Sarahjanus's Blog

January 3, 2012

Happy New Year & Stereotypes

Happy New Year, these are hollow words that haunt me every year. I don’t expect it to be a happy year. There will be inter-personal conflicts that I cannot resolve without causing greater upset to some in a way that they never asked for, and aren’t prepared for. On the other hand perhaps I am being pessimistic. Perhaps, if I am able to dress in the manner that my inner being wishes, and if in doing so, I am able to grow, even a little bit as a person, it may be a happy year. Perhaps I am confusing happy with joyful. Perhaps I need to tailor my expectations to my reality.

Last night a fight broke out between my wife and me. It happened late in the evening and as she pointed out, my anger was out of proportion to the situation. She quizzed me as to the true cause of the anger and I gave her nothing. I had a cause in mind. I wanted the anger to be the result of the behaviour of the Last Child Standing. I didn’t offer that up as a possibility for a host of reasons. The fight carried over to this morning and she went off to work just as hostile as I was, remaining at home.

My morning processes brought me to the computer, through my e-mail and Facebook, to the blog. I had dressed very simply in a galabeya, catering to the need to dress without really dressing. However, the need was not met and I had to re-dress. The anger, it seems, was based in the frustration of not being able to dress for a couple of weeks through the holidays.

Clareflourish (clareflourish.wordpress.com) responded to one of my blogs, pointing out that many TG people have very narrow stereotyped ideals for the genders. Her point was that (in this case) I need to relax a bit and be more accepting of myself. I accept her point but I also think I need to expand a little on what I was thinking when I originally wrote the blog. My transvestism has been a journey, and it has been a long and slow journey because I don’t really know myself and as an individual I still lack the courage to be myself. A big part of that journey has been finding my own style and manner of dress. I came to this place very late in life so I lost the opportunity to be young and match my outer self to the inner self. I regret that. Part of the regret is for the opportunity lost and part of the regret is for the clothes I can no longer wear. I have skirts and dresses that are not “age-appropriate” simply because they are beautiful pieces of clothing, which when on me, make me feel beautiful. I have said before; if I lived in a house without mirrors I would be a beautiful woman.

So, the irrationality of my thinking begins to appear. I can be a man dressed in women’s clothing, and I can accept myself thusly. But I worry about whether or not the outfits I wear are age-appropriate, appropriate for the circumstances that I imagine myself in, and appropriate for the body that I am putting into them. As a being, I am conservative, quiet, unassuming, generally wishing to not be noticed. That “being” is genderless, so my clothes must match my personality if I am to be comfortable on the outside as well as the inside.

If I were to present to the world as a woman, I would wish to present as a slim (height to weight) middle-aged being with the resources to dress well and the taste and style to choose the right clothes and accessories. For example, I bought a new dress at Le Chateau after Christmas and today is the first day I’ve had the chance to wear it and accessorize it. It is snug through the waist so it emphasizes that I have regained a few of the pounds lost, and I need to lose them again. It is further above the knee than I am comfortable with, but I can imagine it with my boots, so I can live with the (lack of) length. It is snug through the bosom, so that zipped; it gives me an obvious cleavage which I am absolutely thrilled with. Given the right weather or place, would I wear it in public? I probably would not, because it would attract more attention than I would be comfortable with. My dressing is not about “look at me”. It is about; if you look at me you should see a well-dressed person who is comfortable in themselves and in their environment.

Do I have a narrow stereotype of what a woman should look like? I don’t believe so. I have a narrower range of what is acceptable for me to look like dressed as a woman. My standards for being dressed in public as a woman are different than the standards I have for being dressed as a man because when dressed as a man, I was simply meeting the social conventions for being dressed in public. Being well-dressed as a man didn’t make me feel better about myself, so I dressed to a lower more common standard. Being dressed as a woman does make me feel better about myself, so I do aspire to dress to a higher standard. This is not to meet a stereotype but more, to be the best I can be with what I have to work with.

It will be a happy new year, if, through these blogs and the comments they generate, and the forums and support groups, I learn more about myself and grow as a person. For years of my life, I never looked inwardly because the darkness of the unknown made me fearful. I have overcome the fear and begun to turn on the lights. I have caused myself no small measure of distress with what I have discovered about myself, but my acceptance of self is growing. The last huge step is to share my awareness of self with others close to me. Unfortunately I have not yet figured out whether or not the end justifies the means.

Happy New Year to all.

April 22, 2011

My new red dress, and nowhere to go!

I am reluctant to use an overly evangelical bit of prose to describe my feelings when I get dressed. I’m afraid someone from the religious right will happen upon the references and take great offence. I have visions of being hunted down because Joshua came across my blog while searching for Old Testament material on the commune’s sole link to the outside world. Even worse would be if Joshua couldn’t find me and turned his religious fervor on some unsuspecting victim closer to him.

I try to be reasonably accurate in writing about the transformation that occurs in me when I have the opportunity to dress. I try to describe how it feels almost like a metamorphosis as the clothes go on. I have a heart rate monitor that I use for exercise. It tells me that my heart races as I dress and even as I begin to move around the house, sorting through what I’m going to do with the time I have.

As you will know, I have been denied the opportunity to dress for weeks. Today, finally, the stars aligned and a moment was presented. I have a dress that I bought from the Le Chateau outlet, a red dress with white polka-dots. It is knee length, with a bit of stretch so it is very comfortable for me. That is what I chose to wear today. I topped it off with my pink sweater because the dress is sleeveless and I felt a bit chilly without the sweater.

