Skirting Around

I rarely wear skirts.


Because of this, my confidence is about zero when it comes to creating an outfit based around one.  In some ways I feel that skirts and a cute top are a little… well, maybe casual isn’t the right word, but I tend to wear dresses that stand out pretty much anywhere.  I am most comfortable in a dress and heels even if I am overdressed for whatever I am doing.  I just like to look my best and I think I do when I am wearing a beautiful dress.  The dresses I wear are a little more formal (if that’s the right word) compared to the casual dresses I see other girls wear out in the real world.  


Please know that when I say I stand out I am not saying I am the prettiest girl in the room, but I am a six foot t-girl in heels.  No matter what I wear I am not going to blend into the crowd.  


The few times I wear a skirt it’s because I saw an outfit on a mannequin and I thought it looked cute, so I simply bought what it was wearing and wore it.  And I am being 10000% serious.  I do wear skirts from En Femme because their separates make it very easier to coordinate a cute outfit.  But if left to my own devices I am pretty insecure about picking a top to go with a skirt.  When I see girls wearing skirts, no matter the outfit, it always looks cute.  But when I try something similar my insecurity hits a new level and I usually end up hating how I look.  For one thing I can never tell if I should be tucking in a top with a skirt.  I mean, I know it depends on the skirt and the top but I still feel pretty lost.  


But every once in a while a skirt jumps out at me and I want to wear it.  It could be a cute pleated skirt or a leather skirt and I suddenly become obsessed with it.  Whenever the weather gets warmer I am drawn to jean skirts.  I see girls matching them with simple t-shirts or cute blouses and they always, always look good, even when they are paid with sneakers.  The cute/casual/comfy look is just not a look I think I can pull off.  Besides, if an outfit doesn’t *need* heels I am zero interest in wearing it, lol.


Out shopping one day I saw a cute top that I thought would look good with a jean skirt.  The top was dressy enough that matching the outfit with heels wouldn’t look out of place.  So I bought it, along with a jean skirt.  It was an outfit that I thought would look cute on any girl, even me.  I tried it on when I got home and my confidence crashed.  BUT!  I expected that.  Trying on an outfit in boy mode almost always makes me look terrible.  It is a completely different outfit when I am wearing my thigh pads, my breast forms, and have my hair and makeup done.  The outfit fit, it worked, and I decided to wear it one my next time out en femme.


My next time out would line up with a photo shoot where I had to review some fishnet stockings.  I met up with Shannonlee and we took some pictures outside at a park in a couple of different outfits.  Since the jean skirt outfit looked very summery it was a perfect location for it.  She took some pictures of this ensemble and before I changed into a dress (yay!) I asked her to take a photo with my phone.  I wasn’t thrilled with how I looked, but I knew there’s a world of difference between an iPhone camera and professional equipment.  I didn’t let the picture crush my self-esteem (that much) and I moved on with the shoot.  


Of all the photos we took that day, I was most curious how this outfit would turn out.  I dissect every photo of myself and I look at what I am wearing, my makeup, and whether I look too boyish before I decide if I want to share the picture on my website.  If it’s a good picture then I want to show it off, obviously.  I clearly like doing that 🙂 but I am also willing to hear feedback on an outfit as to whether or not it works for me.  I am often insecure and I admit compliments do a lot to pull me out of a funk if I don’t think I look pretty in a picture.  I am shallow and honest enough to admit that getting Likes on a photo I post on Twitter does a lot for my self-esteem.  


That being said, here are the photos of the outfit.  I think they turned out okay but I am not sure it’s an outfit I will wear again (unless ya’ll think I should, lol).  

