Sunday, July 29, 2007

No Limits

I had a wonderful hypnosis session with Carmen Friday afternoon. It had been a while since we had talked due to vacations, moving, family visits, etc. Prior to all this I had her do a custom hypnosis CD for me which served as a wonderful booster in the interim. The CD session reaffirmed my ever growing feminine identity. I truly am Stephanie, and she will not be denied.

While not going into all the details of our session, I do want to share I discussed with Carmen my desire to find a girlfriend that truly appreciates me as a woman. Part of the conversation prior to our session involved me talking about playing the dating game. In that game, I felt pigeonholed into playing the role of the man... i.e. find the girl, go out, get married, get a house, have three kids, etc. Carmen said, "But that's not who you are." I had been approaching the dating game as if I were a man looking for a woman, but I really am a woman looking for a woman. Once again I had let society dictate the rules.

In my hypnosis sessions with Carmen, many of my revelations and insights don't come immediately. This time though, one phrase stood out. One of the final thoughts she gave me was "no obstacles." I knew I had heard something similar in Star Trek. I found it in Gene Roddenberry's closing comments on the original pilot called "The Cage." Roddenberry is talking the potential of mankind. He then steps in the transporter chamber and says, "For us... no limits" before beaming off.

I initially wrote Carmen back seeing it as a challenge to not be satisfied with your current state of affairs. The more I think about it though, it goes far beyond that. I have to stop creating obstacles to my happiness. There are enough legitimate problems in this world without creating more of them. Even with those, there will always be a solution. My happiness and fulfillment is simply too important to let society's rules get in the way. They don't work for everyone particularly when it comes to falling in love. The gay community has known this for a long time that it's the person and not the packaging that you fall in love with. So when I hear the phrase "No Limits," that is one area of my life where I must truly live it. Carmen has said there is someone out there for me, and I have so much to offer. In a sense, I am cheating two people... myself and my future partner. That's why I have my bridal picture above. A girl has to plan ahead, ya know! ;)

I will leave you with a picture of Carmen because I think she is a beautiful person inside and out. Yes, I am one of her hypnosis clients, but we are also friends. I would encourage anyone seeking to learn more about their feminine side to drop her a line. She has challenged me with a mission of sorts to find that special someone. Yes, there will be hurt, but there will be also be tremendous joy and fulfillment that cannot be found any other way. Another reason she is a friend is she knows how to bring out the best in me. I can only hope I do the same for her from time to time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New FAQ (cont.) #2 - How often do you go out en femme? What do you do?

I average going out en femme once a week now. I am so blessed that if I wanted to I could go out almost every Saturday to some group in the Carolinas. If it wasn't for my work schedule, I probably would! I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. Depending on the group setup, we usually have some combination of dinner, clubbing, and group discussion. I learn so much and feel so supported by being around the transgendered community. Look to the right sidebar of this blog for links to some of the TG groups in the Carolinas. You will find them all quite supportive.

One thing I have become much more comfortable doing is going out solo. These solo outings involve trips to the nail salon, malls, and restaurants. I love getting my nails done particularly pedicures. I recommend everyone try it at least once! I am also comfortable going to the makeup counter especially MAC. It's nice to have a real woman help make your face pretty. In recent years, I have never had a problem being on my own. I will say I never go out in my hometown, but I do go to nearby Charlotte quite often. I still have to be careful in regards to my male identity. So if you see me around NorthLake , South Park, or Concord Mills, feel free to say hello!

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Dream Dress

I promise I will get to some more meaty material in the future. My clothes are such a big part of me however. Like any woman, they reflect your personality and mood. The choices in color, material, and cut are limitless. From casual to formal, women's fashions really give the wearer a greater opportunity to express themselves.

The ultimate expression in an outfit may be one that is custom made for you. You don't buy it off the rack in a department store or from leftovers at a yard sale. It can be completely unique, and it is made with you in mind. This is the dress I am having custom made for me:



Now you may be asking... isn't this dress a bit impractical? Yes, it is completely impractical! This dress is in the neighbourhood of 150 years old. You don't see women at Wal-Mart wearing these much less at more formal gatherings. In fact, the only place one can see something similar is at Civil War reenactments or other similar historical tours. And I love it!

I've been in love with this dress and this picture since a fairly young age (probably around age eight). This picture is from volume 4 (Ci to Cz) of the World Book Encyclopedia 50th Anniversary Edition in 1967. The entry under "Clothing" had a wonderful color spread of artists renderings of fashions through the ages. My grandparents had a full set of these encyclopedias, and I was in love with this picture.