In mere days, I am to embark on a vacation journey with my family. We are going to the Mediterranean for three weeks. The
trip has been in the works for months. On all issues around the house, I have been treading carefully so as not to upset the balance of the household before the trip. No nagging at the child for being lazy, thoughtless, irresponsible or
any of the other twenty or so descriptors that I could add here. I have extended the same exceptional consideration to my dearly beloved and she has done the same in return. I had thought that I may leave my clothes packed away until after the trip. The whole serendipity thing was too much to risk. If there was even the chance of someone coming home unexpectedly, more than usual I didn’t want to get caught. It would probably destroy the vacation, although I’m sure it would provide more than enough fodder for conversation to fill all of the time on the planes and in airports.

Today, in spite of my reservations, I judged the risk acceptable. My dear wife is at the hairdressers, after which she is going to her sister’s. The child has gone to work. So, I am dressed, and as always happens when I get dressed, I am able to write comfortably and with flow, about my feelings and this situation. I’ve tried to write when I’m not dressed. I’ve tried to get my mind into Sarah’s space but I can’t. I’m a locked and battened individual when I am not dressed. I am tense and irritable, short
with people, often down-right unpleasant. I’ve come to associate much of that irritability with not being able to dress. Usually once I get an opportunity, I am relieved of much of the pressure.

Others have written about fulfilling the need to dress and then being able to put everything away for a long time before the
anxiety begins to creep back in. For me, almost as soon as the clothes come off, I am looking ahead to the next chance or moment. I am curt with people when their schedules change and I lose a chance, a day or an evening. I struggle to be polite when people drop in unexpectedly and reduce an opportunity to nothing.

It’s like (the television portrayal of) heroin. I crave the clothes and the chance to wear them. I go into withdrawal the moment they are put away and I count the moments to the next fix. I struggle with the need to keep the habit a secret and wonder if just being open about it would make it easier. It’s an analogy, for what it’s worth.

Now that I’m dressed, especially since I’m dressed very nicely, I want to go out. That’s another dragon to be wrestled to
the ground and stomped, for now. Maybe in my next life, I’ll be able to.

I’ve reread what I’ve written, prior to posting it. So if there are any mistakes I’m going to look especially stupid, but the point of the statement is, in re-reading I can see where I was going with each paragraph and how many times I didn’t get there. Instead I write half-thoughts and segue in a different direction. I hope it makes sense to you. It does to me because I read it with the other half of the thought still in my head.

April 18, 2011

Expression suppressed

Counting down the days, it is ten days until we leave on vacation, and three weeks away, a month of days that seems like a
lifetime. I have been denied my existence for these past few weeks and it has been a period of turmoil. There has been somebody in the house or close by for every day recently. The end of the vacation should mark the beginning of daytime work for the Last Child Standing, and that should give me the opportunities that I need to express myself and release the tension that otherwise builds in me.

I wasn’t an admitted life-long cross-dresser. I came to the life-style late. I had “dabbled”, as the English might say. There
were always moments, spells, and periods of time when I would be drawn to my wife’s closet. Sometimes just to look, sometimes to handle the clothes. I might pull items from the rack and examine them, wondering how they might feel on me,
how they might fit me. There were clothes that I thought big enough or loose enough that I would try on. These moments would pass and I would return to my exterior world wondering why.

I had begun to build my own wardrobe even before I retired, but once I was no longer required to behave on the public stage, I withdrew more and more to my private world. I still struggle with the concept of self, the boundaries that may or may not exist, the lengths that I may go to. I’m not sure that I’m a man. I would like to live as a woman for a few years, to sort through these feelings and emotions.

Now every day I wear the clothes that are expected and think about the clothes so carefully folded and hidden away, waiting for a chance. This morning I cracked. I put on panties, nylons and a camisole, under shapeless track-pants. I took the tags off a new top that has sat for weeks and slipped it on, covering it with a sweatshirt. I went out and walked the dogs, feeling right for the first time in weeks. When I got home I had to ditch the top for a t-shirt, hide the nylons under socks and carry on with my day. I was feeling furtive but it was better than nothing.

I’m hoping that when the house becomes mine again, for hours at a time, that I will be able to exorcise these feelings to the point where I can control them. Maybe, then, I can live like so many others, waiting for opportunities and exploiting them, hiding in between.

I have a thousand questions about why I am the way I am. The reading and the forums help a little bit but not much. So I
suppress when I have to and I wait. Soon the day will come when I can say; wait right here, … don’t go away, … I’ll be right back, … I just need to slip into something more comfortable, …..

March 24, 2011

Shaved legs resolves inner tensions, who knew?

It has been awhile since I have written here.
The absence is due, primarily, to the turmoil of being a secret. It isn’t difficult to find the time during the day, and it is never difficult to find a subject to write about. There is an abundance of daily minutiae that can be commented on. It may not be meaningful to my readers but it does meet the objective of the blog, which is to record my thoughts and feelings.

I have begun to assemble the blogs in some sort of order, to create a volume and perhaps a book. I can see the irony
already. The assembled blogs garner a success similar to “Shit my father said”, and I can’t capitalize on it because I remain a secret. Look at the facets of that dilemma. They are like the sparkles in a diamond, changing constantly as you roll it around and let the light strike it a different way.

