I’ve had a pretty bad week. I’ve been very tired in general, and I got awfully sick around Tuesday. It’s meant I’ve looked like shit, as I am naturally exhausted, and I haven’t had the time or energy to put any makeup on to disguise it a bit.
The low point came on Saturday when I went to a shop and the lady at the entrance “afternoon sir” ‘d me. I asked her what she had said, and she repeated it and gave me a look that made it clear she was misgendering me on purpose.
I felt kinda like punching her, but knowing that would be idiotic and immature I walked away, thinking of all the terrible things I wanted to have said to her.
Then I got home and cried because… I don’t know. Because misgendering from strangers hurts me more than perhaps it should.
I had plans to go watch Suicide Squad with my little brother and cousins today, so thinking of that and remembering the frustration of being misgendered and generally feeling bleh and ugly all week, I decided to dress up a bit.
After washing my hair I did my eyeliner and mascara for the first time in a while, chose my prettiest lipstick, and went for the nicest ‘casual’ outfit I have (including my beautiful, kickass heeled boots)
I was feeling prettier and more feminine than I had in a long while. It was wonderful. I even had a couple of guys on motorcycles driving by beep as they passed me on the street, which while annoying as always, was also kind of nice.
We watched the movie and had a good time. After saying goodbye to my cousins, my brother and I decided to walk a few blocks away to get some ice cream.
Soon, I noticed a woman walking close behind us. Then she was next to us, and I could feel her staring at me. And staring. And staring.
Just like always. I rolled my eyes internally and tried to ignore it. She walked past us, but kept shooting obvious looks at me.
Then something snapped.
A year of people thinking they have a right to stare and make me feel like some kind of freak finally got to me. There was likely some frustration about the recent misgendering as well.
I didn’t care if she was doing it because being trans made me a freak, or because my height did, but I looked straight at her next time she looked and asked if I could help her.
She turned her back to me and started walking away. I was mad, so I kept asking if there was anything she needed.
I finally started going on my way, but caught her looking at me AGAIN. I wasn’t raising my voice, but there was a clearly hostile tone to it.
“Hey! Is there anything that I can help you with? Are you lost? Want some directions!?”
I walked closer to her as I continued.
She finally met my eyes, and after a second just said “eres hermosa” (You’re gorgeous)
I was dumbstruck. I thanked her awkwardly and quickly walked away with my brother, hoping the ground would swallow me up.
My brother said she was probably just scared and wanted me to go away calmly. I kinda wish that’s the case and she didn’t really mean what she said, because otherwise being so rude is probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done.
I’m gonna be honest: part of why I’m sharing this story is that I feel kinda proud someone actually said that to me. It’s the kind of ridiculous thing you only see in cheesy movies. I guess the person writing the screenplay for my life will get bad reviews for this episode.
Mostly though, it just reflects something I’ve been thinking about recently: we’re all clueless about what others think of us.
I’ve spent a year feeling awkward and hideous because of how people stare at me constantly. I felt like some kind of circus freak, and it’s made me very self-conscious. After today, despite the possibility the lady was lying to cover her ass, I’m considering for the first time that I’m actually pretty, and that some people just stare at me because of that.
When I caught a guy looking straight at me on the bus, I didn’t shrink and feel terrible, I felt happy and stood a little more straight. Sure, maybe he was thinking horrible transphobic thoughts, but hey, maybe he also thought I looked gorgeous. It’s such a confidence boost, and thinking about it, it’s possible not everyone who I caught staring this past year was thinking I looked weird or odd.
It’s odd though, innit? Despite the fact no one had ever called me a transphobic slur or said something openly hostile, I just assumed the worst and let myself feel bad about it. It was pretty stupid, now that I think about it.
This applies to many other things. There are so many misunderstandings that blow up into huge fights because we like to make assumptions, and so many of our insecurities are baseless, and would disappear if we could force our brains to stop reading into things that aren’t there.
I will try my best to stop acting like I can read people’s minds. Hopefully that’ll make my life a little better.