My name is Jace.

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog recently, then you know (3) things:

  1. I abhor gender stereotypes and arbitrary, societal norms.
  2. I am a transgender bisexual.
  3. Shopping for clothes that “fit” (in every aspect of the word) is.. difficult.

Tonight, I’d like to keep things simple, so for the next 15-20 minutes, I’ll be drafting a refreshingly brief post on the clothing bit. I could honestly, easily summarize this post with just one word: success. But that wouldn’t be nearly as interesting, would it?

🙂

Chris and I grabbed burritos for lunch this afternoon (@Chipotle.. they’re carrying tofu now, you know!), and afterwards, I dropped him off at home so that he could take a nap while I continued on to Whole Foods to collect a few days’ worth of groceries. Before heading over to Whole Foods, however, I had two fun side missions in mind:

  1. Check out the clearance rack at Urban Outfitters. Ohemgee, I know, they’re soooooo flipping trendy. But this is the no judging zone, you guys.. alright? I totally dig their style. I also hadn’t stepped into the store for several months now, so I knew that the inventory would be fairly new (to me).
  2. Find my dream wallet.

We’ll talk about #2 later. First: Urban Outfitters, perusing the trendy clearance rack. Check. Here we go.

I parked, walked inside, and marched upstairs to peruse the men’s sales racks. That’s right; marched. #noshame. Kidding.. I actually tried to be really casual and inconspicuous about it.. but not overly so. 🙂 Once upstairs, I found, in a toss-up area that was precisely in-between the designated men’s and women’s clothing racks (very gender-neutral territory), an androgynous looking, over-sized black coat. It resembled a trench coat (which I’ve been noncommittally desiring for a few years now), and it was love at first sight. I pulled it off of the rack, traced my fingers along the material, and then narrowed my eyes and bit my lip slightly as I fumbled for the price tag; there was none. Well, at least buying it isn’t totally outside of the realm of possibility yet, I shrugged to myself.

“Hey,” I approached a sales rep on the floor, “any idea what the price is on this cool jacket?”

She took the jacket from me and scurried off for a few minutes, returning again to report that she had not been able to locate a price, but that the front desk would be able to collect that information for me when I was ready to check out. “They’re really busy right now,” she apologized. “Oh, that’s totally no problem!” I shook my head (nbd). “I appreciate it.”

I descended the stairs and moseyed my way over to the dressing area. About 6 women (aka, teen-aged girls) were standing in the line in front of me, talking to each other loudly, and with each of them wearing identical pairs of denim shorts, earthy-looking flip flops from Mountain High Outfitters and either over-sized sports T’s or racer back tank tops. There was a single sales rep manning the dressing area, and he fluttered about constantly, taking names, counting items, opening doors and asking “So did anything work out for you?” over and over again, like a broken record on repeat.

Once I was next in line, the sales rep, with discarded clothing hanging from both of his arms, caught my eye. I held up my hand immediately and tilted my head to the side. “Dude, take your time. No rush.” He smiled a silent thank you and then rushed to empty his arms.

“Alright,” he approached me a moment later, “how many for you today?”

“Just one.”

He led me over to a dressing room and grabbed a black marker (which had been clipped on to a neat, metallic-colored dry-erase board) with his right hand.

“What’s your name?”

I didn’t even pause. There was no hesitation. I knew that he was going to ask me this. I had known, during the last 4-5 minutes of waiting and observing, that he was going to ask.

“My name is Jace.”

“Jace?” He repeated. I nodded. “And that’s J-A-C-E, right?”

I smiled. “You’ve got it.”

“My name’s Curtis, Jace,” he offered kindly, opening the door and setting my jacket onto a hook in the wall. “Let me know if I can help you with anything.”

“Thanks, Curtis.”

I closed the door behind me and then willed myself not to cry. Instead, I smiled into the mirror. Jace.

Yep; he really wrote it on there AND he spelled it correctly. Thanks, Curtis. You made my day.
Yep; he really wrote it on there, AND he spelled it correctly. Thanks, Curtis. You made my day.