When I look back over the past few weeks, I see that I was probably in one of the so-called “pink fogs”, buying clothes
that I desired without acknowledging that the opportunities to wear them would be next to non-existent. I was pushing my own boundaries, finding out where I was comfortable, and what I was comfortable with. The answers were, not surprisingly,
not surprising. I have a deep and abiding desire to present to the world as a woman. In my mind, at the moment, that doesn’t extend to surgery and transitioning, for a couple of reasons. The greatest of these is my age. At my current age, retired as I am, it would be far too much effort for far too little gain. I could accomplish most of my goals by simply dressing well and
presenting to the best of my abilities.

As has been written before, there remains, in this house a last child standing, (LCS) that is, one who has not yet moved out
either permanently or temporarily. The former would be for work and the latter for post-secondary education. The LCS is, however, finished high school and lounging through a year of rest and reflection while he contemplates his future. His employment is part-time. This is not a reflection, (necessarily) on him. Few employers in this area hire labour full-time anymore. It is easier, and with fewer regulations to employ everyone as part-time. He works between 25 and 30 hours a week, enough for a perhaps-someday student, but not enough for someone to live independently, in the style to which he has become accustomed. The net result is that he is here, lounging, in the house far more than he is absent.

It being the end of winter, the transition of seasons, my significant other is also home more than normal. Christmas shopping
has ended. Shopping in general has been suspended while the financial damage of the Christmas holiday is repaired. New Year’s resolutions to work out more are slipping so attendance at the gym is down. The social calendar is in the same doldrums of seasonal transition. Her favorite television shows are in full swing, so she makes an effort to be home to watch the glory of success and the despair of rejection and elimination.

The sum total of all this domestic bliss is that there is no opportunity for me to dress and feel like myself. There hasn’t
been for a while. It became apparent to me over the week-end past. I was exceptionally grumpy, irritable, and restless. I actually undertook house-work with a measure of motivation to try and burn off some of the tension. I wasn’t entirely clear on the reasons for the grumpiness and irritability but it was obvious to all and to me. I for once brought it up and acknowledged it before anyone-else could.

When Monday arrived, I used a hair remover to cleanse all the hair from my legs. It was the act of a madman, obviously. How
could I possibly keep such a thing unnoticed? I loved the feel of my smooth legs when I was done. I loved the act of putting on lotion to moisturize. I was dying to feel a pair of nylons slip on. I was eager to see my legs in beige or sheer nylons, without the hair that normally so destroys the look. The act made me feel immensely better.

On Wednesday I took advantage of a rare few hours of privacy to put on leggings and a blouse while I worked away around the
house. I was relaxed and at ease. I felt whole, even without anything-else. This morning, after my shower, after feeling,
again, the smoothness of my bare leg, I wished for the chance to slip on my bra, add in my forms, feel the weight of them, and feel the snugness of the straps. But it is not to be.

Yesterday I returned to my email (sarahjanus@live.ca) for the first time in weeks. I went back to my Facebook page and caught up on everyone’s writings and comments. Now I am writing for the blog. I cannot deny who I am, that is apparent. There is no putting the genie back in the bottle. Days spent in denial are obviously going to come with a penalty. For the moment, I am not
prepared to admit (to others) to who I am either. Perhaps there is middle ground. Perhaps Sarah and her host can each live reasonably well in some form of accommodation.

I wish you all well. I am not unhappy. I don’t need sympathy, empathy or condolences. I’m just writing to express myself, to
feel better at the end of it, to admit to this limited audience that I am a cross-dresser. I am happy with knowing who I am. I am just not yet able to be who I am.

February 28, 2011

Cross-dressed is simply “dressed”

I am reminded this morning of what a heavy heart feels like. It is a monstrous weight that seems to float high in my chest. It amplifies the beat of my heart reminding me that I am still alive but it presses on my lungs forcing me to breath deep to stay conscious. It is not a heart attack, it is simply a burden.

This morning I went on the treadmill for the first time in months. The winter snow has curtailed my daily walk outside, and although the walk wouldn’t cure my problems, it does keep the blood flowing. It always seems to lift my spirits. I have been waiting since Friday afternoon to write this blog. I left the R.V. show (in Toronto) a different person than I was when I entered. By the time I finished the drive home, I realized how deeply troubled I was.

What normally happens to me is that I encounter an emotional crisis, I block it and I carry on with my stunted life. Cross-dressing has given life to an emotional spirit or soul in me that is not so easily denied. It is probably a resurrection rather than new life. I have written before of the therapist who believes that my emotions are blocked by some trauma from my youth. We struggled for a short time to try and unblock the emotions and/or re-call the trauma. We weren’t successful. I don’t know how much I contributed to the effort. My S.O. says that I only ever pay lip service to these efforts. She may be right.

I have a personal philosophy that not all truth needs to be told, and not all things need to be known. The obvious debate there is one of cause and effect. Is the philosophy a result of my having memories that I am blocking, triggering a philosophy that rationalizes that, or does the philosophy allow me to block memories that I just don’t want to recall. The philosophy sometimes (often) seems to be self-serving. While I may be blocking things that are traumatic and painful, I am also disposing of memories of things that I have done wrong (hurtful to others, inconsiderate, etc.).

