The last two weeks were quite difficult. Mary Jo’s father died and the boys and I flew to Columbus, Ohio, for the funeral. We also stayed with her grad school buddy Martina, her husband Cal, and their two kids. Several different times, either to Martina and Cal, or to me, or to other friends, Mary Jo repeated her fear that I would make poor choices in dress, jewelry, makeup, and general carriage, thus revealing myself to be frilly, girly, and frou-frou.

I have written about this before, and what I find myself feeling is stuck. I know there are all sorts of demeanor and fashion mistakes to be made, and I’m sure I will make them. I’m sure that I will also probably occasionally become over-exuberant, over-feminine, and overly-frou-frou, perhaps because that’s my nature or perhaps because of the newness of this project. I really can’t say. What makes me feel stuck isn’t the possibility of making mistakes or of revealing some sort of true nature, but rather finding myself between two strong desires.

On the one hand, I want to be my own self, taking firm steps in my becoming. On the other hand, I want acceptance from family and friends, and some of that acceptance means adhering to norms acceptable to them. I do not think such adherence means giving away power over my life, but I understand how blessed and grateful I am to have such accepting relationships, and I would be a fool to throw petulant choices in their faces after all we’ve been through.

So, standing here at the end of a long period of coming out, facing the two prongs of self-willed becoming and community driven norms, I find myself on plateau, neither backsliding nor moving ahead. Is this a permanent spot of confusion, or rather a resting spot before the next wave of becoming?