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Thread: Support group meeting experience

  1. #1
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    Support group meeting experience

    I went to a support group meeting recently for the first time and I was really uncomfortable. The other members who were attending were very nice to me and tried their best to make me feel welcome but I had a brain freeze and I found it so hard to make a conversation. I probably mumbled a few times. I could not even say my name out loud clearly when introducing myself. I wore a sleeveless dress with all the accessories that we need to look like female and tried on some basic makeup like lip gloss and a light coat of nail paint for the first time. I felt overdressed (and overstressed) and I sat tight although there were others who were more comfortable in more casual clothes. I know I do not pass but it was the support group's monthly meeting which had like minded folks and I was very very very conscious for the whole time. I also almost chickened twice, first from the parking lot and then from the front door, but then I went in to find a very welcoming small group of people in a room. I left early saying that I got to be at work early tomorrow morning. On the drive back, I was very nervous and just wanted to come back home and not have any of the neighbors see me outside. I am not out to them. I don't know what to make of the whole thing. I do want to go back another time but I am also very hesitant. Are these mixed feelings, nervousness and confusion normal?

    Interestingly, someone said at the meeting that a majority group of trans and cd members in the group were in engineering or construction. I was quite surprised to hear that because most of my engineer friends are very typical old fashioned oxfords and tie wearing manly men. They only talk sports or engineering even at get togethers, but who knows, everyone has their secrets!

  2. #2
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    SunHun,
    Very sorry to hear it didn't go as well as expected. You don't say what country you live in but I would advise you keep going , being a newbie is hard for some, once you find your feet you won't worry too much what everyone wears . I try and wear smart casual for the chat nights but love it when there's a chance to get really dolled up for the parties .

    Maybe you weren't ready to venture out , I didn't feel nervous at all so I guess I was ready , as for neighbours seeing me , well I go out in daylight and return in the small hours , it doesn't bother me to much. It will all change anyway when I move to my new home, I will dress as I chose .

  3. #3
    Senior Member 2B Natasha's Avatar
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    SunHun. I feel you. That was a narrative of my first and only visit to a support group. Perhaps, like me and some others. Well. Lots of others. You don't need a group. Maybe you do. Only you know that answer. But take heart in the fact that you are not the only one who has experienced this internal turmoil.
    You laugh at me because I'm different. I laugh at you because your all the same

  4. #4
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    Go back next month, de- stress and enjoy. You will learn a lot about yourself , your journey & will make friends. That says it all. Have fun !!!

  5. #5
    Transgender Person Pat's Avatar
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    Mixed feeling are normal. But you have a ton of accomplishments there -- you acknowledged you wanted to do it, you prepared, you made it from the parking lot to the meeting place -- you have no failures! OK, you weren't comfortable doing something for the first time. That's normal. Next time you'll recognize the place and the people and you'll start to ease up. Forgive yourself for any shortcomings you perceive and congratulate yourself for the wonderful things you did. Congratulations!
    I am not a woman; I don't want to be a woman; I don't want to be mistaken for a woman.
    I am not a man; I don't want to be a man; I don't want to be mistaken for a man.
    I am a transgender person. And I'm still figuring out what that means.

  6. #6
    Member jack-ie's Avatar
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    I agree w/Jennie, Don't beat up on yourself. Mark it up to first time jitters and move on.

  7. #7
    Gold Member Dana44's Avatar
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    If it was your very first time out. It is understandable. Try not to beat yourself up as you accomplished a lot out on your first time. Go next time and try to get a bit more comfortable. Our very first time out we are nervous also.
    Part Time Girl

  8. #8
    Silver Member Maria 60's Avatar
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    Don't beat yourself up, I believe I would have been the same way, I respect that you even did it, I think I would have chickened out way before. Maybe if you decide to go again it might be better now knowing what to expect.

  9. #9
    Silver Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    SunHun, I can add nothing but my voice to the chorus of congratulations for getting out. The nerves will pass, sweetie. Dress down a little next time and just be. It's a support group. They are there to help you, and you them.

