This is me Trying

There is a Hindu proverb that states “There is birth and death, everything in between is maintenance.”

And yes, this is still a website dedicated to presenting en femme.

But this really kind of nails what life is all about, isn’t it? I think this is especially true for many of us. Although I am not en femme 24/7, there are things that I do daily (such as exfoliating my face for better skin and hitting the gym), weekly (removing alllllll body hair), every other week (eyebrow threading), and so on, that contribute to my femme presentation.

However, I do enjoy the benefits of these things outside of my femme appearance. I HATE body hair regardless of my gender presentation. I like staying in shape. I like having clear skin.

Doing these steps make it a little easier when I am getting dolled up. Well, maybe not easier but it takes a little less time. Getting dressed up doesn’t take AS long if I’ve been keeping up on my shaving, for example.

The morning of a day out en femme is a process. Sisyphus has to push that stupid rock up a hill every damn day and although this sounds dramatic it’s not much different. Taking this lump of a hairy middle aged man body into something even remotely cute seems impossible.

But like anything else, if you want SOMETHING to change you have to work at it. The practical, emotional, and mental processes has to begin. I pour a cup of coffee, put on a little Taylor Swift, and get started.

Over the course of an hour I shave my face (having shaved my legs and everything else the night before), tuck, cinch my corset, put on my thigh pads, fasten my stockings, hook my bra, apply my breast forms, zip up my dress, clip on my earrings, clasp my necklace, slip in (or strap into) my heels, and fuss with my wig.

Once all of that is done, I exhale and realize that I did the best I could and that I have to trust my makeup artist to do the rest.

And really, if I look even a LITTLE femme it’s because of the really, REALLY, talented makeup artist that I see.

Another hour passes, another $80 (plus a well earned tip) later, and I’m done. I look and feel as femme as I possibly can.

If I have a photo shoot scheduled, it’s my photographer’s turn to decide on angle, filter, lighting, and whatever other magic she needs to cast to take a photo of me at my most feminine.

This is a LOT of work. Not only for me but for these two incredibly talented artists. It takes a village, after all.

Eventually a picture of alllll this effort gets posted to social media or my website and I open myself up to whatever the internet thinks.

A photo can create indifference or retweets or likes. Comments cover everything from “nice dress, SIR” to “you are a goddess” and everything in-between.

Sometimes a commentor will send an email or message me privately. These communications range from the incredibly lazy and unoriginal (“hi” or “hey”) to the transphobic to blatantly and overtly sexual to compliments.

Before we go annnnny further I would like to make it clear that none of what I write, least of all this post, is not some veiled brag about how beautiful or whatever people think I am. I get some very nice compliments AND I also get, well, the opposite comments that girls like us tend to receive. Trust me, the internet keeps me very humble.

I try to respond to all my emails and direct messages, even if it takes a week (or longer) for me to get reply. When I do respond I try my best to express gratitude for a compliment AND do it in a way that doesn’t suggest that I am, well, INTERESTED in them.

If I get a message that is along the lines of “you are beautiful” my typical response is “thank you! I try my best!”.

Which is true! I do try my best. This IS the best I can do with what I have.

If I get a response after that it’s usually something like “well, you don’t have to try very hard ;)”.

Which is, well, it’s nice. Really.

Buuuut the first thing that I think of when I see a message like that is how much work goes into all of this. Alllll the work that you don’t see. Getting to the gym at 6am every day before work, shopping for a dress that fits everywhere a dress needs to fit, hair removal including waxing and eyebrow threading, and a zillion other things.

The reality is that I do try very, very hard to look the way I do. I LIKE how I look. I like seeing all the work I do pay off. As soon as I post this I am off to the gym yet again. I’ll do my best to not sneak any Halloween candy this weekend. I’ll do my skincare routine before I go to bed no matter how tired I am.

I know a lot of us look at our transformations (whether it is a change that we worked at for years or the daily process of going from HIM to HER) as an artform. It is. Makeovers are artistry. Photographer is artistry. We are creating ourselves, regardless of our gender identity, every single day. Not only on a physical level but also on a emotional and intellectual level as well.

Creation takes ambition and stubbornness and dedication. THIS side of us takes time, patience, and money.

