A New You

Really, what more can be said about this year?

On this date in 2019 I was getting ready for a business trip.  I woke up early on the first day of 2020 and I spent New Year’s Day in airports and a hotel.  I thought about what the next twelve months would bring and there was the typical optimism and planning and dreaming about what lay ahead.  I knew there would be frustrations and disappointments and unexpected events, but no one really could have predicted what this year was going to be like.  There are so many things we do now, whether it is wearing a mask while we hope the store has some toilet paper left, video calls with our parents, and staying six feet apart if we have to run errands.  Each of these things would have seemed bizarre 52 weeks ago but this is our reality now.

In some ways it shows how fragile our lives are, and how quickly and how much a life can change.  It also shows how resilient we can be.  It’s not easy but we are clinging and dreaming of a better day.  The vaccine, new leadership, seeing family, resuming our precious little lives.

Optimism and the start of a new year go together like a cute panty and matching bra.

This morning I am thinking about dreams deferred and the hope of tomorrow.  Chances to take, opportunities to seek out, and yes, outfits to wear.  I never said I wasn’t shallow.  🙂  

I bought a dress to wear for the MN T-Girls Halloween party.  It looked like a fairy dress and I thought it would look cute with wings.  As the party approached my enthusiasm for the event started to dwindle.  Weather was getting colder, confirmed COVID cases began to rise, and it was time to face the inevitability of a worsening winter.  The early days of the virus were scary and hard, but soon warmer weather gave us more options.  We could be outside!  We could see a friend (distanced socially, of course) at a park, we could leave our homes.  But the colder weather meant these days were over for the moment.  I didn’t put the effort or energy into my costume that I had planned but I still had a cute dress (and tiara) to wear for the party.  The party was fun but for me there was a gloominess that hung over me.  Many of the girls who came to last year’s party weren’t there because of COVID and I knew that I had to suspend future events for a while.

This dress looked cute online, and to my delight was even cuter in real life.  I loved it, it’s fun to wear (especially with a petticoat to give it that extra floof), and it shows off my legs lol.  It’s a beautiful party dress.  Looking at this dress is a little bittersweet.  This is not a time for parties, not when it’s not safe to gather.  It’s not a time to celebrate when so many people have lost their lives, their family members, their jobs.

November’s MN T-Girls event was the annual photo shoot.  I knew it was likely the last time I would see my friends for a while.  I look forward to all of our events, especially the photo shoot but knowing I wouldn’t see the girls for a while made me sad.  I picked my outfits for the day, and at the last minute I took this dress.  

I thought about how it was a party dress, and I thought about fun it would be to wear for a New Year’s Eve party, a party that wouldn’t be happening this year.  I suppose it was like wearing a gown for a prom I wouldn’t be going to.  As Shannonlee clicked away with her camera, my smile, my posing, my thoughts all seemed to shift a little.  T-Girls have a special relationship with clothes, they are a representation of our gender identity, they symbolize who we are.  Like a t-shirt of a favorite band reminding us of a concert from a long time ago, a dress can bring up memories.  I thought about this dress, I thought about the Halloween party and how it was tinged with sadness for that night.  I thought about wearing it to parties that were not going to happen for a while.  I closed my eyes as Shannonlee took photos and I let these feelings take over.  I thought about the losses from the year, the uncertainty of tomorrow.  I thought about my friends, I thought about the holiday party that wouldn’t happen, I thought about everything.  I stopped posing and just stood there and remained very still until I came out a weird trance-like state.

Goodness this all sounds very supernatural and pretentious, doesn’t it?

I always look forward to getting my photos back and I was particularly curious as to how the photos of this dress would look.  The pictures of this outfit started off fun, but as time passed I could see in the photos how my thoughts and emotions started to took over.   I look at peace.  I wasn’t.

I don’t want to start anything in the comments, but it’s obvious that I think that our current president is a complete disaster.  But as I type this we will have a new president in a few weeks.  I am not saying Biden is a savior or perfect or anything.  He has his faults and again I don’t want to get inundated with messages or whatever.  We have two vaccines.  My job is starting to make plans for a return to normalcy.  This year has been hell but we can see a new day ahead.  

