Speechless

Hi!

I try to post something at least every other day. When I let a day go by without updating this site I start to think about what to write about. A lot of times I wonder if I have run out of things to say. I mean, I can only ramble about labels and terminology and nuances about gender identity for so long.

Thankfully new experiences open up a lot of potential for things to write about. New things lead to new perspectives and I am so happy that we all often feel the same way about things.

I was sent some preview shots from my recent lingerie shoot last night. I was speechless, to be honest. And to clarify, I wasn’t OMG I AM SO BEAUTIFUL THAT WORDS CAN’T DESCRIBE HOW I LOOK. No. I was speechless because, well, I didn’t hate them.

I wanted to share a couple of my favorites ahead of a proper post.

Love, Hannah

Inevitable

Have you ever felt like something was both inevitable and not going to happen in a million years?

Have you ever done something that felt the complete opposite than you expected?

That was this past Saturday in a nutshell.


A few weeks ago The Breast Form Store sent over a few items for me to sample and review.  Some new forms (more on those later but OMG), a new gaff, and some lingerie.  Usually when I am sent clothes to review I will have professional photos taken by my friend Shannonlee.  When I have done reviews for gaffs, lingerie, or a corset I have used product pictures from the designer’s website to illustrate my review.  But this time…  I couldn’t stop thinking about if I wanted to do a lingerie shoot for the review.  I am not sure what changed my mind from something I didn’t think, or want to happen in a million years to something I sorta kinda maybe wanted to do, but honestly I think it’s the past year that has really shaped my perspective on life.  


A funny thing happened around my last birthday.  I noticed I started to think about, well, the end of my life.  Not to sound dramatic and I know I have a lot of time left (fingers crossed), but I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life.  Some of my thoughts were practical, such as making sure my wife and I were financially stable, some of it was more fun, like planning a vacation.  These thoughts, combined with how COVID has really impacted the world and has limited what we can and should do, I thought about life is short and things we want to do could stop being an option very suddenly.  Sure, I want to go on a trip and yes I want to go to the mall without a mask but it’s not smart to do either of these things right now.  A year and a half ago no one would have thought that life would be like this.  But it is, and could be for a long time.


The idea of a lingerie shoot terrified me and at the same time the fear wasn’t stopping me from thinking about it.  I talked to my wife about what I was thinking and we had a good conversation about everything from what I was feeling about life and time running out and fears of someone we know stumbling across the pictures (because let’s face it, if I am going to do it I am likely posting the photos) to what I wanted, and didn’t want if I did the shoot.  After our talk, I felt lighter.  I didn’t realize how crushing my feelings of life running out were impacting me.  Honestly?  I realized I was scared of getting old, getting sick, not being able to do things I wanted to do, whether it was a boudoir shoot or going for a run.  I know the day will come when I shouldn’t be driving (and yes I know that day is decades away) or or doing things that I take for granted.  I don’t want to regret things I could have done.  Things that I want to do but kept putting off, whether it was a lingerie shoot or visiting Italy.


So I did it.  


The shoot, not the trip.  At least not yet.


The shoot happened almost 48 hours from me writing this and I am still processing it.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was surprised at how…  nervous and awkward I felt.  I’ve done a lot of shoots over the last five years.  Some for fun, some for reviews, some for En Femme.  I’ve worn everything from wrap dresses to PVC skirts to pants so I am accustomed to being photographed in a lot of different outfits.  But stockings and bras?  Good god.  Lingerie is something one wears for themselves, for intimate moments, for sleeping.  Lingerie is personal, private, and a secret.  Wearing lingerie when someone other than my wife is in the room is a… well, I felt as uncomfortable and as awkward as you can imagine.  I felt silly.  Although I wasn’t expecting it to be…  I don’t know, erotic, I didn’t expect it to be a big deal considering my previous shoots and outfits.  I felt exposed and nervous.  Not exactly strutting out of a comfort zone.


As the shoot progressed I felt a little less nervous and self-conscious.  Shannonlee always helps me come out of my shell a bit and she was as professional as it gets.  She is also my friend.  I can’t imagine letting anyone else photograph me for a shoot like this.


I’ll (probably) post the finished shots, but I wanted to share some pictures from that day.  These were taken with an iPhone (please excuse the quality) and haven’t been touched up with lighting and whatever magic Shannonlee does.  They are also in black and white because, well, black and white is… forgiving.  Let’s leave it at that.


