Spring Photo Shoot: Summer Girl

Last week I posted some photos modeling a new ‘do courtesy of The Breast Form Store.  The hair inspired an outfit I put together but never had the opportunity (or courage) to wear.  It was a fun, cute summery outfit that I wasn’t sure was *me* or not.

But a new hairstyle can do wonders and I was brave enough to try a new look.

So, what do you think?

Makeup by Corrie Dubay

Photography by Shannonlee McNeely

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Love, Hannah

 

 

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Ask Hannah’s Wife

Last month my wife offered to answer some questions from t-girls and partners about her experiences, thoughts, and feelings about her relationship with a girl like us.  She read every comment, email, and question and I am happy to share with you her responses.

Being who we are is not easy, and it’s even harder on our partners.  I hope this helps and offers support to anyone who reads this.

-How have you handled seeing your man put on a wig, dress, makeup, and be Hannah?

Pretty well, I think. 😉
I think realizing that this wasn’t a fetish or kink, nor did it mean my husband was gay, helped. That may seem crazy to you, but I can almost guarantee this is a thought in most wives or partners mind at first. After really trying to understand this, I think adding a wig, and makeup made it better as she wasn’t my husband in a dress, she was more.

Seeing the desire to look put together and like a lady made it easier than just him wanting to wear lingerie. I’m actually quite impressed and proud of her style and want for her style to be classy and not tacky or ill-fitting and age appropriate. This also helped me understand its not a sexual thing. Knowing he had just wanted to feel beautiful, I thought, well I guess we all do in one way or another.

