Live For You

You try as hard as you can daily to live up to other people’s expectations. Stop. It will never happen. Don’t live your life trying to please other people. Sure it does feel nice to be recognized when you do something well, but if you are only doing it for the recognition then you might want to take the time to look at WHY.

We all crave recognition. It is human nature. I even crave it as well, but we have to stop that because in other people’s eyes unless we are as close to them as possible then we are not doing something right. Live to be happy within yourself. This is simply my opinion and just a topic I wanted to address.

If you have any insight on the matter, please feel free to comment and let me know what you think.

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You are Important

Let’s take a break from my transition timeline for a minute. I may or may not go back to that. Right now though I have fresh thoughts that I’d like to share. At this point its been a little over a year in total since I started even questioning my identity. Up to this point there have been times of little to no dysphoria.

There have also been times with a moderate level of it but it has never been at the level it is now especially for this length of time. Before it might be where I felt a small pain looking at a beautiful woman from time to time or where having a beard made me feel like I was hiding from myself.

Back then it had to be a full beard from at least a month of growing to make me even feel anything. Now any and all hair drives me crazy. Nearly every woman who I pass by or passes by me instills a strong dysphoric response in myself. One thing I can tell you about transitioning is that you can never guess how much dysphoria any one person is feeling at any given moment.

How you perceive yourself can change as you slowly figure out who you are. I myself am still figuring that out. In just the course of the past few weeks I have questioned how I identified at least 3 or 4 times. That is natural and in my opinion necessary in finding your true self.

It won’t happen over night. It won’t be easy. It will hurt at times. Through all of that though is how you can find true happiness within yourself. The more I question myself and the more dysphoria I feel the happier I find myself becoming. I am learning about myself after all these years and I am truly loving every minute of it.

Don’t get me wrong it can and will frustrate you. It will instill self-doubt. It will also make you feel like an outsider even to yourself. Even though all of these things and more will happen as you find out who you are, you will feel so happy in the end. Nothing worth doing is easy.

Many people will disown you, trash talk you, put you down, and just plain make you feel like you are nothing. In the end though you have the power to simply say I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. People’s opinions only affect you if you let them do so. You don’t have to let that happen.

I know this is way easier said than done. I myself have let numerous people’s opinions of me change how I live my life and bring me down so far I almost didn’t come back up. I came back up though so much stronger for having gone through it. You can too. This doesn’t only apply to the LGBTQ community.

Everyone who is struggling with identity no matter what age can feel alone and defeated. You have support though. There will always be at least one person who is willing to help someone else. If anything I am willing to help. You are never as alone as you feel. It is hard when the chips are down and you feel like there is nothing left, but if you let that keep you down you are letting the haters win.

You are an amazing and special person. You can take control of your life and lead yourself to a better tomorrow. It has taken me so very long to learn this and even longer to gain enough confidence in myself to actually put it into action.  Even now it is a slow process for me.

The first step in recovery though in any form is self-care. Doing the little things that make you feel comfortable and happy. It can be playing your favorite board game, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or even eating your favorite food. Getting out of and making your bed can do wonders in itself.

Before you can tackle your life to do list you need to tackle your self-care to do list. This may sound selfish and like a self-centered way of thinking but think about it: how often do you do something because you want to? I am in no way saying make everything about you, but sometimes you HAVE to put yourself first.

Until you can confidently say out loud “I love myself” you will not be able to love others the way you want to. Self love is an important thing. Most people take for granted that they are a kind person and help everyone in need. They often times forget about themselves though.

They are so busy helping everyone else that their own needs are the last thing on their minds. I am speaking from personal experience here. I originally was going to write about my dysphoria in this post but as you can see it is never as simple as that. I did ramble a bit here but in the end I got my thoughts out even if a bit unorganized.