    Hugs,


    Kelly

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jaymees22's Avatar
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    Hi, Any new group of people can be a little intimidating. Look at the bright side you made it and lived to tell us about your experience. It sounds like there a nice group and I think if you go a few more times you'll get a better feel for the group. I know I always start slow and then it gets easier and easier. Hugs Jaymee
    I enjoy being a boy, being a GIRL like me!!!

  11. #11
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    My first time was the same I was scared so what you are feeling is quite normal.
    You were out of your comfort zone and didn't know what to do but you know what?
    You survived,the world didn't end and nobody gave you a hard time.
    You had no idea what to expect and yes we have all been there many times just flying by the seat of our pants.
    Go back to the next meeting and have a good time. Thats what I did and I made a lot of new friends thru my group.
    It takes time to find yourself and you have to work at getting comfy in your own skin.
    Making CD friends takes effort on your part they aren't going to come to you.
    If you don't make the effort then you are destine to sit at home and lament about why you have no CD friends.Who's fault would it be then hum?
    Last edited by Tracii G; 08-29-2017 at 10:46 PM.

  12. #12
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    Tracii,
    You make a good point about making the effort to speak to them, they don't always come to you . OK after a few visits you find the ones that are on their own little planet and don't relate to anyone, we have a small raffle the prizes don't matter it's having to stand up and walk round the tables to collect the prize that's important , it gives confidence to be seen by everyone for those few minutes.

    I couldn't go back to dressing at home and not go out now, very few do regret social meetings .

  13. #13
    Aspiring Member SaraLin's Avatar
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    You described my first visit perfectly!
    Add to the discomfort of 'being seen' dressed, I was/am always uncomfortable in social settings - especially among strangers (social anxiety?!)

    It passed, and later meetings were much easier to handle, Though I was only able to strike up a friendship with one of the girls, for me that's a MAJOR accomplishment.

    I'd suggest that you keep going. If after 5-6 visits you're still not comfortable, then maybe the group isn't right for you. But right now, it's too soon to tell.

    OH- an afterthought... I was lucky enough enough to attend a special meeting where a member and 'her' SO decided to renew their vows. The SO wore a pantsuit and the member wore a lovely gown. Such a display of love and acceptance was wonderful to see, and the rest of us were so-o-o-o green eyed!

  14. #14
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    The level of comfort and acceptance at the various "support" groups varies and can also change over time. I would have thought the moderator or leader of the group would have tried to make you feel more comfortable.

    I quit going to my local group because I was the "lone" transvestite and everyone else was hell bent on transitioning. Some were openly hostile to anyone who wasn't going down that road.

    Are there any other groups that are within traveling distance for you?

    I can only echo the congratulations and compliments of everyone else of gathering the courage to venture out into the world enfemme for the first time.

    As Teresa and many others have said already. After you do it for the first time, only dressing at home isn't going to be enough. Just remember most of our fears are unwarranted and only our overactive imaginations.

    Good Luck!

  15. #15
    Exploring NEPA now Cheryl T's Avatar
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    First time I went to a meeting I was so scared.
    The unknown is a powerful thing. I just sat and listened and when it came time to introduce myself I froze. Others tried to make me feel more comfortable, but it just wasn't happening.
    I found that it was all ME. I just wouldn't relax and let myself be the me I wanted to be. It took a few times, but then suddenly it clicked and I felt like a piece of the overall puzzle, not the piece that's left over when you're done...lol
    Try again...
    I don't wear women's clothes, I wear MY clothes !

  16. #16
    Gold Member Helen_Highwater's Avatar
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    Sunhun,

    The other members who were attending were very nice to me and tried their best to make me feel welcome

    That's the important bit! Okay, I understand the feeling over dressed thing. You entered an environment you weren't familiar with and dressed how you thought everyone else would dress. One of the things I quickly learned for attending support groups is folks tend to go casual. It's not a girl's party night out more just a chance for a chat and a few quiet drinks.

    I'm assuming from the number of posts you're relatively "inexperienced" and just starting out on your CD'ing journey, apologies if I'm wrong. If I'm correct then it's utterly understandable that you found the whole experience somewhat daunting. You've missed out some of the steps that many often take before they get to the point of social interaction. Nothing wrong in that, just don't be surprised that you find meeting others stressful.

