Transliving my Best Life!

transliving

I am thrilled beyond words to be featured in and on the cover of the upcoming issue of Transliving magazine!  Transliving is a UK published magazine that is available in both print and PDF formats.  The upcoming issue will print an excerpt from my upcoming (but still without a publisher) book, In-Between.

From their website:

Transliving International is the magazine that amplifies the voice of all Gender Diverse and Trans people. It doesn’t matter whether you think of yourself as MtF, FtM, Non-Binary (NB), Gender Fluid, TS, TG or TV or CD, or something else, or simply “me”. Transliving is published for and welcomes everyone on the transgender (Trans) spectrum.

Each quarter, Transliving magazine delivers you 100 full-colour pages featuring interviews and high-quality photo shoots. You’ll also find plenty of articles to keep you up-to-date on issues affecting the gender diverse and trans community with hard-hitting comment and opinion. Along with features covering real-life stories, event reports & listings, readers’ contacts, fashion, make-up & beauty features, partners’ & family features. Information, support & advice and so much more…

You can pre-order issue 66 here!

Love, Hannah

 

 

Love and Marriage and Crossdressing

mock book cover

Hi girls!  I am getting close to finishing my first draft of ‘In-Between’.  Many of you asked for a section about coming out to your spouse after you’ve gotten married.  This wasn’t an easy chapter to write and I really want to thank everyone who wrote in about their experiences with this.  Marriage is not easy, and we all have reasons why we didn’t, or still haven’t, come out to our spouses. 

I do not believe that I am doing any favors by sugar-coating any aspect about who we are.  I would love to say that the entire world loves us, but that is not reality.  The truth is that when we go out into the real world there’s the chance that we will be looked at, laughed at, or worse. Rather I see what I do as a obligation to talk about what might happen in any scenario, whether it is hitting the mall or waxing your eyebrows and how to deal with any sort of comments or criticism.  It’s important to be prepared in everything we do.  Whether it’s making sure you have an extra car key hidden in your purse or mentally preparing yourself for the dude at the coffee shop who suppresses a smirk at seeing us, we need to be realistic, or perhaps even pessimistic, about what happens when we venture out of our homes or when we come out to someone.

I would love to have written an upbeat, completely optimistic book about how the world loves us and that nothing bad will ever happen and there will ever be a syllable of criticism or piece of legislation) towards us.  But that’s naive.  It’s important to be honest about who we are, not only with ourselves but with our partners.  

This chapter reflects the sometimes brutal and uncomfortable reality of not being honest with our partners.  

Love, Hannah 

You have done the impossible.  You have found your missing half, you have met your soulmate.  Until this moment, you never thought you would find THE ONE.  Sure, you’ve had crushes before, you’ve been in love, perhaps in a few relationships, some of them were even serious, but this, this is it.

You have fallen head over (high) heels for someone, someone who brings out the best parts of you, the one whom you would do anything for.

Anything including ignoring and denying this side of you.  You know what side I’m talking about.

You might be anywhere between wearing a pair of panties under your suit to work a couple of times a month to stepping out to the mall or club every weekend, but there’s a side of you that is not out to the world.  And you intend to keep it that way.

Even from the new love of your life.

You can control this, can’t you?  Just… don’t wear lingerie.  Or makeup.  Or that cute dress.  You are so in love that you can do anything, even overcome the pull of beautiful clothes.  This part of you would confuse this new, amazing person in your life.  They might be scared off.  They won’t understand this side of you.

It’s true, they probably won’t understand this side of you.  I’ve been married for over ten years and my wife doesn’t understand this side of me.  I don’t either.  But this is who I am.

It’s easier to put this part of us away.  To tell ourselves it was, or is, a phase.  To tell ourselves that we have (or will) outgrow this.  Better to keep it a secret and never do it again than risk losing your incredible love.  You know you should be honest, you know you should put all your cards on the table.  But part of you tells yourself that you are not *that* person anymore.  You have conquered your desires and since you won’t be dressing anymore, there’s no harm in continuing to keep it from them and from the world.

