Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Getting An Itch

Well its been over a month since coming out to my partner now and after all the heartache and stress initially it feels like I actually havent done anything to justify it. Me and my partner have been clothes shopping, shes bought me a top, and ive dressed up at home a few times and thats it. Over the past few days ive been getting very depressed, I think partially due to this reason.

Today I decided to do something about it. I shaved my body for the first time since coming out, and have dressed up. Ive put a little makeup on but not too much. I didnt tell my partner I was going to shave and dress up and surprised her when she came home, she seemed fine with it and complemented me on my outfit and makeup. Im still dressed up now as I type this and I feel good about myself again, the depression has gone.

So what is the cause of the depression? I think a small part of it was due to not being able to dress properly, but the main thing is because I want to go out and do things as Aimee. Im 30 now, ive taken a big step coming out and now I want to go and experience things! I want to see how far I can push being Trans, find my limits and what it means to me, but I cant because I have no money. I was hoping to have ticked things off my list of 'Trans things to do before I die' by now but havent really been able to. Im getting a little frustrated now but im stuck until I get back into work.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Suggestions On How To Come Out To Your Partner

Disclaimer - I have created this based on my own experiences of coming out to my partner, and also the experiences I have gathered from other people and places on the internet. It is not a guaranteed how-to guide and should be tailored to suit your partner. I bear no responsibility for anything that happens if you decide to follow these tips, and also do not guarantee that your partner will accept you. Each person is individual and while my partner accepted me, yours may not. Please bear in mind that every person is different and what ive written below may not work entirely for you. If you do decide to use some of what ive said, put it into your own words!

The below are only suggestions on how to approach this conversation with your partner based on my experiences. This is not a how-to guide!

First of All

To start with I thought I would give you the biggest bit of advice I can give you that applies throughout this whole experience. Take things at your partners pace. Do not force information or changes on her at all otherwise she will feel overloaded and may freak out. When coming out to her answer her questions but do not add information, if she goes silent then dont try to talk to her as she is thinking things through. Let her sit there and wait for her to speak. Give her choices wherever possible, try to make her feel she is in control of the conversation as she will feel like her life is being turned upside down.

Another thing to bear in mind is your approach. Dressing up and surprising her when she gets home from work is probably the worst way you can do this. At best have a photo handy of you dressed up, dont force it on her but have it in case she asks and feels the need to see it. I had one on my phone which I didnt even show her in the end. Also dont have a photo of you all made up looking glamorous and amazing, if she has any insecurities this will likely make things seriously worse. Make it an average pic without makeup or something, it needs to be enough to make it real without making her feel bad about herself.

There is never a good time to bring this up, try to make sure she will have plenty of time to absorb and process what you are telling her.

Research Beforehand

I recommend you read something like 'Something to Confess' by Karen Adler, you can find it on Amazon in Kindle format or Smashwords for other formats and its only £2. It is written by the wife of a Crossdresser and describes her thoughts and feelings throughout the experience of him coming out to her. Be warned, she comes across as a very open minded person so your partner may not be as understanding. However it was still an emotional and painful experience for Karen therefore it is still a useful read so you can understand how your partner will feel at various points and how your actions will probably affect her. There are other books you can read to but this is one I have personally used.

Take the time to have a look on Trans support sites and forums, and possibly get involved too as there are people on there who will have been through the same and will be able to offer support and their experiences when they came out to their partners. They will also be able to offer advice on your approach and maybe even support you through the emotional fallout during and after. Be warned though that telling your partner you have done this could bring up trust issues. She may understand you needed to do this for support, but may feel like you trust strangers more then her.

Preperation is Key

Be prepared for the worst. As well as you may know your partner all bets are off when it comes to revealing something like this. Be prepared for the possibility that she may go and tell all your friends, family and workplace about this side of you. By coming out to her, the rewards could be beyond your wildest dreams, but at the same time it could also be a life changing experience where you will lose this relationship and you will truly find out who your friends are.