Whatever we are trying to do, whether learning to walk in high heels to becoming a world class pastry chef requires making mistakes. Failure is part of success, after all.

If you’re reading this and you are like me, I know how much work and discipline this side of us takes. Not only on a practical level but also on an emotional and mental level. Walking in five inch stilettos on an icy sidewalk isn’t easy but what’s even harder is dealing with dysphoria and living in a world where people hate girls like us.

You are all beautiful. We are all trying our very best.

Love, Hannah

The Vibe

There will always be things that are unknowable. Not knowing something doesn’t mean you are unintelligent. Well, not always. True wisdom is knowing that there are things that are unknowable and accepting that it’s pointless and futile to TRY to understand all unknowables.

Spellcheck says that “unknowables” isn’t a word but who cares.

I have (mostly) stopped speculating why I am who I am. Humans are complex creatures that are shaped by our biology, our experiences, the people in our lives. All of these things are going to influence our feelings, perspectives, and yes, our wardrobes. It’s pointless to try and dissect every single aspect of what makes up a person.

And even if you could, it would explain THAT person. This type of, ah, research would need to be done from scratch for someone else.

It’s not unlike cooking. I have a hard time identifying a certain ingredient or spice in food. I mean, yes, I know when something is salty or savory or sweet, but my wife will sometimes as if there’s too much garlic or paprika in something she makes and really I have no idea. I can’t separate different tastes. All I know is that it tastes really good.

I’m glad I have stopped (again, for the most part) trying to figure myself out. I wish I could do the same for other people, though. Although what someone thinks of me isn’t something I spend a lot of time worrying about or adapting to, I do wonder why some people react to something in a certain way.

In some situations, it’s pretty clear if you look for a common factor. I used to have a coworker who would complain that every woman he talked to was cold or unfriendly to him. And honestly? It was true. All of the women we worked with HATED him.

Because of his experiences, his perspective was shaped into the opinion that all women hated men.

But the reality was that he was just an asshole. He was rude to women, made in appropriate comments, told sexist jokes, and talked about the clothes his female students wore. It didn’t take long for him to be fired.

So yes, women were less than friendly towards him. The common denominator was how HE treated women… it wasn’t because all women hated men, they just hated HIM.

He gave off a creepy (to say the least) vibe. And the universe responded to that. It didn’t take a psychologist to figure out why people reacted to him in the way they did.

It’s not always this simple to determine why some people react to something, or to someone. Annnd for the most it’s not worth your time to understand annnd it could be one of those unknowable things.

But I have to admit I get curious about some things from time to time.

When it comes to fetishes and kinks, I admit that I will never know why something turns someone on. It’s just how someone is wired. And honestly? I don’t need to know or want to know the specifics. People have their… ah, interests and I do as well.

I mean, even if there is a deep-rooted psychological reason for why someone is into something, unless it’s hurting someone or leaving something traumatic unresolved, and that all people involved are consensual, let people be.

I accept that crossdressing is a fetish or kink for some of us. I accept that crossdressers are a fetish or a kink for someone else. I don’t think it’s really necessary or interesting to understand the WHY of it.

My gender identity has shaped my experiences. I’ve written before how CROSSDRESSER was the very first thing I ever searched for when I went online for the first time. This search introduced the concept and the reality that crossdressing was very, VERY sexual to (seemingly) many crossdressers.

And often to the non-crossdresser. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people associate “men wearing girl clothes” with sex. This association is often made by someone who doesn’t understand gender identity (or doesn’t care to try). This association can also be made by someone who themselves is aroused by “men wearing girl clothes”.

Of course, we know that this is not the case. I think you all know that this side of me isn’t sexual in any way. And for many of you it’s the same… this side of you, this side of us is who we are.

I think through years of blogging and posts that I’ve… hm, proven that this side of me isn’t a kink or a fetish. At first blush it might be easy to think that I am “just” a crossdresser and that since I am, from some people’s perspective, “a man wearing girl clothes” that there is likely a sexual side to all of this. I’ve hopefully demonstrated that THIS is about who I am… not about SEX.

Of course, there’s nothing WRONG if this IS about sex to someone. I am not here to judge. If it makes you happy it can’t be that bad, after all.