So, time passes and time moves quickly.  The relationship is amazing and it’s everything you could have ever wanted from life.  You make commitments.  You buy a dog, you move in together, you propose, you get married, you have children.  You have a brand new life, a wonderful life.  You find joy in the routine, you find joy in your new shared life.  You face everything everything together.  You are married to your best friend and life is perfect.

But something is missing.  Your eyes linger on the girl at the mall.  Not because she’s cute, but because her outfit is.  You look longingly at your wife’s panties as you fold laundry.  You admire the shade of the lipstick she’s wearing.

Something is stirring inside you.  Something you thought you moved on from.  You heard that this side of you would never go away and that this is who you are, but you thought for sure you would be the exception.  That you would be able to move on.

But you heard correctly.  This is who you are.  This is not something that can be, or should be, overcome.  Instead this is something you need to be honest about.  Honest with yourself, and honest with your partner.

You find yourself wondering if you can fit into your wife’s new skirt.  You play around with the new eyeliner she picked up.  Your Googling takes you to websites you hope she doesn’t see.

You have started to keep something from your partner.  You don’t mean to, and you certainly don’t look at it that way.  We all have secrets, right?  But you know that this is a little different.  You don’t mean to be deceptive or dishonest, and it’s easy to justify keeping this from them because, well, they won’t understand.  Besides, you suppressed this part of you for the last few years, you can push it back down again.

But you can’t.  Who we are demands to be acknowledged.

Paranoia and guilt and fear seep in.  Terrified she might wonder why one of her bras is stretched out.  Scared she’ll see the browser history on your laptop.  The guilt from keeping this from her.

More justification sets in.  You’re protecting this part of you from her because she wouldn’t understand it.  It would only worry her.  You don’t need to put them through anything else in addition to everything you both have going on in life.  Raising a family is hard enough, she doesn’t need to be worried that her husband is transgender.

But this justification is usually a selfish one.  We think we might be doing something… noble by keeping this from them.  But not being honest with someone is usually done for the benefit of yourself.  Quite simply, you have a wonderful life with a beautiful person and it’s all you’ve ever wanted and you are terrified that this part of you will change everything.  So, just like before you met, this side of you is kept a secret.

This side of you started to stir, but now it’s getting harder to ignore.  You might be doing things you never thought you would do again. Maybe you have a pair of panties hidden in your gym bag.  Maybe you dress up in your hotel room when you are on that business trip.  Not only are you dipping your toe back into the water, you are also doing something you thought you would never do, which is not being honest with your partner.

The guilt grows.  You feel guilty for giving into this side of you.  You thought you conquered this, you thought you were strong enough to never ever do this again.  You are haunted and consumed by keeping something from your partner.  You feel terrible for not being honest with them.  You realize that yes, you should have told them years ago.

But now what?  You are eight years and two kids into a marriage.  You have a solid, wonderful life and you have a giant secret that could upend everything.  What will happen if and when they find out?

Yes, you can choose to keep it a secret.  This is the easiest and hardest thing to do.  It’s also the most dishonest.  It simply isn’t fair to keep anything from your partner.  You can justify something all you want, you can convince yourself you are protecting them, but in reality you are only protecting yourself.

I do not believe that we want to keep this, or anything, from our partners.  I believe that most people are good people and want to be honest with our spouses.  Keeping this a secret is on a different level, or so we tell ourselves.  It’s too late to tell them, we say to ourselves.  The longer we hold this secret the more it consumes us, and, in a way, makes it easier to continue to be dishonest.  It sometimes becomes easier to tell a big lie if you’ve been telling small ones.

And let’s not pretend that this isn’t lying.  You can tell yourself that there is a difference between not being forthcoming with everything and lying, but I don’t think our partners care about semantics.  If you are doing something or wearing anything you don’t want your partner to know about, then it’s dishonest.

I am not here to point fingers or shame anyone.  I know who we are is not easy.  I know how hard it is to come out to someone.  I am not perfect.  I let relationships get serious before I told them.  I learned from mistakes.  If you take anything from what I write, it’s that we need to be honest with ourselves, that there is nothing wrong or shameful about who are, and that this is not something we can stop.