Love, Hannah

The Alluring Power of Fishnets

I was asked to review a pair of stockings from We Love Colors recently. I love doing reviews and it’s a fun reason to arrange for a photo shoot. I spent some time picking out which stockings I wanted to review and of course, I HAD to pick fishnets. 🙂

I don’t wear fishnet stockings that often, they are more for a special occasion or when a dress almost demands it. At first I was skeptical about what on Earth I could say about fishnets beside the fact they are irresistible and sexy. They project an alluring sexiness and confidence that is pretty much unmatched when it comes to stockings. They are not for the timid.

So what makes We Love Colors stockings so different? The pair I chose were the Wide Mesh Fishnets and my first impression was the quality. Most fishnets FEEL cheap because they are cheap. They have a tendency to snag and tear more than any other types of stockings but these felt more durable. I wasn’t afraid of them tearing when I put them on.

Fishnets demand attention, they asked to be seen. They are not subtle. The color of the stockings seemed more black, seemed darker than other fishnets I’ve worn. These stockings, like everything else We Love Colors makes, were hand-dyed and I think it makes the black of the fishnets really pop.

We Love Colors is inclusive and transfriendly and make wonderful stockings. I absolutely loved how these fishnets completed this look and I can’t wait to pair them with my new corset dress at my next photo shoot.

Thank you to We Love Colors for these sexy stockings.

Love, Hannah

The Future is Inclusive

These are the words at the top of page for Zhe, a new line of lingerie for transwomen.

Zhe was founded by designer Karyn Elizabeth and, according to their website, is a lingerie brand designed with the fit and function needs of the TGNC community. Our lingerie was designed to address the specific needs of transgender women and femme identifying people.

I was given the privilege of reviewing Zhe’s Wicked panty recently. My first impression of opening the package was saying “cute, cute, CUTE” out loud. The front of the panty is deigned to minimize our feminine flaw, but it’s not the same as a gaff. A gaff helps girls like us TUCK, this amazing panty compresses and minimizes our frontal anatomy thanks to the multi layer mesh lining. I wore them all day and never, ever had to adjust. They were comfortable and effective, if you know what I mean. 😉 The back is super cute with a beautiful and playful lacy pattern. I couldn’t stop checking myself out, lol.

The lingerie was, from their website, designed with a wider gusset and also include a supportive multi layered front panel. Our medical grade power mesh is soft and luxurious, while also having a high spandex content to help with smoothing and support where necessary.

Is this panty a substitute for tucking? Yes, if you find tucking uncomfortable. But since the gusset is wide than most panties I was able to tuck comfortably however I think the mesh is incredibly effective when it come to smooooothing and suppressing. Bottom line is I don’t think I need to tuck when I am wearing this.

This is a cute panty and like the best lingerie, it is sexy and practical and I am excited that Zhe exists, and I am excited to have this pair in my wardrobe.

Thank you to Zhe for being a supportive resource for girls like us, and for providing this cute panty for review.

Love, Hannah

The Complicated Legacy of Crossdressing

It’s amazing how many words are available for girls like us.  But it can be overwhelming when it comes to choosing how to identify.  Some crossdressers may feel that all of THIS is more about clothes, but they may not feel ready to identify as transgender… yet.  What is the difference between non-binary and being gender fluid?  Does any of this matter?  


I am thankful that some words are slowly making their way out of our lexicon.  Words like transvestite and transsexual have been outdated for a while and we are thankfully seeing them less often.  Words and their meanings change and evolve over time and I think the term ‘transgender’ has expanded to become more inclusive than it was perceived twenty years ago.  It used to predominately mean transitioning but identifying as such no longer necessarily means that.  I think many of us have our own personal definition of this word, I mean, I certainly do.  Some of us are scared of the word, some of us might not feel “trans enough”.  I mean, I get that, I was there at one point, too.  


As words such as non-binary and gender non-conforming (and the increase of people using them/they pronouns) become more familiar to those outside of our community, more people are becoming more accustomed to them.  Ten years ago identifying as non-binary would have resulted in confused stares, but today?  Well, probably still confused stares but at least it’s likely someone has at least heard the term before.  