-How have you handled seeing her become a model… both physically and as a role model for many t-girls like myself?
I’ll be honest, Hannah modeling clothes and also having the blog and photo shoots bothered me at first. I kept it to myself for a while. I felt like “Why can’t she just wear what she wants and look the way she wants and just meet some t-girl friends to go out with? Why does she have to be so out there? Why does she need to be so extreme in that world? Does this mean she’s happier that way? Does she want to transition but feels she can’t because of our life together? I feared for our privacy with posting so many pictures, etc. I was afraid she could be hurt by someone joining this community with bad intentions. I also feared she would get a big head about herself and like the attention and want to be her more and more and my husband less and less. The only thing that has changed my feelings on this is time, lots of talks, reassurance and honesty. This just doesn’t come to you instantly. Also, she lets me make the rules. That may sound like I’m being selfish or bitchy, but it allowed me to have a say. I had no say in who he or she were, but I had say in how Hannah was in my life. Although I was aware of some of this before we were married, Hannah didn’t exist then and if we wanted this to work for both of us, I needed a say in how this other person was going to be invited into my life and marriage . It made me feel like I mattered just as much as both of them did.
With that being said, I am glad she has started a community of like-minded people being out there and doing things we all do, instead of hitting up LGBTQ bars ALL the time. I’m glad that when she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she became it. How inspiring is that? And in the process she helped others be more accepting of themselves or their spouses or their partners minds being put at ease a bit. I’ve always been supportive of the whole community. I believe being out there, being respectful and kind will go a long way in the fight for equality. People need to know there is nothing to hide, that other people existing is of no threat to them. That you all are people, too. People who just want to go to a play or Target. Hannah does important work. If there is one thing that’s similar in Hannah and my husband it’s that they are both all in or not in at all.
-How have you evolved during this period? Were there times where you just wanted Hannah to “just go away and be my husband!” or have you always been accepting. Did it evolve from tolerance to acceptance to embracing… has it gone back and forth. between those. 
I have found a deeper connection with my husband. It didn’t feel that way at first, but it became the case for us.
Yes, there were plenty of times I wanted Hannah to go. I know that if I asked for that, it would happen. How could I live with this knowing I was the only thing holding him back from feeling fulfilled as a person? He would resent me, I would always wonder if he was sneaking it or secretly unhappy in our marriage. He would be unhappy. I love him. You may think Hannah is awesome, but you’ve never met my husband. He’s all I could ever want. His happiness and contentment are just as important as mine are. I had to find a place where I could meet him and her in the middle. We couldn’t both have what we wanted and I knew that in the grand scheme of things, he needed her to be part of his life. We’ve always been us against the world. This was no different. He needed to explore her and figure this out. He needed one person that would say I love you for who you are, no matter what. There was no way I wouldn’t be that person for him, and in return, her. I was not going to snuff out a very big and important part of the person I loved most. I also wasn’t going to do this without boundaries.  I would just need to keep doing my best to communicate and make sure I felt reassured that we were on the same page with where this was heading. I also needed to make sure he was being open and honest. So, yes. it has evolved over the years to where we are today. Yes, it’s gone back and forth. When it does, we talk. Some days, its hard. Most of the hard days are behind us, though. It took effort and I feel it was worth it. On the lighter side, some days it’s nice to have him truly understand how it feels when we just don’t feel pretty or are taking longer to get ready. He knows that if I’m in the closet changing a million times that when I come out, that I need a confidence booster and some gentle honesty. Its fun when he complements an outfit or my eye make up, because I know he really means it. There’s a level of intimacy and respect that I didn’t know was possible when we are raw and honest about who we really are.
-How do you feel about Hannah when she’s… um… Hannah? I’m not asking about sex (don’t worry), but what about other areas of affection? Do you still feel comfortable holding her hand, hugging her, kissing her, saying “I love you” to her? Was it instant, or was it something the two of you worked up to? 
This is tricky. I feel just fine saying I love you, etc. I don’t want to have pretend I’m someone else just because she is. Do I treat Hannah as my spouse? No. I see her more of a good friend. I feel loving and supportive, but don’t prefer to kiss her, etc. Not that I won’t, I know that although they are two, they are also one and I can see past that and see the person I love no matter what. In our situation, She is here and then he is. I married ‘he’ and that’s who I prefer. She doesn’t live in our everyday world. Its a hard thing to explain. At the end of the day, I love them and will cuddle and hold both of their hands. I’ve definitely learned that gender and sexuality are often and easily confused, but completely separate.
-How did you feel when Hannah “officially” identified as Transgender? I can remember following her from back in the day when she labeled herself as a crossdresser, and while that can be a shock, it’s definitely not as intense as transgender? How did you cope with it? 
At first, it was worrisome, what did this mean on a transition scale? Eventually, knowing there would not be a full transition,  I honestly didn’t care. I didn’t know what “label” did describe her and to be honest, why have a label? This isn’t my experience, who am I to say who she was or was not? We are all just people. Everything we think about clothes and gender are all just societal norms. It’s weird to say my spouse is trans at first, but honestly, it’s all meshed together. I don’t really think about it anymore. I wouldn’t prefer the term crossdresser over trans. It just is what it is.
-What would you say to the wives of us t-girls? What advice would you give? What kind of support system do you have in place for all of this? How have you been able to cope with it? How can I be more supportive to my wife through this period? How can I remind her that, even dressed up, I am still her husband and will always be there for her? It’s not just about making her okay with this, or getting her to view this the way you do, but genuinely loving on her and supporting her through this time. 
I would tell her its ok to not be ok with this right now and mean it. I would tell her everything she is feeling or fearing is normal and valid. Tell her that her feelings count. Ease in. Don’t tell her and then come out and show her your other side, dressed to the nines. It’s too much to take in all at once. Answer her questions the best you can and honestly. When she asks them again, answer them kindly and honestly again. She needs reassurance.
Respect her boundaries. If she doesn’t want you at the local mall or gas station near your house while en femme, for fear of you running into someone you guys know, respect it. Tell her you respect it and don’t break that promise. Be patient. Don’t expect her to want to hit the mall and movies with you right away or possibly ever. Don’t make her feel that she isn’t supportive if she doesn’t want to get mani and pedis and have girls day. She may be willing to let you explore that, but at the same time doesn’t want to be chummy and pretend it’s a girls day if she feels like she is with her husband. Remember, you two together, out, says something about who she is, too. She may not even know what that means yet. Will people think you’re friends? Probably not, but maybe. Will people think she is a lesbian or into trans women, probably. She may not know what this means for who she is when she’s with you en femme. She doesn’t need to fulfill that fantasy of being one of the girls for you. If she wants to, awesome! If she doesn’t, no sweat! Hell, she may not want to hit the mall or do pedis with her cisgender girl friends, either. I think men tend to think grown women are having pillow fights in our nighties, talking makeup and doing our nails. We’re not. Promise. We pretty much want the pedi, a glass of wine or tea, and quiet time by ourselves. Don’t rush her to be ok with it. Just let her slowly wade through the water and get there comfortably and gradually. She shouldn’t have to dive right in to it all or nothing. You have probably been thinking about all of this for years. Trying to understand yourself, purging, embracing back and forth. Many times trans girls will come to a point where they have done all the back and forth for years and found yourselves and just HAVE to tell her. She deserves time to process, understand, hate, love, and understand again, too.
In the beginning, I just wanted my husband. I wanted to see my husband the way I did before all of this. I missed his old body holding and hugging me, it made me feel so safe. I felt smaller and more feminine and more beautiful before. I missed being the only feminine one. I couldn’t quite as easily find the masculine traits I used to see. I missed cuddling up to his huggable, comforting chest and having his strong, still hairy arms wrapped around me. When he lost more weight and had shaved legs and arms, I felt as though he could just duplicate what I was bringing to the table and felt less of an asset. I watched what she wore and her style and wondered is this what he wishes I wore? I’m fashionable, but also way more casual than her. I wear make up every day, but heels are rare for me.  I’m a flip flops, flats and tall boot kind of girl. Did I not turn him on, now that I know what he liked in a woman’s style and its very different than mine? I felt I had to compete and I didn’t know how to explain why. It felt weird to be cleaned face, hair in a messy bun and in my pajama pants with a glass of wine, while chatting with Hannah in makeup, heels and dressed to the nines. I felt a little self-conscious or sloppy.  I was frustrated because I felt like there was another woman in our marriage. It’s like hanging out in your comfy clothes and another person comes over dressed to go out and you feel inadequate. I know that sounds crazy, but we cant always explain why we feel the things we do. I’m sure you can attest to that. 😉
My husband is handsome no matter what, honestly, he’s good looking, but becoming Hannah also changed my husband on a physical level, and so all the changes made him less ‘him’ and more both of them combined. It spilled over. I had a hard time with that, I wanted that hard line drawn at first. I wanted my big strong teddy bear when he was him and then I’d let her be her when she needed to be her. It didn’t always end up that way. I found myself annoyed when people would ask about his weight loss. They would worry if he was healthy. Most guys work out, lose weight, and then bulk up, therefore it’s less of a shock and more of a “woah you’re getting in shape.”  How can you say “He’s fine, he just wants to fit into cuter dresses and not look bulked up?!”? It was stressful. People worried that he was ill. I was tired of explaining he was fine.
I didn’t want to carry around this secret but I also didn’t want confide in anyone. I was afraid I would regret it and they would also view me and our relationship differently. Now, I’m glad I didn’t. I’m at peace with it and feel only I can understand this all the way I would want them to. If there won’t be a full transition, Then, I couldn’t expect others to understand. Over time, It really has just evolved much like you said, tolerance,
acceptance, embracing. I feel very accepting and loving of Hannah. I think embracing is a strong word. I’m not excited about it, but I am ok with it and it no longer makes me upset. I am happy for her and now that I know where this starts and ends, it’s much easier. I’ve gotten over the hardest part and am so glad that he and she feel fulfilled.
Again, honesty, time and reassurance were key. There are things that I have learned about myself and ways I’ve grown as a person, friend, ally, and wife. I am appreciative of her for that. Also as Hannah has written, be worth it. This is a difficult thing for your wives or partners to wrap their head around and come around to. If you are committed to wanting to stay together and helping her understand you and feel some ease through this period of transition in your relationship, you must help foster that. There are a million things going through our heads. Showing us that you’re not stuck in the fog, she’s not losing you and being sure to help her around the house and with daily things, remembering things she’s told you, asking her what she needs and giving that to her, letting her know you’re thinking of her and that you’re attracted to her means a lot. Keeping your word, going above and beyond to take things off her plate will help her appreciate you and leave her with more gratitude and feeling appreciated. Thus allowing more understanding and grace in other areas. You may say “She’s not losing me, I’m the same person”. No. You’re not. Once this is out, you are different in her eyes. It never goes back. Show her that its not a bad thing. Show her she’s not crazy when she says you’re different. You may feel the same inside, but, you’re not the same in her eyes. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but don’t deny that or make her feel as though she is not accepting just because she sees you differently. Put yourself in her shoes. What if she wanted to present as a man? Wearing “men’s clothing”, not shaving her legs, not waxing her upper lip or brows, hiding her soft curves, walking different, talking different. You may be accepting and still able to find her in there, but you won’t see her exactly the same either. Put yourself in her shoes, be empathetic, be patient. It’s all you can do. The rest will follow.

