Recently I wrote a post describing briefly how big a deal gender actually is. Coming out from one gender and living in another can only be described as a shock to the system which also takes a lot of work. I remember completely how many times when I first was exploring the feminine world, I was a dismal failure. No matter how many times the mirror told me I was doing well with my presentation, I found there was so much farther to go.
|Photo from the Jessie|
One of my problems was putting my feminine image in motion. Walking the walk was very difficult for me. I needed to practice many many times walking in heels and/or other female footwear before I finally began to feel comfortable. Lessons learned included nearly breaking my ankle in a mall one day when my stiletto heel became stuck in a sidewalk crack. Luckily, no one else seemed to notice my complete embarrassment. Other times I practiced included walking around home and even late at night in deserted big box stores. I was trying so hard to develop a walk which fit what I was wearing without appearing too outlandish.
Other problems I encountered were (as I always bring up) dressing to blend in the world. Once I did my life in my new chosen gender began to change. It was difficult deciding which wig I wanted to be my primary hair style. Which became ultra important as I began to see the same people over and over again. I was amazed how outgoing the world in general and other women specifically became when I saw them. During that same period of time also was when I had to seriously consider what to do about my voice. What happened was, I became bored with going to the same stores and malls where there was no real challenge to being accepted as my new authentic self. What I did was begin to take the extra steps and began to stop in places for lunch. Once I did, after I behaved myself and tipped well, I fairly quickly became a regular. As a matter of fact too quickly in many cases. I simply was not prepared for the interactions I was finding myself in. My problem was I wanted to be friendly and learn more if I was doing my "woman thing" correctly. I needed to learn feminine communication skills along with trying to do the best I could with my voice as soon as possible.
As far the voice went, I tried my best to mimic the range and tone of the person I was talking to. Then try to remember it the next time I tried to communicate with anyone. I tried to make the whole process habit forming which was all well and good until I had to go back to my old boring male self. Years later I did take professional vocal lessons at the VA (Veterans Administration) which I still use till this day to improve my speaking skills. Little did I know, just learning how to sound more like a cis woman when I was talking was only the beginning. As with nearly everything else they do as humans, women communicate in a much more layered, complicated system than men. I needed to go back to communication 101 and learn all the nuances of feminine communication. Including non verbal communication all the way to dealing with passive aggressive personalities. I knew going in to all of this brave new world I was facing, what women said versus what they meant were often two different things. Now I was seeing a whole different view of the process.
I can't begin to say how terrifying yet exciting my journey into a brave new gender world was. I believe I am a better person for the experience and certainly much wiser.