I really never expected this.
When I first started out in this journey I told myself that I didn't care what I looked like in the end. I didn't care if people always saw me as a man who wants to be a woman. At least I would be honest. At least I was being me. I could finally let go of the pain of lying and projecting myself as male that I held onto for so long like some kind of comfort blanket... made of rabid raccoons - That kept me safe... in an emotionally scarring sort of way.
For a long time that was the truth. Some days were better than others in the beginning. Some days I felt I passed and other days I felt like people could see right through my wig and my makeup for the drag queen that I was. As time went on and the hormones took their toll on my face and body I actually started to feel less passable. It felt awkward but at least it still felt right. Looking back on it, the looks everybody gave me probably weren't them saying to themselves, "what a freak," like I thought they were - it was probably them being genuinely curious about my gender.
Looking back on a journal entry from early in my transition I remember myself stating that I wasn't sure about going all the way - that being androgynous would be enough. Funny that when I finally made it there it felt so wrong. Fear is a strong thing and I think that was my way of coping with the fact that I might not have been able to look like a woman - coupled with the fact that for a while I wasn't able to unsee my male self when I looked in the mirror. When people looked at me funny, curious about my existence, I just wanted them to see me as another girl in the street. My hair had gotten long enough (and thick enough) and I was so sick of the uncomfortable wigs that I stopped wearing them. I started to look not really one gender, not yet the other.
Recently I was beginning to notice that the attention was waning. Something in me started to panic. Maybe it's because I had gotten used to people's stares, I'd gotten used to room full of people who would take turns staring at me until it seemed like everyone had done it at least once. I didn't even realize that people stopped looking because they no longer register me as anything other than... female.
Wrapping my head around this is a little weird! Maybe it's because I thought it would never happen and for a while my inferiority complex (still lingering from trying to live as a man) wouldn't let me believe that I was being seen as a woman. The only time looks linger now is because they think I'm cute! The smiles people give me aren't sinister - they're genuine. New people don't do the double-take that they once did when I walked up to them. Chatting in a cafe just today when I brought up anything trans related my friend would lean in and whisper as though no one else in the coffee shop needed to know. It was our little secret and she looked so excited for me!
Now I need to decide what to do with this. Two years ago I told myself that I would move out of town, change my name and start a new life if I was ever able to go stealth. But with all the support and new friends I've made I can see that was a decision made purely out of fear. I've already decided that being passable is going to work a lot to my advantage but in my career and in my life I really want to get into trans support and trans rights. Why vanish when I could do much more by being visible? Apparently being passable is helpful in that regard and while I don't think that's right on society's part I want to do what I can to change the general public's viewpoint. Somehow. Slowly, surely.
Let's see what happens now.