Coming back to my point, this crisis didn’t fade out over the course of the weekend. It stayed with me. I have been on a journey, exploring cross-dressing. Late in my life I have unbound this urge and let it out of the recesses of my mind. The urge has exploded, splattering itself across my entire life. I have found Crossdressers.com which has become a haven of like-minded individuals. Although even in that community, I find myself in a niche within the larger group.

On Friday past, I went to the R. V. show that was running in Toronto. I went alone. I went sort-of-cross-dressed. I was wearing women’s clothing inside and out but without makeup, a wig or my breast forms/bra. My face is clearly masculine, with the beard shadow even when clean shaven. My hair has just a touch of length but not enough to be gender neutral or feminized. I don’t think the clothes need to be described precisely. It should suffice to say that there should have been little confusion about them. The point of the exercise was to extend my personal boundaries, my comfort zone, to give voice to inner need.
I didn’t want to be stared at. I didn’t want to be noticed. I wanted to wear the clothes that give me inner peace and the sense of completeness. I wanted to wear them outside of the house rather than inside as I always do. I guess this was a variation of my winter excursion out except that then I was fully dressed but it was at night. This was semi-dressed but during the day and in a very busy environment.

From the moment I arrived, I was getting second glances. I’m guessing the second glance was to confirm what the first look took in. In a building full of salespeople, trying to sell recreational vehicles, not a single salesperson spoke to me for the two hours I was in the building. The man selling the tickets at the door suppressed a smirk when I approached but he didn’t say anything or stare. Lots of people nudged their companions as they walked towards me or passed by me. There were whispered words, and there were frowns. There was a lot of avoided eye contact.

I never once felt particularly self-conscious. I never felt embarrassed. I often wondered what they were thinking, what was behind the surreptitious smile or behind the frown but I remained comfortable within myself. Here’s the point, I liked who I was that day. I liked the way I felt in the clothes I was wearing. I had the same comfort and inner peace upon me outside the home, as I had inside the home. And that is the crux of the crisis, the reason for the heavy heart. When I finally left the show, got back in my car, and headed home, I realized that I am truly more comfortable in women’s clothing than I am in male attire.

I went to another show on the weekend, in male attire. My clothes simply hung on me. They didn’t “fit” me. I didn’t feel good in them. I simply existed. There are a million permutations for this epiphany. Novelty is prime among them. Escape is another. No one wants to read a thousand pages of “if A, then B” or “if A, with B, does that equate to C”. Those are my internal ruminations. For today it is simply a statement; I walked out in public, a man dressed in women’s clothing and I was comfortable with who I was. I want to be able to dress that way every day. I want to be able to do my nails. I want to keep my legs shaved. I love the feel of smooth hair-free skin under my hands. I can tuck my genitals tightly up and out of sight for a pair of snug jeans and be comfortable for the day. I am increasingly comfortable with feminine mannerisms through my body and my hands. My S.O. criticizes them but the mannerisms express me. I cried through The King’s Speech and had to stifle sobs near the end. I won’t watch The Black Swan because I fear it will strike to close to home.

There is an avalanche of change streaking down the mountain towards me. The force of it hidden in the swirling clouds of possibility stirred up by the movement. I am watching it in slow motion, knowing that it is coming, knowing that it is inevitable, knowing that in the moment after nothing will ever be the same, wanting to flee to the safety of blocked emotions, lies and half-truths and not wanting to flee at the same time, welcoming the punishing effects as better than not feeling.
I wish, for everyone, a happy day. I have a heavy heart but it is not an unhappy one.

February 17, 2011

Little things reveal big concerns

There is a long list of little things in everyday life that can become annoyances and frustrations very quickly if your mood is not positive. My mood is not positive. Little things have been plaguing me for days now. My productivity which is easily derailed at the best of times has sunk to almost nil. I am distracted. I can’t maintain my focus.

A few months ago I decided to take a different approach to this blog. Instead of using it to vent all my negative moaning and groaning, I was going to try to write something positive. At the very least, I was going to present my thoughts in a neutral way. I came to realize that there was no value or success in crying about my situation. I could only accept it for what it was and deal with it.

Much to my surprise, I was able to do that, express myself positively or at the very least not sound despondent. The last few blogs have actually been happy, from my point of view, as happy as I can be.

I wrote about the unexpected comfort of under-dressing, an act forced upon me by the loss of my daytime privacy. Now, panties and camisoles, and often nylons are the practice rather than the exception. I do have to learn to be careful about adjusting the shoulder straps when they slide. I get some very odd looks when I do it in public. I try to monitor myself but occasionally when distracted, I will adjust without thought, only realizing what I’ve done when I catch sight of the turned heads or raised eyebrows. Men’s undershirts don’t come with spaghetti straps that slip.

I will write here that I’m confident that given the chance, I would under-dress every day for the rest of my life. I can take note of all the posts in the various forums, which say that cross-dressing is not something that is going to go away. It is a personality trait that may have an ebb and a flow. It may be suppressed but it always returns. So, I don’t expect this will leave me.

This is the foundation of my dilemma. To set it out as a hypothesis; I will remain a cross-dresser for the rest of my life. Therefore I should make my life decisions conscious of that fact. I should consider carefully whether or not I can continue to be satisfied with the very limited opportunities that I have to dress or is this predilection going to consume greater and greater parts of my day and my life.