This part of us is not easy to understand, it’s not easy to accept.  It’s not easy to explain.  It’s understandable why we want to, and why we try, to keep this from others in our lives.  But secrets have a way of being found out.  This is one of our biggest fears.

Perhaps your spouse is going through some old boxes in the garage, boxes they haven’t touched in five years.  Pretty safe place to keep your clothes, maybe.  But one day they’re doing some spring cleaning and they find heels that are too big for them.  A skirt that is definitely not theirs.  There’s confusion at first, and soon a slow, creeping realization as to who those clothes belong to.

Maybe your wife needs to use your laptop real quick to look something up and your browser history tells a story.  They always do.  Your phone is left in the other room and your spouse sees you have a notification of an email from Ashley.

Who’s Ashley?

Well, Ashley might be a t-girl you met online one night whom you struck up a friendship with.  But that’s not necessarily the assumption your partner will make.  Ashley is that new girl in your office.  An old girlfriend.  Someone your wife doesn’t know.  Your wife starts to think, and fear, the worst.  Something bad is happening, they think.  Their partner is having an affair.

But no, Ashley is a crossdresser from Pittsburgh and is emailing you a link where you can buy some amazing heels that go up to a size 14.  Whether or not your spouse is relieved by this can vary depending on the person.

Ashley’s email, the box of clothes, your browser history will turn your life upside down.  It’s completely natural for your spouse to perhaps do a little more digging into these revelations.  Yes, I suppose you could call it snooping but at this point you’ve been keeping something huge from them and I don’t have a lot of sympathy for someone who is lying to their partner.

You have now been caught.  Now what?

Everything is now under scrutiny.  You have lost your credibility.  How long have you been doing this?  (All your life, but that’s neither here or there at the moment).  Do you want to be a woman?  Are you gay?  Why did you lie to me?  That business trip last year?  That really wasn’t a business trip, was it?  You got an amazing makeover and spent the day en femme in Boston or wherever.

In situations like this, a couple deals with two things.  Not only is there the whole “my husband wears panties” fallout, but they also face the reality that you have this other life that you were lying about.

The bombshell has gone off and your life is a mess.  It might not always be a mess, but it probably will be for a while.  It will certainly change things. Not only do you have to come out to your partner, you are also doing it under the worst possible circumstances.  You didn’t want to come out, you didn’t want to be caught, and your spouse certainly didn’t want to find out this way.  They will likely feel angry, hurt, betrayed, and scared.

Be honest, can you blame them?  They may feel deceived because, well, you deceived them.  You weren’t honest with them.  They’re afraid of someone finding out, afraid of losing their husband.  They’re confused because we are not easy to understand.  You might feel that betrayed is a bit of a strong word but think about it.  There was something about you, something significant, that you held back from them.  You didn’t disclose something about yourself that you should have.

The dust will settle.  Slowly.  It will probably take time.  You and your spouse will have some really, really big talks.  Possibly with a counselor or a therapist.  Is your marriage in trouble?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  You did lie about something for a pretty long time.  You may not think that wearing heels is the equivalent as to having an affair or something, but that trust is destroyed.  Hopefully you will have a chance to rebuild it.

Your partner will need to fully grasp what this side of you means.  Why are you who you are?  Why do you want to wear makeup?  Why is this so important to you?  Are you gay?  Do you want to transition?

I am not saying that they will accept or understand this side of you.  This revelation, to be honest, has damaged many relationships to the state of disrepair.  Not necessarily because of your choice in underwear, but the fact that you lied for so long.  Possibly about many things.

I know that this is uncomfortable to read.  I know I am voicing the fears many of us have who haven’t come out to our spouses.  I know many will read this and will resolve to continue to keep this part of them a secret because of this potential fallout.  No one wants to put their spouse through this.  No one wants to put themselves through this either.  I wish I could be more gentle, but I really am not doing anyone any favors by pulling punches or downplaying what could happen if and when you are “caught”.