I like non-binary.  I like gender fluid.  I think they are more inclusive and help break down a lot of the barriers and expectations (and limits) of BOY and GIRL.  I think more people would identify as non-binary if they had a better understanding of what the word actually means.  I’m non-binary (of course) but I feel bi-gender is a more accurate way to identify (as I am presenting as boy OR girl). 

 
The very first word I identified with was ‘crossdresser’.  The way my friend in middle school offhandedly described this word to me was a man who wore women’s clothes.  And goodness if that didn’t describe me when I was younger.  I loved the word, mainly because I was comforted by the fact that there were so many others like myself that we had a word to call ourselves.  I carried this word in my heart for years.


When I was in college the internet was a new thing.  On my very first day of my freshman year I went to the library, plugged in the modem and searched the word ‘crossdresser’.  I wanted to see what I could find.  I wanted to get to know (but not meet) other crossdressers and read about their experiences and their lives.  I was… surprised and taken aback by how… well, sexual the results were. 

Most of the search results came back portraying crossdressing as a fetish.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a fetish or a kink, but this is who I was, not something I did to arouse myself.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but the word ‘crossdresser’ became forever linked in my mind to something sexual.


As I got older I realized that the term was associated with fetishism more than I thought.  Crossdressers were often portrayed as deviants and perverts in movies and books.  It was always, always, always about sex.  Of course this would shape how others outside of our community would think of the word ‘crossdresser’.  It was frustrating, to say the least.  What I wore had nothing to do with sex, and eventually I started to wonder if this WAS a fetish since everyone else seemed to think it was.  But I knew in my heart that it wasn’t.  It was intimate, absolutely, but not a kink.  


We are forever cycling through thoughts of who we are and why we are.  Am I a crossdresser?  Am I transgender?  Am I non-binary?  For me, it’s yes to all of it.  I wore and wear “girl clothes” because I am non-binary.  I don’t think clothes are for boys OR girls OR any other gender.  They are just clothes and I love wearing clothes that are “for girls”.  I don’t feel limited to what I can wear, or what I do wear.  There are no men’s or women’s departments in stores.  I shop wherever I need or want to.  It’s true certain clothes make me feel a certain way.  Let’s face it, it’s more fun to wear a dress than it is to wear a shirt and tie, but I’ll wear what I want.  I mean, not really.  I want to wear a dress to the office but I know I won’t, but it would be fun, wouldn’t it?


Our collective thinking in society is evolving (slowly and kicking and screaming along the way) in the way we think about gender.  However the word ‘crossdresser’ still seems to be associated with sex.  Given that there are so many ways to identify these days, is it time to “retire” the word?  I don’t see the stigma of the word going away anytime soon and I think it will be a loooooooong time until people stop thinking of the word as a fetish, so perhaps it’s time to move on.


What do you think?


Love, Hannah

(thanks to my friend Marci for inspiring this post)

Ask Hannah!

Do you read stories from sites like Fictionmania? I love it! I so admire that you can go out dressed like you do. Have you ever done hormones or thought of doing this?


Fictionmania is a website which features fictional stories focusing on the transgender community.  I don’t read t-girl fiction anymore even though I really love reading.  In my late teens I sought out ANYTHING that had to do with other crossdressers, including magazines and fiction anthologies about the LGBTQ+ community.  Does anyone remember the magazines Transformation or Girl Talk?


I used to like reading stories about girls like me, even though they were fictional.  Most of these stories followed the same premises, usually a young man who started to crossdress at the urging of a family member.  As a t-girl I love reading about clothes and a lot of these fictional stories really went into detail about what the characters were wearing.  I would live a little vicariously through the characters as they went shopping and tried on beautiful dresses.  A lot of the stories, however, would eventually venture into characters having sex and that’s when I stopped reading.  This side of me was never a fetish for me and there was no connection to me wanting to dress like a girl and wanting to have sex.  