What brought on this thinking are the two issues that I thought had been resolved. The first is my loss of privacy and opportunity. This has proven to be a greater burden than I first realized. I thought that under-dressing would fill the gap but it hasn’t. Now I under-dress consistently and remain frustrated by not being able to over-dress.

The second is under-dressing. This has proven to have a much greater impact than I thought it would. I visited one of my grown children this week. I wore a plain camisole under a t-shirt. I wore a very pretty pair of panties and I wore a pair of women’s jeans. There are no words to describe the level of comfort and the sense of “fit”, of completeness that I enjoyed. The next day I had to go out, so I wore panties and a camisole but men’s pants. The difference in feeling was huge. I wasn’t as comfortable by any measure that I could think of. I also came to realize that if I could, I would coordinate my panties and camisoles. They weren’t coordinated earlier this week and I realized that it was important to me that they should be.

So the new realizations are these; I get a great amount of emotional comfort from dressing. I become tense, irritable and troubled when I can’t dress. Second, I am far more comfortable in women’s clothing when I am out in public than I ever imagined I would be. I can easily envision myself out in public in muted women’s jeans and tops. My conclusion, I could be a semi-public cross-dresser for the rest of my life and probably be a happier person.

The counter-arguments are very basic. Anyone familiar with my life knows I’ve bounced through a variety of hobbies, pastimes and activities. I have had troubled personal relationships. I am estranged from my parents and siblings and my children struggle to maintain a relationship with me. To paraphrase, my only consistency is my inconsistency. My fear is that if I make public my desire to dress so that I can more fully indulge myself, I will do irreparable damage to every person that I hold dear, and I may find in a year or so that I no longer want to cross-dress.

Even if I was told that I would cross-dress forever, I’m not sure that I have the right to inflict that kind of upset on my family.

Here’s where the dilemma becomes a true Gordian knot. Perhaps my troubled relationships and my not settling on a pastime or a hobby are actually all symptoms of my repressed drive to cross-dress. Perhaps if I gave in to this need to present as a woman, everything-else would fall into place, and the peace that I feel when dressed would extend to the rest of my life.

Every dilemma needs a bit of irony. Here it is for this one. My S.O. is telling everyone how much happier I am, how much more considerate and attentive I am. She asked me yesterday if I was going to pull the rug out from under her in the near future by making a fool of her after she has so publicly told everyone how good things are. I said no, which means that in order to be truthful I have to stay in the closet. I am happier, more considerate and more attentive because that’s how I become when I’m dressed.

My internet connection is down. I have to allow the ISP to reboot the whole thing, little things, endless little things.

February 14, 2011

Found dress, need money!

Without a doubt, the first order of business is to wish everyone a –  Happy Valentine’s Day.

There’s a Grrrrrr, that goes in here and an apology. The Happy Valentine’s Day is supposed to be in WordArt, colorful and flowing. The four pictures are supposed to be in the body of the blog, but both tasks are beyond my technical capability for the moment. I’ll work on this later. Sorry…

It is a Monday, so it is a joyful day for me. My S.O. has gone off to work and the L.C.S. is still sleeping. I could rush upstairs, shower and dress knowing I have at least a few hours to enjoy being the same on the outside as I am on the inside.

On the other hand, I am happy just in the knowledge that I can do that. The Canadian winter has taken one of its rare breaks for Southern Ontario. The temperature this morning is above the freezing mark. The dogs are enjoying the yard. I was able to sweep the buildup of bird seed from the deck (as compared to it being part of the ice and snow). My spirit is light and bright this morning. Sarah is upon me even without the clothes.

I was shopping through E-bay last week, looking at the dresses. While I do peruse the mainstream stores’ online catalogues, the online catalogues are always more complete than any single store, I also like to sift through the billions of listings in E-bay to see the true variety that is available. Once the mainstream stores adopt a style for the season, you, as the shopper, are screwed if the colours are wrong for your complexion, or the styles are wrong for your age or body. At least with E-bay, if you know what works on your body, you can find the dress.

My indulgence is to dress in the house. I’m not (yet, and maybe never) an intrepid explorer who is going out on the town “en femme”. So, while a few of my dresses are a touch dressy for the daytime, most everything falls in the business-casual category. I could wear most of it to an office job. I also have the casual skirts for summer, and jeans and leggings for other moments.

I’ve always maintained that my style was conservative and age appropriate. I can’t and shouldn’t emulate Britney Spears or Lady Gaga, and although age appropriate, I shouldn’t copy Madonna either. I’ve wrestled with what I should look like if I wanted to make an entrance. If I ever had the opportunity and/or summonsed up the courage to attend a cross-dresser’s event, like Xpressions in Toronto, or one of the multi-day events in the States, what would I wear? Would I dress ultra-conservatively and try to fit in with all the other mature women? Or would I break out and make an entrance?

After Friday’s excursion through E-bay, I know what I would do. I would wear a “Betty Paige” dress. In my mind these are the epitome of the inner me. Setting aside that three of the four dresses displayed are black, I’m still wrestling with that past habit, the style of these dresses truly “speaks to me”. This is what I want to look like, (sans the tattoos, I’m not a fan of tattoos for either gender). If I were going to dress for dinner, this is what I would want to wear. If I were on a cruise, like the one out of New Orleans, that is cross-dresser friendly, and wanted to walk the decks in the moon-light after drinks in the bar, these are what would be in my closet.