I am not sure if you’ve noticed, but I post a LOT of pictures. My pictures cover quite the range from ballgowns to lingerie to PVC dresses to cute outfits. Different photos create different responses. For the most part I am rarely surprised by the reactions a picture can get.

But sometimes? Not only am I surprised I am often confused.

Identifying as transgender, in my opinion, can cover a lot of territory and can range from THIS being a sexual thing to a very serious, intimate, sacred identity. There are people who don’t differentiate the differences and subtleties and there are those who, well, don’t care (or think there are any) any differences between a fetishist and someone who has transitioned.

Some t-girls go to great lengths to explain who we are in an effort to hopefully help someone else understand who we are and who we are not. I wouldn’t be surprised if every t-girl reading this site has had the “no, I am not a drag queen” talk with someone in their life.

Not that there’s anything wrong with drag. But I think for some of us we don’t want to be confused with the dominant perception of a drag artist. I am not a performer, I am not interested in a three foot tall wig or exaggerated makeup.

I’ve also had the “no, this isn’t a fetish” talk with my wife, girls I’ve dated, my therapist.

I like to think that my photos convey a sense of… hm, class? Real world femulation (to borrow a phrase from the legendary Stana), if you will. I don’t THINK I give off a “I am en femme because I am turned on by it” vibe.

I recently tweeted a photo and it gained a TON of activity. Much, much, much more than usual. As of this writing the photo has 508 Likes, 37 comments, and 24 retweets.

I was very much taken aback. I am not trying to be humble but I was surprised to see this much interaction especially compared to the photo I tweeted before this one which had about a half of the “likes”.

The photo also kicked off a flurry of new followers and a ton of DMs (direct messages). I read my DMs and will sometimes look at the profiles of new followers and it seemed that many of my new followers were, well, chasers.

Chasers are typically men who say and think that they identify as straight and are very drawn to t-girls and crossdressers. I could be wrong but it seems like chasers fetishize girls like us.

Again, nothing wrong with a kink or a fetish (provided it does no harm and it’s consensual for all those involved).

It’s not uncommon to get emails/comments from chasers and for the most part they are pretty harmless. They are typically along the lines of compliments or (seemingly) well intentioned messages.

I’m sure some of these messages are “testing the waters” and seeing if I will respond in a way that may start a conversation that might lead to “something else”. It doesn’t, and it never will.

In my experience most guys back off. And I am thankful for that.

However, the above photo, and the photo below seemed to… unleash a LOT of VERY sexually driven comments.

These comments and messages were very detailed, very explicit, very sexual, very kinky, very… ugh. And they haven’t slowed down.

This was a little surprising to me. I mean, I like these pictures, I like these dresses and these heels, but they didn’t seem to be SEXUAL to me. They may be SEXY to some, but not SEXUAL (there is a difference).

When I post lingerie pictures I get (and expect) those type of comments (but it doesn’t make them acceptable or welcomed). It just… kind of comes with the territory, unfortunately. Thankfully it’s easy to mute and block people which prevents them from interacting with me or seeing my activity.

I know some men (and yes, not all men) will shoot their shot to anyone or anything. I guess what I am wondering (and it took long enough to get here) is if I am sending a message that I am not aware of or intending?

I don’t think I give off a “I WANT SEX” vibe.

…do I?

Love, Hannah

From a Distance

This is all going to sound overly sentimental, a little cliched, and naïve.

This… world can be inspiring and frustrating. It brings immense joy and frustration, peace and rage.

But it’s not the PLANET itself, it’s people.

I’ve been told the world doesn’t care about me. Well, not ME personally, but the planet Earth, the celestial body, this giant sphere (unless you’re one of those deranged flat-earthers) has no feelings, no opinions about humanity. It’s the people that we share this world with that matters.

This helps me recenter myself. The power, the influence on others is in our hands. Our decision and choices and actions. We can easily ruin or elevate someone’s life, their day, an everyday experience.

It’s easy to be kind. It takes hardly any effort at all.

Sometimes this feeling of frustration comes from seeing potential that is unfulfilled. Potential that is left aside by the people that can influence it. In the almost twenty years I’ve worked in education I’ve had countless interactions with students and some of them are incredibly talented and brilliant. The things they could do, the potential I see in them. My job is to help them see what opportunities await someone with their abilities. Their talents.