As I write this I can honestly say I am glad I did this, even with all the nervousness and anxiety the day brought.  I can’t say I will ever do this again, but I think this is one less thing I will have on my list of regrets when things like this aren’t an option anymore.


Be gentle.


Related reading

Strutting Out of a Comfort Zone

All We Have is Who We Are

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I have been a Transvestite all my life and dress as a woman on a regular basis with full make up breast forms and an ever expanding wardrobe. I have now reached the stage where I am more content dressed as a woman and it feels more natural for me to be this way. I am beginning to wonder if I am becoming Transsexual and how fine is the dividing line between TV and TS?

The risk of asking for someone’s opinion is, well, getting their opinion.  Sometimes another opinion isn’t the same as our own and it can sting a little.  Having said that, it is my opinion that terms like ‘transvestite’ and ‘transsexual’ are a little outdated.  You may define these terms differently but the prevailing perspective is that ‘transvestite’ is another word from crossdresser.  Fun fact!  The word’s origins are German with the original word being ‘transvestit’ which has its roots in Latin.  ‘Trans’ is a Latin word for ‘across’ and ‘vestire’ means ‘clothes’. This website is very educational.  ‘Transsexual’ usually means someone who has made changes to their body (physically or legally or with hormones) and presents as a gender different than the one they were assigned to at birth.


The dividing line is different from everyone.  I admit I am not helpful with this question, unfortunately.  I don’t feel that transitioning/living full time is the right step for me.  I am happy in both of my genders and I don’t feel that choosing one over the other for the rest of my life is right for me.  I like options.  I think most of us feel calm and contentment when we are en femme.  Many of us feel more relaxed when we are dressed.  I feel that way too!  But I realized it’s because I do relaxing things when I am en femme.  When I am in boy mode I am go go go go and I work like a million hours a week.  When I am en femme I am spending the day at a museum, dinner with friends, seeing a play, or shopping.  These things are relaxing.  Hannah does not work, the boy does.  Hannah relaxes, the boy does not.  

So yes, I am calm and relaxed en femme, but it’s not necessarily because I am en femme.  It’s also because I am doing relaxing things en femme that I usually do not do in boy mode.  When I am en femme I feel natutral.  I feel the same way in boy mode.  This is expected, however.  I am content in both genders so of course I feem natural.  I am bi-gender after all.   


It sounds like you are wondering if perhaps transition is the right step for you.  I can’t answer that.  It might be!  I would recommend you meet with a therapist specializing in gender identity and speaking with your doctor.   

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Strutting out of a Comfort Zone

The life of a crossdresser is all about going out of our comfort zone in an attempt to be happy.

Let’s face it, for many of us “girl clothes” make us happy.  We (and yes, I know I am generalizing and not speaking for all non-cis people) love panties, heels, skirts, dresses, nail polish, eyeliner…The first time we wear anything that isn’t purchased in the boy’s section of a department store is a thrilling, frightening, experience. 

The first time (and possibly the fiftieth time) is a terrifying event.  All of the normal thoughts and fears run through our head.  What if someone sees us?  What if the cashier laughs at us?  When I am shopping for MAN clothes in MAN mode, I never worry about seeing someone I know.  I don’t consider what the cashier might think for even a second.  But buying foundation or a skirt in male mode?  That’s a different story. 

Although I have been shopping in any department I wish to for decades, the same paranoia creeps into my heart and mind. Buying lingerie or makeup or heels is a step (or a strut) outside of our comfort zone.  We are shopping for beautiful clothes with a baffling set of measurements and sizes.  What on earth is my bra size?  34B?  What does that even mean?  What is the size conversion of boy shoes to high heels? Is my foundation color beige or sand? 

At one point this was a new world for us.  At one point we stepped out of our comfort zone to start a wardrobe that we wanted to, filled with beautiful clothes and heels and makeup that felt right, that made us happy.  Once we do this, it will lead to a life of continuously stepping out of our comfort zone.  Buying lingerie leads to wearing it, so there’s a new zone right there.  Lingerie may lead to heels, another zone.  We may go to a new zone with dresses, then makeup, a wig…  zone zone zone. 

As we make these steps what we think of as our comfort zone changes.  These days shopping is pretty routine, going out en femme was once waaaaaay out of my comfort zone at one point but again, it’s pretty normal to me.  


