I had been transitioning for a few months and barely had any feminine clothing, it was time for me to go out there and find some clothes which fit my personal tastes. I quickly learned that as a woman, I dressed completely different from when I was a boy- I used to wear long shirts and sweaters to "hide" myself. But now wasn't the time to hide. It was my time to shine.
I made a list of my favorite retailers- Macy's, Target, JCPenny, Old Navy, H&M; and Forever 21. A good tip for women whom are beginning their transitions is to go with a few of your trusted and close friends to give you their two-cents on fashion. I went with a friend to Forever 21 for one of their big sales events and found clothes I adored. I bought jeans, skirts, short shorts, t-shirts with intricate designs, etc. Next came the shoes- since I was little, I loved looking at women's shoes. It was also around this time I was watching "Sex and the City" and I wanted to be like Carrie Bradshaw, without spending those hundreds of dollars on Jimmy Choo's and Manolo's.
As the new school year started with at my university, I was hesitant the first day I would step out of my apartment dressing as a woman. I told myself that I had nothing to fear anymore and that I needed to do this. After the initial hurdle, I was happy and feeling beautiful. People complimented me on my makeup, my shoes, my skirts and dresses- it was fun and it affirmed by identity.
Then the rainy, winter months of Northern California came into full bloom- the dreary weather didn't stop me from rocking high-heeled boots, bedazzled jeans, and pink fluffy jackets. This new clothing experience showed a new side of me- I wanted to always be seen and noticed, I craved for the attention that strangers gave me for my fashion. I was becoming a fashionista in my own right. It wasn't long before the boys started to notice me. A lot of my shirts had, and still have, celebrity prints from my childhood- Britney Spears, Selena, Whitney Houston, Scooby-Doo, etc.
Then I went home for the holidays where I received a lesson in double standards from family- Isn't that skirt too short? You're gonna wear those? You look like a hooker. I'm comfortable with you wearing that "getup." Couldn't you wear something longer?
I was frustrated and heartbroken to get such an abrupt lesson in feminine expectations and the unfair rules the public put on fashion. I never expected to be subjected to the same standards I heard from my other female friends. Some of them helped me understand why I was so bitter about this rejection- being unprepared for the backlash women face daily. I wore my clothes because I liked them, because I felt good in them and that should have been all that mattered.
As the holidays drew on, I became increasingly irritated with my family for associating my clothes with harlots, even though they were trying to protect me and wanted to keep me safe. I went back to my university before the second quarter of the year started. After my anger subsided with this new challenge of conformity, I managed to move past the expectations and continued to dress how I felt. I did not feel slutty or revealing and I realized that was all that mattered. I did however conform to family standards and promised to dress more conservatively much to my chagrin, but that's what you do for the people you love- you make of personal comfort sacrifices.