Sometimes that potential is neglected. This can be frustrating. To see someone who is incredibly talented, to be blessed with skills and a gift, but they just… don’t see it through. It’s easy to call them lazy and for some people this may be true but really, there could be a myriad of reasons why they are holding themselves back.

This can be frustrating to me. I know it’s not about ME, I get that. I also understand that there’s much I probably don’t know about a particular situation.

I’ve worked for several colleges over my career and I’ve seen unfunded programs, toxic departments, and horrible managers. I’ve seen financial investments that are short-sighted and unethical. It’s frustrating to see bonuses paid to the school’s president when my students are working with outdated technology in their biology classes. I’ve worked in departments where the person leading it is just… an asshole but no one does anything because that manager is friends with all the right people.

A team, a department, a campus could be so much more… there’s so much potential, but it’s being held back by greedy, uncaring, selfish, indifferent people.

Perhaps it’s naïve but so many problems seemed so… simple to fix… if the people who COULD fix it just stopped thinking about themselves. It’s frustrating to take a problem to my school’s leadership team but instead of a solution the situation dissolves to finger-pointing and blame and passing the problem to someone else until nothing gets fixed.

We each have potential. We have more when we work together.

The year is winding down. There’s not much more to do in remaining months of 2022. At my job a lot of what needs to be done is preparing for next year. In my personal life all the stress and action of moving is done. In some ways this is the most relaxed, most peace I’ve felt all year. It won’t last but for now it’s nice.

I spent most of last week traveling for my school. It was an exhausting week and this particular trip took more out of me than I had expected. I didn’t have much downtime. Usually I can decompress at my hotel or spend some time going to my favorite restaurants and book stores and lingerie shops but this trip was WORK WORK WORK.

I arrived at the airport for my flight home. I was already tired and the hour long line through security didn’t help. I was hungry and bitchy. After a little food my mood improved and for the first time that week I just… sat there. I thought about the last few days, the whirlwind of activity and meetings. The trip, in a way, was the last SUPER stressful thing of the year for me. My mind wandered and I thought about the year, both from a professional as well as a personal perspective.

It has been a good year.

But it’s not been without it’s frustrations, to put it mildly. I am not going to get into specifics but 2022 has seen so much in terms of legislation and action that hurt people. Whether it’s taking away a woman’s right to choose or… well, you know where I am going with all of this.

I boarded the plane and settled into my seat. I was next to a window and usually I read on my flight but my brain was a little tired so I just stared outside.

The plane lifted and I watched Denver get smaller. The buildings looked like models. The cars looked like toys. It wasn’t long until we were flying over endless miles of fields, lakes, and beauty. The sun was setting.

As we approached Minneapolis it was night and the lights of the city dotted the landscape. It was beautiful.

I’ve taken this flight a hundred times and I’ve seen this again and again but this time it just kind of hit different. It was probably just exhaustion that was making me more emotional and sentimental but I couldn’t help but think of the song “From a Distance”. I haven’t heard this song in decades but for a time you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing Bette Midler singing it.

From a distance, we all have enough
And no one is in need
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease
No hungry mouths to feed

I thought about this as I looked out the window. I saw acres of land where homes for the homeless could be built. I saw magnificent cities that are proof that we as humans can create.

I saw potential. I thought about potential. There’s room for all of us. We can do anything. If we can build skyscrapers and satellites and break the sound barrier and create vaccines and compose music that moves us… it’s easy to think that we can do everything. We can take care of each other. We all could have enough.

But we spend so much time and energy working against this. What could we accomplish if we didn’t waste time on laws about trans students playing sports? What kind of programs could we fund to help families if we weren’t giving billionaires tax breaks? What could we do if our leaders worked together? If we had a goal of accomplishing things that helped people?

The potential that we have. We could do it.

I know this is all an oversimplification. I know there’s going to be a lot of emails and comments blaming different political figures and parties. I have my opinions about all of that but for now I’m just thinking that from that airplane, from a distance, I just cannot comprehend what all this fighting’s for.

Love, Hannah