Going out of your comfort zone, for the most part, a good thing.  It expands your world, opens up new adventures, and enriches your life.  I mean, it’s as scary as it can be, but it’s usually worth it.  I can’t think of a time I regretted going out of my comfort zone, regardless of whether it is in regards to this part of my life, or in work, or in my boy life.  Even though I am happy and content, I still think about new adventures that are a step into a new comfort zone.  It could be flying pretty, it could be something else.


When we enter a new comfort zone, it can also be a humbling, almost traumatic experience.  And I don’t use that word lightly.  Although I talk about how the first and almost every time I have gone out en femme has been a positive or at the very least an uneventful outing, I know that it isn’t that way for all of us.  It breaks my heart to hear of a t-girl who worked up the courage for years to go out en femme only to be laughed at on their first time out.  It’s easy to understand why they went home and never went out again.  Wearing makeup for the first time (or the millionth) can also be humbling.  We spend so much time carefully selecting the right shade and watching tutorials and we imagine that we will be transformed into the girl of our dreams…  but the reflection tells us otherwise.  We hope the dress, the wig, the lingerie shows us a reflection of a cute girl, but sometimes the mirror (and our minds) are cruel and we see a man in a dress.  A humbling experience can push us right back into our old comfort zones, never to step outside of them again.


Sometimes.  We know, or soon learn, that this side of us isn’t going away.  The parts of our heart that want this don’t get quieter, they continue to sing.  Soon we are back pushing ourselves out of that comfort zone to try again.  


The humbling experiences don’t go away.  Last night I tried on a new outfit and…  well, I didn’t like how I looked.  But I kind of expected that.  Trying on a top and a mini skirt in male mode looks…  well, I look like a man in a top and a mini skirt.  Once I am shaved (everywhere), and have my pads, my corset, forms, and wig on, the mirror will (hopefully!) show a reflection I am happier with.


We know that when we go out of our comfort zones it will likely lead to a humbling experience.  That’s normal.  The first time you do anything you will probably fail.  Baseball players don’t hit home runs the first time they play baseball, the Beatles wrote a lot of songs before they wrote a good one.  My first time doing makeup was…  a disaster.  But I kept at it and took lessons, bought better products, watched tutorials and I am okay at makeup.  Same with walking in stilettos, wearing false eyelashes, seasoning a corset, and a zillion other things.


Why do we do this?  Why do we go out of our comfort zones when we know we will likely have a humbling experience when we do so?  Simply put, because we don’t have a choice.  Once we acknowledge and accept this part of us we begin the next step of our (ugh) journey of gender identity.  Every new part of this adventure will determine if where we are is where we’ll stay or if there’s another road ahead.  At one point I thought I was going to underdress for the rest of my life.  Then I moved into “real clothes”.  This was a new comfort zone.  Soon I realized that staying home en femme wasn’t where my journey ended.  I started going out en femme, started a social/support group, started modeling (modeling is a generous term here) and so on.  Everything was a new comfort zone.  Everything was a humbling experience.


Despite these humbling (and often crushing) experiences I still look to push boundaries, to test new levels of comfort to see if I want to go in that direction.  I feel I haven’t done anything new for a while.  I wouldn’t say I’m restless, no.  If this is where I stay for the rest of my life I will be happy and content and acknowledge how blessed and fortunate I am.  The pandemic has made me very reflective and has reminded me that life is short and the things I want to do, the things I take for granted, will someday not be an option.  I will someday be too old, or too, well, dead, to do what I want.  Life creeps slowly and cruelly towards our final days, but life can also change quickly.  I could slip on the ice today and crack my ankle and my days of strutting in five inch stilettos could be over.  


So, what do I want?  As I mentioned I want to fly pretty but that is not happening any time soon.  I have not worked up the courage to do that only to wear a stupid mask for the entire flight.  No, when I fly pretty I am going to fly drop-dead gorgeous and everyone can see my makeover.  At one point modeling and photoshoots were out of my comfort zones.  Sometimes they still are, such as if they are in a very public place.  It feels a little… weird to have my picture taken while some people curiously look on.  Sometimes an outfit is outside of my comfort zone.  I don’t want to go out of my comfort zone for the sake of going out of my comfort zone.  I want to do things that I want to do, and if I need to break out of that zone to do, so be it.


Today after this is posted I am going to start getting ready for a photoshoot.  This one is very much outside of anything I have done before and I am terrified and excited beyond belief..  I know this will be the most humbling experience in my life, but I am going to do it anyway.  I am nervous and proud of myself.


Wish me luck! And be gentle if I post photos!