When you are dressed as Hannah, does your wife see you as a man in a dress or does she treat you like a woman?

 

When Hannah is presenting as herself, I just see “Hannah”, but not at first. It took some getting used to, some patience and effort to understand something that even he or she could understand. I guess it took a cautious trust on my part that my husband was being honest with his intentions as he explored her and who Hannah was, and what it meant for my husband to be part Hannah. For her, it took some experimenting with looks, hair, mannerisms and personal style for me to see her as someone separate from my husband. Slowly, Hannah became a whole other person. Someone very different than my husband. She was like a well dressed visitor (over dressed compared to me in my messy bun and leggings ha ha) but a visitor who I enjoyed chatting with. Its hard to describe, as some lines are blurry. Hannah brings out a more chatty and light-hearted side that I don’t normally get to see quite as much and as much, as she is like another person, Its still like talking to my husband, as we talk about family and friends and all the usual things we would while in male mode. I think as Hannah, the every day stress and to-do lists seem further away and this allows for that more relaxed free flowing conversation and presence.
When she comes in after a night out with you ladies, she is Hannah. When she’s dressed around me and hanging out, she’s not one thing. She knows my heart like my husband but is more chatty like my girlfriends. It’s not always easy and seamless, but I do appreciate Hannah and her affect on my husband. Mostly, I just love my husband very much and know its never in his heart to hurt me and I would never want him to suppress such a major part of who he is.
Does she treat you like a woman?
Hmmm, I don’t know how to answer this one. I guess I would say I treat her like a friend, a sister, someone close. I don’t treat my guy or girl friends like guys and girls, I just treat them like people, like friends. If you’re asking if I’m likely to ask Hannah to fix the toilet or save those things for my husband, I don’t do either. I fix it myself. 😉 I will ask Hannah and my husband to get things down for me, though. There’s more than a foot difference between us even without all of her fabulous heels. Don’t get me started on those! haha

Does she use proper pronouns?
I address Hannah as Hannah and use the proper pronouns. With that said everyone slips up from time to time and there has to be room for mistakes as we stumble through these things. I call Hannah by Hannah and my husband by babe or babes. Sometimes I’ll call Hannah Babe. No biggie. I know that Hannah and my husband are two very different people, but the same soul to me.

Do you see each other as lesbians while you are dressed?
No. I see Hannah as her own person separate from my husband. Her being who she is doesn’t change who I am. While I find Hannah very beautiful, I’m not attracted to her. I am attracted to men. I can always appreciate a beautiful person. If Hannah needed me to be sexually attracted to both her and my husband, that wouldn’t be fair, as this whole part of our lives is allowing us to be who we truly are and would put pressure on me to change who I am for her. I’m happy with my husband. 😉

Love, Hannah

The New Little Black Dress

I love how clothes can change…everything.  I love how certain patterns, colors, and styles can minimize or enhance certain characteristics of our body.  Black tends to be slimming, dresses with larger prints are usually flattering to us tall girls, and a skirt with horizontal strips can balance out a body that is considered top-heavy.

Of course, you should wear whatever you want.  There is also no standard one must meet to be beautiful or feminine.

That being said, I have always loved what peplum tops and dresses do for my figure.  Peplum dresses and tops have an extra piece of fabric that flares out around your hips.  Peplum style clothing is very versatile as it gives the appearance of hips to those who lack curves, but for those who are a little shapely it draws attention to other parts of our body.

Glamour Boutique recently sent me several dresses to model and to review and I am excited to share with you the first of those outfits.  I have modeled for Glamour Boutique in the past and I am excited to continue to work with them.

When I first started to build my wardrobe, I tended to gravitate towards black dresses as they were not only slimming, but they also gave off a sense of sophistication and class.  After a while, I drifted more towards brighter colors, bold patterns, and different styles.  I hadn’t added a black dress to my closet in years and I was at a point where it would take a really amazing black dress to be added to my closet…

…Such as Glamour Boutique’s Black Crossdresser Peplum Dress.  I looked at this dress on their website and I thought it looked cute, but nothing too spectacular.  When I opened the package the dress came in I was struck by how the photos didn’t really do it justice.  The dress was cuter than it appeared to be.

