Was it the case that if I'd stuck with t-shirts and pants I'd be less likely to be misgendered? Was I being hurt by the perception that I must be trying to hard? I put it out of my head. It wasn't important at that moment.
The previous week, one friend popped in to see me as I worked (as usual) in the window of the coffee shop. The outfit gave me away before she saw my face. Another mentioned he had to do a double-take after passing someone on the street with hair done like mine and a flower in her hair matching her dress. And later that same night, a trip to a club for dancing meant I broke out an occasion-appropriate dress, one I'd had to sit and mend while working on a bench along the river a few hours earlier. Unlike the previous time I'd worn it, some of the sins it showed were gone. The dress hadn't become more forgiving, instead many months of pushing myself even harder had yielded a body with less need for forgiveness. Showing up on a dimly lit dancefloor in a contoured, crimson dress and spending a lot of time dancing alone said something, something I didn't realize I felt able to say.
Step 72: Being comfortable with who you are is not easy, and is a task that always requires work, but if you can get there, it gets easier to stay on your game and keep it up.