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah, First of all let me say that I love you and all your advice, it’s been very helpful to my wife & I. I recently went out en femme for the first time & with my wife, she was a little freaked out & worried someone we know might see us, but she was a trooper. My question is, does your wife go out with Hannah or do you go solo? I can go either way & respect that it’s hard for her, I loved being out en femme & can hardly wait to go out again

How wonderful she went out with you!  Her reaction and fears are pretty normal.  I mean, I have the same concerns when I go out en femme.  I am not toooooo worried about seeing someone I know as I tend to avoid many places that people in my boy life frequent, but Hannah looks very different than the boy does and I think that gives me a moment to leave the store (or wherever I am) before someone would grasp who I am.  
But our significant others don’t have that safety.  People may not recognize us at first glance, but people will recognize our partners.  


My adventures are solo unless I am out with the MN T-Girls.  This is not to say that my wife (or anyone’s partner) isn’t supportive because she doesn’t join me.  She shows her support in other ways. We chat about makeup and she buys me pink toothbrushes. My wife is amazing on a million levels and an ally to anyone in the LGBTQ+ community.  Were she to go out with Hannah there’s a better chance of her being recognized than myself.  And of course it wouldn’t take much for people to figure out who that really really really tall girl is that she is with.  


Most people in our lives are supportive of the transcommunity.  The risk is, of course, seeing someone we know that isn’t accepting and the potential fallout from that.  She also shares the same perspective as I do when it comes to coming out: it’s exhausting.  When I come out to others it takes countless conversations for someone else to come close to “getting it”.  This is one of the reasons I don’t come out to many people.  


Hannah’s life and all that comes with it isn’t, and wasn’t always easy for her.  I feel guilty for the added stress this side of me brings her.  I regret the times she was confused or angry or annoyed that this side of me brings or has brought.  It’s a lot for our partners to live with.  It’s a lot for us to ask of them.  I want to make Hannah’s life as stress free as it can be for her.  I try to be the best person I can be, I try to be worth all the stress Hannah creates and has created.


My wife knows that the invitation still stands for anytime she would like to hit the mall with Hannah.  That day may yet come and if it doesn’t, that’s okay.

Related reading

Be Worth It

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Different Sides of the Same Coin

As hard as it may be to believe, I have a very difficult time talking about myself. I am often embarrassed? Self conscience? about myself.  I am uncomfortable with praise and I struggle to receive compliments.  This could be anything from my boss telling me I did a good job with something or Hannah receiving an email about something I wrote or a photo I posted.


At least in real life.  If I get a nice email or a comment on social media I find it easier to respond to it, probably because I can take my time to process what I am reading and I can take as much time as I need to write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite a reply.  I often agonize and over-analyze every word I write in a reply to make sure I come off exactly what I mean.  


But it’s not just compliments.  It’s everything.  I have had a website for a long time and I have written a lot about myself, my experiences, my opinions, thoughts, fears, and dreams.  I have bared my soul (not to sound tooooo dramatic) often.  It’s easy for me when I am writing something and then posting it for anyone in the world to read.  


I do feel… awkward when I write something and then someone mentions it when I see them in real life.  If Hannah sees her friends and one of them asks about something I posted on my website then I feel incredibly self-absorbed.  What I post online are not necessarily the same things I would talk about in real life, if that makes sense.  


I suppose I forget sometimes that I have a social media presence and people read what I write and sometimes mention to me what I posted when they see me in the real world.  I think my website makes my life look more glamorous than it really is.  I don’t think of myself as famous, or as a celebrity.  Not at all.  God knows I am easily humbled when I see my reflection or see how many more followers another t-girl has on Twitter.  Yes, photo shoots look glamorous but please know that when I do shoots outside there’s a really good chance I changed outfits, such as in the picture below, in a port-a-potty.  


I know! Shattering so many illusions!

Although I don’t think of myself as famous, I am aware that what I write is read by others.  Whether it’s two people or five hundred, I am just grateful that someone finds what I write about worth spending time reading or commenting on.  


Just as I have a hard time being a (again, this sounds very egotistical) public figure or a voice in the transcommunity (I do believe that ALL t-girls are a voice in our community) I find that in my boy life I have a hard time discussing Hannah and her life.  It’s one thing to talk about a new eyeliner with my wife, it’s another thing to talk to her about an upcoming photo shoot for En Femme or about a big box I receive in the mail of clothes to review.  In my boy life I find it… well, a little embarrassing to talk about Hannah’s life and the things she does or is asked to do.  The lives that both of my gender identities have could not be more different.  I write something on Facebook and I may get a couple of likes.  Hannah posts a picture on Twitter and gets a hundred.  No one cares about the boy’s opinion, but companies send Hannah makeup and shoes to review.


