When you think you’ve occupied your space; when you think you’re comfortable in your world, something happens. And you feel vulnerable again.
And it doesn’t need to be something big.
Yesterday I was walking home from work. I had my plans for the evening in my mind. Having a quick meal, then a short nap, and then start working out again.
As I was opening the building door, the owner of the sushi bar passed by. Some years ago, girlfriend and I were quite adept to this sushi bar. We’d order sushi at least once a week, and the people there would treat us very warmly and politely. We liked that place.
But as I transitioned, as I removed my beard, I grew more and more reserved. I felt uneasy outside, especially at those places where I was known. People could notice me changing, and sometimes they were puzzled.
This was the case at the sushi bar. They started making comments about my skin, about how soft it was becoming. Maybe it was just politeness, but I felt uncomfortable. So, in the end, we stopped going there.
Yesterday, the owner of the place passed by, and I don’t know why, but I said “hello”. And he recognized me.
So, he greeted me.
He was quite effusive, as he used to be. “Hello, Mister!”, he said. And, in the middle of the street, not knowing who was around, I explained him that I was not a “mister” any more, that I was rather a “miss”.
For me, this was too much to handle at the moment. I must say that he remained polite at every moment, and that he seemed to understand. He does not speak the local language quite fluently, so this made all the scene a bit more awkward. But I guess he understood, because he said that I looked pretty. We shook hands, and said goodbye.
I entered my apartment all cold and shaky. I guess it is normal. We have levels of acquaintances. We have relatives, and closer or distant friends, and then we have people who are just there. And transsexualism is a difficult matter. It always is.
It is a difficult matter because it is controversial. People they take positions about it, even when they shouldn’t. And the problem is that you cannot hide that you are a transsexual person, unless you pass.
I usually pass. I don’t raise quite a lot of suspicion. And it is quite likely that, if I hadn’t said “hello”, this would not have happened. But he recognized me, and then I felt exposed, and forced to talk with someone who is not so close about something that is quite intimate for me; something that is such a delicate matter, and that may cause many people to immediately take position against me.
I felt naked and vulnerable. Probably if I had had the chance to talk about this in a more relaxed way, in a safer place… It would not have felt more comfortable, but at least I would’t have felt so naked.
I don’t see bad intention here, however. This man was just greeting some person he had recognized. He was just being polite.
Maybe it is time to return to the sushi bar, and face my own fears…