It’s been an interesting week or so for me here in town. I’ve been slowly pushing the envelope on expression over the last couple of months: I paint my fingernails now, and I’ve been carrying this wonderful tangerine-coloured purse that’s as much a pouch as anything. By the way, it’s wonderful to be able to carry my wallet, phone, keys, tissues, lip balm, and Kindle all in one small package. So fuck off anyone who has a problem with it.

Sorry. In a bad mood.

That’s because I’ve been getting very odd reactions from people the last few days. Over the weekend, I was at WallyWorld with J, doing grocery shopping with her as I tend to do. We have a lot of fun with it and I look forward to it each time. But this time I got a lot of stares and muttered comments. I even got sarcastic cat calls from a group of guys, which felt rather awful. I was self-conscious enough that I was at first taken aback when a woman came up to me and pointed out how “this guy” was a problem. It was one of my former students, one whom I would call a friend, but I didn’t recognize her at first.

Today I did a bit of shopping with J as well, but this time it was me picking up some produce and beverages at the upscale grocery store here in town. If there’s one place out and about where I’m generally okay, it tends to be there. Not this time, though. I didn’t catch it, but J was about ready to punch a woman who was apparently staring me down and then stomped off, apparently angry. This was immediately after I got the feeling I made the clerk at Dress Barn distinctly uncomfortable. But I bought two sweaters that were each 60% off, and she seemed to finally warm up to me a bit while I was checking out.

I guess, more than anything, really, what I would say to everyone is this: I’m not dressing this way to get a reaction out of you. It’s not for you or anyone else. It’s for me. It’s also a bit for the people closest to me who have been so encouraging as I’ve been exploring who I am. People like J, K, L, M… I just wanted to put those letters in that order because now the alphabet song will be in everyone’s head.

But, people who feel the need to judge and comment, I’m not doing anything to you. I look a bit different. I like girl things and boy things. I like doing my nails while watching hockey. I like clothes shopping and video games. And I’d like a society where trying to figure out which of those things is for what gender is impossible, but that’s not where we are. Understand that I’m not immoral. Understand that I’m not recruiting. Understand that I am not an affront to you or your values.

And understand that the world is bigger than solely your own experience.