As I write, I’m chuckling with the irony of reality vs. fantasy. Yesterday, I sat through the movie, Sex and the City 2. It was a rental chosen by the L.C.S. No one is yet clear why. He wasn’t asked to get a movie when he went out, but he returned with SATC2. It became Sunday night’s viewing.

I was invited to join my S.O. as she watched it. It was a bit of a Godfather style invitation, “make him an offer he can’t refuse”, so I got my drawing materials and settled in. I never watched the original series, probably because I was still in my testosterone stage, reluctant to watch anything that didn’t include guns, ships or aircraft. My S.O. describes it differently. According to her, unless it crashed, blew up, burned or sank with mass casualties, I wouldn’t watch it.

I didn’t enjoy the movie. I will admit that from what I know of the program, Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) is my favorite character. She is probably closest to the ideal that I would aspire to, if I were to transition to a woman. I qualify the choice, because if I were a genetic girl, I may have a different opinion. I found the movie loud and contrived, but I did identify with Charlotte and her sense of style. Although I didn’t watch the series, I was exposed to television reviews and clips of the program, as well as some of the thousands of tabloid articles, and Charlotte has always been my favorite. As you can see from the dresses on this page, her style is a big part of that choice.

When you look at the Betty Paige and Tatyana dresses, you’ll see that the models are all wearing (fairly) clunky shoes. The shoes look big and heavy. They’re probably not a good choice for a cross-dresser whose feet are already at the wrong end of the scale. I’d have to pair the dresses up with something much lighter-looking in style and material, something that I thought would make my foot look smaller.

Funny thing, this is something I’ve done all my life. Here’s another realization brought on by writing. I have always shopped for shoes that could be described as gender-neutral. My S.O. has commented on more than one occasion that, even though I choose men’s shoes, I regularly choose shoes that she thinks are effeminate. She will say so when I buy them and she will say so when I select them to wear out. I have been told (asked) to change my shoes because she thinks the ones chosen are not manly. Her favorites are the big heavy man shoes; mine are the light, small, less gender-specific ones. So, again, although my journey into cross-dressing is relatively recent, it appears that the preferences have been there forever.

Once upon a time, while I was working, and on the occasions that I had the opportunity to wear jeans to work, I remember one particular testosterone-fueled little rooster in the office who could never let me pass without commenting that I must be wearing women’s jeans because mine were “way too tight” to be men’s. Again, at the time, I didn’t think anything of it, other than I didn’t think my jeans were too tight and I wore them as I liked them. They weren’t women’s jeans but they were tight. I ignored him about the jeans because most of his time was spent judging others and pointing out their deficiencies.

Now, I have two pair of women’s jeans, one pair stretchy and tight enough to nearly be leggings (or jeggings, to be accurate). I know what he meant now. I also know I prefer women’s jeans over men’s, and I like them tight. Tight is comfortable for me as long as the material isn’t stiff and heavy. Again, obviously my preferences were finding ways to reach the surface even when I wasn’t aware of them.

I just wanted to write a short note to say that I had found a source of clothing for the style that existed in my head and my fantasies. I’ve rambled on and on. I apologize to anyone who has struggled through all of this in the hopes of finding something meaningful. This is just me; Sarah. I can ramble on at length about inconsequential things. This last dress is my favorite. I can live without the flower but I love the dress. Did I ever actually get to the irony of watching and disliking SATC2? I dislike the characters with the one exception. I’m not wowed by the storylines. But, in my own way, I am (or would be) as much of a fashionista as any one of them, if I had the chance and the money. I would be a shopaholic. I would need a walk-in closet for the clothes and the shoes. I could end up being a high-maintenance effort.

Happy Valentine’s Day from a happy Sarah..,

February 3, 2011

I am happy, that says it all.

This morning is the first morning in a couple of weeks that I have been able to follow the pattern I prefer. The Last Child Standing (L.C.S.) left yesterday to spend the day and overnight with friends in the city. This morning was an early start for my S.O. The house became mine early. I had a chance to set out my clothes and dress in a slow easy way that felt natural, rather than the rushed stolen opportunities that have been my only escape lately. I dressed, then checked the look in a mirror and headed downstairs. I made my coffee and settled in to the keyboard.

I was surprised to discover that I hadn’t posted here since January 18th. It seems so long ago. The L.C.S. is finished school, high school that is. He had a part-time schedule for the first semester because he was (more or less) doing a victory lap as they call it these days. He had the credits he needed to graduate but had no plans for college so he went back to high school to add and upgrade his college/university credits while working to save money for next year’s school.

That’s a long explanation to get to the point that I once had my mornings free, clear, private and relatively secure. That exclusive opportunity ended last week. It was already being impacted by the piece work that I do. I have a vacation planned for later this month so I have been hustling to; a] get my work done before I go, and b] do as much work as possible so that the trip can be paid for promptly. Work has taken me out of the house for day trips and denied me many of my dress-days.

I’ve written before about the hysteria that builds in me when I expect an opportunity to dress and it is denied to me. Those kinds of schedule changes are the worst for me. The past few weeks have been self-inflicted, ordained, and expected, so the mental response has been completely different. I think this is as it should be. If it were any different, it would be a far more serious problem than I actually have. Today I have recovered the inner peace that eludes me when I am not dressed.