Getting caught from anyone takes away controlling how you come out to someone.  I wanted to come out to my mom and I’m glad I did because it was a lot easier to do this when I sat down with her one day as opposed to the day I bumped into her at the mall.  Talking to her, as well as talking to anyone, allows you to slowly ease them into this revelation.  It shocked my mom, as it would shock anyone, but I can’t imagine what it would have been like for both of us if she found out that day in JC Penney.

I came out to my wife two years before we got married.  I came out to her because she  needed to know exactly who she was marrying.  It wasn’t necessarily the same as needing support, but it was more like putting all my cards on the table.

If you are already married, then coming out becomes a lot harder.  But I still believe it’s the right thing to do.  I believe in honesty with your partner and I know you do too.  I know that this is on a different level than almost anything else we can possibly imagine, but it’s still important to tell the truth.

Some of us come out to our spouses because of the same reason we come out to anyone.  We come out because we want and need the support.  Perhaps this part of us creates a lot of conflict, tension, and uncertainty in us.  Perhaps we aren’t sure what this means.  Maybe we know that all of this is more than just wanting to feel beautiful from time to time.

I hope everyone is in a relationship with the person they love and trust more than anyone else in their life.  I hope you all have someone who you can turn to for everything, whether it’s sharing a funny meme, fixing a leaky faucet, or a serious discussion about gender identity.

Coming out to your spouse, whether because you are caught or because you get to a point where you feel you must, is not easy.  In both of these situations there will be some very serious conversations and decisions.

Of course, there are always those who have accepted and embraced this part of them and want to come to their partner because they want to share this part of them.  On one hand it’s good that they are comfortable with who they are and they understand where they are in their (ugh) journey, but on the other hand it’s important that they are coming out for the right reasons and have realistic expectations.

Please do not assume your partner is going to be thrilled with this revelation.  They will (probably) not offer to hit the mall with you to expand your wardrobe or dress up with you and go out for dinner as girlfriends.  They aren’t going to look at this as a benefit because you have an expansive array of high quality makeup that they can borrow.

Yes, there are t-girls out there that have supportive and participating partners.  They join their spouses on shopping trips or help pick out clothes.  This will likely take time.  They still may be hurt, scared, and even upset at first.  Yes, it’s good you came out but it’s a side of you that should have been disclosed before your relationship got serious.

Regardless of how your partner learned about this side of you, your relationship has now significantly and irreversibly changed.  You can’t unring a bell, remember.  So, now what?

One scenario is the one every one of us hopes for.  The girlfriend scenario.  You and are spouse shop together, go out together, have girls nights in.  Your spouse is supportive and participates in your en femme activities.  Having supportive people in your life, particularly your wife, is a treasure and not something you should take for granted.

Another outcome is a spouse who is supportive, or is at least tolerant of this part of you.  They may set boundaries on what you do or where you go en femme.  They may request you don’t leave the house dressed up.  Or at least avoid certain parts of the city to reduce the risk of running into people you know.  They may request you do not post photos on line.  Sometimes I think partners in this scenario are the most patient and the most stressed.  They aren’t sure why we are who we are, but they know that this is an important part of us that we can’t deny or change.  They may prefer we don’t have this side, but they understand it’s not going away.

If you have boundaries or restrictions, please, please respect them.  You already put your partner through hell when you came out and there may still be lingering trust issues.  The last thing you should ever do to anyone is give them another reason to not trust you.  Lying about something you lied about before is a pattern.  Why should they believe you?

Coming out is the hardest thing some of us will ever do.  It’s not easy to explain to who we are.  It’s hard to put into words feelings and thoughts and experiences and desires that we have hidden from the world for our entire lives.  Telling someone, especially our partners reveals a side of us that we have protected for as long as we can remember.

Coming out is essentially opening your heart and hoping that it doesn’t get broken.  It leaves us at our most vulnerable.  We hope that our secret doesn’t drive someone away or get met with ridicule or worse.  We pray they keep our secret.  We want to still be loved.

