Homebound Observations

| Sep 28, 2020
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After six months of de facto full-time homebound (and incidentally transgender) living, I am able to look back and assess what I have learned, as well as what I have lost and gained along the way.

The most important thing is that I am healthy and working. Obviously, like so many other single people, I have temporarily lost most of my social outlets, vacation opportunities, any real ability to visit long distance friends and family, and perhaps some of my people skills as well. I’m not one for high occupancy public events — athletic competitions, amusement parks, concerts, etc. — so I have not missed those. But without people around me, I do worry about the readjustment process I and others may initially face when the current social restrictions are finally lifted. (It’s one thing to practice social distancing. But it’s another thing altogether to be socially distant.)

Christy at home, at work.

I learned very quickly that I don’t prefer to use Zoom, Skype, etc. as a means of socializing. Given the choice, I simply dial by phone into the audio portion of a webcast. It allows me to step away from the computer screen, go into another room altogether, place my phone on speaker, and when not speaking to leave the phone on mute and relax while others carry the conversation.

Before March, I had been out in all areas of my life, albeit part time — and although some of the practical aspects were not ideal, I was content with that arrangement. But once I started living effectively full time as transgender, I never realized how much time and effort had been involved in moving back and forth from one mode of appearance to the other, and just how draining that actually was (to say nothing of how difficult that may have been for the people in my life to handle).

Since March, I have spent at least 95% of my daily life in this new and improved 2.0 mode, and I find it much more fulfilling. The people in my life -– family, neighbors, colleagues, parishioners, etc. -– seem relieved also. Several of them have made a point to tell me how happy I look, which I have certainly appreciated.

While all clothing retailer storefronts were closed during springtime, I took advantage of the prevailing significant online discounts and promotions to fill the remaining gaps in my seasonal wardrobe, both for home and office. Although my work is still remote for now, I have generally maintained a business casual standard at home during workdays. (Early on, I noticed that I just felt a lot better when I dressed as if my appearance mattered, as opposed to slouching around at home in overly casual items, all day, every day.)

I have also had the occasion to make several successful personal (re)debuts, at a few venues where I had not previously shared this aspect of my life. This has included doctor’s offices, restaurants, and retail outlets, among others. Some of these are fairly long standing relationships, and despite how dramatic and sudden the change may have been to them, no one batted an eye at the new me. In fact, staff at some places have been very impressed and told me so.

(I opted not to avail myself of this option during a recent service visit to my auto dealership of the past 30 years. However, my longer hair and polished nails were on full display — so when I eventually do make such an appearance there, the guys on staff will presumably not be too surprised.)

The area small businesses in particular have been very receptive and courteous at this time. In May, after refusing to wait in line for two hours for the privilege of simply being allowed to enter a mega home retailer’s massive facility, I instead patronized a local privately run garden shop for my annuals and perennials. There I discovered not only plentiful, quality stock competitively priced, but the staff and patrons were helpful, humane and friendly — even complimenting my outfit and appearance. They will certainly get my garden business from now on.

I had intended to grow out my hair this year anyway, and I was extremely fortunate to have had a salon visit for a setup cut and color on the final day before it closed for the state quarantine. By late June, the mission of lengthening my hair had effectively been accomplished. But with fresh highlights and a layering cut, what a difference! For now, with a mask to soften the contour of my face, I have become used to being addressed as “ma’m” everywhere. And with the recent addition of a more demonstrably feminine style of eyeglasses, that will only be enhanced further!

Walking attire.

Since my fitness club was closed for three months (and my membership remains on hold for now), I have become a neighborhood fixture out walking during my lunch hour and in the evening. This has opened up some introductory opportunities with several neighbors, and allowed me to be observed as one of the local ladies out making her daily constitutional (and in proper styles at that). I normally walk at work during my lunch hour anyway — so I’ve simply exchanged the pathways at my corporate complex for those of an actual neighborhood. And along the way, I developed the right tan lines for the first time!

I have certainly missed the ability to get a more intense workout. But from walking about ten miles a day, I physically seem no worse for the wear — so I wonder just how much I really need a fitness membership at all, given the expense and hassle that would presently be involved. (Of course, come February, walking in subfreezing nighttime temperatures could well change my mind.)

Overall, while I certainly have my share of complaints and inconveniences during this period, I have attempted to make the best of the situation. I would have to admit that so far, from the purely subjective standpoint of completing the final transition to transgender living, the net balance has been positive. I am more comfortable in myself, more relaxed in my everyday life, and confident in my personal and professional interactions. I expect this will continue to be the case after current social measures are no longer in force, at which time I hope to hit the ground running.

When the ladies group at my church finally held our annual girls night out dinner at a swank Italian restaurant this past July (one month later than usual), most of us had not seen each other since late winter. It was such a joy to get together on a summer evening, wear a dress, be waited on in public, and treated like ladies again — or, as the leader of our group put it, “to have an occasion to wear jewelry and lipstick”. Those were my sentiments exactly. I look forward to the day when that will once again be a daily fact of life!

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

I am a project management professional in the greater Philadelphia area. I enjoy travel, domestic arts, reading and gardening. I am an active member of several ladies groups. I am a fan of 1970s & 80s hard rock, do not own a cell phone, and still have my high school football varsity letterman's jacket in my closet.

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