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Thread: Struggles

  1. #1
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    Struggles

    If you're not into reading long posts, move along to the next thread This is a bit of a soul baring post. I'm putting this out there just to word everything out. This board is great for that. I haven't ever really fully done that here. Bear with me as I try to express myself...

    Short crossdressing bio; I've been a crossdresser all my life. Some of my earliest memories are comprised in part of things related to crossdressing. This goes back to at least age 4. It's always been part of me, and always will. I didn't accept that until I was in my 20s. For me, my 20s were in the 80s and early 90s. The Internet existed, but not in name, and there sure wasn't any resource to support crossdressers. I really thought I was a freak, and very alone. I finally came to accept that it wasn't going away when I was 24. That was just the beginning of self acceptance, and that struggle continues to this day. I met my wife when I was in my early 30s. I told her early on about my crossdressing. I'd gotten to a point of self acceptance such that I wasn't going to accept a non-accepting girlfriend/wife anymore. I'd been through that too many times. She accepted me, and bought me some pantyhose a couple of days later. As my wardrobe grew, she had a harder time with it and for a time I felt like I'd fallen into a DADT marriage. We worked through that, and she's 100% accepting now. She's not as supportive as I could imagine, but I thank my lucky stars I found her. She's more than I could possibly and rationally expect. I am not 'out' to my kids, two of whom still live at home. Only my wife and a very, very close GG know (and yes my wife knows all about her and approves). End quick CD bio.

    In my development as a whole human being who crossdresses, I've taken care to not try to think of myself as having a male personae and a female personae. I'm one person, with many passions. That includes a desire to wear feminine clothing. For me, it's always got to be quite feminine. Flats, pants, standard blouses don't cut it for me. It's got to be some kind of heels, pantyhose, panties, dresses, skirts/blouses, etc. Oddly, I have little interest in makeup. It doesn't do much for me. My wife, who is an expert in makeup, has done me up a couple of times. Fun to go through, but it had no effect on me in the sense of crossdressing. Oddly though, I'm jealous of some of you ladies here who post pictures that are indistinguishable from GGs. Nevertheless, I am me; a me who wears feminine and masculine clothing.

    So where I am and what my struggle is;

    When I was younger, it was all about pantyhose. That was my first love in feminine clothing, and remains so. Whether I was underdressed or not didn't matter. I got a sense of satisfaction from wearing pantyhose. I still do, but it's different. As I've come to accept myself more, I far prefer outward presentation where I can see that I am crossdressed. It's not quite enough now to be underdressed. When it was enough to be underdressed, going out in public was never a concern. Whether I was underdressed at home or out in public didn't make a difference. Now that I far more want to be able to outwardly express my femininity, I find that 95% of it has to be expressed at home. With the kids at home, that doesn't happen much. So, I feel now a bit like I'm in a jail so far as crossdressing is concerned. I can't quite express myself as much as I want now. If I can get dressed, I just sit at home doing nothing. Very much like a jail. It just doesn't work. So, the only avenues available to me are, generally, not at home. I've been to a CD support group before. I remember the head of the group noting that where we were meeting was just a bigger closet. Indeed it was.

    Since I have responsibilities to various people in my life who depend on me and my income, I can't afford to lose my job because a coworker or superior sees me dressed while out and about. That simply can NOT happen. When I'm retired, that won't matter but it most emphatically matters now. So, no problem, right? Just drive some distance away, and present as you like, right? Yeah well that's where the 'me' struggles come in.

    My journey of self acceptance is far from complete. It's an always thing. I feel great when dressed, but worry terribly about other people seeing me. I was in my car many years ago openly wearing pantyhose. Some jackasses in a truck (figures, right?) next to me at a stoplight saw, and were laughing at me. That moment really hurt. I don't want to keep repeating that. Sounds chicken, right? Yeah, well, it is. I'm a warrior. Literally. Raised my right hand, took the oath, and will run to the storm rather than away from it. This is true in drab civilian life too. I'm always ready to respond, and willing to risk my life for those I love, and even those I don't know. I'm no coward. But, I put on a skirt, heels, and hose and I become a big chicken. I think about the time I got laughed at. I think about all the sisters of ours who have been attacked, even killed. I worry about being detected and having my car attacked. I think of all sorts of negative potential outcomes, and recognize I have an important role in other people's lives that I can potentially sacrifice just because I'm in feminine attire. Seems silly to risk so much for such a silly thing.