Putting your heart on the line like that can strengthen a relationship.  When I came out to my wife she had long suspected there was… something about me that I kept from her.  She had no idea what and this was certainly the last thing she could have imagined.  But in the days and years after I told her and as my (ugh) journey progressed, we were honest about what was happening and what we were thinking and feeling in response to all this.  I was more open with her than I had ever been before.  Not only with this, but with everything.  I didn’t have any secrets anymore.  I had given her my heart in many ways, and this was no different.

Every relationship will deal with this in their own way. It wasn’t always easy for my wife.  This side of us never is easy for our partners.  Some relationships will find a way to make it work, some will enter into a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ dynamic.  The secret is out, discussions were had, and there is an understanding between two people that this will not be discussed any further.  Usually in this type of, well, let’s call it an agreement, the dressing will continue and they may go out of the house, but their partner doesn’t want to know the details or about anything related to this side of them.  Call it a compromise or an uneasy truce or a comfortable arrangement.

It’s important to acknowledge and understand that every partner will react to this side of you differently.  If they cannot accept this part of you, it does not make them a bad person.  This side of us is not easy to understand and we need to accept responsibility and own up to the fact that we entered into a committed relationship without being completely honest with them.

Yes, I know.  You didn’t want to come out because you thought this would scare them away.  I get it.  But you probably should have done it anyway.  I have had crossdressers tell me that they didn’t tell their wives about this part of them until after they were married because it would be too hard to back out after they said ‘I Do’.

Quite frankly, that is a really shitty thing to do.

I understand it’s terrifying to come out to anyone.  Will we be mocked?  Ridiculed?  Will they share our secret with everyone in your life?  It’s a risk to come out.  Believe me, I understand.  Coming out to your spouse adds a whole new possibility that most people want to avoid: divorce.

Yes, marriages end because of this.  Not every spouse can handle this side of us.  That doesn’t make either of you bad people.  I don’t necessarily think it’s simply the crossdressing that ends a committed marriage.  It does sometimes, but how you come out and the fallout is also a factor.

Nor being honest or forthcoming or being deceptive can damage any relationship regardless of what you are lying about.  If a relationship isn’t sustained by trust, than what is it built on?

Coming out is scary, but it can also be empowering.  It is wonderful to accept and embrace this side of you but we must be careful to not let this newfound confidence blind us to how we relate to others in our lives.  If you come out to your wife and tell her that this is who you are and she can’t change you and that this is how it’s going to be, well, that’s kind of abrasive.  Relationships are two people working and communicating together.  Not being considerate to how your partner is reacting or feeling isn’t fair, to say the least.

There’s no right way to come out.  There are many wrong ways to come out.  I don’t know how you should come out to your partner.  I do know that you need to be honest and kind.  Remember that this will forever change the dynamic between the two of you.  They will never look at you the same way again.  You just peeled back a layer of you that was hidden and to them, you are a different person and they see you in a new light.

Coming out to them is not unlike sharing with them difficult news.  I am not saying wearing panties is the equivalent of finding out that your job is being transferred 900 miles away or that you are bankrupt, but rather knowing that sharing this is something that will impact your relationship in an irreversible way, regardless of what direction the two of you take.

I understand marriage is not easy.  I understand that each relationship is different.  What works with two people will not necessarily work with another couple.  It’s up to you to decide what you choose to do in your relationship.  Coming out should always be a choice and personally it’s a choice I encourage you to make before your relationship gets serious.

In-Between: A Beginner’s Guide to Crossdressing

mock book cover

Hi girls!

I think I’m getting close to finishing ‘In-Between‘.  I am editing and writing as I go and I’m excited to finish it.  I have a couple more chapters to go as well as some introductiony/biography stuff after that.

As I get close to completing the first draft, I am getting a better sense as to what else needs to be included.  I never meant for this book to be a “how to crossdress” guide, but I am starting to think that a couple of chapters dedicated to some basic techniques on shopping and makeup might not be a bad thing.

