Ask Hannah!

Have you thought about reposting some of your posts from your previous blog for your current website? They were fun, insightful, and likely a number of your current readers have never seen any of them. And those of us who saw them the first time (well, at a minimum, me) would love to see them from time to time.

Thanks! I’m a big fan and blogs like your previous website helped get me out the door and made my lifelong dream come true.

Thank you for your kind words!  I’m proud of you stepping out the door and I am honored to have played even a tiny part of that.

I’ve had this website for a little almost four years now, and before this one, I had another titled ‘Hannah’s Diary’ which featured daily pieces of art focusing on little observations about who we are.  This was the first:

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The observations included everything from the struggles of finding heels to fit, the joy of looking pretty, the frustrations this side of us can bring, and everything in-between.  As time passed, the blog expanded to include more activism, fashion, and news, both personal and about our community.

I got to a point where the website seemed too… unfocused.  Almost as if the blog wasn’t sure what it should be.  I was also feeling a little burnt out from doing daily posts for four years, and the artwork took a lot of time.  I started to feel as if the observations were starting to repeat themselves and I wasn’t saying anything new.  It got harder to them.  I felt that instead of letting the quality of the blog as a whole deteriorate, it might be a good time to close the book on the website and start a new one.

This was one of the last drawings I did for the site:

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After a few months of this website being live, I locked access to the old one.  I did this for a few reasons, but one of the main reasons was because I felt almost as if I shared too much and too much of my personal male life was on there.  Of course, many of us are wary of anything that could connect our two genders to each other, so I thought it would be safest to restrict access altogether instead of going through four years of posts and editing it.

I am honored that these posts had an impact on others.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

I would like you to comment on what books you have read and would recommend to others on the CD-TG experience…
As for me, I just did a re-purchase and re-read of ”My Husband Betty”, as written by her wife, Helen Boyd (pseudonym).

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One of the first books that I read about girls like us was “The Lazy Crossdresser” Charlie Jane Anders.  It’s been years since I read this but I remember it had a lot of good information about makeup and presenting femme.  It was light, funny, and pretty breezy and discussed gender identity without diving too deep into the why or the deep soul searching and psychological aspect of this side of us.

 

 

614EoVmPFqL“My Husband Betty” by Helen Boyd is a very important book to read if you have a significant other.  Ms. Boyd does not pull any punches or sugarcoats anything when to comes to being married to someone like us.  She talks about the times when she went out with her spouse while they were en femme, her first reactions to seeing them in a dress…  It’s honest and sometimes hard to read as her feelings and thoughts are very similar to what our own significant others go through when it comes to girls like us.  Knowing what she’s feeling makes us remember that our partners likely feel this way too.

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“Yes, You are Trans Enough” by Mia Violet is wonderfully honest and personal.  For a long time I was reluctant to identify as transgender as I felt that since I wasn’t going to transition that I wasn’t, in her words, trans enough.  But I am, and we all are, if we chose to identify that way.  This book is a reminder that there are no benchmarks we need to meet, no criteria or qualifications necessary for us to identify however we feel is right.

 

JKP Books publishes a lot of wonderful books when it comes to gender.  I would recommend anyone checking them out.

What’s on your bookshelf?

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

My hair is thinning on top and back. I’m trying to decide if a wig topper would blend in with my shoulder length blonde hair.  Will it be more comfortable in the hot summer?  With a large head, wig selections is limited, so who will be helpful to match color without buying things like test color kits?

A wig topper is designed to conceal hair loss at various stages and different areas of the scalp.  Some toppers offer more coverage on the top, while others cover the sides or back of the head. A topper is also ideal for adding volume to thin or fine hair.

Personally I do not find that wearing a wig in the summer is uncomfortably hot.  The wigs I wear are a human hair/synthetic blend, so perhaps that has something to do with it.  But if wearing a wig feels uncomfortable in the heat, I would imagine a wig topper would be more comfortable.

A wig topper might be a perfect option for you and will probably be a little trickier than purchasing a full wig, especially if you want it to match your hair color and your hair style (curly, straight, wavy, etc).  Depending on your level of comfort, it would probably be easiest if you visited a wig store yourself and seeing what the options are and what they recommend.