If this year taught me anything it’s that our lives can be upended quickly and in more ways than we can imagine.  We needed to adapt and we did.  We can change how we do things, whether it is how we work, how we support a local business, how we stay in touch with friends.  Time and life is precious and we don’t need to adhere to the rules that we think we have.  Yes, I miss not having a holiday party with friends this year, but why not throw a glamorous party in April?  We don’t need a reason other than we are celebrating being alive, and surviving.  Have a new costume party in June, wear a ballgown to Target.

I am excited to get vaccinated.  I am excited to go out to dinner.  I am excited to leave my mask at home.  I am excited to hug my mom.  I am excited rejoin my lives and have new adventures.  New parties, new outfits, new celebrations, new opportunities.

A new day, a new year.

A new you.

Love, Hannah  

Fishnets and Fetish

I usually never repeat outfits when I do photo shoots but I felt that this deserved another round of pictures.

This is as spicy and fetishy as I get. This side of me is not a fetish but god it’s fun to wear outfits like this sometimes. And is there anything more alluring than fishnets?

I hope you like this look! It’s not my typical style but I feel powerful, desired, and confident dressed like this.

Love, Hannah

Feeling Blue and Beautiful

I just love this dress. Just absolutely adore it. It fits perfectly, it’s flattering, and just shows off my curve. It’s flirty and and it’s…it’s just fun to wear.

I had hoped to wear it on a day out shopping but of course so many plans were kicked aside this year, but I promise as soon it’s safer and more fun to go out again this will be the first dress I wear.

The dress is from En Femme and yes, I know I sound like a shill for hyping a dress from a designer I work for, but I work for them for a reason and dresses like this one are a major reason.

Even though I haven’t worn this to a mall yet, I did wear it for last month’s photo shoot.
I hope you like it!

Love, Hannah

All Glammed Up and No Place to Go

This year a million plans went out the window and for the most part I remained optimistic. It wasn’t easy. I still made plans and I knew there was always a likely chance they would be canceled or postponed.

I like looking forward to things and events and like every year I was excited about the MN T-Girls Holiday Party. As soon as the weather starts to turn colder I start looking for my dress. Most of the time it’s sparkly.

I was pretty sure the party would not happen this year and sure enough our outings are on hold for a bit. But I was optimistic that it would happen despite being pretty sure it wouldn’t. I was so optimistic that I still bought my dress.

I didn’t get to wear it for a holiday party this year but I did get to wear it for last month’s photo shoot. I hope you like it.

Love, Hannah

Looking Photabulous!

This month the MN T-Girls celebrate our 7th anniversary and we marked the occasion with our annual photo shoot. This was our…fifth? shoot as a group and like the previous shoots it was a day of beauty, smiles, and camera clicks.

The photo shoots are limited to a number of participants so it’s usually our smallest event of the year. Like in past years Shannonlee was there to help us smile and pose as she captured our beautiful selves. This shoot was at Fox Box Studios in NE Minneapolis.

I can’t wait to see the final pictures but until then I hope you enjoy these behind the scenes shots.

Love, Hannah

En Femme Fall Photo Shoot!

Yesterday was probably the last warm autumn day In Minnesota for the year. I was SO happy the weather cooperated because I had a photo shoot for En Femme‘s fall line.

Shannonlee and I shot pictures in downtown Saint Paul and it was such a fun shoot. My favorite location was when we snuck into a newly renovated hotel that used to be a girl’s school a million years ago that they say is now haunted. Spoooooky.

Love, Hannah

Silver and Bold

I used to think the only way I would be able to leave my home en femme was if I passed. Knowing I would never pass (not that there is such a thing) I thought if I blended in I would be ready to brave the world.

I see blending as a… hm, survival method, and it was in this perspective that gave me the courage to enter the real world.

My sense of fashion, however, does not lend well to blending and I have just embraced it. Certain colors, patterns, and prints just scream LOOK AT ME. Of course, being as tall as I am AND being trans I am going to be noticed so I may as well wear what I want.

Sparkly, silver dresses do not help a girl blend in. It requires an insane amount of confidence and hubris and the ability to shut out the stares to wear a dress like that in public. And that’s what I did at last month’s photo shoot.

This was for a project a friend of mine is putting together and I’ll share more details as they become available. For now, I hope you enjoy the photos!

