Yes feeling vulnerable and exposed were two words to describe how I felt the first time. I imagine it would be a similar feeling to going out naked! Even just getting the courage to take that first step out of the car, huge. Sat for about 20 minutes waiting until nobody was about🤣🤣🤣
Paid for parking then off I went. Initially concentrating so much on getting the walk right in heels I didn’t really notice others. Trying to avoid cracks in the pavement, uneven surfaces etc. Gradually relaxed, and did some window shopping. Walked along the high street, started looking up, and noticed nobody was staring. Relaxed more, became more confident and started enjoying it more. Looked into a women wear shop window mainly to check my hair🤣 A woman in the shop window was dressing a mannequin turned and gave me such a warm smile it gave me a buzz and immediately put me at ease. I did realise I was perhaps overdressed for my little excursion, and now try to dress more appropriately.
You do realise the biggest barriers are in our heads. Most people are wrapped up in their own lives and don’t really scrutinise others too much. The more you relax the better the experience, make eye contact with others, smile etc. Skulking about only draws attention. It is such a buzz to go out and just be treated ‘normally’. Never had a bad experience.
And stories I have read here of acceptance from others interacting in shops etc encourages me to push the limits. Got my first makeover at a beauty counter and felt the beautician just treated me like she would a woman. I had such a fabulous time, and learned lots.