I think I would feel just as awkward if I had the same… ah, status in my male life as Hannah does.  The boy will never be famous, that much I know.  And I’m totally fine with that.  As I get older I am relieved by that, not that the boy does anything that would lead to any sort of notoriety.  If I were to write a book in my male life I would feel just…  weird talking about it.  If I were to be asked to sign someone’s copy or go to a book signing or whatever I would feel really awkward about it.  The boy being in any sort of spotlight is not a comfortable idea for me.  The boy is not, nor does he want to be famous.  Thank god he’s not.  It’s strange enough that Hannah has some level of “celebrity”.  


I started thinking about this last night when talking with my wife about a photo shoot I have scheduled for Saturday.  Sometimes in boy mode I have a hard time talking about Hannah.  On some levels my lives couldn’t feel more different.  I can’t imagine scheduling a photo shoot for the boy, but it’s pretty normal for Hannah.  Sometimes that drastic difference hits me and I feel very self aware and, in a way, kind of silly.  To clarify I don’t feel silly being en femme.  Not at all.  But my god, scheduling a photo shoot?  It’s about as vain as it gets.  Who do I think I am doing something like that?  It’s pure hubris, pure ego.  


In my boy life I never think about  whether I look attractive.  I don’t think about my boy clothes.  I might wonder if my tie goes with my shirt but really that’s about it.  Hannah thinks about cute all the time.  Do I look cute?  Do I feel cute?  Is this dress cute?  


I am often struck by the huge contract in my closet.  A few dress shirts and pants, some ties…  on the other I have everything from gowns to skirts to PVC dresses to… well, the list goes on.  But every once in awhile I think about how different my lives are.  What I do in either of my genders, what I think about, and of course what I wear.  There is very little overlap between Hannah and the boy.  I think this side of me would surprise almost everyone I know in my male life, but photo shoots, writing a book, modeling, running a trans support/social group, having a website…  that would be even more of a surprise.  I know my male life is pretty mundane and predictable to most people and that’s fine.  It’s true!  I like routine, I like planning my day, I am a creature of habit.  But Hannah’s life is anything but.  


Sometimes I’ll be in a meeting at work and I’ll be daydreaming about a dress I ordered.  Sometimes during a makeover I am thinking about an upcoming work project.  I think it’s normal for us to think about other aspects of our lives, but sometimes I wonder what my colleagues would say if they knew if I was wondering if the stockings I ordered would arrive in time for my next photo shoot.  Fortunately that is something I will never know.


I like having two genders, and I enjoy the lives both the boy and Hannah have.  My two genders, my two lives, are a wonderful break from the other.  When the boy life is stressful I can look forward to a makeover and a photoshoot or shopping…   On the opposite side of the same coin, I love ending a hectic but wonderful day en femme unwinding with a book.   

What a Friend We Have in Crossdressing

Years ago I knew someone who had absolutely zero interest in anything.  It’s not like they were lazy or weren’t ambitious or anything, they were a fine person.  Kind, friendly, just really a decent person all around.  As I got to know them I would ask about their interests and hobbies.  They didn’t have any.  They weren’t into music or books or sports or fashion or anything.  I asked what they did when they weren’t working which is usually an indication of one’s interests but again, nothing there.  Some television shows but that was it.  This was privately baffling to me.  We were good friends at one point and in the time I knew them they never mentioned anything that interested them.  They had no dreams, no plans, no goals.


They seemed to be happy and well adjusted but they never spoke about anything they were excited about, or something they looked forward to.  Of course, we all know people who go with the flow and take things day by day but this wasn’t that.  I’ve always been someone who looks forward to things with a lot of enthusiasm (even if I don’t express it).  I get excited about delicious food, going back to a book I’m reading, my next adventure en femme, the mail to see if my new outfit was delivered that day.  I have plans and dreams and goals for both of my gender identities.  Knowing who I am and knowing what made me happy I had a hard time relating to this person.  How could anyone not have something in their life that made them happy?

Of course as time marches on I realize that perhaps they were happy with everything they had.  Perhaps they were simply content and were at the point in their life where they had everything they wanted.  A small, simple life.  If that’s the case, then, well, I’m a little jealous of them.  I sometimes feel my goals are too ambitious and wonder if I will get discouraged if my dreams don’t come true.  Perhaps all of their dreams have been realized.