Hormones, surgery, t-blockers… none of that feels right for me.  I enjoy both of my genders and have no desire to pick one.  I love having options.

Love, Hannah

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

Stay Positive

This side of us is beautiful.  


This side of us is a refuge from the rest of the world sometimes.  At least it is for me.  When my boy life is getting stressful there’s nothing like scheduling a makeover, wearing a pretty dress, and spending the day wandering around a mall or a museum or siting in a cafe.  Being en femme helps me slow down, reflect on life, and find some peace.  It’s a lovely break from my boy life.  A little staycation, in a way.


When we are en femme we are simply living our best life.  We are experiencing the same world that our boy selves live in but it’s a different experience.  The mundane, the typical, the everyday becomes an adventure.  We have a gender identity that we need to acknowledge, that we need to care for.  It’s a little work sometimes but goodness it’s worth it.  Not to belabor the metaphor, but it’s rather like planning a short vacation.  Yes, it takes some planning and it can be expensive but god it’s worth it.  We need it.  We come back to our boy life refreshed, happy, and have likely gained a new perspective on whatever was causing us stress and anxiety in our boy life.


We want the world to love us when we are en femme.  We love this side of ourselves, we love the clothes, the heels, the makeup, the EVERYTHING.  We want the world to smile back at us as we wander through it, we want the cashiers, the baristas, the salesclerks to be just as happy to see a t-girl in the real world as we are to be in.  BUT!  We know that’s not realistic and we have accepted that.  Most people will be indifferent to us, but we’ll take that. 


We live our lives for ourselves.  We dress for ourselves.  We spend $80 on a makeover for ourselves.  We practiced strutting in stilettos for ourselves.  When we are en femme we are in our own little lives, our own beautiful lives.  We don’t want to be bothered, harassed, pointed at, or anything.  Just… just leave us alone if you can’t be kind.  Don’t burst my little bubble or dull my sparkle.  When someone is cruel they are going out of their way to do so.  And why would anyone spend their energy to be mean?  Why have that hate in your heart?


Not only do we want the other mall goers to leave us alone, we want the WORLD to leave us alone.  It’s disheartening to see our community as a political topic.  As an “issue” that divides people.  To be controversial.  We just want to use the ladies room in peace, not to be a hot button political issue about who can use which restroom.  But here we are. 

 
T-girls have always existed.  We have always been living our lives and doing what we have been doing for years and years and years.  I don’t recall seeing stories on the news when I was growing up about girls like us and the controversies that we see today.  But we existed then just like we will always exist, it’s just very… popular to use us as a political weapon.


And, well, it sucks.  It’s frustrating to have this beautiful side of us, this essential side of us to cause so much hate and fear.  It’s really not fair or right.  We just want to live our lives in peace, we do not want this.  Maybe it’s because our expectations are low (or perhaps we are cynical) but we know we can’t ask the world to love us, but it’s not toooooo much to ask to be left alone.  Keep laws that hurt us off the ballot, stop letting medical professionals discriminate us, stop preventing transgender kids from playing a silly sport.  Stop making us a controversy.  


Again, perhaps I am being cynical but I know that we won’t be left alone in my lifetime.  And I have accepted that.  Perhaps I shouldn’t accept that, though.  Maybe I need to do more for our community beyond just wandering around a mall in a dress.  But… that’s kind of what I think we want.  To be able to wander around a mall in peace, without controversy.  To be able to live our lives in peace, to spend the day in a beautiful gender without anyone caring.  To use the ladies room without worrying we’ll end up on the news or in jail.  


It’s a shame, really, that a beautiful part of us is used as a weapon.  We never set out to be a controversy, we just want to get a coffee or dine out or shop for a skirt IN a skirt.  Life is rarely easy, sometimes it’s a fight, but this side of us shouldn’t be a war with anyone.  


Stay positive girls.  


Love, Hannah

Glitter and Doom

I feel as if my anxiety is really high lately.  Work has been stressful, a family member is in the hospital, and, well, the whole pandemic.


