Friday, November 26, 2010

One Foot in the Closet

Lately I've been finding myself with a slightly odd feeling... and I'm starting to realize that in some ways the life I'm leading now is the closest I've ever been to being in the closet. The annoying thing is that I know it's really just all in my own head and there's nothing being done to me by anybody to oppress or repress me. Yet the feeling lingers.
Mainly the issue just has to do with living in a small town. When we were in New York I could be safely be pretty out with who I am. Granted I avoided going out the front door in dress just due to our immediate neighborhood, but other than that I didn't really care who saw me or what they thought. However that mentality doesn't work in a small town, gossip spreads quickly. While in the big city you're likely to never see the same people again just walking around. In a smaller town you're going to keep running into the same people over and over... and they tend to remember that time you were wearing 4" heels.

Undercover Tranny! Photo by Millie Acosta

The feeling of being semi-closeted has been creeping in over the past few months. There's a couple of factors I feel. The first is how few people know about this side of my life. There's Laura of course, my mother... and that's pretty much it. Some of my long time friends know but not the ones who live around here (as they mostly fall into the "lost touch and maybe will reconnect" category of friend.) So when somebody who I either have only gotten to know since moving back or I just haven't been seen in a long and can't gauge a reaction asks me what I did in New York I'm forced to censor myself. There's a whole chunk of my life New York that I don't get to share because I can't be sure how people will take it. Whereas in New York if they didn't like it they could screw off, here there just aren't enough people to get away with that attitude (at least not until I'm more settled in.) And in truth a big part of getting people to accept this side of me is to make sure that they get to know me in a more general sense, so that the fact that I'm a drag queen doesn't become what defines me to them.
I still feel no shame at all for who I am but for the sake of making day to day life easier it just doesn't make sense to be as out as I was in New York. It's actually part of the overall Vermont mentality. In reality even if it gets around that I crossdress (and eventually it probably will) nobody is really going to care so long as I'm not walking down mainstreet. I live in a state which is populated by a fairly even mix of rednecks who've been here forever and the hippies who started coming up in the 1960s. The two generally don't get along in most settings but they do ok here by adopting a general attitude of "as long as it's in your own house I don't really give a damn who you do."

Photo by Millie Acosta

I'm not really living my life any differently. I still dress at home from time to time. I still get out to dress every now and then. Yes my location has changed but I really do think that I've developed a mental block that's making me feel more repressed than I actually am (which I'm really not repressed at all.) I think it'll help some when Laura and I finally close on this house and have a place that is truly our own. I'm so done with shared space.

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