Ask Hannah!

I am 59 yrs old and am happy as a male. But I’ve know for most of my life that there was another me trying to get out. I decided this week to begin that journey. My question has to do with overload. There is just so much to research and so many places to look I am beginning to get frustrated. I know my decision is good and true. I just don’t want this to turn into a train wreck. Any ideas or thoughts?

This is a very good question.

When some of us have accepted and embraced who we are, it is common to feel excited and giddy.  Once we accept who we are (or at least an aspect of ourselves) we have, in a sense, given ourselves permission to be who we want and dress how we feel.  This can easily lead to The Pink Fog, however and we sometimes need to rein it in a bit.

But feeling overwhelmed is also pretty common and it’s not something we talk about enough.  When we come out to someone, it’s not uncommon for them to feel overwhelmed by this revelation.  The whole… concept of who we are to them has been changed and they will very likely look at us in a completely new light.  Coming out to someone can feel like taking a weight off our shoulders but that weight is often transferred to the person we come out to, particularly if that person is one’s significant other.
But before we can come out to someone else, we need to come out to ourselves.  We need to say to ourselves “I am a crossdresser.”  “I am transgender”.  “I am non-binary”  Or even “I am not sure who I am or how to identify, but I like to wear panties.”  Once we do that, we will (hopefully) slowly begin to embrace ourselves.  


Aaaaaaand then what?

No matter how you identify, the commonality is that you are not cisgender.  There is something wonderful about you that doesn’t align with the traditional expectations of the gender you were assigned to at birth.  Like you, I am happy in my male life, AND I am happy with my femme life.  I don’t want to choose one gender over the other for the rest of my life so I happily bounce back and forth.  I do, however, keep my toe in my femme life when I present as male as I am always wearing panties.  So, there’s that.  Embracing your new non-cis life and new gender identiy doesn’t mean you have to do EVERYTHING or even do ANYTHING.  Yes, I am transgender but that doesn’t mean I HAVE to take hormones, live full-time, come out to anyone, or transition.  I’ve identified as transgender for almost ten years and my life and gender identity hasn’t changed that much.  

You mention starting your journey.  Think about what you want our journey to look like.  You write that you are happy being male so my assumption (and I admit I could be wrong) is that you don’t feel transitioning isn’t your destination or goal.  I can relate.  I don’t feel that way either.  My journey started before I turned five years old by trying on my mom’s heels.  Over the last few decades I evolved.  I did a lot of reflection and tried on different clothes and thought about gender and read about gender and even spoke with therapists.  Through all of that I realized who I was, who I wanted to be, and what I liked to wear.  I also realized who I wasn’t and what I didn’t want.  This was my journey.  Today my gender presentation is either BOY or GIRL or somewhere in the middle.  I work from home and I am usually wearing leggings and a femme hoodie.  Unless I am on a Zoom call, lol.  Being comfortable and happy in these identities took time and patience.  

Let your heart be your guide.  Don’t feel you have to rush into anything.  Find out what is right for you.  Don’t feel you have to commit to a gender identity.  Take your time.  Take a break.  If you feel frustrated, do something else.  Take time away from the internet.  Slip into something you like to wear and watch a movie.  Enjoy the journey.  Talk to a gender therapist.  Your journey isn’t going to be a linear path.  It isn’t going to be smooth or without obstacles or setbacks.  Go easy on yourself.  Think about what WANT to do.  Think about what you want to wear.  Yes, it can be overwhelming to think about changing your gender presentation and everything that could go with it.  Going from boy to girl for me requires forms, padding, shaving, makeup, wig, clothes, heels, and false eyelashes.  It’s exhausting to just type that.  Just remember that there are no rules or standards when it comes to your gender presentation.  

And yes, I can relate to feeling overwhelmed.  When I was in my early twenties I had just gotten out of a relationship with the first person I came out to.  Coming out to her was also a sign that I had accepted and would soon embrace who I was.  She wasn’t too fond of my crossdressing (which is how I looked at who I was at the time) so it wasn’t a part of myself that I could talk about, let alone DO.  After I had begun to move on after the break-up I decided to see what this side of me was all about.  I knew I loved to wear lingerie, but was there more to this?  I went to a store in Minneapolis that sold a lot of fetish wear, including shoes.  I had owned heels before but there were the boring, kitten heels that places like Wal-Mart sold.  They weren’t cute and weren’t really my size and I would always purge them after a day or so.  But one evening I decided I wanted a pair of stilettos that fit.  I drove to the store and started to look at the selection.  The girl working there showed me some options and pretty soon I was trying them on.  It was amazing.  She offered some advice and soon I was strutting around the store as if I was born wearing four-inch heels.

“I have something else you may like,” she said.  Still in the black patent stilettos, I glided to the counter and she took out a pair of breast forms.  I had never seen breast forms before and was amazed by them.  They looked real, they felt real.  As I was looking at them she told me she had a friend who did drag and they would love to help me with makeup if I wanted them to.  At this point I felt a little anxious and overwhelmed.  I went into the store because I was ready to buy (and keep) a pair of stilettos.  I wasn’t ready for anything else.  I didn’t know if presenting femme was what I wanted.  At that point in my life I just wanted to wear lingerie and stilettos. I politely declined the offer, bought the heels and left.  It would be another ten years before I was ready to consider my next step in my journey.  Today I own several pairs of breast forms, have had makeup lessons and had more makeovers than I ever thought I would have.  I wasn’t ready for these steps then, but goodness I am now.

Enjoy this side of you.  Be kind to yourself.  Be patient with who you are.

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

4 thoughts on “Ask Hannah!

  1. Thank you , Hannah for patiently and gently being a guide to those just starting their journey . Your ability to verbalize nonjudgmentally the fears and self doubt most of us struggle with at one time or another can almost equate to the wise , acceptant and understanding parent that many of us might wish we had had , back when ! Keep sharing your insights , your strength ! Always , P.D. Miller

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  2. Gosh another wonderful and thoughtful reply by Hannah to an important questions.

    The only thing i would add is the suggestion to keep a little log of “Funny things that happened along the way”

    i have s second sheet, where i keep a record of “inflection points” where i had an inkling that i was somehow different – like looking at black and white lingerie ads in the san Francisco chronicle, or trying on my girl frends espadrilles. You want remember all the events in order – don’t worry, you can fix that later, the fun thing is to jot them down.

    Welcome to the Pink Fog – it is wonderful and i am sure you will do the right thing by others –

    You go Girl!!

    -bri

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  3. What a great explanation of the potentially overwhelming number of options and choices we face as we begin to sort out just what we want from cross dressing, how it fits in our lives and over time, who we want to become.

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  4. Fabulous, thoughtful response. How I can find my experience in your words. I’m still going forward and loving the experience of being the evolving me.

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