My ultimate goal with this blog is really to help people with their journeys of self discovery. I hope I can encourage people to keep fighting on and give them hope that things will get better. After all if you are at rock bottom the only way left to go is up right? If you are reading this you are loved. ❤

My Second Shopping Experience

Not long after that first shopping trip I managed to save up some money so I could afford to go shopping again. This experience had an entirely different feel to it. I was still very nervous however I had done it before. I felt a bit more prepared this time. That being said I still wanted to have someone with me.

This time it was someone I hadn’t actually been out with yet. I am comfortable around them though because at this point we had been living in the same house for about a year. The destination this time around was the local thrift store right around the corner. It was a nice day outside, maybe 75 to 80 degrees which is perfect for me.

Either way though we both brought water with us because we did decide to walk there. Need to stay hydrated right? They thought it would take like 10 minutes to get there. It ended up taking about 35 minutes though. They were speed walking too, I could barely keep up.

Walking definitely takes longer than riding a bike that is for sure. It was good exercise none the less. So we get there after a nice walk and felt so refreshed as we walked into the store because they had the A/C blasting. We had to give our bags to the lady at the front counter which is to be expected.

You can never be too careful these days. We approach the aisle with dresses first. I like dresses. They quickly start sifting through their side of the aisle and I creep along slowly on my side. I am just thinking to myself about all the things people might say or be thinking as they walk by and see me looking through dresses.

I was to say the least very uncomfortable at that  moment in time. I spent about 20 minutes trying to compose myself as I was gazing upon all those beautiful dresses. Eventually I moved on to the shorts just so I wasn’t lingering too long. The person I was with also happened to be looking through the shorts as well.

I almost envied how comfortable they were looking through clothes. It was second nature to them. They knew exactly what they liked and what they wanted and would look good in. I was just there having a battle within myself just to stay calm and composed.

I started seeing a few items I would like to maybe buy but the thought of trying them on still scared me. There was a big difference in both of these experiences; the first one the store was not very busy. This one however the store was extremely busy in comparison at least.

I had 40 dollars I could spend here. After about 35 minutes being in the store we head over to the shoe aisle. This is where I immediately spot a pair of boots that just looked divine! I pulled them down and checked the price. Luckily they were on sale 50 percent off.  A normally 34 dollar pair of boots for just 17 dollars, score!

Not only were they marked down for the thrift store price, but new those boots were easily worth at least 100 dollars. I checked the size which was 8 1/2, two sizes smaller than my current shoes however I try them on anyway. They somehow fit like a glove! I was so happy. I decided on the spot I was purchasing those boots.

A little time after that we picked out an adorable outfit for me nice skinny blue jeans and a loose blouse that complimented them well. It was the of those complicated blouses that cis woman somehow know how to put on. Regardless though I was going toward the dressing room to try the outfit on.

Once I got there and asked if I could use the dressing room, the person at the counter said “you can only try on items of 15 dollars or greater” I looked at the price tags. 1 dollar and 3.50 ain’t gonna cut it. If I couldn’t try the clothes on I wasn’t going to purchase them. So I reluctantly put them back where I got them.

The trip wasn’t over yet though. By this point I was feeling slightly more comfortable as I started heading toward the purses. I spent a good 20 minutes at least looking at every purse and wallet they had. After carefully examining the color, size, space inside, feel, and even stitching of every item I finally decided on both a purse and wallet.

They were both on sale with prices of 5 dollars each. Through pure dumb luck I somehow without even trying bought a matching Vera Bradley purse and wallet. I got them specifically because of their Pink and purple floral patterns and their magnetic way of closing.

We had been there for about 2 1/2 hours at this point so they were ready to head back. I took my items and we headed toward the register. The total with tax was about 30 dollars. I paid for my items got my change and we reclaimed our bags.

I was excited because I finally had a purse and a feminine wallet! Both matching none the less. I found out later what they were actually worth but that is for another story. Within my first couple of months of discovering who I was I already had 2 successful shopping trips under my belt.

This thought was so empowering and only the beginning.