If you are not comfortable doing this, then I am afraid your only options will be trial and error (which could be expensive) or purchasing a test color kit.  Rest assured that wig stores are very much accustomed to girls like us.  You aren’t the first, the only, or the last member of our community to ask for help.

The reality is that building your wardrobe, discovering your look, learning makeup, finding heels that we can walk in, takes money, time, patience, and tenacity.  There’s value in investing in ourselves, whether it is putting in the time to learn a new language or spending money to find the wig that suits us best.

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

This might be a weird question, but I just passed the anniversary of my biggest milestone, so I wanted to ask you:

In your “journey” (I know you hate that word) as Hannah, what would you say have been your biggest milestones? I have a few that I would happily share in a comment, but I’ll keep this brief… so what are some of the key moments that have defined who Hannah is today?

Congratulations on your milestone!

This is a really good question.  Thank you for asking it.

I thought about this for a while and I think this comes down to four key instances.

If I look at who I am as a journey (and yes, I totes hate that word but dammit if it isn’t an appropriate one), then my journey started when I was very young with trying on my mom’s heels, being fascinated my lipstick, dying to try on lingerie, buying my first dress, and so on.  I remember progressively going from underdressing to sleeping in a nightgown to learning makeup.  All this time I was discovering who I am, and how I wanted to look and what felt right.  As we learn makeup and build our wardrobe, we learn what we like and what looks suit us.  In many ways, my first real wig was the end of one part of my journey but also the start of another.  It was the final part of moving on from identifying as a crossdresser to realizing that all of this was more than just clothes.  It was about identity.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I should have realized at that moment that I was transgender.

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I remember looking into the mirror for who knows how long the first time I was in full makeup, a dress, and a wig.  I didn’t look like me, and I was a far cry for what I look l like today, but at that moment I had never felt more beautiful.  I realized I had wanted to look and feel beautiful for my entire life.  It was one of the happiest moments I can remember.

The second instance was about a year after that.  After dressing fully at home and plucking up the courage to go out at night, I was ready to step out during the day.  I planned a day where I would wake up early and go into Minneapolis to buy a coffee at a cafe.  That was the plan.  That was the dream.  It was something I did almost every day in male mode, but this, this was something new.

This was significant in many ways as it was the first time I was interacting with the “real world”.  I had been out at night a few times to a LGBTQ+ nightclub, but this was my first time at a normal, everyday place and being seen by others outside of the LGBTQ+ community.  I had fears of people laughing at me, pointing at me, being harassed, and worse.  Thankfully nothing like that happened.  I was so ecstatic from the non-eventful reactions from others that my confidence shot way up.  No one cared.  Sure, they knew I was trans, but I don’t think anyone really gave me a second thought and if they did, I didn’t notice.  Although I had planned on only getting a coffee, I ended up going to two malls, a few other stores, and out to lunch.  This experience gave me the confidence to go out again.  And again.  And again.

The third milestone was the first meeting of the MN T-Girls.  I had been attending a trans support group off and on for a few months and it was a wonderful group with incredible girls.  But I didn’t really fit in.  The group was mainly attended by girls who were or had transitioned and many of the meetings involved conversations about hormones, surgery, and the legal process of legally changing your name and gender.  It was an important and necessary group for our community and I am glad it existed.

But my journey (ugh) was something different.  I had no plan or wish to live full-time or transition.  The group wasn’t for me.  So at the suggestion of my wife, I started to create a group for girls like me who weren’t necessarily looking to transition, and girls who just wanted to make friends and hit the mall.  Yes, it’s a little shallow, but my thought was that I can’t be the only one who wants to look cute and wander around a mall looking for heels.

Thankfully and surprisingly, I learned that I wasn’t.  Not by a long shot.  Today the group has close to 300 members and has been going strong (well, on hiatus under the shelter-in-place orders) for over six years.  But the group had it’s humble beginnings.  Our first meeting was in a coffee shop with about a half-dozen attendees.  Having others show up was huge.  If they hadn’t, I probably would have ended it right there.   But that day was the start of something I am very proud of.

Finally, modeling for Glamour Boutique and En Femme has been incredibly significant to me.  Doing my makeup, finding the right wig, and creating my look has been a humbling process.  I cannot tell you how many times I looked in the mirror and wanted to give up.  There are countless days where I spend an hour doing my makeup and seeing a boy in the mirror.  I have felt fat, felt ugly, felt too tall, too… male.  There have been days, there are still days, and there will always be days where I feel this way.  It happens.

