It may seem trivial to everyone else, but that first step out of the relative safety of the apartment is daunting. There’s security to be found in the confines of that self-imposed prison, of sequestering yourself behind walls of plaster and paint, hidden from the world without, no one seeing, no one knowing the identity of the girl I truly am. The thing I yearned for seemed to be the most frightening. But, as is usually the case, the scariest things to do are sometimes the most satisfying to accomplish.
Since I started dressing again, I’ve kept to myself, other than posting the occasional picture of myself. Okay, maybe a little more than occasional. It’s the only outlet I knew, the only way I could project my true self out into the world. Sure, it came with a slight risk of being discovered by someone I know, and I accidentally tagged my male persona once. I freaked and went into full panic mode. Luckily, no one noticed, by friend saying that even if someone saw the picture, they probably wouldn’t have thought we were both the same person, if that makes sense.
But as I grew in confidence, even pictures weren’t enough. I wanted to walk outside as Stefani and interact with the world. I dreamt of it, trying to remember what it felt like to mingle with the public. Oh, I walked out of the apartment before a couple of times, ducking back in if I thought someone was coming by, but never outside. Fear limited my range, and I hated it.
So after I dressed up on Tuesday, having gotten off early from work, my friend – whose apartment I borrowed in order to dress up – turned to me and asked me a simple question. She asked; “Do you ever think about going out for a drive as Stefani?” I looked at her and replied with a simple, “Yes.”
That was all the motivation it took. I told her that I wanted to go out for a drive that same evening. We waited until after the sun went down and then the longest few seconds happened, the walk to my car. First I waited for the coast to be clear, then I walked with deliberation and purpose, wanted to get to my car before anyone should happen by, knowing that it was entirely possible that someone could see me from their window, but all I focused on was people driving by.
Once I sat behind the wheel of my car, I felt safe again. I pulled out of the parking lot and drove the interstate. I merged onto the highway and drove east until we found ourselves out-of-town before turning back around. I drove through downtown, then down the street where I worked, fearing getting caught, but the rush was too great to chicken out. It was intoxicating.
We drove around for about an hour before deciding to put gas. I drove another half-hour before finding a relatively empty gas station. I pumped myself up, hoping no one I knew would happen by, and stepped out of my car and into the night. I filled up my car, and within minutes we were back on the road, heading back to my friend’s apartment. I survived my first adventure out!
I know it wasn’t much of one, but it was more than I had hoped I could do. I’m now looking into my first road trip out-of-town, somewhere were I feel I can be free to dress as I please, somewhere where I doubt I will be recognized. I want to go out and enjoy myself, go shopping or go to the movies, maybe go out for a drink. I don’t know. I just want to go out instead of hiding within the ever-shrinking enclosure again.
Check out the rest of my pictures on Flickr!