I’ve just realised how long it is since I’ve done a blog post. I think 2 weeks is as much of a gap as I’ve had since I started this. Must try harder! What I’ve got to say this time round is really about some things that happened a week ago, about two crises of confidence that hit me in different ways and left me wondering just who or what I am.
Kirsty’s Wednesday Night Adventures ™ for this week began as usual with me going for a trip to the shops. The difference this time was that for the first time I had worn shoes with a slight heel. Nothing too dramatic, just my favourite 2″ heel Mary Janes. I don’t really have any problem walking in them, but as regular readers of Kirsty’s World will know I do have quite a hang-up about my height. The upshot of this was that with the extra 2 inches added on by the heel, I felt every inch the 6’4″ that I had made myself, which caused something of a crisis of confidence. I’m sure I looked as good (or bad) as I usually do, but I just felt super-conspicuous the whole time I was out. Every time anyone looked in my direction I was sure they were looking, nay staring, at me. I’m sure my eyes were darting this way and that, looking generally shifty, which would have only served to make me look more conspicuous. I found myself hiding among clothing rails rather than walking along the main aisles of the shop to avoid the gaze of as many passers-by as possible. I knew this was all in my head, but it wouldn’t go away.
It reached its nadir as I was leaving one shop (Next). I was walking just a few paces behind a woman with her daughter, who looked to be about four years old. As we were all walking out, the little girl turned round and I saw her eyes rise all the way from my feet right up to my head, and then she continued to stare at me, completely agog. I have heard that kids are the best at reading trans* people, but it just felt horrible. I walked straight back to the car, studiously avoiding the gaze of anyone, feeling deflated after my successful outings in previous weeks.
Of course, thinking about it after the event, it’s entirely possible that this was completely in my own head, or that people were looking at me thinking “what a tall woman”. In reality it was probably a combination of both of those, plus some people who actually did read me. I suppose I can’t really expect anything different.
Skipping over last week’s Butterfly Club, which was a lot of fun as one of the other girls and I both brought our guitars and had a music night, I’m going to move on to an incident which occurred the next day while I was in “Bob mode”, i.e. presenting as male. Part of my job involves meeting with business clients, often alongside other people from my company. On this particular day there were three of us from my work, and three directors of the client company, all sitting in a room and all male, at least to the casual observer. The three clients were, not to put too fine a point on it, free from any airs and graces. Three big men from the countryside, salt of the earth but very manly men. The other two people from my company were similarly blokey, in fact one is a semi-professional footballer. And then there was me. For the 90-minute duration of this meeting, it was like I had forgotten how to be male. Everything I did, every gesture, my tone of voice, it all felt right for Kirsty but completely inappropriate for Bob.
All the men were sitting legs apart, I crossed my legs and then locked my fingers together around my knee. Quickly realising that felt very feminine/effeminate, I uncrossed my legs, unlocked my fingers and let my hand rest on my lap. My hands fell into a relaxed state, crossed over at the wrists. Again, one look down and I could see that wasn’t very manly. That same look down then told me that I hadn’t completely removed all my nail varnish from the previous night, there were little flecks of pink. I started speaking in the meeting and realised that I was gesticulating with my fingers outstretched, palms facing down and slightly away from me, and wrists slightly bent. Like a woman, basically. And then, as if I didn’t feel conspicuous enough in my uncontrolled femininity, I lifted my hand up to scratch my nose and detected a faint whiff of perfume still on my wrist from the previous night. I couldn’t even remember how a man is supposed to sit!
Eventually of course all this passed. I have been out shopping again (in flat shoes!) and the confidence returned, no problems at all. I have been in other meetings with clients and felt more like I usually do, but for two days last week my confidence in my gender took a bit of a knock. In short, on Wednesday evening I lost confidence in my ability to pass as a woman, and then on Thursday afternoon I lost confidence in my ability to pass as a man. I’m just hoping I can still pass as a human.
Until next time