 

And then I tried it on.

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Wow.  The dress gives me a little more curve, and the skirt is short enough (always a plus in my opinion) to show off my legs.  The top of me is pretty square-shaped so its not easy for me to pull off a hourglass look, but the cute little flare that cinches around my waist gives my body a lot more shape.

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The bottom of the dress is in the style of a pencil skirt and it’s meant to be tight and straight.  This style helps even out my square shoulders and gives me an overall proportional look.  If you are tall like I am, it’s usually recommended to not pair a peplum look with heels, because this style can accentuate height, but as you can see I kept my stilettos and paired this dress with black stockings for a classic look.

The dress itself is true to size and when you order it please take your measurements correctly.  I went back and forth between two sizes and went for a size up and I am glad I did.  If a dress that is my size doesn’t fit me its usually because of the shoulders and not the hips, however this dress fit like a dream.  I was comfortable in it, I looked good in it, and even though I don’t drink, I felt like going to a cocktail party.

This is a fun, flirty dress.  The peplum style adds a little extra to the traditional little black dress but does not take away any of the style, timelessness, and sophistication.  I am so happy this is in my closet and I am excited to show it off the next time I go out to dinner.

Thank you to Glamour Boutique for providing this dress for this review.

Makeup by Corrie Dubay

Photography by Shannonlee McNeely

Love, Hannah

 

 

Not Pretty Enough

A few weeks ago I was sent a wig to review for my website.  It was a sandy blond color and the cut was very different than the black, shoulder-length style that I usually wear.  Shannonlee, my photographer who would be taking pictures for the review, asked me to send over some selfies of me wearing it so she can get an idea of the color for the shoot.

If there’s anything this girl likes, it’s taking a good selfie.

If there’s anything this girl hates, it’s taking a bad selfie.

I was having a good day.  I spent the day getting a makeover and wearing my new thigh pads with one of my favorite dresses.  I looked good, I felt good.  I got home and switched hairstyles and selfied away.  After a few pictures, I looked though them to see which were the best photos to send over.

They were terrible.  All of them.  The wig looked good, my makeup looked good, but everything else was just….humbling.  I hated how I looked in every single selfie.  I tried more photos, I tried different angles, nothing helped.  It was borderline devastating.  A flood of emotions and thoughts hit me.  Was this how I really looked?  Is this what I looked like all day?  Is this what people see when I am out?

I sent over two of the least terrible selfies and changed back into male mode.  My spirits were remarkably lower than they were fifteen minutes ago.  I deleted the photos as soon as I could.  I tend to go to extremes when I am stressed or worried or frustrated and this was no exception.  I think I look cute most of the time but maybe I was fooling myself.  It’s not about passing because there is no such thing, but how we feel about ourselves is often tied into how we feel about how we look.

We have all been here.  Sometimes this feeling lasts with us for a few days, sometimes we can shake it off after a moment or two, sometimes this crushes us so much that we never dress up again.  There have been times when I walked past a mirror at a department store and checked myself out.  It’s a real confidence booster to see a reflection that looks good, but there are times when… well, what reflects back is different than what you thought you would see.  These moments hurt and they catch us off guard.  All of a sudden that confident strut turns into something else.

There have been times when I bought a new outfit and sent an hour doing my makeup, choosing the perfect heels and accessories, and fixing my hair and feeling excited to go out and looking forward to seeing how everything comes together and then…wham!  You don’t look as cute as you hoped you would.  You were expecting a transformative moment but you still look like…you, but you with longer hair and lipstick.

A new outfit, new hair, amazing makeup can be a magical experience.  Every makeover I get from Corrie Dubay or MAC is amazing.  I can stare into the mirror and look for “me” but there is only Hannah.  But the opposite is true, too.  The more I dress, the less this happens as I know what I look like, I know what I will probably look like, but when this feeling hits it catches me unaware and cuts deep.

This happens.  To all of us.  This happens whether you are trans or cis.  We all know this heartbreaking, humbling, depressing feeling.  There are times when we just don’t feel cute.  There are times when I dress and I look and feel amazing, but the very next day I dress again and I feel absolutely horrible.

What some of us don’t know is that this is a real thing with a real name.  It’s called gender dysphoria.  According to Wikipedia, gender dysphoria is the distress a person feels due to their birth-assigned sex and gender not matching their gender identity.  People who experience gender dysphoria are typically transgender.

So, what do we do when this happens?  How I shake it off depends on how it’s hitting me.  Dysphoria hits me from a physical and from a psychological perspective.

About two years ago this feeling was hitting me hard and hitting me more often and for longer than it usually did.  Every time I did my makeup I just wanted to cry.  My face was very angular, my features harder, and overall structure was just very…well, not cute.  I had just lost a lot of weight and although I liked my new body and felt healthier, I missed my old face.  It was fuller, rounder, and had a different, softer look than what I had now.  Simply put, I hated how I looked and it was affecting how I felt about myself.

For years I had been doing my makeup for my old face.  I had my techniques, my methods, my tricks.  But I had a new face.  I needed to learn how to do makeup for it.  I scheduled a makeup lesson with Corrie and we discussed my goals and what I was struggling with.  We spent two hours going over new techniques, how to contour, different products and how to minimize and accentuate my features.

I felt like so much better.  I know this all sounds shallow but I think you know what I mean.  Even in male mode I feel better about myself after shaving when I let my facial hair grow for a week.  I don’t like looking, or feeling, like a slob.  I like to look my best regardless of what gender I am presenting as.  I feel just as good in a suit as I do in a summer dress.