Please know that I am not trivializing anything.  


It’s hard to cope and get through life (and through the day) when it feels like everywhere you turn there’s something happening.  Life has a way of backing you into a corner sometimes.  And then life pins your arms back and takes a few more shots at you.  It gets a little traumatic and it gets a little old.


Also!  Please know that I’m fine, and everything is fine.  I mean, it’s NOT (you know, the pandemic, work, family) but this isn’t a cry for help or anything.  I am not on the verge of doing something or anything drastic.  Life just feels overwhelming at the moment.


I am not the type of person who can’t get out of bed in the morning and I just thank God that I quit drinking because otherwise…. well, it’d be bad I think.  I don’t use drugs or have the common bad habits that others use to cope.  And I am not here to shame anyone for doing what they need to deal with… everything.  I do think there’s a lot of unaddressed trauma many of us are living with because of the pandemic, and you can’t really come to terms with trauma until what’s causing the trauma passes.  But what I’m curious about is how does one know what’s really going on?


What I mean is that things impact people in different ways.  Anxiety causes me to pretty much shut down.  I am twitchy and jumping and pretty much a nervous wreck.  I appear (and I am, so there’s that) distracted and lost (and REALLY lost) in thought.  The pandemic is getting bad (again) and is echoing what happened last year (which I’m probably still dealing with).  


Our brains (thankfully) have a survival mode.  We luckily switch over to dealing with the immediate threat in order to survive it and once the danger passes, we can then process it and heal from it if we need to.  


Sometimes I feel normal and I feel good.  Despite what is happening in the world or at work I can sometimes shake it off and be positive and upbeat.  These days it is feeling impossible to do so.  I know I’m being overly dramatic but it feels like there’s a dark cloud over everything.  


But as I said before, I’m curious about what is really happening.  Is it just a bad couple of weeks/months?  Is my depression/anxiety getting worse and I need to have my meds tweaked?  Is there anything unaddressed trauma that needs to be addressed?  


I remind myself (and this does help) that my life is really, really good.  I told myself the other evening that if I can slide into bed wearing a nightgown and fall asleep reading a good book, well, how bad was the day, really?  One of my, well, I suppose it’s a coping mechanism is giving myself a reward.  I’ll tell myself that if I can get through SOMETHING (such as a stressful work project) then I will treat myself to a new dress or something.  And it works!  It gives me something to look forward to, something to fight for.  My last “reward” was a red latex dress that I can’t wait to wear.  😉


I wonder how common this is for girls like us.  I think treating ourselves is pretty common, but for girls like us we can treat our femme selves.  Is there anything you do for her that helps you get through a difficult time?

Love, Hannah

Lingerie for Men – Does it Matter?

It used to be that buying lingerie was always a complete shot in the dark.  I would see something cute and have no idea if it would fit or not.  But as I’ve said in the past, crossdressing takes time, money, and patience.  As time passed I became smarter about my body and took my measurements.

I began to understandthe differences between a medium for cismen and a medium for ciswomen.  I learned to buy lingerie for the size I was, not the size I thought I was (or wanted to be).  I also became smarter about checking things like the gusset to make sure it was, well, wide enough to cover my, ah, feminine flaw.


I heart lingerie so much.  It was the first femme clothing I was enthralled with all those years ago.  Even today it’s a way I can be connected to my femme side when I am in male mode.  Wearing a matching bra and panty (and garter belt and stockings!) under a suit is a wonderful way to get through a MAN DAY, if you follow. 


Lingerie can be expensive and usually can’t be tried on (or returned) so it can usually be a risk to drop money on a cute set and praying that it fits.  Luckily there are options for a girl like us.  Google “lingerie for men” and you’ll find many options from Xdress, Homme Mystere, Moot, Glamour Boutique, The Breast Form Store, and En Femme.

