So how did I get here? How did I go from shrinking violet, wallflower to out-and-about (seemingly) confident tgirl? Well that’s an interesting story. Actually, it’s a boring story, but I promise to try to make it interesting. ;)
I’m not much of a risk taker, but i do take calculated risks. And since I’m still alive and relatively sane and healthy, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of calculating. In tv/cd world, that means going to safe places. Or fairly safe places. I used to restrict my nighttime activities to trans clubs or gay bars or drag shows. I knew I’d be accepted there. Since those early days, I’ve expanded by horizons greatly. But I still steer clear of shady-looking places and scary neighborhoods. You know what i mean -- you get a gut instinct. And I try to follow mine.
I also tend to travel in groups. There’s safety in numbers. But it’s also more fun. This has become even more important as I’ve expanded my horizons (as I said above). I’m going to more mainstream venues and events so I never know what to expect. And to be honest, I still get nervous about it. But being with a date or a group of friends helps considerably.
And lastly, I stay in control. This is going to sound a little odd for a party girl like me. But I’m really not much of a drinker. If you see photos of me with a drink in my hand (and there are more than a few pix like that online), there’s a good chance that I’ve been nursing that drink all night long. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to have fun. And if I’m at a house party or a pool party or riding in cabs or limos (and therefore know that I’m not driving), I’m much more liable to let go. But, for the most part, I try to stay in control. Besides, it’s hard enough to keep my balance in 5” stilettos while sober. If I get a bit tipsy? Chances are I’m going down.
Some of my friends used to worry about being discovered if they went out. They thought they’d be out at some club in Hollywood and one of their co-workers or cousins or friends from high school would stroll into the bar and recognize them. I just never thought that would happen. For one, I thought I looked different enough in my wig, high heels and breast forms to fool even my closest friends. And for another thing, out of context like that, I don’t think that someone who saw me and thought I looked familiar would ever put two-and-two together. It just always seemed far-fetched to me.
I’ve always felt anonymous when I went out. Not fearless. But anonymous. There’s false courage in anonymity, and I have to admit, I’ve thrived on it. Yes, I always carry my ID. And my AAA card in case of car trouble. But I’ve never felt exposed when I’ve gone out.
To be honest, before I came out, I was much more afraid of being discovered and exposed online than in real life. The online world is all tied together. Social media sites -- often unbeknownst to you -- are constantly attempting to tie your various identities and personas together. And to me, that’s much more scary than a night out with the girls!
That’s probably going to sound a little odd coming from someone who loves life (and loves trans life) as much as I do. But there was a time, not all that long ago, when I really didn’t care if I lived or died. I wasn’t actively suicidal. (And that’s a much more serious topic than this blog can handle.) But I wasn’t exactly loving life. My marriage was on the rocks. My career was down the toilet. My finances were a wreck. Basically all that I’d worked for for nearly 40 years had been stripped away. I was functionally depressed. I kept going to work (because I needed to eat), and I kept walking around like a normal person, but something had died in me. A light had gone out.
And then it happened. It was like that Janis Joplin song. You know the one: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” That was me. I had lost everything. So I had nothing left to lose. Many people who saw me as fearless really just saw a person who didn’t care any more. I didn’t care what my friends or family thought. I’d isolated myself from most of them any way. I definitely didn’t care what my co-workers thought. And I honestly didn’t know any of my neighbors.
So I went for it. To me, dressing up and going out was my little act of rebellion against my mainstream life. Up until about the age of forty, I’d done everything right. I’d lived the normal, middle class American existence. And it had gotten me absolutely nowhere. So I felt justified -- and pretty much empowered -- to go against the mainstream. And being CiCi was the perfect remedy.
Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t just conjure CiCi from thin air. CiCi represents a lifetime of gender expression and personal acceptance. CiCi was in me from Day One. But my apathy gave her the opportunity she needed to come out. And the freedom to express herself so boldly. To hang out in dungeons. To wear daring outfits. To walk down the streets of Hollywood or Las Vegas at four in the morning -- hearing cat calls, wolf whistles, and more than a few shaming insults -- and sincerely not give a crap what anyone else in the world thought.
Believe me, my guy side never did anything so bold.
Here I was enjoying my life as an uncaring, self-loathing, reckless twit -- and then the world goes and pulls the ultimate switcheroo. All the fun I was having by not caring made me care again!