First Shopping Experience

Let’s back up a little bit. My first story focused on my first big jump in my transition. But I haven’t told you about what led up to that first big step. There were several small things that compounded in the weeks prior that ultimately made that possible. One of the very first steps even before my biggest thus far was my first time shopping for woman’s clothing.

The Funny thing about this is that not only was this my first time shopping for female attire, it was also my first time shopping for clothing in general. Well that is not entirely true, I went with my parents to go clothes shopping a few times but they picked out the clothes for me. There was one time I randomly bought a shirt and some boots while out with a friend.

So it wasn’t my first time shopping for clothes, however it was my first time truly looking through the entire store for clothes to suit my taste. You can imagine how nerve-racking this experience was. At this point in time I was not out as trans except to a few select people. My family and friends knew as well as the staff at Zebra Coalition, but I still went by my birth name everywhere else and to everyone else.

I was lucky in fact to even have been able to shop for clothing to begin with. Zebra Coalition, which is a LGBTQ organization had numerous resources which helped me on my way to truly beginning my transition process. Within my first week going there, I not only got counseling, but made friends, got free food, and overall started feeling so much more comfortable and confident with who I was.

The staff at Zebra are all very friendly and attentive to the youth’s needs that seek out their services. That however is not what this story is about, I just thought I would give them a shout out. Anyway they are still important to the story because they gave me a voucher for Bargain Box, the store in which I was purchasing my first clothing for my transition.

It was worth 25 dollars and was one use only, so I basically had a free 25 dollars to buy whatever I wanted there.  I didn’t want to undergo this alone so I got in touch with a friend to have them join me. They didn’t have transportation there, but they had a couple of bus passes so I actually ended up having two firsts that day. I had never rode a public bus before except the school bus but that is totally different.

So I met with my friend at the bus stop and we chatted a bit until the bus arrived. When the bus got there we got on and swiped the bus passes. We then found a couple of empty seats and proceeded on our way downtown. We were both a bit nervous because they also had not been on a public city bus before.

Throughout most of the ride we were paying extra special attention to make sure we didn’t miss our stop. Funnily enough we still almost missed it. It was just an awkward stop location, right before some train tracks. We hadn’t even realized it was a stop until we asked the bus driver.

Once we confirmed we were indeed at the right place we got off of the bus and surveyed our surroundings. They were unfamiliar to both of us since at this point in time I myself had only been downtown a few times and they had not once been downtown. This was a day filled with new experiences for both of us.

Once we attained our bearings we started heading toward our final destination. The bus stop wasn’t far from it so we reached it relatively quickly. I had ridden my bike to the bus stop so I had to tie it up before entering the store. Once that was done we headed on inside. Stepping foot in that place was exhilarating and nerve-racking all at once.

As I took in the reality of the moment I was definitely feeling like a shy little kid. In fact I still frequently feel as though I am still just a child. I nervously approached the woman at the counter and handed her my voucher, which somehow between me leaving my house and getting there got a tear in it. I wasn’t sure she would still take it.

Luckily for me she was nice, taped it up and happily accepted it. She then explained which items were on sale which was very helpful. At that point there was 3 hours left until closing. I turned around and took in the sight of all the clothes. My friend wasted no time starting to look around, and I just shyly followed behind them feeling too nervous to separate from them.

I stuck close to them for a while and slowly looked through a few dresses. I was feeling extremely self-conscious at this point. My gender dysphoria was going through the roof. Laying my eyes on these female clothes with the prospect of potentially buying some was really sinking in.

My face was turning deep red I’m sure with how hot and nervous I was feeling. I spent the first hour and a half there too scared to look through more than a few outfits. Soon after though I spot a pair of pink shorts. I love the color pink, so naturally I had to have those shorts.

I proceeded to look for a top to go with the shorts and it didn’t take long for me to find one. I found a complete outfit so it was time to see if they fit and if I liked them. My friend and I headed to the changing rooms and took turns trying out the clothes we picked out. They had a few dresses and I had my one outfit and a couple of dresses I actually did manage to pick out as well.

