The first post in this series focused on the fluff between my unpierced ears. Today's is a look back at a handful of highlights, memorable moments of the newly old year, enjoyed in the great outdoors in the fully feathered form of Petra.
I write this guardedly, not wanting to gloat. I recognize that I am fortunate in my relative freedom to get out of the house and away from the mirror, without much in the way of fear or complication. I live in a big city, a relatively liberal one. I have a fashionable cloak of anonymity in short, and if worse comes to worse, I can run from trouble really quite quickly even in tallish heels. At home, my habits are not secret, and while not actively encouraged, at least not fought against.
These are luxuries of chance, not of earned virtue. I recognize that many readers and some of my closest online companions do not have these luxuries. With that said, this past year I continued to push out my boundaries, cross new lines, and discover green new fields. The payoff has been huge. Whatever your circumstances, I encourage you to challenge your own boundaries, to find a way to interact with a part of the real world, presenting as best you can. As the great Marvin G. and Tammy T. sang, "… ain’t nothing like the real thing baby…".
Here therefore, I am taking a look back at some very real moments, and the great, unexpected learnings that came with them. Links to the original reportage contained below too.
Way back in January I attended the first of many mid-day, mid-week musical luncheons at The Heretic, a venerable gay bar deep in the heart of Atlanta’s own quaint and grotty tenderloin district. Apart from the great BBQ, the remarkable guitar and vocal stylings of Miss Edie, and all the joy that a warm sunny January day brings out in people, I just had a hoot chatting about fashion, music and advanced techniques for blowing off a work day with Lindley, and her boyfriend Ian. Unbridled fun. This day, in hindsight, was the first time where my presentation kind of fell off into the background of my thoughts. Being Petra seemed as though it could be an unconscious, natural and accepted thing.
By the time winter had sloughed fully off, I was out in brightish spring hues rifling the clearance shoe racks of nice shop at Phipps Plaza. Myself and another shopper navigated around each other in the tall narrow confines until something caught her attention. Bless Leisl’s curiosity and open heart. Perhaps she was in need then of corrective lenses, but it took her a good long while to twig to the truth that I was a shopper with a difference. She tentatively and politely engaged with me, providing an opportunity for a little CD outreach. She asked a couple of questions that I needed to hear, and work out answers for. This beautiful encounter spawned a three part essay, first of which might be found just over here.
My last outing before the long, drab summer slum-fest was less commercial, more cultural. The High Museum is home to a few gems of the visual arts. It also has perfect acoustics for the crisp clack of heel on hard tile. I was surprised, alarmed, delighted and who knows what else when the nice young lady at the Members entrance kiosk recognized the other me beneath the make-up. This day I saw a couple of my favorite pictures through a different set of eyes. It was electrifying. In fact, some thoughts coalesced for me that day that wound up being the core theme of curricula I developed and delivered to an Art History class last summer. I may have missed the newness if I was in flats.
This year was my first (and god willing the creek don’t rise, not my last) Southern Comfort Conference. I spent the better part of a full week en Femme amongst a massive gathering of TG’s of all sorts, their partners and better than expected grub. Here I was able to lay to rest the last of my fears of Cross Dressing. I came away from SCC more certain of who I am than I was when I first suited up. The first post on the event is here, and more followed. If you have not attended a conference accommodative of your place on the gender expression continuum, do so. Get thee to a funnery, and soon. Let me know if I will see you at SCC 2011.
To round out the list, I still get a kick out of the impulse I followed quite without thinking in Macy’s just after wriggling into the embrace of a great new dress. I did not have to go and stand so brazenly in front of the 3 way mirror. I did not have to turn 360, smooth my contours and strike a pose. I did not have to stop and face the husbands and boyfriends sadly deposited in the soft couches just outside the fitting rooms, turn slowly on heel and vanish, but dammit, I did. A hush descended, and for a brief moment I held the magical power that all women possess at some level. Who could not respect, and not want this power?
Feeling that power, in some measure, is the dividend of our transformations and explorations. It is intoxicating. The intoxication is a feeling I seek, and a feeling that frightened once, but frightens no more. To borrow the parlance of the Heroin enthusiast, I chased the Dragon full of the knowledge that the Dragon might swallow me whole. The Dragon did not. We cohabitate. My parts feel integral. I am without doubt as to who I am inside, and more convinced than ever that my biology (for lack of a better word) is sound.
I wondered for years whether, if I had the opportunity to roam freely en Femme, I would realize a need to change the biology. As it happens, the need is not there, my assignment is correct, and adequate to a very happy and full life. A life made more happy and full by the warm embrace extended to, and granted by, Petra.
Next up, in this continuing Five for ’10 series, five memorable shopping moments. Deep discounts and shallow breaths, great fashion fortune without (much) loss of fortune.
O, and while I remember, do have a Happy New Year.