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Confused and Uncertain

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(@vincenzaminnafra)
Active Member     United States of America, Louisiana, Hahnville
Joined: 3 years ago
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My first time out–and out

Let me be real for a minute. I am nowhere near passing. I have only just started going outside dressed.

I wear what I consider is comfortable-nondescript women’s attire. Such as stretch leggings, a short sleeve tunic blouse, and flats (not women’s shoes, as if I could even find them in size 17W.) I have on a tiny bit of lipstick, smaller, but lovely gold loop earrings hidden under my long grey hair. It’s pulled down at the sides of my face. With the support of a padded bra, my man boobs actually appear feminine when I look in the mirror. I hide everything under a fairly generic jacket (can you tell I hate standing out! At 6’4” it’s difficult not to.)

I am in a steak house near the heart of New Orleans, and despite my best effort, I needed to use the restroom. I try to wait until I am at home and safely behind locked doors, but we had been to an evening movie, so now I am desperate.

and then it happened…

I went into the Men’s room. I obviously don’t feel anything near passable, and-I don’t think I look anything remotely approaching feminine in the dark. I’ve only just come out to myself in the last year. I was trying to avoid what happened, and yet it did, to my utter horror and shame.

“THAT’S THE MEN’S ROOM!”  she repeated multiple times.

I don’t know who the woman was; I couldn’t bring myself to do anything but mumble, “I know” as I stumbled through the door praying to the merciful God I believe in that no one came in after me.

They were the only person to take note.

Up to that point, everyone had referred to me as sir…

But despite having lived in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the south Bronx, the two hitches in the Navy, or several other “events,” that amazes me to still be here today… I froze–so confused and scared to death.

It was not as if I was wearing anything remotely identifiable as feminine in my mind. I just wanted to be me in my little personal space. I just didn’t know what to do, so I stumbled in, took care of business, and fled back to my table to wait for the police to show up and arrest me.

Obviously, I had no clue what the laws were here-I grew up in New York City. But if I were arrested, it would be the end as I would lose my clearances, which would cost me my job. It is probably the one thing that keeps me from trying to be what I realize I am not.

I’m not dysphoric-for the most part. I’m just trying to manage my brain’s idea of a logical progression. And now this. I’m just so screwed up; it’s taken me months to get to this point where I can go outside properly dressed. I wanted to crawl under a rock.

Even the sub-vocalized remarks of mothers, along with the stares from their little girls, didn’t bother me (yes, sometimes these hearing aids are good.) This did and does. My friend tried to joke about it, saying congratulations on your first time not being misgendered. She means well and has been supportive from the onset once I admitted to what she said she had known for quite some time.”

I checked; there isn’t a Louisiana transgender rules guide, nor is there a dummies “Guide for the transgendered.”

I did not get arrested, but it upset me enough that I apparently lost my credit card in their parking lot and didn’t realize it until the following morning. I called the credit card only to have the restaurant call later to tell me someone turned in the card after previously telling me it hadn’t been.

I am grateful–that could have been worse; I understand that.

What I don’t understand is ME! This is not like the me I have known for the previous 60+ years. This version of me wants to crawl under a rock and die…

I know hormones can do weird things, but that’s not it either. I am still searching for a therapist I can trust to have those discussions (another long story.)

I just don’t get it. I worked in EMS for years; I could adapt and overcome just about any obstacle or find a way around it. Even my current occupation demands that I think and act in a positive and effective manner according to known rules and guidelines. It’s proceduralized, but then suddenly because I wear some nice clothes and dress for who I am meant to be, I fell apart- that is what I don’t get.

How do I move forward if I can see the navigational buoys? I feel as if I am dammed if I do and dammed if I don’t. I can keep hiding in my house; I need to grow, but I feel like I ran afoul of the “family”, and they put me in concrete shoes to lie with the fish.

Advice and information I desperately seek. I am serious, even as I’ve made “light” of it here. I need to move beyond this and feel safe enough to be outside. If not, then… well, I’m just not…

I am bothered enough that I posted this to a different support group elsewhere because I needed answers. I surely can’t be the only one to have been through this kind of self-imposed humiliation.

 

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Ambassador
(@flatlander48)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     United States of America, California, Cathedral City
Posts: 1772

@vincenzaminnafra 

Vincenza:

Glad that you have found your way here! As time goes on, I hope that being here will be helpful for your journey.

So, what has happened is that you have discovered the power that fear holds over us. I think it is stronger than most people would imagine. As FDR said:

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

We must also remember that we do not “become”, we “are”. MANY gay and trans people can trace back to single digit ages when we discovered that there was something different about us. We didn’t know what it was or what it meant, but we knew that we were different from our peers. Eventually it became clear that what we felt was not appreciated, so stealth appeared to be the only way forward. In other words, we had to lie about what we thought and felt. The thing is, the problem is that in order for us to be our true selves, we will look different from how we were. Typically that isn’t the case for lesbians and gays. Unfortunately, it is the price to be paid.