I looked through my clothes this morning to figure out how much laundry I have, and when I’m going to do it. If I thought it was hard to find a decent opportunity to dress, it is exponentially more difficult to find a clear period of time to hand launder my bras and underwear, nylons and tops. Before anyone sneezes at me that I should be doing these things in a machine, there are few of them (on average), the colours are vastly different, and they are not exceptionally soiled so a quick hand wash usually is enough. The problem lies in drying time. I can’t lay them out on the drying rack my S.O. uses because there isn’t ever enough time. So I have to hang them in a side closet and hope no one goes in there for the one night they are there.

I sorted through the nylons to find the ones with runs and get rid of them. I’m a slob in drab, mostly because I don’t have to be anything-else, but partly because I don’t know how to dress myself. I have no sense of style, fashion or colour for men’s clothes. My closet is full of blue, black and khaki. My clothes are worn because I have no interest in shopping for replacements.

“En femme” dressing on the other hand, is a joy. I love the brighter colours. I love the variety of styles. I love the feel of close-fitting clothes. I now understand the need for dieting because certain things no longer fit the way they should. I love to shop for jewelry and accessories. I take much better care of my clothes and how I dress.

I am a shoe fanatic. I still throw the occasional barb at my S.O. for the stacks of shoe boxes in her closet, and the endless defenses she presents when I suggest she throw something out, but I do so with a greater understanding of what she is feeling. Those open-toe, open-back, silver high heels that she hasn’t worn in probably a year are the only thing that goes with that black skirt and the what-ever top if she is wearing silver jewelry and we are going somewhere more formal. Otherwise, those shoes may never be worn again. It’s kind of like a silver bullet for a vampire. You may not run into a vampire very often but it’s always nice to have a silver bullet when you do.

Isn’t this a load of blather? It’s so nice to be back. I can’t (often) get into the mood to write this blog unless I dress and adopt the state of mind that goes with it. I’ve written before about being treated for clinical depression, about my S.O. (and the doctors) not knowing what the cause is. The doctor put me on a prescription that brought me back to a “head-above-water” place. This past year, as I have dressed, and allowed the dressing to influence my state of mind, I have known an inner peace, a self-generated happiness, an acceptance of who I am even if the true me is not a public person. Last week, my doctor began to taper me off the last of the prescriptions. He sees no need for them anymore.

I’m happy. I’m still a cantankerous old(er) man. I’m still moody. I’m still emotionally volatile and overly sensitive to criticism. I’m still reclusive because I don’t ever feel like I fit in. But I am happy. I know how to find happiness in a day. I am amazed at the change. When asked why I’m not a happier person, personality, I have long argued that not all of us are programmed or destined (fate or choice, take your pick) to be happy. I argued that perhaps I was one who was not. I have to add a codicil to that belief. Perhaps, of those who are not happy, there is a number who are not happy because their triggers are not on the “A” list of things that make us happy. Success, the joy of children, the refuge that comes with a strong and positive marriage/relationship, friends, and hobbies are among the things on the “A” list. I have all of those things, so I am challenged as to why I am not happy. Nobody ever suggested to me that I might be happier if I dressed and presented as a woman for a portion of each day. I wonder why not.

I am happy. I hope that a measure of happiness finds each of you in every day. My apologies to my friends who also blog. I haven’t taken the time recently to read your writings. Today I will.

January 18, 2011

The lies that will bind me.

Yesterday I was so comfortably dressed until I had to go out and pick up the Last Child Standing (L.C.S.) that I didn’t want to change. I was truly enjoying my day. I was in a positive place like none I have been in for a long, long time. Because I have to go and pick up the L.C.S., and because he’s not blind, I have to change into drab to do it. I’m always a bit resentful of this, particularly when I’m having a really comfortable day. As I wrote yesterday, my mood is directly affected by my attire and the longer I can stay dressed en femme, the better my state of mind is.

Kris Kristofferson wrote in one of his songs; “if you’re heading for the border, Lord, you’re going to cross the line”. I guess that’s where I’m going with this analogy. Instead of stripping off all the en femme clothes and re-dressing in drab, I changed up my shoes, men’s slip-ons instead of heels, pulled lounge pants on over the leggings; I tucked the long sweater into the pants, took the forms out of the bra and pulled on a coat. The same child, who noticed my lipstick a week ago, saw nothing untoward in my attire. Clearly I am heading for the border.

It wasn’t long after we got home that he was asking for the car to go shopping. I was happy to lend it to him and before he was clear of the driveway, I was redressed and comfortable. Unfortunately, for a set of reasons completely beyond this blog, my afternoon soon imploded and I retreated into a gray haze and stayed there, miserable for the rest of the day.

This morning I had engagements out of the house, so I thought I had lost my opportunity to dress today. The L.C.S. decided to hang in town with his chums. So, here I am, dressed and becoming cheerier by the moment.

I have put myself in a corner that I won’t escape from. I had an opportunity yesterday evening to “come out”, so to speak, and I avoided it. In fact I flat-out lied and this will come back to haunt me in the future. My long-suffering SO saw something that led her to ask if I had been doing some personal grooming. What she saw was from my eyebrows. Obviously I had done a miserable job of cleaning up, but in any event, she asked about other grooming. I tried to not answer the questions. She persisted. She got her answers and then asked about why I didn’t want to divulge my activity.