But the psychological attacks can’t be overcome with a makeup lesson.  I can feel absolutely terrible about myself even after an expensive makeover and a new dress.  It’s usually triggered by how I look, but the voices and thoughts in my head are worse than any bad selfie.  Not pretty enough.  Too male.  Too ugly.  Quit fooling yourself.  You’re an embarrassment.  Stop doing this.  Throw your clothes out.

As I said, I tend to go to extremes.  These thoughts can break your heart.  These thoughts are hard to push out.  They linger and stick around and hit us when we least expect it.  These thoughts come back when we see a cute dress and that voice tells us that we’ll look awful in it.  They can cause us to purge but we all know purging is silly because in two weeks we are kicking ourselves for tossing out our stilettos that we spent $80 on only to have to replace them.

What helps me is knowing that these thoughts and feelings will pass.  I may be able to shake them off in a few hours or in a few days.  Sometimes they hang around in my head until the next time I dress up and get, in a way, a second chance.  More often than not the next time I dress up I will feel differently about myself and it erases any doubt or hurtful thoughts.  Sometimes looking at photos of me that I like helps.

We all have off days.  We all have bad days at work.  If we are artists not every painting will be good.  If we are carpenters we will sometimes hit our thumbs with hammers.  If we are chefs we will sometimes burn things.

It does not mean we should hang up our berets and aprons.  It just means we had a bad day and we need to try again.  An off day will sometimes create feelings of doubt, frustration, and depression.  A bad day will make us question our self-worth and make us wonder if what we’re doing is what we should really be doing.

A bad day just means we need to try again.  Sometimes we need to try more than once.  I have had weeks where every day at work is difficult and makes me want to find a new job, but then I’ll have an amazing Friday and everything turns around and I love life and the sun is shining and birds are singing and I wonder why I even wanted to quit in the first place.  Dressing and makeup are like that, too.

It’s also important for us to remember, especially in the early days, that no matter how expensive the makeup or the wig, we will not look like Kate Beckinsale, Sandra Bullock, Selena Gomez, or your favorite celebrity icon.  I remember the thrill and letdown of what I looked like after my first makeover.  I loved my look but at the same time I was disappointed I did not look like Elizabeth Hurley.  We must accept we will not look like them, but we will look like us.

As for the wig…I had my shoot two weeks ago and my review will be posted soon.  Of all the outfits we had to shoot that day I saved the wig for last because I remembered the selfies.  If that feeling hit again I didn’t want it to cloud over the whole shoot.  It’s not the wig’s fault, the hair is beautiful, it was the psychological trigger thew wig had on me.  I changed my hair and walked into the studio, nervous because of how I thought I looked and nervous because of how I looked a few weeks back.  Shannonlee took some photos, I changed back into my hair, and held my breath while I waited for the pictures.

A full review and photos will be coming soon, but here are a couple pictures from that day.

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I heart them.  I love the color, I love my smile, I love my look.  I am a different girl than the one who took bathroom selfies. What changed?  The wig is the same, my makeup was professionally done both times.  But we can never forget that there is a difference between a selfie and pictures by a professional photographer.  Lighting and camera angles make a difference, too.

I am also bad at selfies.

These are things that I will remember the next time this feeling hits.  Because it will.  Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a month.  But it will happen.  You are not alone in feeling this.  You feel this.  I feel this.  Our partners feel this.  Everyone reading this sentence feels this.  We all feel this more often than we would like but this does, and will, pass.

I may not look like Elizabeth Hurley, but I look (most of the time) exactly like Hannah McKnight.  And that is a wonderful feeling.

Love, Hannah

 

 

 

 

 

Knocking You Out With My American Thighs

I do not believe there is a standard anyone must meet in order to identify as or look like a woman.  I do not believe that anyone, trans or cis, can be too tall, too broad shouldered, too thin, or too anything to be the gender we identify as.

I’ve worked hard to be able to present how I would like to, whether it was taking makeup lessons or losing weight.  Losing weight and dropping from a size 20 to a size 12 helps me live a healthier life and I like how I look in clothes more than ever, whether it is a suit or a bodycon dress.  The only drawback to losing weight was losing a little curve when I wore a dress.

All of that has changed with Jolie Thigh Pads from The Breast Form Store.

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I would like to thank The Breast Form store for sending these pads to review.  When I opened the package I was really surprised at how soft they felt.  Since they are self-adhesive I did not need to use any tape or spray.  However, if you are going to wear a dress or a skirt but not pantyhose or tights, I would recommend using an adhesive just in case.

The color of the pads looked natural against my skin color and are available in several skin tones.

Capture

They are made of silicone and they felt soft and…well, real.  Even before getting dressed I could see the immediate impact on how they made me look.  The pink lines on the photo below indicate approximately where I am wearing the pads.   The pads themselves are bigger than I would have expected (sixteen inches long and eight inches wide), but they really give off a nice little…oomph to my figure.

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For the first day I wore them with leggings.  I wore them for about eight hours at home and the difference was remarkable.  I looked curvy.  I felt curvy.  I had hips!  Leggings are wonderful and they hug your body so the difference between wearing the pads and not wearing them was instantly noticeable.  They gave me an hourglass shape I never had before.

The pads moved with me.  They were as part of me as anything could be.  Except for checking myself out in every mirror of the house, I forgot I was wearing them.  Under my leggings they felt like, well, my thighs and hips.  No matter if I was sitting legs crossed or walking or going up and down stairs, the pads moved with me.  I never noticed them.  They did warm comfortably to my skin but they never felt sweaty or heavy.  They were…my thighs.