    Stick with it, be patient, things will get better and you'll open up a whole new world of supportive and helpful friends.
    Who dares wears Get in, get out without being noticed

  17. #17
    Member FrannGurl's Avatar
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    I would love if there could be a support group on here

  18. #18
    New Girl to the PNW raeleen's Avatar
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    I would echo the many experiences about first time at a support group. Everyone at the group I headed to was really nice! but I also just didn't connect with the gals there. I headed back a couple more times and have become more friendly with one of the girls who was there, but ultimately decided it wasn't really the right fit for me. I just didn't have a lot in common with the others there aside from the fact that we all were along the gender spectrum, and I ended up looking for other groups (which I'm lucky enough to have other options being in a city like Seattle) I would definitley encourage you to continue going back and trying some other groups as well. Good luck!

  19. #19
    Member Shirley Anne's Avatar
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    I took a trip to a support group about 150 miles away from me as it was the nearest one I could find, I was accompanied by my wife, everyone was very welcoming and throughout the evening circulated meaning everyone met everyone else and was a very relaxing atmosphere. The chairwoman of this group gave me contact detailsfor a local group to me so the next month we decided to try it out, this group were completely different and although not outwardly hostile were certainly nowhere as near open or welcoming as the other group and neither I or my wife felt comfortable with that group.

  20. #20
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    As Traci G said, you were out of your comfort zone. But all is not lost. You said the group was welcoming, even though you felt possibly overdressed. It might be worthwhile to take mental notes of how others were dressed and dress yourself to that same level and try again. Any type of outing that's new will feel funny the first couple of times.

    If you really don't think that group is for you, here's something you might try: shopping! Get dressed, and find a dress shop to go to. Sales assistants are VERY welcoming to CD/TG people. They are 100% supportive of your trying on a dress or two or ten and giving pointers on how a dress works on your body, or doesn't. It's a great source of affirmation and you can build up your confidence in a hurry.

  21. #21
    A Lucky Girl Kim_Bitzflick's Avatar
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    I understand. I had a similar experience with my first group meeting. I'm not a fan of big groups. I like one or two people get together soon. I'm also an engineer.
    Kim

    "I just gotta be me"

  22. #22
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    You can expect the first few times to be hard . You a sharing
    a secrect with strangers that in many cases you can not share
    with your closest friends and relatives .
    It is a very natural thing to want to dress to fit in .
    It will get better with time

    JAS

  23. #23
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    Thank you all for your support and reinforcing that I was not alone to feel this way. Teresa, I live in the United States in the New England area. Linda, I hear you. One of the members was very quick to label me 'trans' based on a couple of generic questions. She had transitioned many years ago. Although I didn't talk to everybody in the group but my guess was that most if not all members were in the process of transitioning. I see myself as a straight man who loves crossdressing. I might attend the support group's meeting again if another opportunity comes by to see if I fit in somewhere.

  24. #24
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    I say keep
    Going for a while and give it a chance .
    I know sometimes I have tryed to hard to
    fit into the group and conform to the
    percieved norm . Just relax and be yourself
    and you wi make many friends there soon

    JAS

  25. #25
    happy to be her Sarah Doepner's Avatar
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    SunHun, I'm with the rest of the group in saying congrats for getting out to find some like souls and I was a frightened little bunny the first time I ever met with anyone else. It all seems to come with the territory. As for how they reacted to you at the meeting, you will find that CDs are like everyone else in projecting their situation on others. Often in wanting to help, they go to their strong suit first and make up their minds before they have the facts or data. Yeah, just more people, but this group shouldn't be judgmental and can share some personal experience that you will be able to relate to, but only if you give them the information they need. Otherwise we do tend to blab on thinking we are doing the best thing in the world. Hang in there, you should feel much more comfortable the next time you meet with them and be able to get a little more out of the meeting as you get more familiar with this new experience of being part of a larger world. It can be intimidating, but for me it was a great relief to know that I was no longer alone.
    Sarah
    Being transgender isn't a lifestyle choice. How you deal with it is.

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