Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Outing Yourself

 

Image from Simon Humler
on UnSplash

Years ago, as I sometimes I suffered from strong impostor syndrome, when I was actually fitting in with a group of women, sometimes,  I accidentally outed myself. Then I needed to forgive myself for doing it.

I remember vividly one night on vacation when my wife Liz and I were having dinner with a single woman we had be-friended on our trip. I don't remember how the topic came up about the friendliness of some of the other travelers, or lack of from others. For some reason I blurted out in our case, the reason for other people being standoffish was because I was transgender. The woman looked surprised and I immediately wondered if she had known but by that time it was too late to turn back and the conversation continued fortunately as if nothing happened. 

From that point forward, I conditioned myself to letting all other people come to their own conclusions about me. It helped because I was gaining the confidence in myself to not care one way or another what someone else thought of me. But still, I had to battle to judge others and let them make the first move. Like the evil cis-woman with her friends in a restroom I had to use one night at a mixed venue in downtown Cincinnati.  When I entered the small women's room, I needed to make my way through the gaggle of women to a stall to do my business. As I finished and came out, I headed for the sinks to wash my hands and check my makeup in the mirror. In the meantime, the one woman who had glared at me earlier had positioned herself near the only hand dryer which happened to be fastened high off the wall. As I moved to use it, she continued to block my way, so I reached behind her and pushed the button which ruined her hair for the time being. She jumped and moved quickly out of my way and I had complete access to the hand dryer. I then finished drying my hands, glared at her at exited the ladies room. 

I was proud of myself and remembered the number of years it took me to arrive at a point where I never outed myself. If someone else had a problem with me, it became their problem. If I was eating my fair share of a "Lobsta" bake in Maine or eating pizza with my friends at a venue in Columbus, Ohio, I was just me and even though I was always trying to improve the new femininized me, it had to be a better version than the old miserable male person I used to be. 

When I finally escaped all the nervousness of being out in the world as a transgender woman, I used what I learned to stop any idea of ever outing myself again. As it turned out, my inner female who had waited my whole life to be in control finally made it into my light of day and she knew how to make the best of her situation. She made it clear I had always been a woman cross dressing as a man and not the opposite I always thought I was. I guess, all those years when I was secretly hoping I would reveal my secret to the world, I had it all backwards.

Since I did, it was difficult for me to forgive myself and all the phantom ideas I had about letting my family and parents down. Including years of therapy and help from key friends, I managed to make it. Plus make up for lost time while I was doing it. 

 

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