I don’t know why I suddenly got a bit more brave yesterday, but I did. I wore a pair of heeled boots and some dark grey leggings for my latest round of work on my tattoo. The artist had requested leggings for when we get down into my hip area, and I was cool with that.

I did look around a bit before heading to the parking lot of my building. I didn’t really want the stares—I was already nervous enough about the tattoo work, as the current area hurts a great deal. I managed to get to my car and into the tattoo shop without any real stares. That was nice.

I got even gutsier after the tattoo: I kept the heels on when a friend of mine and I went to the local soda bar. There were a whole lot of kids in there, but it’s also one of my regular places and the employees are very nice to me. I did okay with that.

After that, J and I were set to go grocery shopping. She goes to Walmart for that, and I wasn’t about to wear heels in there. I switched to my maroon combat boots.

And you know what? I had waaaaaaaaay more problems than I would have suspected. I got at least two dozen really hard stares or comments or laughing. And this was wearing dark grey leggings, dark maroon boots, and a very dark brown jacket. I guess my purse is kind of bright, but it wasn’t that noticeable. I wasn’t wearing heavy eye makeup, though I had some on.

It’s just really bothersome to me. There’s no reason to treat someone who is slightly different like this. I don’t bother anyone. I’m not flamboyant—and even if I was, what difference would it make?

I’m going to try to keep pushing forward, though. If nothing else, it makes it easier for the next person who doesn’t fit gender norms. And it’s a lot harder to stereotype or judge me if I’m friendly and accessible.