This fall I attended an improvisation class for the first time ever. I’d done a couple of drop in classes before, but I wanted to challenge myself and go deeper.
By the time the class started in late September, I was roughly 6 months into being the new me. I was getting more and more confident about wearing slightly more femme clothing in public and having a more androgynous look. My hair was long enough that it was noticable but not really “girl length” yet. I wore a hair band most of the time to tide me over.
I had no idea what the makeup of the class would be. I know the entertainment scene, and comedy especially, is still heavy on the dude factor, and just in case my entire class ended up being a bunch of bros, I wasn’t ready to go super femme just yet.
My first class I showed up in a pair of grey pants, a light green v-neck t-shirt, and a beige long sleeve button up shirt that was sort of half way to being a light coat (and that’s basically how I wore it). I think I also wore some colourful socks for good measure.
Thankfully, the class ended up being almost entirely women, which was a huge relief. However, it wasn’t until the 3rd week that I got the courage to “come out” to the class as not being a man. I had registered for the class with my legal name, and two weeks in I told them my newly chosen name, and to their credit they adopted it.
From there on out, I was able to attend the classes dressed more femme and to get used to it/comfortable with it.
Before that class had officially ended, I decided I wanted to keep doing improv, so I signed up for a new class that started a few weeks before the first ended. It started just after Halloween.
For Halloween I’d dressed up in a white suit with green shirt and accents, including painting my nails. I was going to clean my nails off the next day, but decided to push my comfort zone and leave them. The new class started 2 days later, and I was excited and feeling good so I took advantage of that positive energy and confidence and I dressed quite femme for that first class. I was nervous, but not nearly as nervous as the first time I ever went to a public event dressed femme.
I don’t really remember getting any funny looks that first week, and I think in the weeks since I’ve earned extra respect from some people. But most importantly, I’ve earned more respect for/from myself.
That’s the thing about doing scary things, you do them, nothing bad happens (or nothing as bad as you expect), and your brain learns “oh hey, I don’t need to be as afraid of this!”. And that’s how you grow.
My first such confidence moment with this was back in March. A friend of mine organized a private event and had professional photographers on scene. This was technically my first real time out as my new identity. Among friends it was easy to be comfortable and confident.
Another confidence moment of sorts was one day at a thrift store when I was buying a dress and some shoes, and the cashier asked me if they were for me, and I easily could have lied, but I decided to own it in that moment, and it was fine, and I got a big boost and relief.
This year has been a journey in multiple ways, but that first class, when by all rights I should have otherwise been self conscious as hell, I actually kind of reveled in the moment. I had a Confidence Moment (TM) and it is one of the top highlights of my year.
The last class for this semester is in a few days, and I am just trying to decide, do I wear that shirt again to bring it full circle, or do I try to find a way to even top that?
Whatever I do, I’ll look and feel good doing it!