All of these businesses sell lingerie for girls like us.  Wider gussets, a larger selection of sizes, and bras that have pocket inserts for breast forms.  Twenty year old me would have been blown away by the options we have now.  I still am.


Some might say that lingerie designed to fit men misses the point.  And yes, I can see that and to some degree I agree.  But at the end of the day (actually, at the start of the day), I want panties that fit.  There’s nothing really more frustrating or uncomfortable than, well, falling out of your panties as you go through your day.  Most of the panties I wear are “for girls” but I have quite a bit of panties and lingerie made for girls (and boys) like us.  

Panties from Moot Lingerie. Does it matter that they are “for men”?


“Panties for men” tend to be more expensive, of course.  When I shopped at Victoria’s Secret it was so easy to add to my panty drawer(s) with their 5 panties for $30 sales.  Shopping at Xdress or any of the other designers I mentioned can be a bit of a sticker shock if you are used to shopping at the mall for panties.  Bear in mind that these designers are very much catering to a niche market, are independent businesses, and don’t have the ability to compete with Victoria’s Secret in terms of volume or price point.  I believe in supporting small businesses and I happily order (and wear) lingerie from independent designers.  Another reason I like shopping with designers who make lingerie for girls like us is that, well, it’s super cute and super femme.  The designers seem to know what I want not only in terms of practicality but also in terms of style and look.  It’s easy to find panties from Homme Mystere with bows and lace on them.  

What do you think? Do you care if you lingerie is designed for someone like us?

Love, Hannah


Two Sides, One Coin

The unique… experience when it comes to having two gender identities is that one will (likely) have two gender presentations.  The tricky thing is that both of my gender identities and presentations will forever be linked to each other.  What I do for one gender affects the others.  I shave Hannah’s legs, but that means the boy’s legs are shaved.  Same with my eyebrows and anything else I do.  I don’t do anything for Hannah that I do want done for the boy, if that makes sense.  Regardless of the gender I am presenting as, I hate body hair so smooth legs (and anything else) is definitely okay.  


I think I am going to have a hard time getting older.  I don’t look *that* much different in my forties than I did when I was in my thirties.  In my boy life I am aging, well, on pace.  I have friends who seemingly went gray overnight (if they have hair at all).  I didn’t start presenting completely en femme until about ten years ago.  Hannah doesn’t look *that” much different these days than when she first strutted her way into the world.  But I do think about the future.  There will come a time when I can’t walk in stilettos anymore, or when a skirt that’s too short simply becomes, well, inappropriate.  There may come a time when I wear a wig with a little gray in it, or have a style that’s a better look for someone older.  


Of course, age is a number and I don’t HAVE to do anything or wear anything (or not wear anything) and if I can still pull off a leather dress in fifteen years, well, who’s going to stop me?  
I can’t stop aging.  Today I can accept that, but in the future I may not be able to accept that as gracefully.


I suppose that’s why I try to do what I want now because I know this time of my life is short (or at least it will seem that way as I get older).


About six years ago I quit drinking and lost a lot of weight.  LIke, a lot of weight.  Even today it’s one of my biggest accomplishments.  I looked great in a size 12 dress and since my gender presentations live in the same body, I looked (and felt) better in male mode.  Everything was great.  


And then COVID hit.  Gyms were closed and things were/are stressful.  I wasn’t working out as much and I let my diet slip a bit.  Inevitably I gained weight.  Some of the weight gain is muscle, however.  I started to run outside since going to the gym wasn’t an option and I worked my legs more than I usually did.  But the scale doesn’t lie.  


And yes, like age, weight is, one some level, just a number.  But the weight gain is noticeable.  It takes a little more effort to zip up some dresses compared to before.  My face is a little rounder. 

