It has seemingly finally happened. I am not sure how it is that I got here but it seems, for the most part, I am here. I've reached a point where I can be out in female form and not be interpreted as anything but as a woman. One may wonder how one might know when they have achieved this point. How is it possible to know, with any level of certainty, what anyone may be thinking or surmising of one when they are out enfemme?
The answer to the question is one which has been answered of late when I am out, by nothing more simple than by my voice. Interestingly, no one takes any note when I am out and quietly doing whatever it is I may be doing, whether it be shopping in the local BJ's Warehouse, to the supermarket, shopping in any number or type of stores or simply meandering in a public. The majority of this non-chalance, laissez-faire attitude by others is due in large part to my own care-free, casual and comfortable attitude. When one is comfortable with themselves, it is an aspect of one's aura which silently exudes from within, and which is silently perceived by others. There is no doubt in my mind as to this for when I first set out into the world, no matter how well I tried to pass, my superficial and overly-strained level of confidence in myself was always apparent to others.
Now it is my voice, however, that has been the determinant to be sure and to verify that I have been passing as a woman while out. On more than one occasion, I had opportunity to witness this first hand. In one case, just this past week, I was simply sitting in a restaurant with my spouse, Joanne. I had strategically chosen the only high table in the room, facing the bar and looking out over lower tables and booths. From our hawk's perch, Joanne and I noted casually that no one gave us more than equal casual glances, after which we blended in with the rest of the crowd. No one knew or suspected any variance what-so-ever. It was not until I got into a conversation with one of the staff's son, who we were introduced to that evening, that my voice fell out of pitch and somewhere into the male register. Joanne watched as heads which had before assessed me and categorized me in the female box, suddenly lifted and took note of the variance. Amazingly to me, after processing the variance, those same heads simply returned to what they had been doing prior as if nothing had happened.
In that moment I gave the patrons something to think about. It was a casual encounter for them with a gender variant person. Because I was dressed in a casual blouse, black slacks and low heeled shoes, there was really nothing to see except for what appeared, for all intensive purposes, to just be a well dressed woman out for dinner with her female friend. And because of this, and of the fact that the people we were engaging with were completely blase over this variance, they too were put at ease. People, I have noted, tend to draw their own assessments of a situation from what others around them assess the situation as. Because everyone who was interacting with me was comfortable with me, they were comfortable as well. The moment became a non-event, and a passive dunk into a new realm for the patrons in the restaurant that night.
My second event occurred at a local women's clothing store. While browsing the store, I was approached by a middle-aged sales woman who asked if I needed any help with anything. I responded, while standing at very close range with her that I did not at the moment but might want to try a few things on in a little bit. I watched as she suddenly noted the variance between the voice and the appearance and stuttered on her words for a moment. The sense I had was that she was surprised but pleasantly impressed with what just shocked her as she missed only a beat and then continued on, offering again that if I needed anything, to simply ask her.
It was most interesting that as I was trying on a top that I had selected, she did make a point to ask me if I needed anything or if she could get me another size. I said "no thank you" but did open the door of the changing room just then, and her expression seemed quite shocked really at what she saw. I certainly do like to maintain a humble and objective narration of the stories I do relate, but I will say unequivocally that her expression was one of amazement. She really kept saying how becoming the outfit I had on was and that it looked really great on me. I could very well tell, by her animation and expression, that she was really enjoying how well I was presenting, for she knew, and I knew that she knew, that I was a transgender woman.
At checkout time, it seems that both she and the cashier made it a point to engage me in further topical conversation about this and that. I'm quite sure, as was Joanne, that they were thoroughly enjoying this "something different / yet very cool" situation immensely.
So where is Christen at now in the spectrum of her gender?
A lot has happened since that first attempt at walking out the door for the first time in female form back in September of 2009.....
Interestingly, the tables appear to be turned completely around in many ways at this point in my life. When I am out as female, I am for the most part perceived as female. If I am out and around town, I dress casually and appropriately for my age. I wear sensible shoes and tops and jewelry appropriate to what every other woman would wear. As a result, I receive no other looks than what an ordinary woman would receive. It is true transparency and something I have been working at, tweaking and tuning, to try to get all the pieces just right.
Of even greater interest, with this turn of the tables, is how I am apparently no longer passing as male. Although I am not on any hormone replacement of any kind, I am no longer looking completely male. Joanne has noted that my demeanor and behavioral mannerisms as well, are no longer male but appears now to be a very natural female one. I was told by my therapist that this day would come (although I did not believe her).... that the structure I built as a child to live in a male world and to try to fit in, would start to develop holes, like a block of Swiss Cheese. The holes in that Swiss Cheese male persona continued to multiply until there was nothing left of the male persona. What has emerged is a person who is finally comfortable with herself and no longer playing the acting role she had been for 40+ years.
Those tables have turned and I am now questioned, in immutable and subtle ways, more often when I am out in my guy mode than when I am in my girl mode. It is simply this way because all of the pieces which make up who I am, fit more readily into the girl box than into the guy box... and society takes note of where one belongs... or doesn't.
So to sum it all up, I have arrived. Yes, I am sure that there will be days and times when things may be a bit off in my presentation and I may flutter away for a time, but overall I have arrived I feel that I am in the place that I felt I should have been in since my earliest memories as a young child. For my own soul, it is a peaceful place and one of comfort to finally begin to feel as if I am home after being away for a lifetime. I can not express, in words, what congruity is when one feels as if they are living the life they always should have, as who they are inside.
I feel like I am home...
I only ask that I be able, in this home, to stay......