I don’t think it takes much for me to feel content or happy.  Normally.  I mean, I feel anxious and restless and bitchy and I sometimes have a hard time letting go of something, but once I remind myself how lucky I am, how safe and healthy and satisfying my life is, then I stop feeling sorry for myself (if that’s what I’m feeling) and I start to feel better.  It’s all about perspective, I suppose. I have stressful days at work or a sudden unexpected expense to take care, but really, if I can start the morning with coffee and leggings and end the day in a nightgown and a good book, well, what more could I want?


As people get older it’s not uncommon for them to lose interest in things.  To stop pursuing new interests, new hobbies.  It’s understandable.  Life isn’t easy, the days are long, and we’re all exhausted.  Sometimes it’s all we can do to make it through the day and crash on the couch and zone out for a bit with a television show.  I have days like that, too.  As life passes it’s not always easy to find time for the things that make us happy, things that relax us, that bring joy to our lives.  We know they are important but let’s face it, we all experience burn out, especially as we live through this damn pandemic.  


Many things that we like to do aren’t an option right now.  Traveling isn’t a good idea, spending time with our family and friends isn’t recommended, going out to eat just isn’t fun at the moment.  Frankly everything sucks.  But we will get through it.  Eventually.  Not without scars, though.


Although this side of us does, can, or has caused a lot of anxiety, fear, confusion, despair, turmoil, stress (and a zillion other things), this side of us, once we strip away all the unpleasant emotions and thoughts, this side of us brings us so much joy.  


Isn’t that wonderful?  We are so fortunate to have something in our lives that makes us so happy.  I can’t tell you how happy a new dress makes me, how much I like selecting my panties for the day, slipping on a nightgown at the end of the day, a new shade of lipstick.  I’m sure you feel the same way too.  


This isn’t to say much other than just express how happy I am to have something in my life that brings me such joy.  To bring so much beauty and content and fulfillment into my life.  I hope you feel that way too.  Yes, it’s not always easy to have this side of us and this side of us often brings challenges (to put it lightly) but on the most basic and smallest levels underneath all that stress there is beauty.  

Love, Hannah

Connecting the Dots

I hate the word “journey” when it comes to this part of our lives.  It sounds so trite, so cliched, so…  simple.  I suspect I also hate it because it’s probably the most accurate term for all of (gestures vaguely) this.


How did I get to where I am?  How on earth did I find the confidence (or ego) to do what I do?  Whether it is modeling or blogging or simply going to the mall, I didn’t do these things easily or all at once.  It was a step by step (ugh) journey.  I can go back and connect the dots as to how I got here.  We all can!  Regardless of where you are today you arrived at this moment because of what you did yesterday or last week or two years ago.  If you are wearing panties today it’s likely because you bought them.  And you bought them because you worked up the courage to do so.  And that courage came from accepting this part of you, and acceptance started with acknowledging who you are and what you wanted.


Throughout this journey how we identify might change.  As soon as I learned the word ‘crossdresser’ I identified that way.  A decade or so I identified as transgender.  Although I am still both of these, I feel most comfortable identifying as ‘bi-gender’ these days.  It feels more accurate, more nuanced.  More me.  Not all of us think too much about these labels but based on the emails I get and the search terms that are used to find my website there are a lot of us who wonder if they are a crossdresser or if they are transgender.  


If we wonder who we are and if we are unsure of what describes us best it’s sometimes easier to think about who or what we aren’t.  When I have come out to others I get asked the typical questions:


-Do I want to transition?  

No.


-Oh, so you do drag?

No.


-So, this… turns you on?

No.


-Are you gay?

I am not attracted to men


These questions hopefully help answer if I want to take hormones, who I want to sleep with, or if this is a fetish.  Sometimes I feel that answering yes to any of these questions would help someone understand me a little bit better and easier as these can help frame someone like myself into something that others have some familiarity with.  Most people can name someone who is transgender, most people know who RuPaul is, and (almost) everyone has a kink.  In a way these questions help someone else connect the dots.  “Oh, you wear dresses BECAUSE you’re going to transition” or “You wear makeup BECAUSE you do drag”.  But when someone like myself is outside of those parameters it is a new experience for someone.  We are asked these questions because they help frame who we are to someone else.  Typically men who wear makeup or dresses (according to television shows and movies) are kinky or going to transition.  When we are not these things it kind of puts us in a different light that someone else isn’t used to.  If we aren’t going to live full time and if this doesn’t arouse us, then who are we?