I wore them all day and forgot I had them on.  When it was time to change, I wondered how it would feel to remove them.  After eight hours they were a part of me and never became loose or slid from where I placed them.  They were easy to remove and were stored in the plastic packaging they came in.

The next day I wore them with my femme jeans.  Like leggings, these jeans hugged my body and the difference was very clear.  No matter the angle, I could see how much curvier my body was.  The pads had a natural effect on my shape.  I felt…amazing.  We all know how we look can impact how we feel and I hadn’t been this excited about dressing in years.

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Over the next few days I raided my wardrobe and tried on a lot my dresses with the pads.  Dresses are often designed for someone with hips and the pads helped make my dresses look amazing.  Skirts hung differently.  My hands rested naturally on my new hips and every outfit looked better than before.

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After a week of wearing them in male mode at home, it was time to dress up and go out.  I had plans to see a play for a few weeks and I had a dress already picked out.  However, the pads changed my mind.  Instead I wore one of my favorite leather dresses.  Leather is pretty unforgiving and I was excited to see how I looked.  I looked amazing.  Before this dress kind of just… hung on to me, but now the dress hugged my new curvy body.  I was afraid that it would be obvious I was wearing pads but they stayed in place and tapered and blended nicely to my body.

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The only thing I had to adjust was changing the size of tights and pantyhose I wear.  Normally I would use the little chart on the packaging to determine my size.  If I was in a gray area, I would usually get the size that was for my height.  Now that I have hips I need to factor in my new curvier shape instead of my height.

I’ve often said that it takes time, money, mistakes, and patience to create ourselves.  Mastering new skills, whether it is painting a piece of fine art or perfecting your makeup, we should be prepared to invest energy, time, and money.  Depending on the size you choose, these pads range from $300 to $350.  That may seem expensive, however keep in mind that these pads are designed to last a long time.  I think of the pads as an investment.

I have worn my pads for the past few weeks and I absolutely love them.  If you are looking to fill out a dress or add more curve to your figure, I cannot recommend these pads enough.

Thank you to The Breast Form Store for providing the Jolie Thigh Pads for this review.

Makeup by Corrie Dubay

Photography by Shannonlee McNeely

Love, Hannah

 

Ask Hannah’s…Wife

We know what it is like to be us.  We know how complex, stressful, conflicting, and wonderful it is to be who we are.  Sharing this side of us is not easy and I do my best to write about what our partners may be feeling, thinking, or worried about when it comes to being in a relationship with someone like us.

Most of the questions I get are about making this work within a relationship.  Much of what I write about is about being considerate of what our partners may be experiencing.  The truth is that every relationship is different and there is not a roadmap as to how to make this work for every couple.

Talking to other t-girls and their partners gives me a lot of perspective on how this side of us affects their relationship.  How this works, how it doesn’t, and what someone is feeling.  There are many things that these relationships have in common but there are also elements that are as unique as every relationship.

My wife and I talked a lot in the early days.  I learned a lot then, and now years later I am still learning and listening.  Some things she felt then but couldn’t voice them at the time.  One thing that was always there was a feeling of loneliness when I came out to her.  Who could she talk to?  Who could she confide in?  Who would understand?

Many of our partners felt, and feel, this way.  The internet wasn’t helpful and in many ways added to her fears.  There are resources for those who have partners who are transitioning, but not many resources for those who are married to people like me… and probably you.

Seeing this lack of resources, my wife has offered to answer some questions.  My wife is many things, but it’s her gentleness, honesty, and realistic perspective that I feel are among her strongest traits.

If you are transgender, and especially if you are the partner of someone like me, please add your questions to the comments before.  You can post anonymously or you can email me at hannahgotta(at)gmail.com.

I assure you confidentially if you send an email.  Names and email addresses will not be posted.

I can’t promise every question will be answered, but every one will be read by her.  Questions will be taken for about a week and her responses will be posted at a later date.

Love, Hannah

 

SEX

Now that I have your attention…

Accepting yourself and identifying as transgender is one of the most significant and life-changing moments you will ever experience.  This acceptance can lead to feeling anxious, feeling free, feeling burdened, feeling confused, or even just feeling relieved that we have touched on why we feel what we feel and figured out who we are.

This embracing of yourself will often lead to the question of what’s next.  Okay, you’re trans, this is more than just about wearing panties, what do you do now?  The short and bitchy answer is, well, anything you want.  You can go fishing if you so desire.  Being transgender is not like building a bookshelf from Ikea.  There is no clear step two.   There may not even be a step two.  You don’t even have to do anything next.  Well, you should have a conversation with your partner, of course.

But there usually is a next step.  We usually want to…well, keep going.  We learned and accepted something huge about our gender identity and it’s normal to keep going in that direction.  It’s not much different than being on an airplane and not getting off when it lands.  For some of us we want to try other clothes.  That dresser full of lingerie might be a start of a new wardrobe.  We own a dress…but maybe we should find a cute pair of heels to go with it.  Maybe the next step is seeking support from a group or a therapist or counselor.  Maybe it’s time to talk to a doctor or your family.  Maybe you are ready to schedule that makeover.

Or maybe you don’t do anything.  You don’t HAVE to do anything next.  You don’t have to do anything right away.  For some of us we lived with the conflict or uncertainty of who we were for decades.  It took a long time to get to the point where we accepted that we are transgender.  But making decisions too quickly and without thinking things through is a bad thing.  Beware the pink fog.

Acceptance of yourself is more important than passing.  Mainly because accepting yourself is real and passing is not.  If I waited to experience the real world until I “passed” I would still be sitting in my car in the garage.  When I think about everything I have experienced or done over the last few years it makes me so happy that I opened the door, strutted out and never looked back.  It makes me wonder what else I missed before I was convinced I needed to pass.  I never passed.  Still don’t.  Never will.

