This past Sunday was a big day for me. Not only did it signal a return to a more normal Monday-through-Friday work schedule (yaaay!), but it was also a full day of presenting femme out in the world. I was, of course, scared to death for a decent amount of it, but I got out there and did it, and lived through everything.
First, my friend L and I had planned to see the new Harry Potter film together, and since she was out of town on opening night, we decided instead that Sunday was the day. I invited a few other friends along - C, E, and K - and E declared that she would only go to the movies with me if I presented female. Ok, sure. It surprised me a little bit that I wasn't more hesitant when she first made her requirement, but once I got out there and was trying to get out of the car, it jumped up to a whole new level of significance.
But neither the movie nor my friends were going to wait for me, so I got out and walked to the box office. I got my ticket without incident, and we all met up inside. As we walked to the theatre, L asked quietly if I was still breathing, which helped lighten my panic a bit. And of course, everybody had to go to the bathroom before sitting down, so I went too. This wasn't the first time I've been in a ladies' room, but it was the first time I've been in a ladies' room when there were other ladies in there. One looked me right in the face, and made no reaction. So I guess everything was ok.
After the movie ended and we were walking out, there were a bunch of people coming toward us, and I just tried to not think about them too much. I've still got a way to go to get over all my anxiety, but at least I'm out there confronting it, rather than wallowing in it.
The next encounter: my role-playing gaming group met on Sunday too. Neither of them had seen me in girl-mode before, so that was a new experience for everyone. We didn't really get much gaming done since we were sort of in-between campaigns, but we did a lot of visiting, and it was a good opportunity to practice some of the new voice things I've been learning. J didn't do too well with either name or pronouns at the start, but he started getting it a bit later on. D did pretty well for most of the afternoon; he ma'am'ed me a whole bunch of times, without even hesitating, which made me feel really nice. But for a first time, it went well; everybody made an effort, and I made an effort not to be upset when they inevitably slipped. It will get easier on everyone as time goes on.
So now the gamers know the real me. That's been a huge emotional hurdle for me, coming out to them. I'm sure it doesn't matter to them how I present, so I think I'll just present girl-mode to them from now on. It's something I'll do all the time eventually, and they're another group who knows me and cares for me, so that can be another comfortable part of my week.
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