Even at that young age, I knew I was more intrigued with the women's fashions of yesteryear than the men's. I would sneak this volume up into my bedroom every night. Several dresses caught my attention, but I always came back to the one in the above picture. I had no idea at the time about the parts of the dress or what was underneath like the hoop skirt. I just wanted to wear the dress and know how it felt to wear it. I even started having dreams about meeting this women and begging her to dress me. No, this did not lead to any fantasies of forced feminization, but that was the only way I could picture it at that age.

As I grew into my teen years and older, the thoughts of crossdressing faded away as I tried to repress my feminine thoughts. I would still check out that volume from time to time to keep the image fresh in my mind. At some point, the encyclopedias were taken out for a newer edition. By that time, it didn't seem to matter as I was living on my own and spending less time at my grandparents house. When I started going out in 1998 and finding formal dresses for the first time, I felt like I had found heaven on earth.

Fast forward to 2007. Now a History Channel geek for a few years, I now knew how and why the skirts on Civil War era dresses were shaped that way. Having recently bought several expensive dresses that fulfilled longtime desires (the debutante dress, a wedding dress, and the strapless pink gown), I decided to try to look into finding the Civil War dress once again. Not finding the picture online, I logged onto eBay and was able to order the exact volume of the World Book Encyclopedia for a mere $8. I eagerly awaited its arrival. It was like an old friend returning home, and I didn't have to hide it this time. The picture was there just like I remembered it.

After scanning the page so I would never ever lose it again, it was time to contact someone to make the dress. I wrestled with the thought of presenting myself as a real woman versus a male crossdresser. However, in a moment of either incredible courage or stupidity, I wrote Heather (aka the Very Merry Seamstress) as my male self. Having read her blog, The Daily Stitch, she seemed like an open minded person, and I really liked her work. I was a little bit apprehensive. I wrote the following email:

Hi,

I am interested in information about having a dress made for myself. I am a male crossdresser with an interest in women's Civil War costumes. I have a picture from an encyclopedia that I have always liked that I need to have scanned. I wanted to see if this would be a good starting point for making the dress.

Thank you, and I enjoy your website very much!


She wrote back:

****, sure! Send us what you have and we'll be happy to do an estimate.

Much like my experience at the bridal shop, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. In future emails, Heather even said she looked forward to working with me. While I know any good business will accept our money, I am still very thankful for the kindness and understanding shown to us special girls. I placed an order with her, and I should have the dress by the end of August. Yes, yes, pictures will follow!

My next goal is to find a way to wear this dress in public at some sort of historical function. I would love to give a tour of some of the old mansions dressed as a beautiful southern belle. I have no idea how this would go over, but I do have a strong interest in all types of history. This is not for the thrill of wearing the dress in public. I want to do a real tour and represent living history for an audience. If it's anything like my past endeavors, I am sure I will find a way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Prom Queen Wears Jeans

This last weekend at the SCC planning meeting was truly inspirational. If you havn't already, click on the the Southern Comfort link to the right to learn more. Friday night, we listened to an all TG girl band called Jezebel at Stage Door in Tucker, Ga. We liked them so much we invited them to perform at SCC. A good number of the planning committee were there to give their thumbs-up. It wasn't an overly dressy occasion, but I wore a new gray patterned sleeveless top and my long black velvet skirt with my new dark brown open heeled platform shoes.

Everyone woke up somewhat bleary eyed for the planning meeting itself the next morning at the hotel. I wanted to be comfortably dressed but still look nice. I chose a cream knit sleeveless top with a long light green cotton skirt and silver ballet type flats. I seemed to fit in a little better as some still chose casual, but many dressed quite similar to me. I love wearing my long skirts no matter the time or occasion.

I thought that would be my last femme outfit for the trip as I had scheduled some work for my male side filming a race an hour away. At noon, I went up to my room (which I nicknamed the telephone booth) and did the quick change into guy mode. I wore shorts, t-shirt, and comfortable tennis shoes. Yes, I don't go into much detail when describing my guy clothes. Long story short... race was rained out so I returned back to Atlanta. There went six hours of my life.

So now I had a conundrum. I was quite exhausted, but one more social mixer had been planned for that night. In fact, it was no more than 100 feet away on the same floor as my room. My body was aching and ready for bed. I gave in... for fifteen minutes! Something inside of me said it was worth getting back up and heading to the party.

