I blend in everywhere and people don’t give me a second look at least not often. I am relaxed and go about my business as Joanna almost as if it has always been this way except of course it wasn't.
The brain has neuroplasticity and can be retrained and I am sure this has happened to me. What was previously far fetched science fiction has become commonplace. Some merchants who see me regularly ask me how my life is going but they don’t question that they are speaking to a woman. I can see it in their expressions because I know only too well the other looks I would get in the dark past.
I am in the costume jewellery store and one sales girl whispers to the other about me “one of these days I am going to pierce her ears”
The one confided in gleefully tells me what she has been told while the originator waits for a reaction which is all of us laughing in unison.
I needed this kind of exchange to become a new normal because I could no longer live in the shadows.
It takes too much energy to do otherwise.