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But modeling has helped me feel beautiful.  I know it’s shallow.  I really know this.  But being considered pretty enough to model clothes and represent a business is incredibly affirming to me.  When I feel ugly or male, and I do a lot, it’s helpful to look at photos from a shoot or to look at the clothes I will be modeling next.

As I look back on all of these moments, I realize that all of them boosted my confidence in some way.  Whether it was how I looked or being able to create something.  Going out into the real world requires a lot of confidence, but a positive (or at least not a negative experience) can also boost your confidence.  I can do this.  I AM doing this.  I think when I present as male I take my confidence for granted.  I could look in the mirror and shrug and tell myself that this is just how I look.

But being en femme is a different story.  Looking male in a dress can crush my self-esteem.  A bad makeup day can be devastating.  Someone staring at me (in a rude way) can destroy me.  Although I can strut through hell with my head held high, I am faking it most of the time because I know that someone pointing at me or a bad wig day can reduce me to shambles.  It can often take an $80 makeover and a new dress to make me feel beautiful, but all it takes is a suppressed smile or a mean comment on Twitter to ruin my day.  Or week.

Anyway, that ended up getting depressing.  🙂

I loved this question and I would love to hear about everyone else’s milestones in the comments.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

Knowing what you know now, from a hypothetical view, is there anything you’d do differently or do as before?

Hmm.  Wow.

Let’s… ah, reflect on this.

0222It’s easy and natural to look back on your life and think about what you did, what you should have done, and what you wish you did.  It’s not necessarily healthy or recommended, but it is what it is.

Since I tend to look at everything from two sets of eyes, I also think about situations from Hannah’s perspective, or at least with this side of me as a factor.

Of course there are things I wish I had done differently.  There have been dresses and heels that I kick myself for not buying or outfits I regret purging, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.  🙂

On a more serious note, there have been conversations I’ve had with friends where I thought to myself at the time that this would be a perfect and appropriate moment to share this side of me with them.  But the opportunity passed.

We often don’t have the perspective until later where we wish we had done something differently or taken advantage of a situation.  Sometimes we wish we had done something or didn’t do something, but given more time we realize that perhaps we did indeed make the right call after all.

I can’t really think of anything specific that I wish I did that I don’t think I will have the chance to do so in the future.  Conversations with friends where the time was perfect to talk about who I am may have passed, but there can come around again, either naturally or by sitting down to have that discussion.

I don’t want to regret anything.  No one does.  I don’t want to be at the end of my life and wish I had done this or that.  Not to be… dark or anything, but this moment feels like a chance to examine our lives and think about what we want.  Right now we are confined to our homes, we can’t go out (and we shouldn’t) and I spend many moments throughout the day thinking about where I will go, what I will do, and what I will wear when these days are over.  In a way, it’s like a second chance.

Perhaps I took time for granted before shelter in place became a thing.  I always thought there would be time to do what I wanted or go where I pleased.  But we don’t have that freedom today.  It’s easy to think about what we wish we did before now.

When this passes, I am going to do these things.  I am going to wear that dress, I am going to schedule that photo shoot.  I am going to have that talk (eh, probably not).

I do have the perspective and appreciation that my life is amazing beyond my wildest dreams.  Not only when it comes to this side of me, but I have a wonderful wife, a job I enjoy, a home, friends, and my health.  Everything worked out.

So, I really can’t think of anything too specific that I would have done differently…

Well, scratch that.  Perhaps there is one thing.

I wish I had come out to my mom differently.  I wish I had waited until I identified as transgender as opposed to identifying as a crossdresser.  Coming out with a gender identity, as opposed to revealing that I have a very different wardrobe than what most men have are two different things in my opinion.  I came out to her in regards to what I do, what I wear.  These days I would come out as to who I am.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

I read your “what a girl wants” article on the En Femme website and it was awesome. After reading it, I have ordered 2 matching panty/gaff and bra sets, nude patent pumps and black slingback pumps, some sexy lingerie (babydoll and cami set) per your advice. I already had some cute black ankle boots and some black knee length dress boots. I don’t have a LBD yet ( but am looking into it). What are some other essential items?

