When you begin your transition, it can be an awkward time to say the least. There is a whole world you have yet to discover about yourself as you ponder the changes that may happen once you begin hormones or start to present as your true self. You might start out just presenting as yourself in your personal life, but maybe you aren’t ready to come out at work. You start to build a plan of when you will come out fully. You might begin to grow your hair and wonder how you will manage the in-betweens of your day to day presentation. It can be both a scary and exciting time, but it is one we all go through in some shape or form.
I was always crazy about how my hair looked, even before I transitioned. I used to mess with it for hours, staring in the mirror. Later I would realize it was one of those “Wow that was dysphoria!” moments as I learned the problem wasn’t really my hair, it was my presentation as a boy. So now I was beginning transition, and I was determined to get started. I envisioned this Ginnifer Goodwin style pixie cut. It would be perfect! I would be able to slick it back to present as my old self at work and “fem” it up when I needed to in my personal life. It was the perfect plan, at least I thought.
I was on vacation with my wife, and we planned to visit a hair salon to get my pixie cut and some color. My wife would get a color done as well. We were spending “girl” time together and it was awesome. We arrived at the salon, and I was armed with my Ginnifer Goodwin photos on my phone. As I had sat in the chair and showed the hairdresser the pictures, she just looked at me confused. I outed myself and let her know I was transgender, and this was the cut and color I wanted. The woman was even more confused. She brought out a book of hairstyles that she could do, only they were all pictures of men. I should have run right out of there at that very moment, but I was stubborn and managed to convince her to just do what I wanted.
“MY AWKWARD TIME WAS GETTING EVEN MORE AWKWARD.”
Needless to say the results were horrible. I wanted my hair blond with some of the dark highlights coming through. What I got was a bunch of blond spots on brown hair. It was very punk rock, and we are all entitled to our personal view of what femininity means, but in my mind feminine was not a word I would use to describe the way I looked. Luckily I had a history as a musician, so I only had to deal with my bosses at work apologizing for the way I looked by saying I was in a band every time we were in meetings with the executive staff. I was pretty down about the whole situation, but at least my wife’s new red hair came out incredible. The next few months were filled with bad home attempts to fix the problem, but all that really did was make things worse. My awkward time was getting even more awkward.
It would be some time before I returned to a salon. My hair was now almost down to my shoulder, and a girlfriend I performed with suggested I saw her hairdresser. Her hair always looked nice, so I made an appointment. This time I would go it alone. My wife wouldn’t be there to hold my hand. It was time I started to socialize as the real me. I was determined and yet scared to death. I put on the best of my two girl outfits at the time, did some makeup, and headed out for my appointment.
“I WAS PREPARED FOR THE MOMENT I WOULD HAVE TO OUT MYSELF, BUT SURPRISINGLY THAT MOMENT NEVER CAME.”
I was nervous when I arrived at the salon as I wondered if I were already being clocked. I was prepared for the moment I would have to out myself, but surprisingly that moment never came. The staff was extremely nice and made me feel comfortable. That is when I met Jess, a real talented hair stylist and colorist. This time I was armed with a new set of pictures (I was off the Ginnifer Goodwin kick) that fit my longer hair. She took my requests seriously and put the time into getting things right.
What I didn’t expect was how great not only the employees at the salon were going to be, but the other customers as well. We were a bunch of women talking about our lives, our families, partners, and laughing it up. It was the first time I was around this many women as my true self, and without my wife to hold my hand. I felt so comfortable being in this circle along with the conversations that we were having. Previously, I was used to a group of guys talking about things that I couldn’t really care less about. I had always felt out of place. This time around it was different. It was one of many confirming moments where I began to realize I made the right decision when I decided to transition. For the first time in my life I was comfortable with who I was in the moment, even if I was still a work in progress.
In time over the next year, I would end up telling the girls in the Salon that I was transgender. They were all amazing about it. It is funny how simple things that most people usually take for granted, such as being included in something many women do all the time, can have such an impact on the journey of one transgender girl. It may seem silly, but at the time it was everything to me, and it is something I would never forget. For at least a moment, I felt that I might be able to make it through this transition. To this day I wouldn’t let anyone else touch my hair nor would I go to another salon. To me, Jess is the best!