Long story somewhat shorter, Jace bought the cool, over-sized black jacket, and for a whopping $19.99. When I was ready to check out, the reps at the front counter spent a good twenty minutes trying to track down a price for the item. “We’re so sorry for the delay!” they apologized repeatedly, manually recording other paying customers’ card information (with their card-processing system down, the front of the store was becoming increasingly crowded; the area surrounding the registers was full of commotion and just bustling with activity). “Seriously, I don’t mind waiting,” I reassured them each time. “I love the jacket. I’m happy to wait.”

After a few more failed attempts at keying in the skew number for the item, the brunette cashier approached me and tossed her hands up (in a “beats me” fashion). “Alright — soooooo apparently, this item no longer exists in our inventory. How does $19.99 sound?”

“SERIOUSLY?” I exclaimed. “Uhhhhh yes. That sounds great. I’ll take it.” I would have paid double.. honestly, probably even triple. I really, really liked this jacket.

Soooooo I’m sure you’re curious; here’s a pic of my cool new chaqueta:

20150829_155742
Yep. This jacket’s SO freaking great that it merited me taking AND publicly sharing a selfie. Yw.

Black, plain, and wonderful. Moving along.

2. My dream wallet

Why, exactly, are we calling it a “dream” wallet? Because I’ve always thought that wallets were oh-so-very cool but didn’t have the guts to go out and shop for one, let alone buy one and carry it around. Thankfully, all of that ungrounded anxiety and conditioned self-consciousness is in the past. Good riddance.

Purses are also a permanent thing of the past, as I transitioned from carrying a purse with me to toting a totally gnarly backpack around roughly 9 months ago (pictured below). Backpacks are A. way cooler than purses and B. can carry a whole lot more than your average-sized purse can. Why doesn’t everyone just use a backpack?!

backpack

Anyways, after leaving Urban, I popped into Belk and one of the “Hey! You look like you could really use a makeover. Let’s do it; it’ll be fun!” people smiled at me. Before even allowing myself to become subjected to her spiel, I quickly smiled and asked: “Could you please point me in the direction of wallets? Men’s wallets?” I clarified.

Her eyes widened knowingly. “Oh, yes dear.. straight into the very back there.”

“Sweet; thanks!”

I knew that I would know the second that I saw the right one, and I did. Fancy that. Love at first sight; some don’t believe in it. I always will.

20150829_182942

I left the store, proudly toting my neato burrito backpack on my person and carrying my new, sleek and simple, tree trunk brown wallet with me.

So today was, in a nutshell, great. That’s it. No deep subject matter, no ranting, no rambling, and no whining in this post. This was just me sharing some of the light and good stuff in life. I should try to do that more often. In summary, this afternoon, I affirmed two things:

  1. I am allowed to shop in the men’s clothing section at any store that I want to go shopping in. On whose authority? My own. Ooooooooh, burnnnnnnnnnn.
  2. My name is Jace.

I’ve already received inquiries from multiple people on this one (#2), so I want to go ahead and address this FAQ:

Q: Rose, will you ever formally (legally) change your name to Jace?

A: Nope. Do I want to? Yes. Of course I do. I would love to be known and referred to as Jace; it is the name that my soul responds to. However. Uno: I’m married; therefore, I’m taking my partner into consideration. Dos: I work in a professional environment where I’m already “established” as a female coworker named Rose.. so I’m also taking that into consideration. Reason numero tres: The social security office is already uber busy and I really don’t want or need to add to their workload. IJS.

