Good Friends

Sometimes it’s not easy to write. Some people rely on writing at certain tables, others depend on a certain ink. I can write from pretty much anywhere, with just about anything. I just can’t force myself to do it.

Hurricane Sandy, while sparing me, hit my family fairly hard. After my blog post last week I spent three straight days helping my family. My family, in the house that I grew up, faced five feet of flooding in the basement and garage – both of which generally saw a lot of use. In addition, two cars were destroyed and today, almost a week after a storm they are still lack electricity, heat, cell service and all that other good stuff. Very fortunately, everyone is safe.

Spending so much time laboring to clean with them certainly brought everyone closer, but not in a way that has impacted us yet. It’s still the “I cant believe this happened” period, not yet the “Look back and laugh sadly” time. If there’s anything crossdressing-related I can take away from this is that when I do come out to my family, I think they will all be supportive no matter what.

This post is supposed to be about good friends, though, so let’s move on.

If you recall in an earlier post, I discussed one friend who had a not-quite-welcoming reaction to my coming out. Nothing negative, just general shock and disbelief. He too lost power and first-world life in wake of the hurricane and needed a place to stay. My girlfriend and I took him in over the weekend, which proved for good bonding in a time of need.

On Saturday I boldly suggested that I would go out to a bar dressed. My girlfriend, house guest, and two other friends in-the-know obliged pending my ultimate decision. Ultimately, I don’t think anyone particularly wanted to go out to a bar, so instead went over to our friends’ house for board games and moves. I went dressed.

At Home

After a night out with friends

Walking over dressed, without the shield of an umbrella this time, proved exciting. The fear of going short distances in the dark is certainly starting to wear off. Baby steps. That’s all. What mattered more to me is the fact that I was able to spend a good few hours dressed, with friends and no one made a big deal of it. Our time together would have been no different, regardless of what I was wearing. This meant more to me than anything else.

It’s these kinds of experiences that I think are necessary to build confidence and ultimately help me venture out into more populated areas during brighter times. I know I mentioned in my previous post going out en femme on New Years. That’s definitely a long shot, but further, larger steps are most definitely in the picture.

Eventually the goal is to be able to step out of the house without reservation regardless of what I am wearing. Like complete recovery from Sandy, this goal is long term and will certainly take time and patience. Both, though, are certainly attainable with the help of family and good friends.

 

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Steppin’ Out

Time to exhale. It’s been a very busy four days and now finally this evening I’m dressed up for the first time in over a week. It feels good, relaxing. I’m trying a technique to slim my eye brows using white eye liner and a small concealer brush. From a distance it works pretty well, but the illusion is ruined up close. Practice makes perfect.

The real reason for this post, though, is not my thick eyebrows, (which, to be quite honest, I could wax poetic about – negatively of course.) I write, tonight, because I feel like I have hit a wall – or a door, if you’re going to be literal.

I’ve been dressing up, with mild success, for just about two months now. I’ve purchased new things. Told new people. Experienced new feelings. I think, however, that I have hit a plateau. What else is there to do? Where is there to go? The answer, is simple – outside.

An outdoor excursion is perhaps even scarier than coming out of the crossdresser closet. When I told my girlfriend and subsequently some of my friends, I was in control. I knew who I would be talking to. I could gauge their reactions, predict what they might say, and terminate the event in case of an emergency.

Leaving the confines of my house is a completely opposite experience. The only thing in my control? Me. Every person I pass by, in my head, is a coin flip – will they react or won’t they. I’m only concerned about negative reactions – and not in the “you’ve been read” sense, but the name-calling, violent-acting sense. I can handle stares, I just don’t want to put myself in danger.

I realize, yes, I live in New York City, the liberal-mecca of the world – but that is a stereotype, like any other. There are people you want to avoid here if you’re crossdressing, and neighborhoods you probably want to stay out of.

One of the things I do have some control over is setting. Only in terms of destination however. I’ve done some research on bars in NYC that would be accepting of crossdressers, and also meet the criterion of what I’m looking for. I want a bar that is LGBT-friendly, low-key, non-dancey and would also be welcoming of a few friends, since I would like my first time out to be with a group. I don’t want to have to travel too far by subway. I only live two stops away from Manhattan, but it’s quite a bit farther if I want to go to the more LGBT-friendly west village.

I think it would be wise if I took some small steps, before great bounds. I want to take a walk around my block. I want to walk over to a friends apartment. Little victories that boost confidence towards larger ones. I need to keep telling people I’m going to go out, and keep telling myself.

In order to talk myself up, I think it would be prudent if I listed my fears, what I think will happen, and what will probably actually happen.

Fear

My Imagination

Probable Reality

Recognized by landlord or neighbors on way out of house Kicked out of apartment, tormented by neighbors It will be dark out and no one will see.
Harassed on subway Called names/assaulted by intolerant jerk No one will say anything. Who talks to people on the subway?
Bad bar experience Bar patrons are jerks because I’m the T part of LGBT. No one will care. I will complain about price of beer.
Long subway wait back at night in shady area. Train doesn’t come for hours and I’m drunk and stupid. I can take a taxi.

Alright. I feel a little bit better after writing that. I have to focus on the realistic. Focus on the positive. I am a crossdresser, with an accepting girlfriend and friends, and may be slightly passable enough to go out for a few drinks. That needs to be my mantra.

If anyone reading this has any suggestions, tips or pointers about going out let me know. Whether it’s a certain attitude to take, or places to go in NYC. I’m all ears.

On a less serious note, I’ve been marathoning Doctor Who, and would like to dress up like Amy Pond. Minus the red hair. That is all.