I live approximately 45-50 miles from town, where I lived for over twenty years in apartments, before the quest for privacy drove me to buy a house out in the country, 17 years ago.
During the seventies, and for the first two years of the eighties, I would go out dressed a couple of times a year. Usually just to go to a salon, to get my hair and nails done. I know……that probably sounds pretty lame to those of you who have been out and proud for a while, but there was no trans scene here back then, and being an isolated TG girl, that was my only outlet. It was easy for me to do that then without being outted, because I lived in a suburban apartment complex, where literally everyone worked a day job. All I had to do was take a day off, and I could come and go, without any of my neighbors ever seeing me dressed.
Although they were few and far between, I really used to cherish those days. Unfortunately that all came to an end in the early eighties, when I moved from the apartment complex, into an apartment in the inner city. There, the streets were lined with a mix of small apartment buildings, and single family dwellings, and unlike my former neighbors in the suburban apartment complex, who all had traditional 9-5 jobs, my new neighbors were a mix of students, professors, housewives, day workers, and retired people. There were always people out and about on the street, so coming and going without notice, was out of the question. Because of this, I retreated entirely back into the closet, but even that became a problem, because I lived in a 3rd floor flat, in a 100 year old apartment building, with virtually no privacy. There was no insulation in the walls, or between floors, so you could hear everything your neighbors said and did, and they could hear you just as well. I had to lay carpets throughout the apartment, just to muffle the sound of my heels on the hardwood floors, and I had to make sure the shades were drawn when the sun went down, because the neighbors across the street could see directly into my windows. I bought most of my clothing through mail order, but because I worked full time, deliveries were left on the front porch of the building, where all my neighbors could see them. And of course there were the constant knocks on the door, by people dropping in unannounced, and me inside in a dress, having to play opossum until they left.
Out here in the country, although isolated, at least I could come home from work and be myself in relative privacy. And that’s what I did for the next 16 years, until I retired last year. Since then, I have lived entirely as Melissa, except for when I have to go into town to visit family, or shop for groceries, or hardware, etc. But now I have received an invitation from a friendly TG girl I met on Pink Essence, to join her, and members of her TG support group, for dinner at a local hangout they meet at twice a week, back in town. It is a popular lesbian restaurant and bar, and she said they have a very accepting attitude towards TG people. She said I could come either fab, or drab. Either way would be OK with them.
Now, I would really love to do this, but if I do, I would want to go as Melissa. I mean what’s the point of going to dinner with a group of out trans women, and not presenting as a woman myself? Naturally, I’m very apprehensive about this. It will involve going out in public, for the first time in over 25 years, and driving nearly 100 miles round trip on the interstate, dressed as a woman. Naturally, the gears in my head are spinning over this, and producing many little negative thoughts. What if my car breaks down? What if get pulled by the police, or run into a sobriety check and have to show an ID?
I’m also insecure about how I will look. Some of you have been very sweet, and complimented me on the way I look in my pictures, and I just love you for it, but those are, well…..pictures. I can assure you that up close, I am not nearly as pretty. I’m 60 years old and I look it. I’m big too, over 6 ft. tall. The only part of my beard on which I’ve had electrolysis, is a small strip on my lower neck. Although most of it has turned white, even with beard cover and an opaque foundation, you can still detect a shadow. I realize that everyone there will know I am TG, and they won’t care, but let’s face it, I’m a girl, and I admit to a certain amount of vanity.
I really want to do this. I even bought a purse for the occasion, but every time I start seriously considering it, I become bombarded with all of these negative thoughts, and I get discouraged. Where is that overriding drive to go out, which helped me to overcome all of these insecurities when I was young?