I decided to write two chapters for the beginning of the book and I am providing the first of these two chapters below.  I’d love to know what you think!

Love, Hannah

When I was in my late teens, I sought out as many resources as I could when it came to crossdressing.  I was encouraged by how much, if you knew where to look, material was out there. I found autobiographies of those whose dressed like I did, makeup and style guides, forums to help foster a community and more.

When I started my current website, I included a section called ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Crossdressing’.  I did this for two reasons. This first reason is because ‘how to crossdress’ was one of the most common and consistent phrases people used to find my site.  I thought by including a part of the website to this I could spread my… message, if you will, about what I thought crossdressing was, and, in a way, attempt to normalize it.

In my quest to find as much as I could about crossdressing in my younger days, it wasn’t hard to find material that presented crossdressing as a fetish.  I stumbled upon more photos of dudes wearing panties that did not fit than I can ever forget. It was frustrating seeing crossdressers being overwhelmingly represented like this.

This is not who I was.  If there was an audience out there willing to listen, then I should share my thoughts about what crossdressing was, and about who we are.  Not all of us are fetishsts. Not all of us want to post pictures of ourselves in lingerie online. I wanted to be a reassuring voice to those wives that discovered their husbands wore panties and were looking for some perspective.

The second reason I included this was because I received dozens of emails a week from people asking me how to crossdress.  It got a little exhausting. Over time the temptation to respond to these emails in a snarky way grew to the point where I almost responded with ‘buy some panties, ta-da, you’re a crossdresser’ but that would simply be bitchy.  Crossdressing is pretty easy and complex at the same time. You can go as minimal or as far as you want. Crossdressing can be as simple as slipping on a pair of panties or as in depth as shaving your body, getting a $60 makeover and hitting the town.  It’s really up to you.

However, that’s not what they really wanted to know.  My belief is that crossdressing is simply wearing clothes that are typically associated with another gender.  I think most people who were asking understood that if someone wanted to crossdress, they just needed to buy a dress or wear eyeliner.  I think what they were really asking is:

 

“How do I reconcile the part of me that wants to wear beautiful clothes but I’m a guy?”

“How do I find a pair of heels that fit?”

“How do I gather the courage to shop for a skirt in guy mode?”

“How do I learn how to do my own makeup?”

“How do I accept that despite a $70 makeover that I don’t look like Angelina Jolie?”

 

My website, and my book, is intended to help with accepting yourself.

It’s intended to help you shop for clothes that fit.

It’s about living in a world that doesn’t understand us.

It’s a resource to guide someone through the wonderful world of makeup.

It’s to help with overcoming dysphoria and shattering the expectation of ‘passing’.

 

There are a ton of books and websites out there about being who we are.  I felt I had a unique and underrepresented voice and perspective when it comes to crossdressing.  I didn’t want to add another book or blog that didn’t say anything new. As I got older, I still sought out books and other resources and saw a lot of designers who sold makeup for men and dresses for crossdressers.  There’s a lot that you can find out there and I am so happy that there are those that design clothes with us in mind. I have had wonderful partnerships with many of these businesses and designers whether it was modeling or writing articles for their websites.

But I realized that I didn’t need to Google ‘makeup for men’ to find a foundation to cover my beard line.  I shifted my search terms to things like ‘makeup to cover facial hair’. I was able to find products that did the trick that cost less than what I was previously buying.  I didn’t need to search for ‘clothes for crossdressers’. When I did that I usually found dresses that were a little on the fetishy side of the closet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, God knows I have my share of dresses like that.

What I searched for instead were things like ‘dresses for broad shoulders’ or ‘high heels in size 12’.  I found a lot more options than doing it this way. This revelation reminded me that everyone has a body and what we need for them is not necessarily limited to gender.  Many ciswomen wear heels that are sized 12 and up Many ciswomen buy makeup and clothes to minimize or enhance certain physical features.

When it comes to the practical side of buying clothes that fit you, this is the approach I recommend.  You don’t have to Google “high heels for men” for a pair of cute pumps. If you know your measurements, then you can find (practically) anything.