I don’t need to explain who I am to most of those that are reading this, just as you don’t need to explain who you are to me.  I get it.  I get you.  You get me.  We understand each other.  We speak the same language.
Once I moved onto clothes other than lingerie and started wearing makeup and having a femme name I didn’t think I was simply crossdressing anymore.  Transgender seemed to be a better, more inclusive term.  As I mentioned earlier bi-gender seems to be the best fit. I believe that crossdresser, drag queen, bi-gender, agender, gender non-conforming, gender queer and other terms are more specific ways to identify but are all under the transgender umbrella. 


But why?  Why is that the best word?


Well, it’s kind of by process of elimination.  I don’t think of what I do as drag.  I don’t feel I am performing or putting on an act.  Once I felt that wearing “girl clothes” was more about expressing one of my gender identities than it was about the clothes themselves the word crossdresser wasn’t quite enough.  I like being part of the T in the LGBTQ+ acronym but the word does have a certain set of expectations, in a way.  A lot of people think that someone who is trans will or is or has taken steps, legal and or physical, when it comes to making permanent changes.  Yes my gender presentation can change throughout the day as I go back and forth.  The gender presentation I have when I wake up is not always the same gender presentation six hours later.   My mannerisms, my perspectives, my friends, my pronouns, my name, are all different as I go from one gender expression to the other.  Hence bi-gender feels the most accurate way for me to identify.  


Of course, sometimes I feel it would be nice if we could just simply be people and eliminate all expectations and norms when it comes to gender and clothes and everything but that is not happening soon.  Or ever.
I know I overthink labels and at my core I am simply who I am.  Sometimes I get fixated on trying to explain or understand myself (gender identity and in other ways), especially to others (hypothetically).  I suspect it has a lot to do with belonging, having a community, knowing there are others like myself.  I won’t ever forget how happy I was when I first heard the word crossdresser when I was in grade school.  To know that there were others like myself, to know that there were so many like myself that there was a word for us.  That word connected the dots for everything I felt, wanted, and wore.  I had a similar feeling when I heard the word transgender when I was in my early twenties.  As I got older ‘crossdresser’ seemed to be predominately synonymous (with many people) with sex/fetishisms.  Not that there is anything wrong with sex or a kink, but that’s not what it was for me.  ‘Transgender’ seemed to be about who I was, not what I wore, if that makes sense.  ‘Bi-gender’ I feel is the end of my dot-to-dot journey in terms of, well, terms, I guess. 


For those who are comforted by the rainbow of terms that are out there, how did you come to identify as that specific term?  Do you find terms comforting?

Love, Hannah

Hurricane Eye

Hi!

2020 was a loooong year and I was really looking forward to flipping the calendar to 2021.  I know changing the calendar was really only a psychological thing, though.  However, it was still a little bit of a relief to be out of a really stressful year.  There are more things to be positive and optimistic about in the next few months.  Spring is sloooooowly on its way, vaccine distribution is getting better, and we are getting closer to a normal life day by day. 

For many 2020 was a traumatic year and I don’t use that word lightly.  Trauma is an interesting thing as we usually don’t see the impact of something until it is safe to react.  When something horrible and scary is occurring our brains can shift to survival mode allowing us to simply survive what is happening and we can react emotionally to it when the threat of danger passes.


Last year we saw so many things we enjoy get put on hold, whether it was a vacation or celebrating an event or just going to the mall.  The little things are important as it gives us something to look forward to.  My life is filled with little things that I am excited about.  But when these things aren’t an option, and it’s really unclear when we can plan something, then we realize how important they are to us.  


As things start to improve, I am feeling less stressed, less anxious, less depressed.  I feel the pressure and fear of last year ease its grip on me and I feel… lighter.  Happier.  The idea of walking around a museum this summer without a mask feels like it might actually happen.  Again, its the small things.


But as the stress eases, I realize I am starting to process on an emotional level what the last year has been like.  This is coinciding with getting older and feeling like I have less time to do the things I want to do more than ever before so it’s been real fun dealing with all of this.  It’s not quite a mid-life crisis (at least it doesn’t feel like that) but it’s more about doing things that I want to do before it’s too late, and starting to prepare for the rest of my life. It’s like being in the eye of a hurricane. I feel calm while life and uncertainty whirl aggressively around me.

