I bought some new clothes in Australia. It’s what girls do, right? I bought new clothes while on holiday! So much so, that I had to “borrow” a huge luggage bag from the Burtons, my amazing hosts. The new bag is as big as the one bag I checked when I went to Australia. You get the point — the credit card bills aren’t going to be pretty!
My second full day back, I began to unpack the new clothes. Heretofore, I hadn’t much feminine clothing. My “look” has changed a lot in the six months, since I came out to everyone as transgender. Add in that I hadn’t yet experienced summer as a girl, and I naturally needed new clothes.
As I began to hang my new tops AND DRESSES (I can’t believe I got FIVE dresses in Australia), I quickly ran out of hangers. My closet was still full of a lifetime of boy clothes, mainly because I have been so focused on the new me that I hadn’t taken the time to throw out the old.
As I began to take my old boy shirts and fold them to free up hangers, I started really looking at them, trying to imagine myself in them. I couldn’t. I couldn’t picture myself wearing them now. So I began to remember memories in the shirts. I remembered where and why I purchased them, who I was with when I last wore them, or a significant life event or emotion during which I last wore a particular shirt.
I became emotional, and even started to cry. It wasn’t a bad cry with sobs or heaving. It was just — a cry. It’s hard to explain. Girls know what I’m talking about.
It occurred to me that part of what I was experiencing was mourning my old self, and I became very aware of what my family, friends and coworkers must be experiencing. I thought of why I hadn’t seen or heard any of them mourn the old me, and wondered if it was because some of them aren’t with me and experiencing the rapid week-to-week change, or whether they had been mourning and were saving me the pain of knowing I had brought them pain. I felt that guilt.
I noticed that I had different types of shirts, and I began to put them into piles of dress, casual, work, etc. I saw a trend in purchases I’d made over the last 18 months, and how I had tried to move toward expressing myself more and to enjoy my clothes more. I saw a definite and clear trend in what I had purchased, and wore, as I got closer to making the decision to transition, initiating that decision and post decision.
Oh, what a symbol of the change I’ve continuously made! In the three short weeks I was in Australia, I had evolved into something that more closely matches my femininity. I haven’t arrived yet, but my coworkers and friends certainly noticed that I had immediately worn tops I hadn’t yet been comfortable to wear before my trip. Part of that may have been the opportunity to stretch myself more than normal in Australia, because I was in front of a whole new set of people there. I felt freer to be myself, hence the five new dresses!
Confession — I just stopped writing to go peek into my closet and admire my new additions. I can’t put into words the sheer joy I just experienced.
If you saw the pictures and video I posted to social media while in the Land of Oz, you may have noticed that I was presenting more feminine than the last time you saw me. I’m definitely enjoying the new, freer, more honest me. Trans people often refer to this as the pink cloud.
Wait, did you catch it? The word in that last paragraph — honest. That’s what this transition is all about. For so many years I held myself in, terribly afraid of someone discovering my secret. I hid what I call the Mask of Masculinity. I felt as if I wasn’t enough, especially for the women in my life, but also for my family and friends.
I’m enough, now.