 
I would be lying if I said this weight gain didn’t break my heart a little.  I worked so hard to quit drinking and lose the weight in the first place, so seeing some of it return is really, really hard for me.  I hate the scale, and I hate the mirror.  I am frustrated with myself and I wish I had taken better care of myself.  But I am trying to remain positive.  If I lost it once, I can lose it again.  Unfortunately I don’t have the “magic bullet” of quitting drinking like I did before.  I don’t have ONE BIG dietary habit that I can cut out to help.  It’s just going to take more working out and better eating.  Basically the weight loss will be slooooower and harder.  And likely more frustrating.


But I can do it.  As I said earlier, what my body looks like impacts both of my gender identities and it sounds really shallow but looking great in a dress is motivation for me.  


Anyway I got to thinking about this (well, I’ve been thinking about all this for a few months now) but I decided to write about this after seeing some shots from a photo shoot I did last week.  I was asked to review some stockings (review going soon) so I scheduled a shoot with Shannonlee to take some pictures.  When I am asked to review something other than a dress (such as heels, breastforms, or a wig) I select an outfit around that.  These particular stockings were fishnets(!) and it takes a certain outfit and heels to really match the sexiness of them.  I had been looking for an excuse to wear my new vegan leather dress from En Femme for a while and I thought the dress and fishnets would look *amazing* together.  Paired with red patent stilettos from The Breast Form Store my look was fire, as the kids say.


And I think I pulled it off.  But I have to admit I cringed a bit when I saw the preview pictures.  Leather isn’t forgiving, especially vegan leather which has almost a latex vibe to it.  I just look… bigger than I would like, than I am used to.  My corset helps but goodness it’s working hard.  


This post isn’t to gain encouragement or sympathy or kind comments.  Honest.  I think it’s easier for me to write about some feelings than talk about them.  It’s easier to share some feelings with the internet than it is to bare one’s soul to one person.  The point (if there is one) to this post (and my website) is to discuss things that are unique to girls like us.  A lot of us have two gender identities and I think we can all relate to each other in terms of how we feel and what we think about.  Age, body changes, weight… anything that affects our bodies impacts our gender presentations.  In male mode, I shrug off the weight gain.  But Hannah has a very hard time with it.  My boy clothes still fit fine, but goodness my corset needs to be cinched TIGHT for certain dresses.  

Anyway, time for spin class.

Love, Hannah

Man in a Dress

Sometimes I feel like a man in a dress.


And it’s almost always because that’s how I feel like I look.


It takes an insane amount of courage (among other things) to go out into the real world en femme.  To leave your home in full makeup and a cute dress takes an amount of bravery that is incomparable.  If you’ve ever been out in the real world, then congratulations.  I know how hard it was.  If you aren’t there yet, then don’t be hard on yourself.  It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  


What I find difficult is leaving the house when I am still partially in male mode.  At least when it comes to my face.  If I am doing a photo shoot I will always book a makeup appointment for the day.  On days like this I spend the morning getting my corset tightly cinched, my forms and pads in place, and getting dressed.  I then leave the house and make my way to my appointment.  I try to plan my morning so I don’t have to run any errands before my appointment, such as getting gas because I hate, hate, hate doing anything before my makeup is done.  But sometimes it’s unavoidable.  This past weekend I was on my way to my appointment when I had to use the ladies room.  I didn’t think I could wait until I got to my appointment so I decided to run into a Starbucks.

  
I got there, parked, and sat in my car for a few minutes working up the courage to go in.  At the time I thought looked cute (well, my outfit was cute) but my face was MALE.  Like, full on MALE.  I look SO MALE before I have my makeup done.  Once my makeup is done and my face is contoured, my foundation is set, and my eyes have more drama than a soap opera I feel and look more femme.  But before that my reflection shows a middle age man wearing a long black wig.  It’s devastating, it’s heartbreaking, it’s… it’s a lot of things.