My answer to her was that it was personal and in my mind a bit eccentric so I was reluctant to embarrass myself by bringing it up. She said it wasn’t eccentric, that many males groom these days. She continued, and said that not many shaved their legs, but many groomed. She was getting in a shot at me for once having shaved my legs. I don’t know what possessed me to do it and why I thought she wouldn’t notice. On the other hand, being the character that I am, it is possible that I shaved them expecting her to notice and hoping the discussion would go in such a way that she wouldn’t object to it. Then I could continue shaving them. It didn’t.

The personal grooming led to more questions and her observation that there is something awry in our world. She played her usual gambit, which is to offer to hear anything I may have to say about what is awry before she has to pursue the information herself. “Save me the trouble of having to find it all out the hard way. Don’t make me work for it. Tell me, be honest.” I waited as she spoke and wondered silently if this was the moment, the time, to be forthright and tell her how much happier I am dressed as a woman. That admission would lead to other questions, many of which I don’t have answers to; Are you gay? Do you want a sex change? Are you going to do this full-time? What am I going to tell my friends and family?

I deferred. We have a momentous event in front of us. It is just weeks away. It will form part of the family lore. I chose not to colour that event by connecting it with my “coming out”. Perhaps I will stumble between now and then and the secret will come out anyway but I would prefer, first of all, that it didn’t come out at all, or alternatively, that it comes out in a moment where it won’t be associated with something-else favourable. The corner I referred to is this; when my cross-dressing is exposed, she will come back to this conversation and point out how I lied and deceived her, even when she was pressing for the truth. She will be right. She usually is.

Here I am, dressed with no place to go. I have a gray pencil skirt with a gray/black cowl neck top from Pennington’s that I rarely wear. I have a pair of nylons that must be the wrong size because they are loose on me. How can that be? And, I have a pair of heels. I feel lovely and I’m working happily at my desk.

A correspondent was kind enough to point me towards Fantasia Fair, a TG/TS event held in the U.S. in October. It looks like a great place to spend a week. Who knows, maybe I’ll be in a position to go. I do not have the exuberance or exhalation of yesterday, but I have the peace of being able to be who I should be, at least for a few hours.

To my friend who was trying to IM me; I’m sorry I missed you. I was writing this and missed the pop-up.

Love to all.  Sarah..,

January 17, 2011

It’s a beautiful day

Good morning World. I don’t know how to use fonts and formatting to write that phrase so that it is reminiscent of Robin William’s character in Good Morning Vietnam. But, that’s how I feel this morning, exuberant, exhilarated, glad to be alive and looking to share that with everyone.

It’s cold here in my part of Canada. I had to take one child to the bus this morning in the pre-dawn darkness and the thermometer read -24°C. It doesn’t matter. I’m in the house, warmly dressed with work to do, coffee at hand and nobody home. I can switch from Robin Williams to urban slang and sing out that “Sarah’s in the house”.

During the week I usually have stretches of hours to myself. I can dress and settle in to work. As a side note, the growing presence of video phones is not pleasing me. It could seriously impact my privacy. In the meantime, being able to dress in the morning lets me be Sarah from the beginning of the day. So I am calm, relaxed, at ease with myself. Even when people begin to arrive home, and I have to change my clothes to drab, the personality remains. It may remain for the rest of the day. If my tranquility is challenged, Sarah may retreat, and my tense and hostile persona comes to the forefront. I can now feel the shift when it happens. I have long been accused of not knowing myself but since Sarah became a force in my day, I am much more attuned to my feelings and responses.

The problem becomes significant when there is always someone home, and I don’t get to dress at any point in the day. It becomes much harder to bring the calmer, quieter persona to the forefront. My tension and hostility breeds tension and hostility in response so it becomes a damaging useless cycle.

I post on Plenty of Fish. I’ve explained part of the reasons why in an earlier blog but one of the things that has happened is that I’ve been contacted by men (or writers presenting themselves as men) who, for the moment, just want to talk to me as Sarah. That has been an uplifting and exhilarating and empowering experience. It has strengthened me as Sarah tremendously. I can carry a conversation with a man while presenting as a woman. It may not be the same as carrying a conversation with a man in person, but like any rehearsal, it’s bound to make me much more confident and relaxed when the person to person opportunity arises.

The spin-off effect is that Sarah is stronger. I can hold her for longer after the clothes are changed. She doesn’t retreat so quickly. Conversely, I can’t go to Plenty of Fish when my everyday personality is present because I can’t relate to the conversations. I can’t get the giddy, light-hearted, fast-talking girl to the forefront. So, my answers are short, and sometimes sharp.

For years my wife loved the world and expected the world to love her back. In her mind, there wasn’t anyone in the world that would cause her harm because she meant harm to no one. She couldn’t comprehend cruelty for the sake of cruelty or the sociopathic personalities that just couldn’t care about the consequences of their actions on others. She has lost some of that shine. I never understood it until now. Now Sarah brings that to the day. I love the world and I expect the world to love me back. I don’t have a reason, I just do. Of course, if I went out to the Mall as a middle-aged man dressed in women’s clothes, the world might not be as kind as I hope for, and that’s sarcasm in the form of under-statement. But here, this morning, in my own house, I love the world, I love all of you, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

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