So in the shower I went. Then came the third shave to my sore face in just over 24 hours. Time for the makeup. Ok... passable. Now what to wear? I still had a short skirt and a top left. Looking at my hairy legs said the short skirt would not be a good idea. But I loved the new short sleeved lacy cream top. So... on came the guy jeans, guy tennis shoes, and guy socks and the new top. I even skipped my bra and breast forms due to my sore back. Final touch as always was my long sandy blonde wig. One final check, and I was ready to go.

I was initially a touch dismayed when I arrived at the mixer as most had chosen to dress up. Usually I would feel right at home as I love to wear my dressy outfits too. However everyone was glad to see me although a bit surprised since I had not planned on being there. A further look around the guests, and I noticed I fit right in. I met several new people and furthered many friendships with some wonderful coversations. Thanks goes to Wes, Elaine, Jessica, Chissy, and Phyllis for chatting me up that night. You made this girl feel very welcome and loved.

At this point, you may notice my obsession with my and others choice of clothes. I do try to be very aware of the setting and the appropriate dress. More and more, I am finding it is okay to go my own path. Very much like this past February where I was the only one wearing pink at the HRC Gala, it was perfectly fine for me to dress down a touch Saturday night. I am understanding the feminine side of me goes well beyond the clothes. The coversations touched every aspect of the TG community and then some, and it had nothing to do with the clothes. I was still Stephanie having a great time. Oh, I am still the prom queen! Some things never change.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Back Briefly

Sorry for the lack of posts, but my male side was away on vacation. While I enjoy being away for a bit, my annual getaway does greatly stifle my feminine side. As my family does not know about Stephanie, my feminine side must be repressed temporarily. In a way, I become more conflicted with these trips as I become more comfortable with being Stephanie. Yes, the answer is an obvious one. Give Stephanie a vacation of her own! Well, something to work on...

This weekend is very exciting as I will be attending the final Southern Comfort Conference planning meeting in Atlanta. I missed the first two so I have a bit of catching up to do. I am looking forward to volunteering as part of the tech crew at SCC. This is a wonderful group of people who put SCC together every year. If you haven’t already, visit sccatl.org for more information. SCC runs September 10-16. If you have any interest at all in attending, I suggest you make your reservations *now* before the hotel fills up. I will have more details as the schedule will be finalized at this meeting.

Until then, never fear, dear readers. More FAQs and more dress stories are still to come! I thank each and every one of you who read this fledging blog.

Monday, July 2, 2007

New FAQ - Why Do You Crossdress?




I've decided to take a long and winding road approach to redoing my FAQ and then my biography. This could take a while, dear reader, but never fear! There is light at the end of the tunnel! So here's question #1:

Why do you crossdress?

I crossdress because I prefer women's fashions immeasurably to men's fashions. I find men's clothes quite boring and stiff. There is a logical reason for this. Men's clothes are designed to be functional and practical. When there is an opportunity to dress up, the choices are all taken from the same basic model (at least in western culture). Mix and match from collared shirt, tie, coat, and pants. If a man really wants to dress up, then get a black bow tie, a slightly ruffled white shirt, and a black jacket with something called tails. Booooooring.

However we know that women over the past century have moved towards this model as well in many of their clothing choices. Women have taken on more of what used to be traditionally male roles, and this is a good thing. Women have fought hard for this opportunity. This does mean that much of women's fashions have also become more practical. After all, it is hard to move around in a fully skirted floor length dress. So over the years, everyday women's fashions have a closer fit to everyday men's fashions.

Having said all the above, women still have many more choices particularly on formal occasions. The choices of color, material, cut, accessories, shoes, hairstyles, etc, etc are literally limitless. As I've written before, this is what attracted me to those beautiful long flowing dresses. Each woman looked unique and stylish. Every man looked pretty much the same. Every woman knows the feeling of putting on that new outfit. It really does change you.

I've only talked about the clothes, but the crossdressing is really just an outward sign of an inner desire. Going out en femme allows me to fulfill what is an ever growing feminine side. The question now might be, "Why do I prefer women's clothes over men's clothes?" or "Why would I go against societal norms for gender expectations?" My feminine side and my resolve to express myself have become so strong in recent years that I can now see through society's expectations. They are quite constraining (literally in the case of a coat and tie). Crossdressing goes well beyond the clothes. It has freed me to express my feminine nature. What a wonderful thing!

In short, the answer is wearing women's clothing even with all the male plumbing, the testoterone raging through my body, and society's expectations of men... despite all that, it allows me to simply be true to myself which is what we all should be. In my case, I have a very strong feminine component which I continue to explore.