My website is about resources and accepting yourself.  There’s a fair part of creating yourself, too. When I started to wear makeup, I wanted to look like Selena Gomez or Sandra Bullock or _______________.  I was devastated when I didn’t. But as time passed I learned that I would never look like them, I would always look like me. I learned that there was no such thing as passing.  I learned how to shake off dysphoria, I accepted who I was and embraced how I looked. Things that I wish I accepted years earlier.

But these things I learned over time.  They were learned from experience and these epiphanies came with time.  No one could have taught me these things, I had to learn them myself. I think we all did.

This book was never meant to be a how-to guide to crossdressing.  It still isn’t. However, I started to think that a book about living between gender identities almost requires a bit of a practical guide.  I resisted this section for a long time because my core belief is that there is no correct way to be a girl. There is no standard one must meet, no one is too tall to be feminine, no one has shoulders too broad to be pretty.  Providing instructions on how to “look like a girl” seems to be contrast with the purpose of the book and my website.

But here it is anyway.

Let me clarify that I am not speaking for the entire transcommunity.  I am not saying these are the standards and expectations you must meet in order to be trans or present or identify as a girl.  You are transgender if you say you are transgender. You are a woman if you say you are. I have seen gorgeous women with facial hair and have met many transwomen who wear jeans and sneakers and no makeup.

I chose the topics based on the most commonly asked questions I received over the years, such as shaving, learning makeup, and finding your proper measurements.  Looking over these subjects, it all comes across as very practical which isn’t a bad thing. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look a certain way. My approach to… all of this comes from an insanely high level of confidence and plenty of I Don’t Care What You Think.

However, if I am being honest, this attitude came from loving how I looked.  I love how I look in a cute dress. I love how I look after I do my makeup. Loving how I looked came from practice with makeup and finding clothes that fit.  I guess what I am saying is that I get it, I understand when someone wants to look cute. We all want to feel beautiful and if this helps, who am I to judge?

I also want to be very clear that I do not believe in “passing”.  I don’t think I pass, and you likely won’t either.  What is passing? Who decides if you pass or not? Who has the right to decide if you look feminine enough?  What does that even mean? Women, whether trans or cis, all look different. Some cis-women are tall, have broad shoulders, hands of all sizes and have different facial features.  Holding ourselves to a certain standard means that we have expectations as to what a cis-woman “should” look like. Here’s the reality: Some cis-women have large hands. Some are taller than cis-men.  Some have deep voices. Some have facial hair. Does this mean they don’t “pass”? Of course not. All cis-women are women (if they choose to identify that way, of course), all transwomen are women, no matter how anyone looks.

“Passing” and loving how you look and feel are two completely different things.  Passing is impossible and isn’t real, but loving yourself is. When I walk through a mall wearing my favorite dress and heels I feel *amazing*.  I don’t care what anyone else thinks. What do I care if someone thinks that I am not beautiful? What do I care if someone knows that I am transgender?  I am transgender. To me it’s the same thing as someone knowing I am right-handed. It doesn’t affect me in the slightest. You are the only one that gets to decide if you are beautiful.  And you are.

However, I also remember the early days of dressing up, going out, and being comfortable.  It was a roller coaster of emotions. I think all of us go through massive swings of self-esteem.  I certainly did at first and it still happens from time to time. It’s normal. I think what helps me get through them is just accepting and loving myself and not worrying about what other people might think.

I think sometimes our self-esteem is so tied up in how we feel about how we look that when ur reflection doesn’t match our expectations we are devastated..  I think most of us have felt at one time (or one hundred times) that we are not pretty enough, we look too male, we’re too tall, our feet are too big and a million other thoughts.  When we don’t love how we thought we’d look, or how we wanted to look, it can be a little…crushing, to be honest. The first time I wore makeup and a wig I was amazed at how I looked but also destroyed that I didn’t look like a supermodel.  The first time I did my own makeup was also a humbling experience.

