It’s really hard for me to write this post, because it’s not my highlight reel.
I worry that someone might read this and use it to undermine my credibility on issues that are not really related to it. I worry that people might make incorrect assumptions about me based on this.
Still, I think it’s important to post this. Not very many people are writing about gender fog. But I’ve talked to other people, and I know I’m not the only one who feels it. So here goes.
As I wrote back in July, I went out in public as a woman and had some serious gender fog. I actually had difficulty sleeping for two weeks. I finally decided to go out cross-dressed again, and the night between making the decision and going out was the least restful of all. After that I had one more difficult night, and then my insomnia returned to its baseline.
Last Saturday I went out for the third time this year, and this time I only had trouble sleeping the night before. Since then, I’ve been back to normal. I don’t know for sure why I had such a strong reaction back in July, but I have a few guesses.
When I went out in July, it was the first time in two years, and that made it much more exciting. In August and again this weekend, it had been a month or less. It was still exciting, but not exciting enough to keep me up for several nights. So that was a factor.
I also got a lot of affirmation in July. I spent the afternoon with one of my best friends, and he was really nice to me, even though he’s going through a lot of his own issues. He said I looked good, said he didn’t know how anyone could have read me. He picked out clothes for me to try on and gave me helpful feedback. He asked thoughtful, sympathetic questions about my trans feelings and experiences. I also dealt with security guards who were uniformly polite, friendly and gender-affirming. I ran into a co-worker who said I looked great.
The second time I went out this year, I made the mistake of riding Citibike in the heat. My friend is out of town, so I went to regular middlebrow stores, where people didn’t pay much attention to me, and probably less than normal because I was sweaty. I had a nice conversation with the same co-worker, but it wasn’t as exciting the second time.
This past weekend, I got sirred by the woman in the dressing room at Burlington Coat Factory. I had a nice time and got some fun clothes, and had a short conversation with my co-worker, but overall it wasn’t that exciting.
The combination of novelty and affirmation was probably what made my gender fog so intense in July. Since the intensity was unpleasant, I need to manage those and try not to get so much of both at the same time. I’m planning to make my outings a bit more frequent (every month or two) without doing anything too exciting. I’ll let you know how that goes.