Please bear in mind that I don’t feel that way about my reflection when I am in boy mode.  I don’t hate how I look in boy mode, not at all.  But I don’t want to look like a boy when I am en femme.
It takes a lot of courage for me to go anywhere public when I am en femme before a makeup appointment.  But I had to.  I put on a mask to hide half of my face and strutted into Starbucks.  The strut was a lie, I didn’t feel like strutting but sometimes you have to fake confidence.  I popped into the restroom, cringed at my reflection, and bought a bottled water on my way out.  


And that was that.


I went to my appointment, got my face done and was feeling about 500% cuter.  Now that my makeup was done I could properly assess how I looked.  And I felt like a man in a dress.  Or more accurately, a man in a skirt.  I rarely wear skirts.  When I am en femme I am almost always rocking (or trying to rock) a cute (or sexy) dress.  I feel confident, I feel beautiful in a dress.  But a blouse/skirt combination?  I rarely feel cute.  I felt the top I was wearing made me look too mannish.  It wasn’t really cut in a flattering, feminine way despite the small ruffles adorning it.  I felt like I was wearing a simple tank top, which is essentially what it was.  In my head the outfit looked cute but on me?  Ehhhh.  Despite my stilettos, the skirt, fake eyelashes, my amazingly realistic breast forms, and my bright red lipstick, I felt like a man in a skirt.  


Isn’t that funny (and heartbreaking)?  My makeup, my heels, my skirt… almost none of that mattered compared to how I FELT.  Shannonlee said I looked cute.  I posted the outfit on Twitter to get some feedback and I had some nice comments.  But none of that mattered.  I didn’t feel cute and nothing would change that.  


This feeling lingered with me for the entire day.  No matter what I wore, no matter how cute or sexy or feminine my outfits were I couldn’t shake the feeling.  People can be cruel to our community, but we can be cruel to ourselves. 

Dysphoria is a real thing and it can hit us from out of nowhere.  Most of the time I like how I look or at least my confidence is high enough to overpower any negative thought or comment but no one is immune to the seemingly out of the blue voice of not being cute enough.


So the question is what do we do when this happens?  You kind of have to power through it.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Just understand that these negative thoughts will happen and will always catch you off guard.  Sometimes I can bounce back from these thoughts and feeling.  When I changed from the aforementioned outfit into a super femme dress, well, I felt cuter, although the dysphoria was still lingering.  Sometimes these thoughts can’t be shaken off when we are en femme.  And that, well, that sucks.  You look forward to getting dolled up and spending the day en femme and WHAM!  Dysphoria.  It’s like looking forward to a road trip and getting four flat tires.  Or the heel of a stiletto snapping off in midstride. 

 
It’s hard not to, but you really can’t let it dull your sparkle.  If you can’t bounce back from this while you are en femme, it’s okay.  Dysphoria doesn’t really MEAN anything.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful or your outfit isn’t cute.  It’s just a small, cruel voice or a negative emotion that we are paying attention to when we shouldn’t.  We can choose what or who we listen to, but I do know (I promise) that this is easier said than done.  If these thoughts, this voice lingers for the day until you go back to male mode, don’t let it discourage you from your next time out en femme.  More than likely you will feel cuter the next time.  You can almost always chalk up dysphoria to just having an off day.  I mean, we have bad days at work but we still show up the next day, right?  


But I do get this is all easier in thought than it is in practice.  I felt not-cute for most of the day, and that emotion stuck with me even after I went back into boy mode.  Shannonlee sent over some test shots later that evening and the photos looked a zillion times better than dysphoria said they were.  My thoughts weren’t really based on anything tangible or anything real.  I was having an off morning, not every outfit looks cute on everyone.  


I feel better about the day now than I ever did during the day itself.  My confidence took a severe and lengthy beating that day.  I was feeling frustrated by, well, everything that day until I realized (much later) that although the outfit probably wasn’t right for me, most of my negativity was all coming from dysphoria.    


And like having bad day at work, we wake up the next morning and we tell ourselves that today will be better.  And it almost always is.   

Love, Hannah