So, how do we insert our true selves into the world? I think there are 2 approaches. We can do a series of incremental steps in terms of time and place. Alternatively, we can jump in all at once. There is no good\\ or bad associated with either one. Rather, it depends upon ones set of circumstances and personality. While I will readily tell how things went for me, I do not advise people to do what I did as it may prove to be quite stressful.

In my case, I had been attending trans social gatherings for about a year in cities that 1 hour and an hour and a half away from where I lived. I was a member of our LGBT employee affinity group at work and we held an annual entertainment event that was free and open to the public. Performers that we brought in included Suzanne Westenhoefer (2x), Marga Gomez, Alec Mapa and a regional act called the Calamari Sisters (if Gallagher did a trans cooking show, this would be it!). For 2015 our entertainer was trans man Ian Harvie. It was a golden opportunity and I volunteered to be the Mistress of Ceremonies as DeeAnn. The venue was about a 15 minute walk from where my office was located and less than 2 miles from my house. Among the ~130 people in the audience were a few co-workers and several friends. What I noticed was that from the time I got out of my car and walked into the auditorium, my resolve got stronger and stronger. The fear that I had was based on not doing what I was there to do. Fear about seen in public had nothing to do with it. The reason that I don’t advise anyone to do what I did it can be quite a scary thing to do. If you do what I stated, it is really necessary to get comfortable with the thought process. I will admit that my personality can be a bit odd. At the time, my mindset was Go Big or Go Home and that is what I did. At the time, I was about 4 months from retirement and I think that also played a role.

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Posts: 51
(@jackier)
Trusted Member     United States of America, New York, Kingston
Joined: 3 years ago

I’m so sorry for the traumatic experience. But know there are those who will smile at you and understand the rough waters you are trying to navigate. Having support in the form of people to get advice from is definitely a source to deal with fear. I have been blessed to have a life partner that understands and is supportive. I recently went out for the first time for an entire day dressed. Even there I wondered and felt uncomfortable at times. It was to a pride event which clearly was a safe protected environment. Perhaps seeking environs that you’d feel
are safer to you, at this time in your journey, might help? Or at least to journey into the unknown with the support of another girl or girls (whatever that would mean for you and help)? You are courageous and I take my floppy hat off to you. I understand the complex calculus we have to navigate to move forward. But you’ve just moved an immovable object just a bit. Kudos to you.

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Posts: 82
 Barb
Member
(@barbwire)
Trusted Member     Canada, Ontario
Joined: 2 years ago

The greatest amount of fear I have when I'm all dolled-up is during my solitary adventures, and the only one keeping me company is that insecure voice in my head. It's sounds as if you were alone in your adventures?

I've had the good fortune recently to hang-out with a bunch of girls just like me, some of whom have transitioned surgically too. Nothing like safety in numbers to boost one's confidence, especially when I constantly second-guess my passability.

Sounds like we're the same age. Only in the last few years have I explored the real me as Barb. And it's an uncontrollable pull towards the feminine. I've just given in to it and am now thankful for it. So, I've made some steps to step outside!

My attire is more classy-feminine than androgynous. I love heels, nylons, dresses above the knee, makeup, and I keep my natural hair long. I also have natural breasts too, but HRT may have some say in their development. I’m sure my neighbours have seen me as I sit on my condo porch or head out to my car to visit friends, but they’ve never given me any indication that they care either way (I'm usually laser focused when reading a book or walking the hallways, LOL!!). Perhaps I'm just lucky to live where I do.

I've escalated my outings since at my age it can no longer impact my adult children plus, I'm now retired. Besides, I now know that if I don't get feminine in all aspects, then I will fall into a deep depression.

I didn't ask for this. It just is.

Good luck you to you, Vincenza!

Hugs, Barb

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Posts: 2
(@Angelina Hanousek)
New Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Thank for sharing your story, just remember there's folks out there that feel the same way you do and there's people l8k me that is willing to listen

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Posts: 5
Member
(@alanamarie)
Active Member     United States of America, California, Oakland
Joined: 2 years ago

Vincenza,

You can look back at your incident with confidence that you've taken a step forward in your journey. The next time you go out, you'll feel that sense of confidence and find comfort in your progress. And keep going. Go places as your true self; shop, visit a museum, go for a walk, take in a concert or movie. Be your true Vincenza and enjoy being you.