Love, Hannah

Something in the Way She Moves

I totally heart Natassia Crystal.  Her wardrobe, especially her heels (OMG her heels), are always glamorous, she is super sweet and kind.  She posts a lot of videos of her simply walking around and showing off her beautiful outfits.  She is so graceful and feminine and if she wasn’t as lovely and as she is I would totes hate her, lol.  Regardless of how tall her stilettos are she walks, struts, and almost floats as if she was born with high-heeled shape feet.  Like a Barbie doll, I suppose.

From time to time I get questions about how to talk and walk en femme.  I don’t do much with my voice.  I suppose I speak a little lighter and I choose my words differently depending on what gender I am presenting.  If my wife asks her husband if he wants pizza for dinner he’d respond with “yeah, that sounds good”.  If you ask Hannah if she would like room for cream in her coffee she’d reply “oh yes please, thank you!”.  

When it comes to walking I suppose I don’t think that much about it.  When you move from tennis shoes to stilettos your whole body moves differently.  I mean, it HAS to.  You’re supporting your entire fabulous body on two tall, tiny stems as you strut your way around the mall or your house.  I drop my hips, I stand tall, and go go go.

At the last photo shoot I did I was asked to provide a few videos of me walking in the dresses I was reviewing.  I had never done video before so this would be a new adventure.  The first outfit I wore for the shoot was to feature a cute pencil skirt.  Shannonlee took a few pictures to test the lighting and then shot the first video.  It was nothing remarkable, just ten seconds or so of me walking from one end of a path to another.  I watched what she shot and I was almost horrified.  I didn’t look graceful, I didn’t move how I thought I moved, I looked like Frankenstein’s monster clomping around.  It was super cringy.

Have you ever come home after a day out en femme and looked in the mirror and saw your lipstick was smudged or your foundation was smeared and you realized that all day long you walked around looking like that?  This moment was like that.  I wondered if this is what people see when Hannah is out and about.  I know I sometimes look like a man in a dress, but my god, now I realized I walked like a man in a dress.  

Needless to say this was a humbling and crushing experience.  I always felt like I glided when I was in en femme.  At least it felt that way.

I was super self-conscience the rest of the day.  Whether we were shooting a video or just walking from one location to another I couldn’t help thinking about how I looked when I moved.  As the day and videos progressed I slowed my walk down a little, I stood a little taller, shoulders back, head higher.  The videos looked a little better but soon I got to the point where I didn’t watch them at all.  

As devastating (I know I am being dramatic here) as the videos were, I got over it and moved (see what I did there?) on.  Walking was just another thing to learn.  Of course this is not to say that there is a certain way girls should move or walk, mind you.  The shock and cringe came from me realizing that how Hannah moved was sooooo different than how I felt when I moved.  

There really isn’t a point to this post except to say that I think we have a lot of expectations and hope as to how we look, move, sound, and feel as we present as a gender that is different than a gender we normally present as.  We hope our eyeliner looks as amazing as it makes us feel, we hope a dress makes us look like a supermodel because that’s how it makes us feel.  We hope we move like angels because we feel like we are cloud 9.  I love mirrors but sometimes they reflect something we hope we don’t see or expecting.  Reality can be a bitch. 

So, what do we do?  It depends on what it is.  If I look in a mirror and see my lipstick looks smudgy and I hate how it looks, then it’s time to practice my lip liner and technique.  But it’s important to know what can be changed and what we need to accept.  I can always get better with my makeup so I can practice, take lessons, and watch videos.  But there are things I can’t change.  I can’t change my height, my facial structure, the size of my hands.  These are things I need to live with.  It’s not easy because this requires a change in our attitude and thinking.  What helps me is remembering that girls can be tall and they are tall.  My wife and sisters and many of my friends and coworkers are girls and guess what!  They all look different.  My wife is petite and barely five feet tall, and one of my colleagues is taller than I am.  No one ever thinks that these two women aren’t women.  I don’t think my wife looks at her friends and think of them as whether or not they “pass as females”.  There’s no standards that a girl, cis or trans, needs to meet.

Some girls glide like Natassia, some girls stomp around like me, but we are both beautiful, and we are both girls (when we want to be).

Of course this is all easier said than done, but that’s how I want to think.  It’s how I need to think.  If I continue to hold myself to standards that simply cannot be achieved then I will spiral into a pit of despair and never leave my house.  Or my bed.  

I promise you that no matter what the mirror says, what the camera shows, or what the rest of the world thinks, you are a beautiful girl.

Love, Hannah