I do admit, shopping has become rather a joy now that my wardrobe options are much more open. I’m working as hard as I can to make what I wear either much more neutral or more feminine. I have all sorts of apps on my phone: Nordstrom, Macy’s, Old Navy, Forever 21, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Ulta, Sephora… even Younkers, even though their app sucks.

What isn’t easy, however, is shopping in person.

I went to Rue 21 yesterday, a place that seems to specialize in selling exceptionally cheap clothing. Maybe that’s not fair, that I should say inexpensive, but the stuff doesn’t exactly seem like it’s made like Columbia or Marmot makes their stuff.

Rue 21 was an uncomfortable place for me. I started off in the men’s section—it was the first thing when I walked in—but then I began to get odd looks when I did a lap and was looking at a few things in the women’s section.

I struggle with this. Massively. And the concept of trying something on in a store is simply out of the question to me right now.

I also went in a Marshalls, and I didn’t even walk into the women’s clothing section: both because I was a bit fried from Rue 21 and because it was rather overwhelming in general.

It’s tricky. Trickier because of the lack of convention. The idea of being non-binary is foreign to 99.999% of the population. When I bought a shirt—a men’s one, if you’re wondering—at Rue 21, they offered me some cologne on sale. I wear two different fragrances at the moment (not at the same time): Kate Spade’s Walk on Air and Philosophy’s Amazing Grace. I eventually want to get a rollerball of Kate Spade’s Live Colorfully, but I haven’t yet.

There were 8 or 9 women’s fragrances on display along with the one men’s cologne. I was both annoyed that the other options weren’t given to me—even though I know better, I know that this is foreign to all but a few—and embarrassed. And a bit angry with myself. Angry that I didn’t have the nerve to correct the clerk.

I do alright going into Ulta. I get some strange looks, but there’s generally acceptance. I’m guessing they think I’m gay. A whole different frustration, honestly.

But it looks like I’ll stick with the apps for now, paying a bit more to ship back the stuff that doesn’t fit. It’s the best I can do. Or at the least it’s as courageous as I’m prepared to be.

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