Same answer to transitioning (surgery, hormones); for those curious, that’s not in my game plan right now. It honestly probably won’t ever be. I’m satisfied by the simple things in life.. the small adjustments that I’ve made and stands that I’ve taken. To name a few: refusing to shave, wearing my boy clothes, keeping my hair short, my personality authentic, and – occasionally, to the unknowing stranger – stating that my name is Jace. I like to think of it as a nickname. I love to think of it as a nickname. As as side note, I really wouldn’t refer to myself as a 100% untransitioned transgender; I would say that I’m, more so, transitioning in my own way.. in mild ways, mostly.. and in ways that make sense to me and in ways that help me feel like a whole, happy, and comfortable human being. That’s what it’s all about.. right? We’re all transitioning; straight, gay, transgender or otherwise. Women who put on make-up every morning because they feel “incomplete” without it, and men who work out 4 times a week because they feel inferior and demasculinized if they don’t.. look, I’m totally playing on stereotypes here, but you get the point; we’re all working in typical and not-so-typical ways to craft our most unique, authentic, and honest selves. We all want to look and feel our best and to, most importantly, feel comfortable in our own skin. And that’s precisely what I’m doing.

Before closing, I’d like to thank the MULTIPLE PERSONS who commented on my post, privately messaged or texted me, saying that they would be willing and happy to come clothes shopping with me in the men’s department (for moral support). I had all of you there with me today; my eyes were NOT dragging across the floor like they were earlier this month. I meandered down the aisles with confidence and enthusiasm and a curious eagerness.. like I belonged there. Like I was just some random and unremarkable dude trying to find a cool t-shirt to wear during his next gig. It was progress. It was euphoric. So thank you.

Truly yours,

Jace

Smile like you mean it.

As some of you may already know, I came out as a transgender bisexual via social media roughly two months ago. I’d like to post a quick recap of what it was like then and what I’m going through (experiencing) right now (presently).

An overwhelming number of people were hugely supportive of me. It was very unexpected. They were, to use just three words: loving, affirmative, and validating. A precious few made a concerted effort to treat me unkindly (both directly and through covert means), and I shed quite a few tears over those bruised relationships, but all in all, I have no complaints; people have been very accepting of me and I am eternally grateful to the souls that were. I honestly thought that acknowledging and announcing “myself” to the world meant that I would finally be able to move past this “fear zone” (and that this would be where the great, big facade would meet its end), but – unbeknownst to me – coming out was actually, precisely where the hardest and most confusing part of life was scheduled to come in. Fancy that.

  • Shopping.
  • Public restrooms.
  • Haircuts.

Just a few of the things that have gotten me down recently.

Here we go. I’ll start with shopping.

When I’m not wearing my “work attire” (aka business/casual button-up shirts and dress slacks), I exclusively enjoy wearing boy shorts and t-shirts. I like to dress simple, and these clothes are both comfortable and representative, but whether it’s Nordstrom, JCP, Target or elsewhere, the women’s clothing section is nothing but disappointing when I’m shopping around and looking for “my type” of casual wear: the shirts are sheer and designed to be form fitting, and the shorts are just way too freaking short. In times past, when Chris would tag along on a shopping trip with me and decide to take a detour to the guys’ section, I’d follow along behind him, lovingly letting my fingers trail across the rows of V-neck T’s, plaid button-ups, and knee-length shorts that were meant for him. Not for me. Him. So I would handpick the shirts that I thought were the coolest and present them to him, living vicariously through him and feeling completely and totally envious of his effortless existence: being biologically born as a man and carrying around, in his body, a heart and soul that perfectly matched his physical description. What a lucky guy.

But recently, I’ve gone clothes shopping solo. Twice, actually, and both times, I’ve ventured to visit the guys’ section.. for me.

“Maybe people will think that I’m shopping for a spouse, father, or brother,” I whispered to myself encouragingly as I meandered off from the old beaten path of pencil skirts, shimmery tank tops and jeggings. Once I had settled myself into a somewhat deserted area of the men’s clothing section, I let out a breath, finally loosening up enough to enjoy my search for anything black, cool, and size XS. Sure enough, after like a minute and thirty seconds of pure bliss and ease, a guy and his wife walked up to where I was standing, and the wife immediately began browsing through the same rack that I was. I could feel myself turning red as I desperately summoned the coach inside me. “HELP! THIS IS SOOOOOOOO AWKWARD. Why can’t I just LOOK LIKE A BOY who is shopping for BOY’S CLOTHES and BE DONE with it already?!” I casually lowered my head and moseyed over to the dressing room, trying on the one, single item that I had been able to find and that I thought might fit: a jet black and super sharp-looking suit jacket, men’s size small. The sleeves ended and dangled at my fingertips, and the the bottom edges of the jacket fell halfway down my thigh. The jacket felt heavy, far too large, and I tried not to cry as I unbuttoned it and returned it to its hanger.

