And I survived. OK, it wasn't much, but this morning I decided to take a small step out of the closet so I went up the street to mail some bills as Ariella. I prefer casual to glam, so I went with a denim skirt, a pair of George thigh-high stockings, huaraches, one of my favorite floral shirts (VERY femme print), a couple of silver and turquoise Navajo bracelets, just a little makeup (Great Lash mascara, L'Oreal Kerry's Rosewood lipstick, just enough eyebrow pencil to highlight), and hair back in a high ponytail with a pink tie to coordinate with the pink in my blouse.
Even sitting here writing this, I can't believe I did what I did. I was so scared I thought I'd pee myself. My wife doesn't know my "secret" (or she hasn't let on if she does). We've lived in this neighborhood for 21 years. We know EVERYONE and and the post office is just a few blocks up the street from us. Once I got out and on the way I started thinking, "What the hell am I doing? What if I run into (fill in the blank with about twenty names) ? How do I explain how I'm dressed and how I look?" I decided that if I'd gotten this far, I might as well go the route, and I'd deal with that if it came up. No problem, though. My errand didn't take long, I didn't encounter anyone I knew, and I made it back dry (no pee!) and without having a stroke, but it WAS tense. And exhilarating. And liberating. My first time out as Ariella Michelle and not just as androgynous Michael. Not sure when I'll do it again or if I'll do it this close to home when I do, but. . . . I did it! After a lifetime in the closet I stepped out, if only for a little while. Overall it felt pretty good.