    My wife knows I struggle with lack of CDing time. She's suggested I go away for a few days from time to time and dress all I want. I've rejected this, because I would just sit in my hotel room, bored to tears, while dressed en femme. I wouldn't venture out. Again, big chicken. If she were with me, it might be different. Seems so silly to have to have her with me to have courage, most especially since courage is absolutely 100% not lacking in any other aspect of my life. This frustrates me with myself, but still ends up in doing nothing.

    It used to be that I would sometimes crossdress and go out at night, especially if it was raining and I could carry an umbrella. I would go where it was dark and lonely, and walk around dressed very pretty. I loved hearing the sound of my heels clacking on the sidewalks. But, as so many have observed here, that is a dangerous thing to do. So, I stopped doing that. Something I've done of late is dress in drab except I'm wearing pantyhose and heels. I'll do this while driving somewhere (longer distance) and enjoy it very much. It's an opportunity. I've another such trip on Monday, and my wife is joining me. We might have lunch at English Ivy's in Indianapolis, and if so I'll be wearing the heels to lunch. This is hard for me; it would be a public presentation in front of people I don't know. I've never intentionally done that before. Nerve wracking. The most I've ever done is wearing hose without socks in otherwise drab attire. That's hard enough for me. I know, big chicken again.

    So I'm caught in this loop of fear and self hate to a degree. I can't get full satisfaction from crossdressing by being underdressed, and can't work myself up to be in public away from home. If I could plausibly pass, I would have a lot less fear, but there's no way in hell I would ever pass or even come close. Really, I just want to wear what I want to wear in public and not fear. I want to go to lunch wearing a dress, bra, heels, and hose and not worry. But, that's just not in reach for the loop I stick myself into. In another thread, there's discussion about the Keystone conference. I want to go for many reasons. A big one is the ability to just be a man in a dress and not care or fear. In some sense it too is just a bigger closet. But, it's a really big one.

    I guess in some sense, knowing it's impossible for me to pass and knowing that I accept myself as being one person with feminine aspects, I don't want to be "more" than just a guy who wears women's clothes. But, doing that in public is a serious, serious struggle for me. I just don't know if I'll ever bring myself to doing that. I'm trying to take little baby steps. My wife and I are planning a short trip soon that will include several hours wandering around a very large antique mall. My hope is to be wearing low heels and pantyhose all day. Maybe someday I'll take some of the courage I have in abundance elsewhere in my psyche and apply it to when I am crossdressed. No sign of it yet.

    If you've read all of this, thanks for listening! Responses are very welcome, but not needed. I just needed to put this to words. My wife hears this of course. But, sharing it on this forum I think helps too.

    -Julie

  2. #2
    Rural T Girl Teri Ray's Avatar
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    Julie please know that you are not alone in your struggles to find balance in your life with this desire to crossdress. Our lives are not common nor easy. You are not alone. No advice here for a solution. I can share that I had similar stuggles and now find that self acceptance and enjoying the time I do get to dress is my happy place. Unlike your comment I do find that being able to underdress is helpful for me. Your wife sounds like a gem and you should make sure she knows how much she means to you. Best wishes.
    Teri Ray Rural Idaho Girl.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kris Burton's Avatar
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    I think it's unfortunate that the leader oft he support group you attended referred to it as a "bigger closet". I don't see it that way at all. Instead, it is a method to get out in a public setting supported by others with a similar proclivity. You expressed legitimate concern about safety - and a group like this is a way to be safe in a public setting. To me, events like Keystone Conference present the same opportunity in an even bigger and potentially more enjoyable environment. If your wife is understanding, and it sounds like she might be, perhaps you should jump at such an opportunity when it arises. It provides so much of what you seem to crave without the safety and derision drawbacks you fear. And who knows? From participating in these events you may be able to get the nerve to step out into the community, or it may also satisfy your desire.

  4. #4
    Fun Member Natalie5004's Avatar
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    I hear you. There are organizations that are for us. In Sacramento CA there is a group on the internet named River City. I have not participate in any event but I would love to. The logistics would be tough for me. My wife knows I dress and she askes me my opinion of her clothing choices.

    I have not asked her if I can get away for a weekend as Natalie. That will be my next step.

    I have gone out shopping around though. It is always fun. I am sure, upon close scrutiny, that I am noticed as a CD but I do everything I can to look as nice as possible. No over the top clothes or short skirts, blend, blend, blend.

    Sales women help me and smile. Especially when I am struggling with my purse. I think they can tell I am not used to using one. But it is fun going out. Try it and be more bold. Please remember that nobody cares. It is all in your head. That is my experience. Good luck.

