That is the length of time it takes me to be ready to step out the door presenting as Joanna. After years of regular practice I have it down to an art form and I am like a well-oiled machine.
I don’t overdo the make-up and the clothing tends to lean towards the pragmatic but also stylish as it aligns with the requirements of each season. In that sense I have done away with items that don’t fit my body or might call attention to some feature that I don’t want to advertise.
Because I am tall I will sometimes catch women who pass me glance down at my feet; their expression very transparently giving away their thought process: “she must be getting help from the shoes”
What used to be daunting is now amusing and I enjoy my feminine expression more than I ever have before because it comes from a place of being truly comfortable in my own skin and forsaking the worry of how I am being perceived. As a result I pass specifically because I never worry about passing which might sound counterintuitive until one finally comprehends this universal truth: How can you convince someone else of your identity when you don’t believe it yourself?
It turns out that those 15 minutes of preparation open a door to time well-spent because I am investing in my mental health and feeding my soul; something which I would repeatedly deny myself over many years for months at a time.
This has saved my happiness which is something a person who isn't transgender wouldn't understand but which we who are most certainly do.