Feeling peace in the chaos


On a practical level this means making sure my affairs and finances are in order.  I am not saying I am preparing my will or anything like that but when your eye doctor recommends bifocals it’s not hard to think about aging and everything that comes with that.  You know, like death and making sure my wife is taken care of when that happens.


Goodness this is all so heavy for a Friday morning.


My point is that now that certain parts of life are slowly returning I can start planning things again.  Or at least think about what I want to plan.  Some of the things I want to do are a result of me thinking about what I want to do before it’s too late.  Sure, I want to go out to dinner and try on dresses at the mall and these are things I want to do as life starts returning to normal, but what about the other things?  The things I want to do while I still can?  The big things, the milestone things.  Part of life returning back to normal includes being able to travel again, but these days I am thinking about traveling en femme.  Flying pretty is a big goal for myself.  I should do that.  I want to do that.  I will do that.  It might not be until next year when we can hopefully without a mask, but for the first time in a long time that opportunity feels more likely as each day passes.


As I get older I am more reflective and I look at things differently.  And thanks goodness for that.  I feel I am thinking about the smaller, more important things, but also about the big things, too.  Over the last year I have really missed Hannah.  I mean, I am always Hannah even in boy mode just as I am him when I am her.  My clothes and attitude and confidence change as my presentation does but I can’t shut off my other gender, if that makes sense.  My thoughts, feelings, emotions, hopes, fears are often jumbled together between my two genders. 

This past year I’ve learned a lot and I have had a few revelations. How has this year changed you?

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I decided I wanted to try wearing makeup and wearing women’s clothing. I am married and so far my wife is very supportive and even did my makeup last weekend! I ordered a few clothes on En Femme ( thanks for advice) and may get a wig soon. My question is how long did it take you to “like” how you look as a woman? I fear it’s going to take forever and I feel so old!!

Hi!  It sounds like you have a wonderful wife.  
Being en femme is a humbling and empowering experience.  I think some of us feel that when we have all the “right” items (wig, clothes, makeup) everything will magically come together and our reflection will show the side of us that we have been yearning to see for countless years.  Our first glance into a mirror can create a number of different feelings.  Sometimes we can be amazed at the beautiful girl in our mirrors, sometimes we are crushed with disappointment.


And sometimes we see the potential.  Not quite how we want to look, not quite how we imagined, but…  it’s a start.


When our reflections are not everything we hoped it would be, then we need to make a decision.  We COULD give up, but let’s face it, that’s not easy or likely.  This is not a side of us that goes away.  But I do get it.  It might seem hopeless, our worst fears are realized because we look exactly what we were afraid of: a man in a dress.  Crossdressing takes time, it takes money, it takes patience.  Don’t like how you look in makeup?  Pay for a makeup lesson.  Try a different foundation.  Watch more tutorials.  Your dress doesn’t fit?  Get your measurements and get an outfit that is in your size, not the size you’d like to be.  Stumble in heels?  Strap on those stilettos and practice, practice, practice.


The first time I was completely en femme, which was about ten years ago, I was enraptured.  I didn’t look like a man in a dress and a wig, I was unrecognizable.  At least that’s how I thought and how I felt.  Of all the things I was thinking in those first moments I think the thing that was the loudest was that I could see something I could work with, if you will.  I was on cloud nine the whole evening.  


I quickly learned that dressing up is a different experience and comes with different feelings every single time.  There are times when I will start dressing and feel blah about how I look but then when I do my makeup my attitude improves and turns things around.  The opposite is also true.  I might have a killer dress but sometimes my makeup just doesn’t come together and kills my excitement for my outfit.  These experiences and fluctuating feelings do not stop.  So many small things impact how we feel about ourselves and when I am en femme I am filled with many small things.  My forms, my pads, my outfit, accessories, makeup, hair, my body shape…  It all needs to come together.  It’s like baking a cake, I suppose.  If you don’t have the right ingredients it’s just not going to work.  

The photo on the left is me feeling cute, but not looking cute. The photo on the right is me looking cute, but not feeling cute


AND!  Sometimes everything can go right but sometimes we just don’t feel it.  We might look cute, but we don’t feel that way.  How we feel will win out (for good and for bad) EVERY SINGLE TIME.  I have dresses that I feel are just kind of… meh but if I am in the right mood it becomes the cutest dress in the world.  Of course the opposite is true, too.


So, to answer your question, I more or less liked how I looked right away, but that doesn’t mean I always like how I look.  I still have plenty of times where I feel I look like a man in a wig.  

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!