    Natalie
    Last edited by Natalie5004; 04-09-2022 at 12:25 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Maid_Marion's Avatar
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    Hi Julie,

    Maybe you could gather up enough courage to walk around a local mall. There is a big mall that has a sponsor to provide security for folks that want to walk around before the stores open.
    This provides a safe space for woman in our area.

    Marion

  6. #6
    Senior Member Sandi Beech's Avatar
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    I feel for you as I have been there in the past. Back in the 80s and 90s I was mostly into shaving, sun tanning and wearing pantyhose but otherwise dressing in male mode. I am kind of weird in that I do not really care so see that on other men, but I like how it looks on me.

    One thing I might point out is that people feel as if their cars and trucks are their personal space. If you read posts about harassment, a number of times it occurred when the harassers were in their vehicles. That is why I avoid large parking lots, gas stations, etc where others could harass me from the safety of their cars.

    I do go out a lot now, and I have tried to share what I have learned. There is no need to try to pass. Even those who think they pass, may not pass for all who view them. It just does not matter. Although I primarily go out fully dressed, I have also gone out with various states of partial dress and still received acceptance. The key is going to an LGBT friendly location. Even if it is not their thing, they just will not care. You just have to trust me that it is true. Years ago, my hands would literally shake if I went into a store wearing pantyhose. Now, I will wear just about anything so it is quite possible to overcome the fear. The key for me was finding the social acceptance at the clubs I go to which is now up to 30 around the US.

    Good luck to you. Just know it is possible to overcome your fears. Once you see that you can get acceptance, it changes everything.

    Sandi

  7. #7
    AKA Lexi sometimes_miss's Avatar
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    Julie, I wouldn't consider you a big chicken, just because you want to avoid confrontations with those who might want to kill us. That's just a normal response, to wanting to keep ourselves safe, it's not being a scaredy cat.
    Having grown up being teased about an ugly birthmark on my face, and my never being willing to fight when confronted (when very young, my parents and older sister would hit me, and if I made any attempt to defend myself or hit them back it simply resulted in an even worse beating, so I had been conditioned very young to NEVER fight back), resulted in most just writing me off as a coward. As I got older, and learned how so many of us were beaten or killed just because we crossdress, it just made me not want to have to be 'a boy named Sue' and always have to fight my way through life, with all the legal problems that would include (after all, I have grown into appearing to be somewhat of a dangerous opponent for anyone who even might start a fight with me).

    We shouldn't have to fight, to be respected.
    Some causes of crossdressing you've probably never even considered: My TG biography at:http://www.crossdressers.com/forums/...=1#post1490560
    There's an addendum at post # 82 on that thread, too. It's about a ten minute read.
    Why don't we understand our desire to dress, behave and feel like a girl? Because from childhood, boys are told that the worst possible thing we can be, is a sissy. This feeling is so ingrained into our psyche, that we will suppress any thoughts that connect us to being or wanting to be feminine, even to the point of creating separate personalities to assign those female feelings into.

  8. #8
    Once upon a time... Veronica Lacey's Avatar
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    What a deep post. Thanks for sharing this, Julie.

    While I have no solutions to your internal dilemma of public dressing without fear one thought did come to mind.

    You share that you feel like a "chicken" for not taking the plunge to dress publicly; I wonder if it is more that you fear what your reactions may be when confronted rather than fearing what others may actually do or say.

    Do you ignore them? Lash out? Wag your finger at their insolence? Teach them a lesson? Run? Do we say something and to what degree? Do we bother to say anything at all? How do I internalize and process how I was treated? How much should I allow myself to care what these people do or say? Am I getting caught up in thinking that the negative actions of one or two people represent all of society outside of my door?

    I find myself feeling this way whenever conflict arises. How do I react? It can be a big challenge to react appropriately - or in a manner that I can ultimately live with - if at all when accosted or mocked for just being ourselves. I feel that goes for many facets of our lives and not just dressing as who we are.

    Hope that you can discover a path to success with this one.

  9. #9
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    I share your frustration Julie. Your life story and experiences are very similar to mine. You are fortunate to have an understanding wife. Mine is non accepting.Since my mother passed away in 2020 , I have lost my place to dress and store clothes.You are not being chicken personal safety is paramount.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member kimdl93's Avatar
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    I am sure most of us here have experienced the same frustrations from time to time. The same sense that we are held back by fears of one sort or another. All I can say is be kind to yourself. Be patient. Be grateful you have an understanding wife.

