After 6 years of regularly going out (4 to 6 times a week before the virus), sometimes I still get a bit nervous. I think is has to do with anticipating being in an odd situation or among many people that I don’t know. When that happens it is usually confirmed to an extra trip to the bathroom before I leave home. But, it doesn’t stop anything. I think the worry in the background is that I might have missed something in my presentation or something isn’t positioned right. My practice is to talk to my wife for a moment before I leave. That serves 2 purposes. If anything untoward happens, she knows what I was wearing and also it is a last minute check.
A good friend of mine, who passed away a couple of years ago, told me that she often struggled to feel comfortable when out. Alyce was intersex and she started to embrace her feminine side about the same time as I did. However, she was here and I was still living in New York State at the time. Anyway, she remarked that I seemed very comfortable when out. I had never really thought about it in those terms, but it was a very interesting observation on her part. She was quite insightful and I miss her. We always had interesting times going out to breakfast or lunch or going to thrift shops.
Later, as I thought about what Alyce had said, I did agree. I was at peace to a degree that allowed me to fit into the mindset that reflected what I thought about myself. I can’t say why that is exactly, but I’ve always been good at compartmentalizing. With that I am often able to focus on something and minimize the “what if” thoughts that can take up a lot of energy and drag me into a less that good place.
I think one thing that may have helped is that 20+ years ago I came to the thought that I was gay. I became comfortable with that, to the point when I had my first sexual encounter with a man, he was surprised that he was my first. I amended that a few years later when I concluded that I was bisexual. It occurred to me that who I was attracted to wasn’t driven by gender. That was maybe 3rd or 4th on the list instead of being first.
Ultimately, I think addressing my sexuality made it easier to consider my gender identity. I had been through some serious thought processes that had, and would continue to have, a considerable impact on my life going forward. The first time that I went out dressed, it was similar in that I didn’t feel odd about wearing the clothes. I was somewhat anxious about seeing someone I knew, but how I felt in the clothes wasn’t part of that.
It would seem to me that deep down there in our minds is information about who we are and how we should be. It is always there waiting to be discovered. I think what we have to do is to keep peeling the onion…