What changed?  Time passed and as it did, I got better at makeup, I purchased a better wig, I started to dress better and wore clothes that fit.  We all want to be a size 6 and some of us want to buy the tiniest dress at the mall, but wearing a dress and looking good in a dress are two different things.  After years of crossdressing, I was finally coming into my look. I was happy, and still am. But my confidence didn’t only come from how I look. I also embraced who I was and became happier with who I am.  Acceptance can lead to confidence, which leads to happiness.

So, with that out of the way, let’s get started.

 

In-Between Update

Hi girls!

I am working on the last few chapters of ‘In-Between’ and I wanted to thank you all for the encouraging emails and messages you’ve sent since I announced my book.

The book is divided into three sections:

Part 1: YOU – Where you are on the transgender spectrum and accepting this part of you

Part 2: US – How this affects your relationships with your partner and family

Part 3: THE WORLD – Your impact on society…and the other way around

As I enter the final stretch of the writing, I wanted to see if there is anything specific you would like me to write about.  The book covers everything from sex to relationships to dysphoria to clothes and everything else in-between.  I have ideas for the last few chapters, but is there anything you think I should cover?

Please feel free to comment below or submit your question through the ‘Ask Hannah’ page.

In the meantime, here are some of the photos Shannonlee and I took for the book cover proposal.  I love how they turned out and it wasn’t easy to choose which one to us.

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Love, Hannah

 

In-Between!

mock book cover

Hi girls!

I fully believe that life is not about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.  I think that statement is more true for a t-girl than almost anyone else.  When we have more than one gender identity we spend time getting to know that side of us.  We spend energy creating a look for them based on what feels right.  We create a place for this side of us in our lives.  Most importantly, we strive to create a balance for our gender identities.

This is not easy.  We get lost in the pink fog, we struggle to accept this side of us, we share (or hide) this secret with our significant others, we yearn to leave the confines of our living rooms to interact with the real world.

I strive to find that balance between my gender identities.  It takes a lot of time, patience, and mistakes.  Writing about who I am, and who we are, helps me sort out my thoughts.  I have been doing a lot of writing over the last year or so about accepting ourselves, the stress this aspect of us has on our partners, and how to live in a world that doesn’t understand us.

I can only write based on my experiences and this helps me gain perspective on my own life.  We spend so much time in our own heads because not all of us have someone to talk to about this part of us.  I am humbled and happy when I get emails and comments about these writings.  So many of us have had the same experiences and thoughts and it’s amazing at how much we all have in common.  It’s not easy to be who we are.  I mean, not only do we need to learn to walk in heels and how to do winged eyeliner, we also have the challenges of talking to our partners about who we are and the struggle to find a balance in our lives with our gender identities.

Some of you have suggested I write a book.  I never thought about writing one but after the positive feedback and personal emails from other t-girls I thought I might have something to say.

I am happy and terrified to finally announce that I am going to give writing a book a shot.

In-Between: Balancing Life Between Genders‘ will consist of some of the writings from my blog, my background and journey, and serve as an introduction to the part of the transgender community that goes between genders.  The book is about finding balance between our gender identities, communicating with others, and living in a world that doesn’t always know how to react to us.

Before you start looking for this book on Amazon, please know that the book is still being written.  I think I am about 75% done and I think it’ll be finished this fall.  I also need to find either a literary agent or a publisher.  So, even if I typed the final word of the book today, it’s still a long (and almost impossible) process to get a book published.  But, I am excited and staying optimistic.

The picture above is a cover mock-up and if the book were to find a publisher there would likely be a different image.  Shannonlee and I had some fun on our recent photo shoot taking these pictures and I think it helps to have a visual representation of what kind of book I am writing to share with editors and agents.

I really want to thank you all for encouraging me to do this, and for sharing your stories and experiences.  You letting me know that we all have the same thoughts, fears, struggles, and challenges convinced me that a book like this might be helpful to our community and informative to a world that doesn’t know what to think of us.

I am hard at work finishing this project and if anyone out there has any connections in the publishing world, please let me know!  🙂

Love, Hannah