  11. #11
    Member laurenchanning's Avatar
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    Julie, I understand very much where you're coming from. I share many of the feelings you've posted about. I urge you to get one-on-one counseling with a therapist who deals with gender issues. I have been seeing someone with my wife's support and it's been great for both of us. I wish there were a support group near me as well- there was one in Charlotte but it seems to have gone dormant since the pandemic. I wish you well and I thank you for posting!
    Lauren

  12. #12
    Another fine dress AngelaYVR's Avatar
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    Less thinking, more doing.

  13. #13
    Member Fiona_44's Avatar
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    You might check to see if there is a crossdresser meet-up group in your area. Becoming friends with other CD's in a safe environment would help alleviate your sense of isolation.

  14. #14
    Aspiring Member Heather76's Avatar
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    Being somewhat familiar with the geography of Indiana, I would offer a suggestion IF you can give up the heals for flats. If you're near Indianapolis, maybe you're also near Turkey Run. If so, maybe you could give in and wear flats as you know heels would be a disaster there. Also, while you don't have much interest in makeup, maybe you could have your wife apply just enough makeup to you to help you blend. A day there with your wife would have you with her for the support you want. It would get you out in public but not in crowds. Most people there are out doing their own thing so far as hiking, canoeing/kayaking, wandering around the grounds, etc. It's unlikely the macho truckers will be there. You can easily spend a few hours walking around enjoying some alone time with your wife and having lunch with her. The months of May and June should have nice weather for such an outing. A weekday in May before the kids are out of school should provide a less crowded atmosphere. Good luck in solving this issue as I'm sure it's no fun being in CD jail.
    It's never too late to enjoy a happy childhood.
    Live each day as though it's your last 'cause one day you'll be right.
    I'm finding the more feminine side of me...and I ❤️ this adventure.

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    Just a quick note; I'll reply more in depth when I have more time. I was sharing my posting of this with my wife, and how so many of you are so complimentary towards her. I thanked her for being so supportive, and noted there are many of us who have wives who are most decidedly not supportive. So, I very much appreciate her support and constant love. Her response? "What do I care? It just means you like shopping!" How I love her

  16. #16
    Member Teresa.Smith.VA's Avatar
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    I really like the comment of AngelaYVR who said, "Less thinking, more doing".

    If you think too long and too hard you will surely come up with a thousand reasons why you should not go out in public as you would really like to do.

    So, you might be much happier if you just do more doing and less thinking.

    Have fun!
    Fact: Some members can never post pictures in their feminine finery to support their stories and experiences. Please be understanding and kind.

  17. #17
    Member Marissa Q's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teresa.Smith.VA View Post
    I really like the comment of AngelaYVR who said, "Less thinking, more doing".
    I want to echo Teresa's echo and remind you (as well as myself) that analysis paralysis is a real thing, not just when it comes to going public, but even in attempting to cross a gender line as so many of us do. Shame, guilt, reiterative questioning, looping logic... all are the bane of enjoying life. You've written enough to show how much of an intelligent, rationale and sensitive person you are; but in those same writings, you're continuing to indicate that you need to be you in at least some free way. In the end, you'll have to abandon certainty, which is the life-that-is-whole's deepest command. Whichever way you go, don't look back with regret and don't look forward with doubt.

  18. #18
    Member Mary Loo's Avatar
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    Julie,

    Thanks for taking the time and the courage to make your post. I wouldn’t say I am in the exact same boat, but enough similarities that I can very much sympathize with you. My CD journey also started very early in life, but in many ways it really only just stared recently. I only have 4 dresses of my own and one pair of heels and two, similar wigs ( all purchased in the last two months ).

    I am trying to expand my wardrobe and I don’t have official forms or hip or butt pads of any sort, but I can very much comprehend the CD jail concept. My wife is understanding and somewhat accepting, but not completely and doesn’t want to “see” me dressed (which she can’t unsee in her words ). Honestly, only recently did I start reading this site and realizing the vast other CD sites and images and resources on the web and my attitude and goals are all jumbled. I read all the posts about going in public fully dressed and I have to admit it sounds fun, BUT, I too am a coward about being outed. Not by the general public or SAs or whoever would easily clock me, but the fear of any acquaintance or 2nd degree acquaintance that might see or recognize me and I certainly don’t want anyone else in my family to know. Until posting on this site, my wife is the only person on earth that knew. I have always just been in the closet and no where near the full experience even then.