As I started trying on the dresses it seemed none of them fit quite right. During that trip I found it was extremely hard to shop for dresses when you can’t fill them out properly which only added to my dysphoria immensely. Either way I try them on and show my friend, they liked them however I felt way too uncomfortable so I decided against purchasing any of the dresses I picked out.

As we continued taking turns trying on outfits they tried on theirs and ended up deciding to buy a nice black dress which was on a crazy sale. Eventually I got to my pink shorts and pink tank top outfit. I tried it on and I was mildly uncomfortable looking in the mirror at my full beard while wearing this outfit but it wasn’t as bad as the dresses.

I showed my friend and they liked it, they made one uneasy comment about it but that was to be expected honestly. At this point we were done trying on the outfits so we put back the ones we were not going to buy. We still had about an hour left until closing and I had about half the 25 dollars left that I could use so we continued looking through the store.

I went back to the are where I found the top to my pink shorts and ended up finding a nice athletic style outfit very similar to the one I already picked out. It was short shorts like the pink ones and a tank top but was bit more silky and understated. It wasn’t as bold as the other outfit.

I liked the thought of that. So with about 10 minutes left before closing I go and try on the outfit. It fit pretty well although the top was a bit tight. I thought I like it so I’m going to get it. Those two outfits added up to just shy of 25 dollars so I ended up using most of the voucher.

As we got to checkout though I saw some hats. I love wearing hats so I looked through them. None them really jumped out at me particularly but I did see one I kind of liked so I ended up buying it. I had a couple of dollars in cash that I used to buy the hat. As we were finishing up with our transactions the store was getting ready to close.

We spent a full 3 hours in that store and I came out with 2 outfits and a hat so not too bad in my opinion. Overall it was a satisfying experience. I was nervous throughout the entire trip but I did something to help further my goal of transitioning so it was definitely worth it. It also helped pave the way for a future jump of even greater magnitude.

 

 

 

 

 

All or Nothing

For my first post I’ll share a story with you. It was in the very early stages in my transition right when I was first starting to realize who I truly was. That was when I had first started seeking counseling to help with my transition process. At this point I had not done much in the ways of presenting myself as feminine.

There were a few times I had my nails painted but beyond that was about it. Granted this was before I had discovered who I was. Anyway so I was in counseling and they suggested taking small steps to ease in to the process of transitioning.

I had bought a couple of feminine outfits prior to starting counseling however I had not yet worn them at all even privately. Step one, try on one of the outfits while alone and just see how it feels. Simple enough right? So I try on one of my outfits, a big difference in attire than what I had worn my whole life up to this point.

My usual outfit was jeans and a t-shirt. I was not very picky. This outfit was a pink tank top and some pink booty shorts. Yes you read that right, pink booty shorts. So anyway I put on the outfit in the privacy of my home. I immediately felt self-conscious and a bit out-of-place. Despite that I stuck it out and felt it out a bit more that night.

Before I knew it I was going about my usual activities in the clothing and had almost forgotten I was wearing them. Keep in mind I hadn’t even worn a tank top itself before this point. The dog I was watching for the night needed to be let out so I got her leash and headed outside so she could go potty. I lived next door to my landlord at this time.

I was still wearing the outfit as I headed outside with the dog. My landlord happened to be sitting on her porch when I got out there. I was beyond nervous at this point. She had known me as my legal name up to that point and had not seen me in clothing like this ever so I was freaking out inside.

The dog finished her business and I headed inside. No words were spoken between us and I just kind of awkwardly looked at her as I walking the dog. I get back inside and breathe a sigh of relief. At this point most people would have probably taken off the clothes and changed into something else.

I, however simply went back to my game and kept the clothes on the entire evening. Eventually I went to sleep still in the clothes. When I awoke I realized I woke up late. If I didn’t leave soon I was going to be late for work. I hurried to ready myself but it was debatable if I had time to change or not.

