Go Out There even if it’s Intimidating


Photo credit: Msdstefan at the German language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Today was a work-two-jobs Friday for me.  The first part of it, I worked in my software company as an IT geek on some operational support software. The second part, I worked as an automotive geek on a sad Mercedes-Benz convertible and a misbehaving Audi Quattro.  When I had finally ended my workday, and confronted my pantry with a view to providing ingredients for making dinner, I saw a very unimpressive sight, unless I saw fit to quickly develop a fetish for canned food. The better idea seemed: go late-night grocery shopping. Off I went, much as it was tempting to just lock the door and stay home.

I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic or sociable, but as I approached the fresh fruit & veggies section, I noticed a grocery store worker smiling shyly at me from some distance away, just far enough to where I could smile back and then focus on my shopping, or where I could approach and say “hello.” Neither would be rude.

I’m naturally shy but the times when I actively make a point of overcoming this one more time, I sometimes see some significant benefits. The theme song for this sort of situation is, no surprise, written and sung by another cerebral girl who’s naturally shy.  She writes about real-life events and emotions, which is one significant reason why I like her music so much.  As her lyrics tell this particular story,  she was due to meet someone for a blind date, and she made a point of being sociable that night, instead of yielding to the temptation of running and hiding. As it turns out, she found just cause to be glad she’d made that decision. The song reminds me to go be sociable even when I really don’t feel like it.

If the other person is another cerebral shy girl, great, because then it’s a stress-free conversation with another being whose mental wiring is basically like mine. However, we don’t exactly announce ourselves to the world as such — though a certain type of smile does tend to be the most-likely sign that this is a shy girl, being nice non-verbally.

I couldn’t quite place the smile I got tonight, but I approached anyway and said “hello.”  After some chit-chat, it became clear pretty quickly that the girl is indeed another cerebral shy girl.

During the conversation, it became known that her sister is a trans  girl, like I obviously am.  Visually, there’s little hope of mistaking me for a genetically integrated girl. I’m 6″ tall, have a jaw like Rambo and biceps that look … not subtle. So, even from some distance away, this girl picked up on me being a trans girl. We had a very trans-girl-friendly chat about life, and her sister. That made it a good conversation already, and I was glad I’d come over to chat. Yay!

Then, more. She’s from an island in the South Pacific, and she regaled me with how trans-girl culture works and is accepted over there.  In the US, trans girls being out and about in droves is a relatively new phenomenon whereas in the South Pacific, we’re just one more type of human that’s always been around, and we are cheerfully accepted as such. So, I learned something interesting to me (which also made it tempting to go visit there one day). Yay!

Then, more. She prefers socializing with trans girls as opposed to genetically integrated girls because trans girls tend to be more gung-ho about appreciating the joys of femininity.  So, if I ever want to socialize locally, here was a trans-girl-friendly girl. Yay!

Then, more. She’s would love to go to a gay bar with another girl but there isn’t one in the small town where the conversation was occurring. Wow. Okay. So, I gave her my number and told her I’d be happy to take her to a gay bar in Reno. She was somewhat ambiguous so maybe she just likes the ambiance or maybe, like me, she likes girls.  Yes, like that. Either way, it sounds likely to be a nice evening. Yay!

Two like-minded girls connected socially and will get to spend quality social time together. Good!

This reinforces the point I make to many of the trans girls whom I mentor.  Yes, it feels weird to be a sort-of-boy-girl mix in a culture that in many ways is hostile to trans girls.  However, we can have the prospect of negativity intimidate us to the point where we don’t leave the house, or we can put on our big-girl panties, so to speak — actually, no, literally — and go live life and make the most of it.

I chose the latter approach, and it keeps working  for me.

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