Warm hugs,
Alana

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Posts: 74
Member
(@farmgurl)
Trusted Member     United States of America, Louisiana
Joined: 2 years ago

I feel for you so much. And, I promise it can and will get better over time.
I have had my moments that I wish never had happened.
Just never let them get the better of you and stop you.
Always keep looking forward.
We are all on a awesome journey of discovery, of a new life around us and a new life within us.
You will become a great woman and friend.
Peace and love

Shiloh Rose

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Member
(@vincenzaminnafra)
Joined: 3 years ago

Active Member     United States of America, Louisiana, Hahnville
Posts: 6

Thank You for the kindness.
i am doing baby steps they are forward for the most part.
self doubt is my biggest obstacle at the moment but I found a medical practice and have my first appointment with the goal of beginning HRT.
then I can breath i think

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Posts: 25
Member
(@lorie2fine)
Eminent Member     United States of America, Kentucky, Cincinnati-south
Joined: 4 years ago

Vincenza, I can imagine the horror and residual shame that came with that experience. Having moved into 24/7, I feel more prepared for such confrontations, but it never happens to me. The worst I got was an acquaintance at my spiritual center who knew I transitioned, but was surprised when she came out of a stall and saw me going in one. She said, "Oh! I didn't know you were using the women's restroom."

The advice from others here is valid for continuing to grow more comfortable with being seen, because motivation comes AFTER action, not vice versa. We change our attitude by doing.

But that's not what you're asking, I feel. It looks like you want to know WHY you feel this way. With all your experiences, you feel you should be mostly immune to these feelings of fear and shame?

But you were given the same thing we all have: internalized transphobia.

We all grew up in the same world with the same lessons from the same media that said this is wrong. And these moments (bathroom moments, for example) trigger that fear.

I get the sense that you've gone out in public with similar attire in the past. How did it feel the first time? For me, it was running to the car in the dark and driving around in a dress, terrified that someone will see me lit up by high-beams.

Yesterday I didn't change out of a flouncy skirt to drag the trash can off the street. A car went by and I didn't even look.

But all of this normalization comes with reframing this fear around the bias AGAINST myself that is called internalized transphobia. All biases require reframing and education. We must look at impact more than intention, even when dealing with ourselves.

I can ask myself if the basis for my fear is real, is it true? Next: Who would I be without that thought that triggers my fear? And then: Who would I be without that thought?

There is always a thought that causes our emotions, and digging into those thoughts is the key to rational reframing.

OK, that's some of my professional life coaching, free of charge! Feel free to dm if you'd like to talk more.

Hugs!
Lawren

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Posts: 13
Member
(@venusrising)
Active Member     United Kingdom, Dorset, Gillingham
Joined: 5 years ago

Hi Vincenza
So sorry to hear about your sad story and the difficulties you have had to face. If you want some advice about transitioning and who to go to (if that's what you intend to do), I would strongly suggest you go and see Dr. William Powers of The Powers Family Medicine Clinic just outside Detroit, Michigan. He uses cutting edge techniques. I am from the UK and I especially made the trip last month to see him. He already put me on a higher dose of oestrogen when I had an facetime consultation with his team last year (injectables, instead of gels and patches), but what he also did was to insert an oestrogen implant into my body which acts as an artificial ovary. It lasts for 7-8 months first time, then each subsequent implant (or pellet) lasts longer and longer. Very few doctors do this, and deffinately none in Europe or the UK, and as far as I know, he is the only one who does this in the US. He also prescribed me with oestrogen cream for my face and progesterone cream to enlarge my breasts. Again, no one in the UK or Europe, as far as I'm aware, will do that, and what's more he only uses safe bio-identical medicines. I did a lot of research on him first to find out as much information on him as I could before I went ahead so I can recommend him to anyone who wants to go down this route. Of of course, hormones and any other medicines can't, unfortunately, alter in any way your bone structure although surgery can change some things such as your facial features (FFS), but it can redistribute body fat, lessen muscle mass, get rid of body hair, as well as make your skin softer, though many of these things can take years to achieve, not weeks or months as many YouTube videos seem to suggest and, especially if you are older. So if this is the path you wish to take, and want more information about the clinic and doctor, don't hesitate to message me.
All the best
Julie

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Member
(@vincenzaminnafra)
Joined: 3 years ago

Active Member     United States of America, Louisiana, Hahnville
Posts: 6

i cannot thank you enough for offering this bit of insight.

i have copied it as an aspect to study for a potential treatment plan that could address many of my fears and concerns for the potential side effects and risks in using pills.

I have my first appointment towards the HRT plan I am under the impression everyone is fairly set on a "standard treatment plan"
that along with the need to protect my transition from notice to ensure I can continue my employment.

however I would love to exchange email that I might learn more of your experience if you might willing to indulge an older but new transwoman

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