I went to San Diego to meet my friend Alexis in November of last year. I had been living as myself for a little over a year at that point, and my confidence was growing. But little did I know just how far I had come.
Earlier in the year, around the January time frame, I was so scared to use the ladies room at a rest stop that I had my parents drive to a different gas station where there were less people. And here I was, a mere 9 months later, and I was at a transgender club in San Diego dancing freely with not a care in the world. It was as if those 9 months were an incubation period in the womb of consciousness, where I developed a kinship with courage.
A lot of that growth was directly associated with enrolling in school for 3 units. Merely taking one class, where lectures were every Monday and Wednesday, was enough exposure for me in the real world to toughen my skin, strengthen my courage, and inject more security in my self esteem.
I wasn’t just living as a woman in my mind or in fantasy at home. I was really out there in the real world, exposed to other students and being seen for who I was.
It’s hard to see our progress unless we chart milestones in our life. It wasn’t until entering the club and feeling completely at ease that I noticed something different about myself for the first time in over a decade. Of all the times I had gone to transgender clubs to be myself, to dress as a woman, Natalie, me, and to dance and socialize, I had never felt this confident and at ease.
There were many times where I performed on stage for Lipstick Conspiracy as a drummer, and countless other times where I was dressed insanely pretty at the clubs, and those paled in comparison to how I felt that night with Alexis in San Diego .
Furthermore, I was wearing jeans, a casual top, and Ugg boots. I was dressed really casual, and I was wearing daytime makeup, with very little touch up.
I walked in there with a sense of confidence, owning my aura and aware of how much I had just tapped into my potency. I was in a venue where people knew my background, and I felt like a big fish who stepped into a little pond, with nothing to fear.
I knew the instant I looked around that I had done the work necessary for me to be confident, to strut while being humble, and to turn heads and come off as the experienced gal in the venue.
And the strange thing was, it had nothing to do with the traditional notions that many transgender people typically associate with transition at all. Things such genital reconstructive surgery, breast implants, facial feminization surgery, or fancy clothes had nothing to do with how I felt confident and why I felt so free, unbridled, and potent. Up until that point, I had none of those things done to alter my body, and my clothes were casual that night.
What did matter was I had gone to countless hours of therapy, and done immense amounts of soul searching, learning, questioning, integrating, and regendering to get to where I was. And I wasn’t even close to being done.
To me, we are never done. We are constantly emergent, works in progress trying to better ourselves, learn, and choose wisely the next time around when new situations present themselves.
I had chosen to put away my manhood, embrace the feminine self within, the woman who had been battered by stigma for over 3 decades. And nurture her back to health, and teach her how to thrive in a world that seemed so scary at times, with vulnerability lurking everywhere.
I aligned with my potency by reminding myself that I had done the work of going out as myself 24/7 for over a year, and that there was nothing to fear. I recalled the countless times I flowed through society, running errands and going to class, and how I had a backbone of experiences to draw wisdom from.
This was no longer a part time thing for me, and having been away from the transgender community for so long really put things in perspective that night when I entered the club, and realized I had gotten so much stronger.
My milestone was clearly presented to me and I had nothing to fear and utter confidence in myself. I knew I belonged and would shine that night.
And hence I was able to be with Alexis as we danced with the local girls, all of whom were very friendly. The energy and vibe were exquisite, and we had a memorable night that was both fun and empowering.