Showing posts with label feminine communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feminine communication. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Engaging the Public

 Engaging the public as a transgender woman has always been difficult for me.  First of all, I am an inherently shy person  and secondly when I first reached a level of coming out as my feminine self, I had to begin to communicate with the general public. All of this added to me being increasingly shy. 

Photo from the Jessie Hart
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For some unknown reason, this morning was different. Since my retirement, I especially don't like to get up early in the morning. But as a favor to my wife Liz, I got up at 5:30 AM to go with her to a doctors appointment which was a half an hour away. As bribery, I made sure Liz knew we would have to stop for breakfast at a certain fast food place we enjoy. Plus we had to hurry because she had to be back as soon as possible to sign in to work which she does from home. 

In addition to getting up so early, we arrived fifteen minutes early and we had to wait in the outer hallway for the office to open. As we were standing there, a man came by with a crock pot full of some sort of food. I waited for Liz to say something and when she didn't I quickly said "Is it time for breakfast?" He laughed and said brunch and we were invited. Looking back I was amazed I took the opportunity to start a conversation with a complete stranger. I think this morning for some reason I thought the light makeup I was wearing matched how my hair looked and my gender dysphoria was not an issue and did not bother me. So I had as much right as Liz did to initiate a conversation.

Amazingly, I felt empowered to do it again when and if the opportunity arises. It felt good to shed my shyness around the public. Maybe if I was more into setting more new resolutions for the year 2023, I could have considered adding speaking up more to my non existent list. As I felt this morning, possibly engaging the public more will help me to continue to build my personality as my authentic feminine self. My excuse is the Covid years of relative isolation hiding behind a mask stunted any personal growth I had with the public. Plus, back in the day when I was first coming out, I enjoyed my time communicating with the public, for the most part. It could have been too I was caught up in the newness of it all. After all, the communication skills women required to survive in their world were so vastly different to me. Even with all the years I spent working with women, I found they shielded me from what they really meant on certain subjects. 

I have considered also that over the years, writing had become my preferred form of communication. To the point of hurting my verbal communication. Since I was afraid of using what I called my feminine voice, I softened my vocal delivery to a point of not being heard by some people. 

Now I hope to try to get out into the public more and practice my vocal skills more in depth. Adding yet another dimension to my overall public presentation. Years ago I did take a few lessons on developing a more feminine voice and think I still have the practice notes and homework I was given. I will have to find the paperwork and try again. Engaging the public was so enjoyable.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Transgender Validation

 The power of gender validation is strong. Especially after we take on all the intense work and struggle to cross the binary gender frontier. For most transgender women and trans men validation is difficult to achieve as we attempt to live a new life as our authentic selves. In the past I have attempted to document my struggles with validation. 

Looking back, I suppose it all started with my earliest days of cross dressing in front of the hallway mirror growing up. Unlike girls of my age bracket, I didn't have any feedback. Except from the mirror.

Mirror Photo
Source Cyrsti Hart

Which I discovered later wasn't the best choice. The mirror was excellent in telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. Not what was really happening. A tendency which would cause me tons of pain as the years progressed.

Perhaps the biggest mistake I made in the validation process was getting past the idea women primarily don't dress themselves with men in mind. They dress for other women. As I began to understand the feminine validation process, I started to grow up mentally and began to dress to blend. My "style" shifted from borderline trashy into my beloved "boho" style which was coming back into fashion. I was able to relive a portion of my youth and still have the style to blend into the public's eye. This included upgrading my ill fitting clownish wigs into more expensive but presentable hair. Once I did all of this, I was able to achieve a feminine presentation which allowed me to explore the world as a woman without getting laughed at. 

At this point of my validation process was when I gained the nuances of gender communication. Of course I always knew women and men communicated differently but I didn't realize how much until I started to communicate one on one with other women on a regular basis. Many stereotypes were true. For example men really don't listen to women who communicate on a totally different plane than men. With my gender background I carried so many biases with me. For example, I knew many of the men I knew only looked at women on a sexual level and rarely paid any attention on a professional or intellectual level. Even still I wasn't prepared for the immediate gender rejection I experienced when I attempted to interact with a man.

My very first experience I remember was when my car suffered an untimely breakdown. As I waited for a tow truck of course I was "helped" out by a well meaning policeman. Fortunately, it didn't take long for the tow truck to arrive and the cop and tow driver got together on the best route to get my car home. Amazingly neither of them wanted to listen to my directions! I guess living there wasn't good enough. Finally as I rode back in the front of the tow truck, my perceived lack of intelligence presented itself again and again. As the driver painstakingly described his truck I finally dumbed down to asking the most basic questions. It turned out this experience was one of many as I explored being validated as a woman from men.

Women were much easier. As I quickly accepted, learned and ultimately enjoyed my new communication roles  my confidence grew as well as my validation . Most of it occurred when I learned non verbal communication skills women use.

Looking back at the transgender validation  process, it was a long experience to jump from the mirror to the world. But, it was worth it.