I like hobbies.
I like having things that I enjoy doing which give me a little break from my day to day life. In my boy life it could be reading or taking my dog for a walk. I like when other people have hobbies, too. Career ambitions are one thing, but I am more curious about the small things people enjoy.
Do you like to paint? Collect baseball cards? Play an instrument? Bake? Geocatch?
It’s these things that make us whole and in my opinion, make people interesting.
I do think we are in a culture where everything has to be a side hustle. Turning your hobby into a business venture, I suppose. If you paint, try to sell your art. Collect baseball cards? Find rare ones and sell them. Play guitar? Send your demo to producers. Aspiring drag performer? Upload a video to YouTube and hope RuPaul sees it. And so on.
Some people are led to believe that their hobby has to lead to fame or profit. This is stupid. A hobby is something that makes you happy. Putting pressure on yourself to find a way to make your passion profitable might run the risk of losing the joy that it brings you.
Your hobby shouldn’t stress you out. You shouldn’t look at your canvas and feel anxious about how creating art isn’t making you famous or rich.
We need things in our lives that are completely free of outside pressure. Things that bring joy shouldn’t bring stress or a feeling of obligation.
To clarify, baking, painting, playing an instrument does indeed take work. Practice makes progress, after all. But the work should be satisfying. There should be an element of joy as you try and as you make mistakes and as you learn from them. It shouldn’t FEEL like work, even if it IS work.
Your hobby doesn’t HAVE to be profitable. While it’s true that sometimes one’s passion does indeed turn into a career. And how amazing would that be? Of course, it could lead to feeling like your hobby is, well, an obligation. All of sudden you’ve gone from uploading videos of you playing guitar to being a part of the the music business and working with managers and producers and the like. You spend more time talking to your lawyer than you do playing.
And then you need a new hobby, I suppose.
Crossdressing/femme presentation ISN’T a hobby. It’s who I am. BUT in some ways my gender identity is similar to one. Something that makes me very happy, something that I invest time and energy and money into. It’s not unlike investing a lot of money into a fancy fishing pole or what have you.
In some ways I feel that this side of me has created… hm, obligations in my life.
And that happens. Sometimes something that brings you happiness can lead to stress and responsibilities. It’s not unlike a hobby turning into a job. If you paint and someone commissions you for art, then you are obligated to create something… even if you don’t feel like painting.
When I started a website a million years ago, I knew that I would need to commit to it. I would need to put effort into what I posted and I would need to keep a consistent and regular schedule. I couldn’t just update once or twice a month.
This is not throwing shade at bloggers who don’t update regularly. This takes a lot of energy and time. It’s not easy.
When I started the MN T-Girls ten years ago I knew I was trying to create something important. It needed dedication. Having support groups for transwomen was important and if I wanted to start one I would need to commit to it. I couldn’t flake out on it.
To clarify, Hannah ISN’T an obligation. Her group, her website, her modeling, her writing, IS. I am fortunate to have the T-Girls, a website, and photo shoots but I knew that these would be things I would need to commit to.
(However, in a way, we need to nurture and acknowledge our femme side… we should consider ourselves, our gender identity/identities as important.)
As the years have flown by and as the things I commit to grow, I spend time en femme doing things that are indeed work. When Hannah started to leave the safety of the living room I would be at a mall or a museum. When I started the MN T-Girls, my outings en femme expanded to meeting up with the girls. When I started to model, my time en femme sometimes meant photo shoots.
And to be clear I love love love spending time with the T-Girls. I love photo shoots. I am so lucky to have a group like this. I am so lucky to have the opportunities that modeling gives. Photo shoots are so fun.
They are things I commit to. I can’t bail on meeting up with the T-Girls because I am feeling lazy. I can’t cancel a photo shoot for En Femme because I made other plans.
Backing out impacts other people. Canceling a T-Girl event would likely disappoint a girl that was looking forward to it. Canceling a photo shoot impacts my photographer financially AND leaves En Femme in the lurch.
I have canceled T-Girl events, to be clear. One time was for a blizzard and we took two short hiatuses during the early days of COVID.
I imagine there will be times in the future when I DO have to cancel something (an event or a photo shoot) for a sudden, personal reason but thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. As committed as I am to the T-Girls and my partnerships, my wife always comes first.
As ambitious and as busy as I am, I do feel lazy sometimes. I look forward to weekends that have minimum commitments. My day job can be stressful and exhausting and I am often working up to sixty hours a week. That’s a lot! It’s nice to look forward to a Saturday with nothing planned.
But Hannah might have plans.
And to be clear, they are always super fun plans. Meeting the T-Girls! Photo shoot! Shopping! Makeover!
These plans always have an element of work with them. Organizing a T-Girl event doesn’t just happen. Photo shoots take an insane amount of planning and coordinating. And! There’s a… process when it comes to femme presentation. This usually begins the night before when I shave. Everywhere.
The morning of a femme day usually starts early. The alarm yells at me and I quickly have to remember what I’m doing that day, whether it’s work or needing to shovel the driveway (again) or glam up for pictures. I’ll have a coffee while I respond to emails or scroll through Twitter and once the mug is empty, I usually sit for a moment.
And I admit sometimes that a lazy day sounds, well, nice.
I think about everything that the day is going to require… from cinching up my corset to getting dressed to going to my makeup appointment to the photo studio to the wardrobe changes…
And I am tired all over again.
BUT to be clear, I am also excited. I do not take my life for granted.
I know some of the things that I do are things that many of us dream about. They are the things that I used to dream about. And I still do. I do not want it to sound like I am complaining… because I am not.
Once I pour that second cup of coffee and turn on a little music and begin to get dressed the excitement is automatic. Again I think about everything that the day is going to require… from cinching up my corset to getting dressed to going to my makeup appointment to the photo studio to the wardrobe changes… and the thrill once again awakens. And that thrill is loud.
My femme side makes me so happy. Doing what I do makes me so happy. Although the things Hannah does, the things Hannah commits to, are indeed work, they have never taken away the absolute joy and bliss her life brings.
Some people are hesitant to monetize their hobby, their passion, lest they lose the joy they gain from it. Totally understandable. Again, there’s a difference between things that are work AND things that feel like work. Hannah’s life IS work but there’s an absolute happiness in it.
And to be clear, Hannah’s life is not profitable. Not in the slightest. The expenses related to a shoot, whether it’s my makeover, studio rental, and payment to my photographer all outweigh any paycheck I have ever received.
Thankfully all the energy and money and time that has gone into everything my life “requires” it has never even come close to feeling like work.
2 thoughts on “Crossdressing for Fun and Profit”
Few things in life can match finding and sharing activities that bring joy and fulfillment to yourself and others.
Interesting topic, as I sit here in my lovely dress! Yes I am a drummer in a 4 piece jazz band in male mode and just love playing so much. But when home alone (the only time I get to practice) I just love to put on a dress and play like there is no tomorrow. Well one of these days I will turn up to a gig in a dress just to see what happens, that day will be a long way off but fun just to think about doing it!