I’ll admit that it helps — wearing a 36A bra, short hairdo, and shuffling around in skate shoes and oversized t-shirts. But I still, despite the 100% lack of effort, look distinctly feminine, and it is the absolute bane of my existence. It is the worst. It is terrible and it is horrible, and I honestly wish that I was exaggerating.

While I was shopping (again, solo) at Von Maur last weekend, quietly and happily rummaging through a clearance rack full of men’s t-shirts, a sales rep who was working the floor approached me. “Can I.. get a room ready for you?” She smiled slightly, successfully leaving off the “ma’am” but failing to fully mask her confusion. “Oh no, I’m just perusing.. but thanks!” I returned her smile and then looked away quickly. Please go away please go away pleaseeeeeee go away.

She nodded and (mercifully; thanks, Universe!) walked away. Moments later, as I stumbled awkwardly into the women’s section (altering my mission from finding a cool t-shirt to wear on the weekends to securing something more practical — a dressy work shirt), the same floor worker passed by me. “Or,” she paused half-way down the aisle and gestured her arm dramatically, “I can get a room ready for you in this section — hahaha!”

…Seriously, lady? I felt like crying.

“I’m not a confused person,” I wanted to scream; “I am an untransitioned, transgender, bisexual, married and regretfully FEMALE human being who just wants to look and act and talk and be perceived as a boy, and you STANDING there, laughing AT me, and cruelly (but ignorantly) pointing out the worst contradiction of my existence is hurtful. Downright hurtful.”

So I laughed along with her. “Right?! That’s sooooo funny.”

Restrooms

I just don’t have the energy to draft a detailed comment on this. All you need to understand is that it only makes things more complicated; dressing, talking, and acting like a boy – aka, finally giving up the charade and all of the stupid freaking pretenses and finally relaxing into myself – and then having to walk into a women’s restroom.. it’s just another punch in the gut. Another sad and lousy letdown. Nothing I can do about it. Just a bummer, is all.

Haircuts

You know how it is. Men’s cuts: $14. Women’s cuts: Starting at $40. “Oh — okay. So I’m, in almost every aspect, a dude, and more importantly, my hair is already cut LIKE a dude’s, but because I possess the sexual organ of a female human being, my haircut is going to cost 3x the price of Johnny Boy’s haircut. Gotcha. That’s totally reasonable and perfectly rational and makes absolute f*cking sense.” It’s not even the exaggerated cost of the haircut that bothers me — it’s the poking needle, the phantom crying, the buzzing reminder that I am a living, breathing contradiction. It hurts. It literally, physically hurts.

Some days are better than others, definitely. I have a fierce love of life and, on most days, I am so happy. Truly. Life is full of magic and there is so much to be grateful for. But there are also difficult days, and depressing, lonely nights — evenings where it’s so incredibly hard to think and talk and breathe and function, and tonight, I just want to go to sleep and forget about myself for a while. I glaze over these feelings constantly and try to move past them like they aren’t real and don’t deserve my attention, but I’m probably doing things wrong. Sadness does matter. Pain is real. Loneliness that creeps along slowly and then nestles itself all the way down into the core of your being is a pretty big deal.

So if there is anyone out there who feels sad for any reason, or who feels like they’re out of energy and inexplicably at a loss for words.. I am too. You’re totally not alone. Things will get better soon. Hang in there. You’re in the cycle; you’re sad now, but that’s okay. It’s normal. THIS is normal. You’ll move past it and then you’ll be more defined, more brave, and more content and at peace with yourself than you were before. Wait for it. In the mean time..

Smile

Aun Aqui