Once you accept yourself and start experiencing the world presenting as your preferred gender (and this can be your preferred gender for the day or for the rest of your life), you have grown more powerful than ever before, even if your knees are knocking and you shake in the heels that you practiced walking in for weeks.  You will interact with the world and the world will react to you.  This will result in varying outcomes, some wonderful, most of them mundane and unremarkable…but there will be some that will break your heart and some that will make you angry.  Some will make you want to go home and never leave again.  All of these things will happen.  Sometimes in the same afternoon.  Yes, someone will likely give you a dirty look but remember, this will never be okay.  Don’t let some jerk steal your sparkle.

Whether you are dressed from head to toe in wig and heels or in male mode with painted nails, when you are outside the traditional social gender norms you will experience the world in a new way.  And you will likely want more.  I know I did.  The first real time I went out during the day it was just to experience something as every day as getting a coffee.  But that went well and I wanted to do something more.  So I did.  A trip to Target, a couple of malls, more coffee shops…

Over the last few years I have done so many things I never thought I would be brave enough to attempt.  Whether it was a makeover or a trip to the mall to try on dresses or attending a Pride festival, I’ve experienced more than I ever thought possible.  There’s very little left that I can think of that I still want to do.  Some of these things I did because I simply wanted to see what it was like to shoe shopping en femme.  No surprise, but it was a lot more fun.

The point is that many of us want to experience things en femme.  This can range from everything from watching a movie at home dressed to the nines, doing laundry in leggings to wearing a negligee during sex.

So, let’s talk about sex and the t-girl.

This is a very intimate, serious, and sensitive subject.  There is nothing more personal than the sexual relationship between two people.  Obviously I am not going to share anything about my own experiences here or…ever.  Instead I want to talk more broadly about what many in our community and their partners have shared with me regarding their experiences.

I go back and forth as to whether or not I wear what I wear because I am transgender or I am transgender because I wear what I wear.  I think kind of a gateway to something new and something bigger.  Perhaps something fascinating and forbidden.  It was ingrained in us at early age that boys do not wear bras or nightgowns which only fuels the curiosity, intrigue, and longing.  Lingerie is a beautiful secret that you wear.  Going to the office wearing lacy panties and matching bra under your suit is really kind of amazing.  Its something you wear for yourself…or possibly for someone else.  Someone might wear sexy undies to bed because they like it, or they wear it because their partner likes it.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that there are some who dressing up is nothing more than fetish and is completely sexual.  Simply put, dressing turns them on, they wear lingerie (or whatever) when they want to…ah, well, you know.  They dress up, they have sex, or masturbate and…that’s that.  Until the next time.  Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with this.  You do you, I guess.  But like anything sexual between two people, both have to be on board.

It is not unheard of that a t-girl wanting to wear lingerie in intimate moments.  Lingerie might help someone feel beautiful no matter what they are doing, during sex or simply under your clothes when you go grocery shopping.  Someone wearing a lacy nightie to bed is something they are doing for themselves, and possibly for their partner.  However, t-girls need to be aware that surprising their partner by doing something similar can be… well, it probably won’t go as planned, especially the first time.

This is one of those moments that both partners involved want to avoid.  Nothing derails a moment like an awkward (to say the least) surprise.  This is something that should be discussed before it happens, especially if going outside traditional gender norms regarding clothes is new to the relationship.  Don’t tell your wife you are a crossdresser on Friday and then greet her in the bedroom on Saturday wearing a corset and stockings. (Unless she asks, of course.)  Communication between a couple is important and it’s never more evident than when it comes to intimacy, fantasies, and what happens in bed.  Or the living room, if you are so inclined.

Many t-girls and crossdressers want to experience things as a different gender identity.  Sometimes it’s going shopping en femme and sometimes it’s being intimate en femme.  This is not uncommon.  However, your wife being okay with you wearing panties under your work clothes is not the same as her being okay with you wearing them in an intimate moment.  You should not assume she will be.

The best, and only way to know what your partner is comfortable with in the bedroom (or anywhere) is to ask.  Tell them what you want to try, what you want to wear.  If they are not comfortable with it, then drop it.  It may be hard to let go of a fantasy or a desire, but…drop it.  Move on.  Seriously.  If they change their mind they will let you know.  You don’t need to ask again.  Drop it.

If you partner is receptive to you dressing in bed, wonderful.  Their feelings are still something you need to be conscious of.  Maybe she wants to be the pretty one in bed sometimes.  Maybe leave the lingerie in your drawer once in a while.  She may feel intimidated by your matching bra, garter belt, panties and stockings when all she has on is a simple teddy.  She may not want to have sex with a woman.  She might want to have sex with her husband.  Again, beware of the pink fog.  Sometimes it clouds our judgment, sometimes we choose to let it cloud our judgement.  I think you know what I mean.

We know being in a relationship with someone like us is not easy.  This is part of that.  Be kind.  Be generous.  Be worth it.

Driving a car is different in heels, having sex in heels (among other things) is different too.  Some crossdressers and t-girls may, well, take on a different role.  Or different behaviors.  They may want different positions, accessories, different role-playing scenarios…  Some want to be called their female name.  Sometimes these changes are a turn on for our partner…sometimes it isn’t.  You and your wife watching a movie while you are dressed up is not the same thing as you being in bed en femme with her.  Don’t assume your partner is okay with “her” in your living room and the bedroom.  Again, communication.  Both verbal and non-verbal.  Pay attention.  If your partner is communicating something to you, don’t ignore it.  Don’t pretend that you aren’t picking up on it.  Communicate.  Before.  After.  During.

