Sometimes, well oftentimes, I drive myself absolutely bonkers! And I wonder, why do I keep doing this? What, dressing as a woman? Nope, not that, instead, putting myself out there. It is rather surprising to me. To outside observer reports, apparently I am the penultimate of confidence and security. I mean how else exactly does one dress up as a woman, interact with the general public, and actually appear normal enough?
Yet the reality is that I often feel like a small child, deathly afraid of the monster that is hiding at the end of the long dark hallway. My instinct tells me, no, don’t do it, don’t put yourself out there, don’t walk down that hall, the monster is going to rip your head off sending blood flying in all directions and you will watch as your body slumps down into the long haul of death. And still… I take step after step, walking down that hall… anticipating the monster… waiting… watching… filled with fear and dread…
What was the monster this time? A simple Facebook connection… bringing up a little fear of rejection.
I think it started with a song by Inxs. I was at work playing a mix of songs, and Inxs happened to come up. A friend in high school, lets call her Lisa, loved Inxs. I thought of this girl’s name and typed it into Facebook. I was soon staring at her page and my mouse was hovering over the friend request button. Yeah, I knew her as a teenager, but she certainly had never seen me dressed as I was in my profile photo. I don’t even have a male profile photo anymore, thus if I wanted to contact her, this was my one and only method.
Within a few minutes I said what the heck and sent a friend request and a message explaining a bit of who I am along with my email. Surprisingly she emailed back and inquired as to who exactly I am. Now, for the last few years, I have been having a debate with myself with how I feel about my own transgender status. Meaning, I know I am transgender, that’s not even up for debate. But what is up for debate is if I am okay with it. And if I am really okay with it, shouldn’t I be okay with telling people who actually know me in real life?
I took a deep breath, tried to reassure myself that everything would be okay, and I emailed back and informed her of the name she knew me as. And what happened next? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I did not hear back a single word.
My brain went bonkers, coming up with every possible reason behind her choosing to not write back. Some of them were nice, understandable reasons: she is busy, it isn’t the actual girl I knew in high school, she never actually got my email as it got routed to her junk mail. But some of them were horrible nasty reasons: she is freaked out about me being transgender, she does not like me, she hates cross dressers and is going to out me to everyone she could possibly think of, she thinks I’m just some weirdo dude looking for a hook-up.
I was left in limbo. I wondered why I put myself through this. Why do I continue to put myself out there and take such risks? I should have just left well enough along. I should have never emailed. I should have never revealed my real name. I should stop endangering myself and just work to keep myself safe. I should just realize that I am transgender, and not everybody is going to be okay with that.
That is about when I realized that Lisa’s reply was not the issue. The true issue is-as it always has been-my own self doubt about being transgender. Again, not whether I am transgender or not, but rather whether or not I think it is shameful or not and something that I need to hide. When I push myself, I have to say that no, I do not think that who I am, that how I was made, is shameful; that being transgender is not something I need to hide.
But I struggle with it. I struggle to feel okay with it. I struggle with myself but I think that is good actually. It is because of my willingness to engage in this mental struggle that I chose to hit send on that Facebook message to Lisa. To which she did reply, in a totally normal amount of time. And her response? Fabulous, lovely, nice, kind, awesome, warm, glowy-making-goodness which showed me just how foolish my insecurities really had been.
At this point in my life, I have come out to far more people that I ever thought I would, including family, friends, and coworkers. Each one has been a great experience, for which I am grateful. They have helped me to see that the more I push myself to face my own fears, to deal with own feelings of shame, the better I feel and the more my love for others grows.
So, the other day… I found another childhood friend on Facebook. I pondered if I was going to put myself back into limbo, if I was going to stand up and face those inner monsters again. I took a deep breath, reassured myself, and clicked send. Now? I’m waiting.
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Hi, I’m Nadine Spirit and I have been a lifelong gender non-conformer. I have always understood that I am a bit different than most but it was not until sometime in my thirties that I came to understand that I am transgender. While I spend most of my time presenting as a male I am always presenting in a gender non-conforming manner.
I started my blog, Unordinary Style, with the idea of being able to show a stylish side to those who identify as transgender. Since that time my blog has evolved into showing my personal style, discussing a wide variety of transgender topics, as well as posts about my personal life. My personal style continues to evolve as I attempt to continually push myself to pick stuff off of the racks, take it into the dressing room, and try on as much as I can. I am a firm believer in ignoring tag sizes, never paying retail prices, and due to a terrific allergy – that nickel should never be in any jewelry!