    I kind of like the idea of a bigger closet, be it a local or regional group, at first private, and then maybe public in neighboring cities and safety and comfort in numbers. Eventually maybe out in public on my own in neighboring cities, but I still know lots of people all around! I can’t ever imagine being out in public in my own community, thus, I live through others and my jail is as small as yours.

    Anyway, I wanted to at least respond to your post and certainly let you know you are not alone.

  19. #19
    Platinum Member alwayshave's Avatar
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    Julie, I go to a meetup every two/three months or so, a group of 30-60 girls meeting at a venue, usually a hotel, sometimes a restaurant. You would be with a group of likeminded people and can dress in public. Look for a group in your area on meetup dot com.
    Please call me Jamie, I always_have crossdressed, I always will, "alwayshave".

  20. #20
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    I've experienced virtually all of the mental conflicts that you describe so well. Being 20 or 30 years older than you, I would pass on that I felt these conflicts on Day One (at age 11) and still feel them today at age 80. I guess the bad news is that, at least for me, they have never gone away. If there's any good news, I guess it's that I don't dwell on them as much as I once did. I know that represents a fairly bleak outlook, if you're looking for quick solutions, but it's the inevitable outcome of living in a society that still largely views what we do as an aberration. I wish you nothing but the best in coping with our mutual dilemma, and I thank you for expressing it so well.

  21. #21
    Senior Member GretchenM's Avatar
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    Julie, your detailed description is an excellent description of what many, but not all, of us go through at one time or another. I do sense some truth in the idea that perhaps you are overthinking it all - as a scientist I am trained to do that and am as guilty as anyone, maybe more. It is tough "habit" and very difficult to deal with when applying it to your personal, emotional life. In fact, it can get you into a type of depression that makes you fearful to do anything and you can become really fearful for no good reason.

    One thing I do see in your description which is a very good essay and provides a lot to work with in trying to understand it, is that you seem to put conditions on things and if the conditions are not right then you don't act. I have done that a great deal myself and it can be immobilizing, but now I am a bit more prone to just dive in - cautiously. Unlike you, I rarely dress fully anymore; I don't really even desire that much any more. I look around me at women who are in their late 70's and they are usually dressed rather plainly - female yes, but not a bit of glamour or at least very little. I do wear on the outside a lot of clothes in stereotypical female colors that you rarely ever find in the men's department. I carry my stuff in a Swiss Army traveler's bag which acts as a purse. I am not suggesting you do that, but I generally find that here in Denver that is acceptable although not very acceptable in other towns and cities in Colorado. I still do it there though and I just ignore those who exhibit those "wtf" looks.

    So you might want to loosen up on some of the conditions you impose on yourself and try doing the bits and pieces approach, adding little things until you find what might be a happy medium for you and produces good or acceptable reactions from others. Most men, except for younger ones, will not pay much attention to you, but some women (here, a lot) will find you interesting and will appreciate your inclusion of a bit of the feminine into your maleness. Keep in mind, this gender expression thing requires a good deal of experimentation. And that can be fun and also give you something to think about.

  22. #22
    Dani Dani0948's Avatar
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    Similar to what Heather said, ask you wife to do a full makeup job on you then ask her if you pass/blend enough to go out somewhere where nobody would likely know you. If your wife believes you're good enough to go out with her, then seize the opportunity. I know the joys of going out dressed and have had to stop at my wife's request. Your wife is accepting/supporting. Tell her you love her and trust her opinion.

  23. #23
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    Thank you for the detailed post, don't worry about TLDR, some things just take longer to explain. I think many of us here are in a similar situation as yours. From about 20 to 40, I went out a few times a year as a MIAD to cities about 1 or 2 hours away. As I appoached 50, I became more cautious of the consequences of being caught out by someone who would recognize me. Inspired by a few posts on this site, a few months ago I ventured out for the first time wearing a wig, forms, feminine glasses, and a mask. Not so much as an attempt to pass or as a progression of dressing, but solely to help prevent the chance of being recognized by an acquaintance. While I would prefer to just be me and dress as desired, it is no longer worth the risk. As stated by others in previous posts, a few well implemented pieces can go a long way to completely changing your look such that someone could pass right by you and never see "you", (I would think it best to avoid direct eye contact in such an encounter if possible). I am working on a separate post about my first time out like this. Until then, be grateful you're wife is on board, that is a bigger benifit than you realize. Don't let this opportunity pass, take her up on the makeover, travel a couple hours away and enjoy your time out. Be sure to follow up with details. Best wishes

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