A wardrobe starts off with thinking about what we need for what we do. It sounds like you have a lot of the basics covered!  At least what I think are basics.  🙂

I present as male for most parts of my life.  Work, family gatherings, day to day errands…  Hannah does the fun stuff.  Saturdays at the mall, wandering around an art museum, relaxing at home, dinner out with the MN T-Girls…

Hannah doesn’t have to go to work, sit in on meetings or attend Zoom conference calls.  Since she doesn’t have a real job (if you follow me), she doesn’t need to have professional work attire.  Sure, there are things in my closet I could wear to work…

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…but I don’t need a lot of clothes for “the office”.

If you are full-time and/or present at work, then some clothes will be considered essential.  Depending on where you work, of course.

Since Hannah pretty much does only fun stuff, my wardrobe is built around that.  There are dresses perfect for Saturday night, Sunday brunch, happy hour or meeting for a coffee.

When you build your wardrobe, think about you’ll be doing and where you’ll be going.  Find an outfit that would work for that.  If you are unsure about what to add to your closet, look at what other girls are wearing.

And you can choose to completely ignore what you see.  When I go to the mall I see mostly girls in leggings and comfortable clothes.  Not many of us are wearing heels.

Many of us dress at home, so I would recommend having cute clothes to be comfy in.  If I am being lazy on a Sunday morning and want to look cute, I skip the stilettos and pencil skirt and wear a femme t-shirt and leggings.  A corset and stockings is OMG one of the sexiest things to wear to bed, but most nights I slip on a nightgown.

I hope this helps but I bet a lot of girls reading this have their own suggestions and I would love to hear what everyone else thinks is a must-have for their wardrobe.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

-As a part time t-girl, have you ever considered taking hormones to get closer to your feminine self?

– I recently started HRT with the hope of my body turning more like it “should” have always been. I understand this is some kind of a hopeless effort to try and “pass” as a woman too (since I’m more genderfluid than in the wrong body). I was wondering – if not indiscreet – whether you went through HRT yourself or not, and if that boosted your confidence level, or if you just decided to just use breast forms and wigs and not change your body.

I have no personal experience when it comes to HRT (hormone replacement therapy).  I have never felt like permanently modifying my body was something I needed to do, or wanted to do.  

I see my body as a blank slate, a new piece of paper, and that I can wear whatever I want to.  Obviously my body has characteristics that are typically associated with being physically male, but except for the occasional bouts with dysphoria, I don’t think my body holds me back from presenting as whatever gender I feel like presenting as.

I do wear breast forms, thighs pads, and hip pads as they help with providing a curvier figure.  Since most dresses and skirts are designed for someone with a more shapely body, these forms make my clothes fit and look better.

I don’t feel I was born in the wrong body.  I don’t feel that being assigned male at birth holds me back in any way from wearing what I want or identifying however I wish.  Having the box for “male” checked on a form is a way for others to label me, and it’s not something that I allow to limit who I am.

I like both of my genders.  I like being able to go back and forth.  I don’t want to do anything to my body that is typically associated with either one of my genders, be it growing a beard or developing breasts.  I feel limitless in terms of my gender presentation.  I don’t like being limited in terms of what I can wear.  Let’s face, society already does that for us.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

I would like to ask you a question about wigs, specifically correct sizing.  I have owned several cheap wigs in the past and recently purchased a couple of good quality wigs. In purchasing them I think I have them sized correctly, they feel good and stay in place, my issue is if I wear a wig for any length of time, a couple of hours or more, they leave a mark on my forehead. Is this common? Have I once again listened to the website’s instructions and purchased a wig too small?

I look at size charts on websites as merely are as a suggestion.  I can take my measurements and order a dress size that lines up with the chart and still get a dress that is not the right size.  It can be frustrating, especially when you order something that can’t be returned, like lingerie, heels, or a wig.  If you are ordering from a website that has reviews from people who have purchased the same item, read them and see if others comment on whether or not the item runs large or small.

You can wear something that fits perfectly but still leaves impressions on your skin.  I had a bra fitting and I only purchase bras that are my correct size, but they still leave a mark.  Same with stockings or tights or clip-on earrings.

