Contrast that with today and that fear is completely gone. I will be standing right next to a group of them and they won't give me a second look unless they are glaring at my heel height to see if I am cheating. If I catch their eye I will smile at them and they will smile back in a friendly way. My developed style and femininity have come a long way.
True, my presentation is better than it has ever been but not 100% better. It is the mental confidence which has taken a huge shot in the arm and made my body language and expression let everyone know that they are dealing with a woman comfortable in her own skin. There is no substitute for knowing who you are on the inside and that will percolate to the surface and affect everything about you.
What helped get me there was an abject fatigue about feeling constrained by the world. I told myself I was no longer going to let others control how I live my life or in any way be apologetic for it. With that attitude I was able to become myself and then truly craft the kind of woman I wanted to present to the world. An effort which would be completely devoid of fear.
No doubt genetics have helped me but there have never been more options today for transgender women and the FFS miracles I have seen online (the amazing work of Dr. Bart Van de Ven at the 2pass clinic comes to mind) allow them to lead normal lives without the fear of public ridicule and scrutiny. Still, above all else, the internals must be worked on first because without that we have nothing.
When I met Patricia's 15 year old daughter recently I could tell from her eyes that she saw a woman; but it was mostly, I think, because I believed it too.
Last night at the pharmacy cosmetics counter Alexandra said:
"Madame Joanna you look radiant as always"
This time I really think she was right because I felt it.