How Did You (HDY) Start Presenting as a Girl in Public?
With a little over 3 years since I started presenting as Franches as a girl in public I’ve been thinking how did I manage to do something that would appear unimaginable to many people, including me just a few years ago. The incomplete answer is that I just did with little thought. Though that is true, digging deeper at the days, months and a couple of years before I started presenting as me as female there’s a bunch of things I can uncover.
Let me start by laying out in just a few sentences what actually took a few months and then I’ll peal the layers. In a nutshell my timeline went like this: First I crossdressed “seriously” between 2011 and 2013. During that time I went out in public a few times and then sporadically up to late 2015. When I went out between 2011 and 2015 I was “hiding in public”, meaning that yes I was out in public but not presenting as myself, rather out in public as a different person. In August 2015 I made the decision to move forward and seek medical support. At that point I started going out presenting as a girl but mostly after work and on the weekends. Since the moment I decided to move forward, when I went out I did it presenting as myself, not as a character. I refer to that as being “open in public”. It was not until April 2016 that I went full time, though.
The condensed timeline right above now helps me see clearer how I managed to do something that a few years before would have seemed unimaginable and practically impossible. In simple terms the conclusion was confidence. You see, the day I decided to step out of my home fully presenting as a me as a girl, as nervous as I was, I really didn’t have to think or worry too much about it. In effect the confidence that I had built to that point allowed me to focus on the details and not be overwhelmed by the larger picture influenced by the fear of rejection.
The experience I built up during what I call my “learning explosion” between 2011 and 2013 set the foundation. In that early time I was not even considering doing more than crossdressing for fun. What I was doing, though, was really learning the art of makeup, deportment and wardrobe styling. As much as I was concentrating on making my appearance as natural as possible it always had a light feeling. This just because it didn’t have the heavy weight of being the way I would be presenting all the time. It’s as if it wasn’t a serious thing. It was more like a game or play.
The Day I Stepped Out
The day I stepped out of my apartment presenting as me and as a girl, 16 of September 2015, was the day I had my first appointment with the psychologist that would do my HRT assessment. It was also the first time my mum would see me in the flesh fully presenting as a woman. Thanks to my crossdressing experience I felt super confident about the way I looked and how I could navigate being out in public. Yes, I was ultra nervous about my mum seeing me (she had seen photos but not in person), about leaving through the front door of my building, about walking to my psychologist appointment; about being seen in public. But none of those worries was as important as proving to myself that I could do it and of course, getting to the psychologist’s appointment on time!
That first time venturing out after making my decision to move forward changed the way I felt about stepping out in public. I had stepped out presenting as a woman many times between 2011 and that Wednesday in mid September 2015, but in all of those I was hiding; I was crossdressing. Before that day, going out in public had the element of shame and fear of being judged and rejected. But that day was different. It was not only to have fun and go play around, it was for myself.
The element of shame got replaced with the feeling of accomplishment, almost pride.
Think of it as a feeling of having a license to be out dressed and presenting like that, while before that day I was doing it clandestinely. As I think about it now, I gave myself the license to break out of my box and limitations when I decided to move forward.
It would be about 6 1/2 months between that day and when I went full time. I didn’t feel comfortable enough with myself presenting as a girl to go full time right away. Although I didn’t have a timeline in mind I wanted to ease people around me into my new presentation, or at least that’s what I thought. Now I know that it was the other way around. Rather I did want to ease myself into the concept. Back then my plan was to first open up to the people I cared about the most, which was my immediate family, then the people I saw on a daily basis and my close friends.
During the very early days after I sought that first psychologist appointment I would make the effort to dress and present female out in public. Simple, almost pointless things, like dressing and going out to high street for window shopping or out to get groceries. In other words, I was practicing.
Another major support was a coworker and close friend of mine who then used to go to the movies every Friday. Once I opened up to him I asked if I could tag along to the movies with him, presenting as a girl, to which he agreed. I pushed myself, and probably I also pushed my friend, to get out in a somewhat more social aspect than just walking the streets. I like to say that going to the movies is one of the most antisocial-social activities. But it allowed me so much practice and helped me ease in.
By the time I decided to move forward I already had an ok wardrobe and a makeup collection from my crossdressing madness during my learning explosion phase. Now I see it as having about 4 years (2011-2015) of prep-work under my belt. I had already lost a lot of weight, I had grown my hair long, I had a starter wardrobe and set of cosmetics, and most important of all, I had built confidence in myself.
Another thing that comes to mind is that I always assumed I was being read so I didn’t stress much if anyone were to make a comment or one of those nasty stares. I found it not only surprising but also encouraging that I rarely got any negative vibe from anyone. This just boosted my confidence and the always present amusement at myself for being able to do it.
So Fucking Lucky
I consider myself extremely lucky that since 2011 I was moving forward into a project I didn’t even have a clue I would develop until late 2015. I am sharply aware that many people don’t have that prep-work done ahead. For that reason if I know that someone is about to embark in a similar process I offer to accompany them to go out and do things for the first time. Building that confidence by oneself is not easy. My personal set of circumstances and my solitary personality enabled me but I believe most people are not in a similar situation to mine. If I can help someone build that confidence by being there for their first steps then they can build up from there. And for me it’s also a way to re-enjoy my own first steps from some time ago.
P.S. The header image is a photo of me “practicing” in mid November, 2015. Wearing a long sleeve T-shirt, fluffy knitted scarf, jeans and loose messy hair.