has been supremely slow but this is because I had invested so much energy in becoming someone I wasn't. Buying into a narrative that society expects is exhausting for someone who is transgender because you are constantly on alert to make sure you don’t out yourself.

For a time, the worst thing in the world becomes being discovered and you literally think your entire life will implode all around you should this occur. Except that for me, this devastating scenario never happened. Instead I have been greeted with understanding and support.

The other day I was reading a narrative of a 22 year old male who calls himself a crossdresser (which is odd for a millennial) and he went about describing in detail the extreme courage it took him to buy a pair of women's shoes. I could have found that amusing if I wasn’t for the fact that this described me perfectly at the same age. Everything was calculated to an extreme degree in order to avoid any suspicion.

I have come so far in that time and don’t wish that kind of fear or trepidation on anyone. Having the courage to be yourself in the face of a society that craves uniformity and adherence is not easy but it is so worthwhile when you achieve it.

It shouldn't have to take so much courage to be yourself.


Comments

  1. I never had the courage at that age. I did order a few things via mail, but that was it. Even now, when I do shop, it's generally with another transwoman. Somehow, I feel the safety in numbers. So cowardly of me....

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    1. Calie I am hard pressed to think of you as cowardly. I think the process is a bit like immersing yourself into very hot or very cold water in that you aclimatize to it slowly. I was beyond petrified...

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  2. Not cowardly at all Calie, please don't put yourself down. Your feelings are valid and understandable for all of us.

    Perhaps a way to approach it is to, first, accept the fact that you have fear. Take a look at it mentally and consider it, find it interesting how much it's trying to control you. And then consider what you want to do, while aware of your fear. Maybe go shopping, just window shopping, for a time. See how that feels, without actually trying anything on or buying anything. Who knows, maybe you'll find yourself in a comfortable space and shop, with a friendly salesperson. And then maybe...

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    Replies
    1. Hello Emma and thanks for the sweet thoughts.

      Although I rarely mention this on TC or on my own blog, I work in the media. I have been on television and radio and have been recognized when out in public and when out with other transwomen. I don't mind either but generally I let the transwoman I am with do the purchasing. Perhaps someday I'll get over this but right now I just need to be careful.

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    2. Well that makes even more sense then. I am not in the media but am at that point that being recognised will not be earth shattering in the least. I think it's just fatigue from having to hide...

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  3. Ha! This reminds me of something I once explained to one of my blog followers. I talk on my blog about two passions: living authentically and riding motorcycles. I've taken one of my bikes to the racetrack and ridden at high speeds (e.g., 140 mph). And yet I confessed to my reader that, for years, I was MORE SCARED of going into stores to buy women's clothes than I was of risking my life on two wheels. The fear you mention is real and intense. Overcoming it truly is "courage," the same word I use to describe my efforts. I'm glad you have "come so far" and are now less anxious about leading a life that's your own.

    (I'm making my way through your older posts)

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