When it comes to wigs, and almost everything we wear, it comes down to whether or not it stays in place.  If your wig is too small, it will slowly creep up and not be secure on your head.  If it is too big, it will move around.  It sounds like your hair fits well, feels good, and stays in place.  The impressions on your skin might just be something that comes with the territory.  Sacrifice over comfort, if you will.

If you want to avoid impressions on your forehead, I would recommend buying a size larger than what you may need, and using other methods to secure it.  You may want to consider wearing a wig cap which would prevent your wig from moving around. They are available in both a mesh and a nylon style. Other girls use special wig tape, bobby pins, or hair clips to keep their hair in place.  Many wigs also are adjustable and you can modify the size of it to fit your head.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

I love your pictures and you seem so happy and feminine and having fun. I like that you said you no longer care about passing, and you just try to look your best all the time. My problem is I am tall and have big feet. I wonder if you would tell me your sizes and how you get around the biggest challenges of looking fashionable.

I am also tall.  Almost all of us have physical traits that we would like to change if we could.  Some traits are things we could change, some traits are out of our control.  There’s not much I can do about my man hands, for example.

This is probably a good time to remind us all that no one is too tall, too old, too… anything to be a girl.  There is no maximum height limit to be pretty.

There are parts of me that can be changed, other parts that can’t.  A few years ago I was tired of watching the scale go up.  I felt sluggish and unattractive in both of my genders.  Thanks to quitting drinking and hitting the gym harder, I was able to drop from a size 20 to a 12.  That was in my control.  My height?  I can’t do anything about that.

Again, no one is too tall to be pretty.  No one is too tall to be a girl.  But when I first started going out, I wanted to… well, maybe not blend in, but not stand out as much.  We are all nervous about being noticed, whether it is by someone we know in our male lives, or just drawing attention as a t-girl and potentially being harassed… or worse.  As a t-girl I am going to stand out anyway, and my height isn’t going to help.

If there is something about us that we can’t change, or don’t want to, the only thing we can do is own it.  Yes, I am tall, so instead of letting that stop me I embrace it.  I am six feet tall, most cis-women are not this tall.  Tall women stand out.  And we should, we’re fabulous.  🙂  But if I am going to stand out, I am REALLY gong to stand out.  Instead of trying to minimize this feature, I go in the opposite direction.  If I am going to be tall, then I am going to be REALLY tall.  I am going to wear the four inch heels.  I am going to turn heads because of my weight and my gender, so why not dress how I want?  Rock those heels, wear that bright top, wear that dress with the bold, floral print.

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Too tall for the mall?  No.

It’s all about attitude.  I embrace my height, it makes me feel powerful.  Instead of letting this part of me hold me back from going out, I use it.  A tall confident woman?  What’s sexier than that?

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

Should one dress their age?

Not necessarily.  I wear what I want to wear, however, I do take fashion cues from women that are around my age.  There are a lot of really cute styles that girls that are twenty years younger than I am wear, but as cute as they are, they are clearly meant for someone that is not my age.

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The outfit above is the cutest, girliest outfit I own.  I heart it.  Every time I see photos of it or it hanging in my closet I want to wear it.  The outfit below looks like someone a girl in early twenties would wear.  It’s cute, and I think I pull it off.

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Once a t-girl (or crossdresser or someone who is bi-gender, gender-fluid, or… a human) has accepted and embraced who they are, a whole world of clothes and fashion and style has opened up to them.  They will wear whatever they want, thank you very much, regardless of which gender it is “supposed to be for”.

The two outfits above, granted, are not typical of what a girl my age would wear.  But I don’t think dressing your age is necessary.  That concept seems vague and arbitrary.  Instead I dress for the occasion.  I use what I am doing or where I am going as my guideline.

The two outfits above are perfect for an anime convention or shopping, or example.  Not necessarily a good fit for the office or a wedding.  Of the two outfits below, one is perfect for brunch, the other is, well, appropriate for, well, I’ll let you decide.

Clothes make a statement.  Both of these dresses do exactly that.  One dress is saying she would love a mimosa, the other says… again, you make that call.

Think about what you are doing, and where you are going.  Think about what others will likely be wearing.  Using this as your guide will help immensely.  When in doubt, I prefer to take a chance on dressing up rather than dressing down.  I tend to be the most overdressed girl at the mall, and that’s fine with me.

I hope this helps!

Love, Hannah

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