I made it back to Club 212 again this past Saturday, the second week in a row that I felt compelled to leave the safety of my refuge. The first time was magical, as first experiences usually are. My adrenaline was pumping, the expectation was set, and my need finally overcame my trepidation as I set my foot out of the car, walked up to the front door, handed the bouncer my card, and with a wave, let me in. He didn’t bat an eye.
The second time, nothing. My adrenaline was there, but nowhere near the level it had been the previous week. I knew what to expect, so there was no trepidation, my expectations were more realistic, and all fear and bashfulness had transformed into accepting this new status quo. Now, what was once my refuge has become my prison. I see no purpose in keeping myself locked up.
The problem is that this city is still too small to contain both my halves. While I feel comfortable going out at night, and going to a small gay bar in downtown, I feel less inclined to head out to the mall to go shopping, or to the movies, or even to the corner convenience store. One trip to the drive thru last Saturday proved that, as the gentleman took my order, via speaker, called me sir, then saw me, as Stefani, and became flustered. He called me ma’am after that. It was actually cute, and amazingly affirming.
Now, my new issue is that as I come to grips more fully with my feminine side, my male side is confused. I’m living a lie, but I’m not sure which side is the truth, and which side is the lie. It may be more complex than that, as I learn about my own duality, that I can neither choose one over the other, that I’m both male and female, not wholly one or the other, but somehow both.
That may be what I’m at odds over: to what degree am I Stefani, and to what degree am I Steve? Am I simply a crossdresser? I started out as a fetishitic crossdresser when I was younger, putting on pantyhose and dress, getting off almost immediately, then taking everything off, feeling sick with myself. It made me feel so alone that I suffered such a sick perversity.
I know better now. I thrill came from it being taboo. That’s where the excitement came from, the sexual tension and release. When I found acceptance, with myself and from a friend, the sexual side faded, though it was still arousing, especially as a 22 year old wearing short shorts and walking around the park during the day. I was way skinnier and cuter then. I wish I could have found the courage then to live out in the open.
I’m 40 now, and it’s not so easy. I’ve gained weight, my baby face is gone, and some typical masculine traits have blossomed, such as my facial hair and having my upper body fill out. I wanted to be more manly in my twenties. I despise it now. Be careful what you wish for!
Still, I’m happy to found some peace in my life, and the ability to accept this facet of my personality. I’m slowly outing myself to friends, though I don’t think I’ll every come out to my religious, bigoted family. It’s sad to know that they will never truly meet me, as they are of the conviction that to be transgender, or gay, is morally wrong and therefore unacceptable. I could never be without my family, so I bear that little lie with as much grace as I can muster.
Soon, I will have to move from here, to allow myself the room I need to expand my limits, to explore the world with my eyes. I’m feeling that itch, that home is a prison, and the world without is a limitless playground. I’ll miss it here, but life waits for no one, and at my age, I’m discovering just how fleeting life truly is.