I ended up saying f it, and headed to work like that. Luckily I did not have a uniform I was required to wear. When I headed outside, my landlord and all of her room mates were outside on the porch. They were all pretty shocked to see how I was dressed. I simply said I am Brenda now and I am going to work like this.

I rode off on my bicycle after a brief conversation with everyone. I also wore the purse I bought as well. I felt ready to tackle the world. I had a full beard still as well so most people would probably have thought “what on earth is this guy wearing?”. It took maybe five minutes until I rode past someone who had such an opinion.

I didn’t have time for a conversation so when they gestured me over to them and said very bluntly “Bro what the fuck are you wearing?” ” You are a dude.” I simply responded with ” I am a woman, I am transgender, deal with it.”. After that exchange I turned around and rode off to work without so much as a glance back at them.

That was such an empowering moment for me. Since the time I had first discovered my true self a few weeks prior I had dreamed about standing up for myself like that and put on the spot, I did exactly that. I stopped by the store everyday before work and had managed to save enough time to be able to stop by quickly.

After I got to the store and locked up my bike I walked in and said hello to the staff. One staff member commented on me showing my legs, I got a real kick out of that. I purchased a Gatorade and was on my way to work once again. You might be wondering why I purchased a Gatorade before work.

I did this daily prior to arriving at work because I worked outside in the Florida heat and needed to stay hydrated. Don’t worry I always packed plenty of water before leaving the house as well. I got to work and since I had previously told my manager I would soon be dressing more feminine around work she was aware and very okay with it which was such a relief.

I worked in a not so friendly neighborhood. There was literally drug transactions happening right outside the store I worked for. I worked for a phone store. I held the sign for them to help advertise their store. It wasn’t glamorous but it paid the bills. After setting my stuff down in the back, putting sunscreen on and making sure I had everything else I needed to get started I clocked in grabbed my sign and headed to the corner where I did my job.

You can only imagine the wave of emotions surging through me at this point. Fear, paranoia, excitement, sadness, anger, pretty much every single emotion you can think of. I felt beyond overwhelmed. It was like leaving the safety of the cage that divers use when swimming with the sharks.

As I stood there getting my music set up and rehydrating I was panicking a little inside. I was thinking about every possible outcome from doing this. There were so many thoughts running through my head. I was thinking of all the horrid things people might say or do to me. I was going through all my actions prior to that moment.

If my thoughts were projected like a slide show there would have been no cohesion or logic or really any order at all to them whatsoever. I have anxiety which definitely did not help in that moment one bit. There I was at work in a bad neighborhood completely vulnerable to everyone and everything and after a couple of hours that finally sunk in.

Let’s just say I did have a panic attack that day, not a bad one by any means but it was enough to where I had to re-center myself and come back down to earth. Throughout that day which seemed to drag on forever several people commented on my attire. Most of it positive believe it or not.

I was pleasantly surprised at my positive reception. There were of course a few not so nice comments thrown in but the ratio was nowhere near my expectations. As overwhelming as that day was it was also a very empowering and crucial day on the path in my transition.

On that day I wore feminine clothes in public for the first time and finally felt free. I took in all the criticism and put out positive vibes for any incoming hate and relished in all the surprising positivism. I made a huge leap toward my goal of transitioning. I tackled life head on without a care and walked away no worse for the wear.

Since that day I rarely wear masculine or even gender neutral clothing. I feel way more comfortable in feminine attire now more than any other clothing type. After that day I felt more confident in myself. I still have a long way to go, but that is only motivation to keep pushing forward. I may have taken a big step that day but the whole journey does not happen in a day.

If you decide to undergo this journey remember that everyone’s journey is different. I may have taken a big step early but that just happened to be how it worked out for me. An important thing to remember in this is to not have unrealistic expectations. Enjoy your transition as much as you can. In the end life is about the ride right?