If gender is…well, flexible, then it stands that sexuality can be as well.  Some t-girls say they are straight in male mode but bisexual as a girl.  Some are attracted to men when they dress up, or at least that’s when they admit it.  Dressing en femme can bring about different feelings.  Different aspects or parts of our personality can appear when we are wearing certain clothes.  Some men feel confident in a certain suit, some feel a sense of hometown pride when their wear their team’s football jersey.  Some guys get a boost of confidence from a pair of expensive sneakers.  When I am dressed I feel different, too.  I don’t feel like sleeping with a man, but I feel more social, chattier, and braver.

There are those who feel the attention from men helps them feel more like a woman.  The attention validate them.  It’s flattering to some.  Some t-girls and crossdressers want to experience as many things as they can en femme and for some that includes having, or fantasizing about, sex with men.

To the partners out there, yes, I know this is a fear.  It’s hard enough finding out your beer drinking, Fantasy Football playing man likes to dress up, but the fear that they might want to be with another guy is a different level.  There is nothing more important than trust between two people, and many partners entered into committed relationships without the full disclosure of their partner’s gender identity.  It’s not uncommon to feel betrayed, deceived, or mislead.  There’s no excuse for lying.

Will your partner want to be with a man?  Maybe?  Sexual and romantic preference and gender identity have little in common, so while it’s understandable to worry that they will want to be with another male because they wear lingerie in bed, it’s not necessarily the same thing.  I do not believe it is inappropriate to ask your partner this question.  Your partner coming out as a crossdresser or transgender or as someone who likes to dress up every once in a while will trigger a lot of questions, feelings, and confusion.  You are trying to process this.  This is likely new territory for you.  Ask us anything you want.

I know its not easy.  I know it can be…shocking, off-putting, a mood killer, even heartbreaking and devastating to see your man in a corset and panties.  It’s a lot to take in.  This doesn’t mean you aren’t supportive of the LGBTQIA community.  You fight for equality and love your gay friends, but seeing your spouse in a garter belt is a little different.  You choose your partner for many different reasons.  You choose them because of their personality, sense of humor, interests, and probably because of their appearance.  You were, and hopefully still are, attracted to them.  Seeing someone you love in a dramatically different gender presentation, whether it is everything from wig to those cute bedroom heels or them wearing a simple nightgown takes some time.  It may take a few minutes or it may takes years or it may never happen.  And that’s okay.  Tell them how you feel.  You can be an ally and a fighter for the community even when you struggle with your emotions and thoughts regarding your partner’s gender identity.  Your feelings count too.  And you will have feelings about this.

You may feel that this isn’t the person you married.  We insist we are.  Many of us tell our partners that whether we are wearing lingerie or a suit that we are still the same person.  I don’t think this is necessarily true.  Coming out and accepting yourself changes someone.  We feel braver but at the same time we are feeling more vulnerable.  We just shared something that for decades was a secret.  This becomes an elephant in the room.  In the days, weeks, and months ahead this hangs over the pair of you.  It can create tension, stress, and unspoken thoughts.  Resentment, albeit temporary, is not unheard of.  It can consume both you and partner.  While you might be trying to not to think about it, we might be dying to talk about it.  We may want to ask for help with shopping or applying eyeliner.  We want our partners to go out with us.  We want to share this side of us with the most important person in our life.  We have been wanting to tell you since the day we met.  We have for years kept this side of us private and now we are ready to slam the pedal to the metal.

But we lived with the secret for years.  Our partners need time to catch up.  They cannot go as fast as we are ready to.  We feel we are the same person regardless of how we are dressed…because this is who we have been our entire lives.  But we have just revealed another side of us, the biggest side of us and it’s understandable that others in our lives might look at us in a different light, at least for a while.

Our partners are processing this.  And it’s not easy for us to be patient as they do that.  We are wondering what they are thinking and the reality is that they are thinking a million things.  Or they might be trying to not think about it.  They can’t always express just exactly what they are feeling or going through.  Your partner looks and thinks of you differently.  You have something about you that they never suspected.  They may have thought there was…something about you that they couldn’t quite put their finger on, but this probably wasn’t what they imagined.

I felt different when I came out to my wife, my mom, and my siblings.  I wasn’t the same person.  It was a feeling of…well, like there was a new reality.  They knew about me, they knew the half of me that was a secret that I kept every single day up until that point.  It was awkward, it was uncomfortable at times.  I gave them space and was honest with their questions.  We can do no less for our partners.

Think back to when you’ve come out to someone.  Life all of a sudden felt different, didn’t it?  You feel different.  You might feel a weight has been lifted or that you turned the world inside-out.  My point is that we might think we are the same person before and after we come out.  We might think we are the same person whether we are in jeans or a nightgown.  But we know we are not.

Finding a balance between more than one gender identity is not easy but it can be done.  We need to find that balance in our own lives, but we also need to make sure the balance works (as much as it can work) for our partners.  It might not.  I am not going to suggest that every marriage will be able to make it work.  In many relationships this is not what our partners signed up or what they expected.  If your partner does not want this in their relationship it does not make them a bad person.  This is a lot to ask of someone and it’s a reminder why it is important and necessary to come out to your partner before the relationship gets serious.

Finding a personal balance varies from person to person.  We might want to dress up three times a week, but that might be too much for your partner.  It’s not that different (but it’s also totally different) than you if you wanted to go out for beers with the guys after work several times a week.  Be considerate of your partner’s feelings.  Be there with them.  Be present.  Be worth it.

All the time.

In every room of the house.

Love, Hannah