I took off work Friday, initially to get bloodwork done and to well just be me for one day longer than usual, since I am not out at work quite yet. My wife took the day off as well, so we decided to skip the bloodwork and go out to the movies and just have a good day out together, free of responsibility, date day.
I have only been out with Michelle once previously as myself. This isn’t because I have been hiding or avoiding it, mostly she likes to go food shopping Friday right after she gets off work at 2pm, I don’t get home until 5pm or so. Generally, she has been out and back, and I am not likely to leave the house once I get off work unless I need to pick up our daughter. I admit, there are times I would go out, but I can’t just get up and go. I must prepare, I have to get ready and put on makeup, etc. I want to be passing, so I try what I can to help with that. I am over the extreme feminizing that most of us do when we initially come out, but I still want to look decent when I go out. My wife is naturally beautiful, so she can get up and without shower or makeup, pull her hair back and go out. I’m jealous of that, in a good natured and appreciative way. I cannot do this and wanting to pass is my choice. I want to just be a normal woman with normal woman issues, without the added stares of “is that a man in a dress” kind of crap. So, I tend to avoid the last minute, go shopping early in the morning scenarios.
We decided we would get something for breakfast and then go to the movies since Captain Marvel is out and I have been very excited to watch it. We originally were going to a brunch place in north Asheville but decided instead to go to Cracker Barrel. We used to go there all the time when we were out in Asheville, I took our daughter for a little “father”/Daughter time. I loved taking her there in the morning and we could talk and just hang out together, I felt very close to her then. But since coming out, I have avoided doing this. Cracker Barrel gives off a very straight, white, Christian, kind of intolerance feel in general. But Michelle wanted to go, and I didn’t say anything contrary, I had to face my issues with the place. We got there at 9am on a Friday and it was completely packed, no tables and a long line. So, instead we went to an IHop close by. This was still a kind of test of my fears, as this is a closely packed restaurant with lots of people with nothing to do but stare at other people.
We went in and they seated us right next to some construction workers. I was very nervous at first, I didn’t want to get clocked and then listen to loud voices with macho authority declaring anti-trans hate at me. That didn’t happen though, they pretty much kept to themselves. I was actually feeling pretty great when the waitress came over and said, “What can I get you ladies”. She didn’t bat an eye, either she didn’t clock me or didn’t care, either way is good with me. Then as we waited for our food and were talking, a couple of women came in and sat behind my wife at a booth. The younger around her 30’s and the elder in her 70’s or so. The older lady was facing me while her daughter, I presume, was directly behind my wife. As we talked, I noticed the older lady was staring at me. I ignored her, but my voice got quieter and quieter, as that is my worst feature, the male-sounding voice. It escalated in an annoying way, as she had apparently whispered something to her daughter, who did a not-at-all-subtle, 180° turn in a booth seat to look at me with a quick turn back. I did my best to ignore this, to ignore the rudeness of it all. But even during this, it was a better breakfast than I have ever spent pretending to be a man. The rest of the breakfast went fine, there was no further rudeness that I could tell from that booth, and my wife and I had a good time.
After the breakfast, we went to the Biltmore square to the Regal Cinema and bought tickets for the movie. There was a small hiccup with the movie, in that the sound went wonky for the first 5 minutes of the movie, they had to stop the movie and reset it and it played perfectly after that. Captain Marvel was fantastic! We really enjoyed the new origin story and the sense of personal strength. Though it was not as strongly empowering as Wonder Woman was, this movie had a slightly more personal feel to it. I fall, and then get back up, it’s the standing that is important, not the fall. So, it resonated with me, along with it just being a very good addition to the MCU. There was a family restroom right outside our screen, so I had no issue with going to the bathroom, though I don’t think there would have been any issue with using the lady’s restroom. [The Biltmore Regal Cinema’s gender-neutral restroom is immediately to the right of the screen 14 door]
After the wonderful movie, we walked as we used to, over to the Barnes & Nobel bookstore. We used to walk the square all the time and we missed doing that. So here we were, just two women out in the square going to the bookstore. We perused the books and ended up buying crazy things like a rock tumbler, some journals and a few school items for my wife who is a teacher. We of course bought geek things, like a Funko Pop bowtruckle. He’s so cute! We had stayed so long inside the bookstore we actually forgot to go to the toy store and ended up walking the square a bit and then going back to the car to drive home.
It was a fine day, filled with contentment of just being me. While there was a bit of a rough patch, the day got immeasurably better. My worst day as myself, will undoubtedly always be better than my best day pretending to be someone else. This day affirmed to me that I am on the right path and that who I am doesn’t have to be a thing to lament or to self-exile over. I fight my natural instinct to be introverted because it was always my defense mechanism. It’s worth fighting, worth being out in the world.
I completely forgot to mention that after the movie and shopping at the bookstore, that we went food shopping! This seems a small thing, until you know that this is in a small store in a small town and not in Asheville proper. We were in Brevard which is decidedly more conservative and not traditionally friendly to LGBTQ. We live just outside Brevard, so it makes sense to shop there rather than driving into Asheville. I have to say though, at that time anyway, I didn’t have an issue at all with the experience. If anyone did clock me I didn’t notice it, and everyone was doing their own thing without staring at me. I decided as we drove there, to enter the place as if I belong rather than playing in my mind all the horrible things people could do or say. It was very busy in the store so there were many more people that I generally like. We shopped and then checked out with no issue at all. No issue is just wonderful, it’s my best-case scenario. I know that this may not always be the case, so my defenses are always up, but I like that once in a while I will have those good times to even out the bad times.