Unless you intentionally resist it, you can’t help but learn things. This happens by accident and it happens by DOING. You learn to walk in heels BY walking in heels. You learn how to do makeup BY doing makeup. And so on.
One minute on a bicycle will teach you more about cycling than years of reading about it.
Crossdressing and femme presentation has taught me sooooo much about so many things. These skills can be practical such as taking off your bra without first removing your top. They can also be introspective such as learning how this side of us can make us feel more vulnerable and, well, happy.
Somewhere along the way we will probably learn that this side of us isn’t going away. Even if we don’t quite understand why we do what we do (and we likely never will so it’s not worth wrestling with this question), at one point we will resign ourselves to knowing this isn’t a phase and it’s not something we will grow out of.
And for me, I didn’t WANT to grow out of it. I loved this side of me. I know for many of us we wish we could, well, stop or wake up one day and all thoughts of femme presentation would be gone. I get it. I really do.
But as much as I loved this side of me, I really did, well, try to stop. I mean, isn’t that the reason we purge? If I throw away my lingerie and just not buy more lingerie than I won’t wear lingerie even though I want to wear lingerie. That was my thinking.
It was… not unlike when I tried to stop drinking in the past. But I always found my way back to the liquor store and Victoria’s Secret.
And to be clear I didn’t want to stop because of guilt or any anxiety I felt. I knew from experience that this part of me doesn’t make relationships easier and brought a lot of stress into my partners’ lives. So, I wanted to… hm, remove this element of myself because I didn’t want to burden my partner with who I was and who I am.
Buuuuut through therapy I learned that I am not, by default, a burden and that who I am is worthy of love. My childhood was difficult and I thought I had to be perfect to be loved. Through therapy I accepted that it’s okay and normal and expected to be flawed.
Wow. Um. Anyway.
At one point I realized the futility of purging. This was in my mid-twenties. There were times I would throw away a box of stilettos and panties in the trash as I left my apartment to go to work but then stop at the mall on my way home to buy stilettos and panties.
What a waste.
But I stopped this cycle, this never ending circle. No longer purging, I saw my wardrobe grew, unsurprisingly.
At the time purging wasn’t only meant for me to, well, stop wearing what I wanted, but it was also motivated by the fear of someone finding me out.
I mean, I couldn’t think of a single reason my roommate would look in a shoebox that was waaaay in the back of my closet but I was still terrified and paranoid they would. And guess what was in that shoebox? Good guess.
I didn’t hide this side of me because I was ashamed of it. I couldn’t think of a reason why anyone would care what someone else wore. I mean, I knew this wasn’t common but I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. No, I kept this to myself because even at a young age I knew how easily this side of me could be misunderstood.
I didn’t want my mom or roommate or whomever to find my clothes and think the wrong thing. I wasn’t a fetishist, this wasn’t a kink, I wasn’t feeling confused. This side of me just always brought great joy and happiness and was, well, pure.
At the time I didn’t have the right words to explain who I was or why I was who I am. So, my clothes remained a secret. Little has changed. I’ll likely never find the right words to adequately explain all of this.
But goodness that doesn’t mean I didn’t try.
It sounds so… funny now that I am approaching fifty but in my mid-twenties I started to realize I wouldn’t live forever. I was healthy and I still am, but I was beginning to worry and accept that an accident could happen and, well, I could die.
I am going out on a limb here but I think many of us have considered what would happen to that shoebox (or storage locker) after we have breathed our last.
Speaking for myself, I was concerned about what this revelation would do to my mom. I didn’t want her, or anyone, to misunderstand who I was, who I am. The last thing I wanted anyone to think was that their kid, their sibling, their friend was a fetishist. I mean, not there’s anything wrong with that. But for me, this side of me brought happiness and I didn’t want that joy to be misunderstood as something that aroused me.
So, I wrote a note.
I knew it was inadequate. I knew I had to break down something so… simply and so complex at the same time into relatable and clear explanations. I just wanted to be understood. I even included a few resources, such as websites, books, and support groups that I thought my family could turn to if this discovery really upset them.
The note went into one of the large boxes in my closet and there it sat.
I remember feeling a sigh of relief that I did what I could to help someone understand who I was or who I wasn’t. But I also had a feeling of… acceptance. This is who I was and the never ending circle was, well, ended. I could purge every single day but I would always replace what I lost.
Why should I deny myself something that makes me happy? Something that is so personal. Something that didn’t have to impact anyone else?
Today there is no note. I suppose if there is anything that someone would turn to it’s this website. This is my autobiography, if you will. Long, rambling, contradictory, boring, shallow, overthought, and maybe, occasionally insightful and reflective. When I leave this world and my secret gets out and a friend wants to know who I was, who Hannah was, they could come here. It would take a looooong time to read it all but if anyone was going to “get” this side of me, as best as one could, it’s in these words and pictures.
I just regret that a friend will likely see their buddy in lingerie. Um, sorry.
2 thoughts on “Never Ending Circles”
Today’s offering touches on so many dimensions of the transgender experience, among other things, what we learn about ourselves, gain some measure of self acceptance, recognize the futility of purges, and consider what (if any explanation) we might leave behind once the inevitable happens.
Like all of us, I have wasted far too much time feeling embarrassment, guilt, and shame, and wasted far too much money replacing items following several futile purges. I can’t say that I have fully accepted myself even now, but I have come to understand that self-acceptance can ebb and flow. If I am at a low point, I have a secure spot where I can put my feminine things until the moment passes.
As a person of a certain age, I am well aware that the time will come when family members may be packing up my things, and more than half of my clothes, etc will be from the women’s department. I’m resigned to the fact that my somewhat ill kept secret will confirm a lot of what my family already knows or strongly suspects. So, be it.
This is a wonderful article about yourself that I really can Identify with , you’re so very honest .
Thank you !