Be prepared for questions. The number one thought that will go through her mind is 'are you gay?', and I was asked this quite a few times when I came out to my gf. Now we all know that just because we dress doesnt mean we fancy blokes too, gender and sexuality are seperate things. However to the general public the only contact they have with people who are Trans are drag queens who are essentially gay men who dress to entertain, or camped up actors on comedy shows mocking Crossdressers (Little Britain comes to mind). These are the things your partner will have in mind when you tell her this about you. Being Trans is very misunderstood, and I even told my gf in some ways it would probably have been easier to come out as gay because at least everyone understands it.

Be prepared to be honest (well, almost). Well now the cat is out of the bag you might as well be as honest to her as you can. Tell her why you dress, what you get up to, and how it makes you feel. If you were like me and are suffering with depression because of hiding it, tell her. If you are having gender identity issues and are not sure how far you want to take it, go see a therapist (before telling her if you can) and tell your gf you are too. Its important she knows how it has been affecting you, be as honest as you can but also very importantly do not force information on her. You do not want to overload her. Answer her questions at her pace. There may however be things you might want to keep back depending on what you do when it comes to your dressing. For example, if you dress in her clothes do not tell her that as she will feel like you have violated her personal space as well as deceived her. Ideally do not dress in her clothes at all, your partner (whether you tell them or hide it) will make the connection between your body type and theirs and think back to how strange their clothes fit (women notice when their clothes feel different) and then it will be a violation on a different level. Some women are very insecure in their own bodies and will see it as the ultimate betrayal to have a man in their clothes or wearing femme gear as it will feel like their man is stealing their sexual identity and will feel as though they have nothing of their own. It makes it worse for some when they see their "men" looking better than them.

Be prepared to reassure. It cannot be understated how important this step is, my gf has mentioned several times that the only way she got through this was because I reassured her continuously. You need to tell her you love her, and how much she means to you. Tell her she is the most important thing in your life and the reason you are telling her is because you want to be with her forever. Tell her that knowing how important dressing is to you, you could have taken the easy way out and split up with her. But instead you took a risk which could have cost you your friends and family, but were prepared to take it because you couldnt imagine your life without her. Assure her you are the same person you always have been, that you still have the same interests, loves and hates, that this is just something extra on top of all of that. Its always been a part of the way that you think, and as such has always been a part of the man she fell in love with.

Be prepared to offer support. Have support and information available for her if she needs it but do not force it on her. Give her choice to try and give her a sense of control. And in a very chaotic and disrupting moment in her life, she will need some sense of control to save her sanity. She will most likely find it extremely difficult to comprehend and process what you are telling her. One place I can suggest is Transpartners, it has been setup by the partners of men who are Trans and offers possible explanations, links to other resources, and also a forum too so partners can get in touch with people who are also in the same situation as them. I would recommend reading Transpartners yourself first so you can be prepared for any questions she may have from reading it. There is also a partner specific section on The Angels forum too. If you are lucky and have made friends who are out to their partners on other Trans sites, they may offer their phone numbers to support both of you too. While I offered these to my gf, she did not want to speak to strangers about our situation so I was not able to find out how effective any of them are, nor can I recommend them. My gf chose to speak to her best friend about it, and while I was not too happy with it it turns out this was the best move because her friend sorted my gfs head out and has also offered her support to me too.

And finally be prepared to be patient. Dont expect her to be accepting in a day, she might need to take some time to figure out what to do. You will have just turned her world upside down and she probably wont get her head around it in a day. Dont force the issue but also make sure she doesnt bury her head in the sand. You will have to judge this yourself.

After the Conversation

If you have made it this far and she still wants to make it work, then this is excellent news but you are not in the clear yet. There are still some things you need to bear in mind. First off, just because she accepts it does not mean she is happy or comfortable with it. When she is ready you will need to discuss boundaries. Tell her what you want to do when it comes to your Crossdressing (clothes, shaving, going out, etc) and find out her thoughts on them. Be prepared to compromise with her, do not expect to get your way entirely. It may be she wants to go on shopping trips and have girls nights in, or it may be that she doesnt want to see it at all but at least gives you some freedom to dress when she is not at home. At least you will not be hiding it anymore and believe me that is a massive relief.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

TS In Denial? Need Or Want?

So over the past few months I have spoken to many people who are at various stages of being Trans, from TV's all the way through to fully transitioned TS's. In this time something ive heard from a few people now is that from what theyve read I seem like I am a TS in denial. Many TS's who have transitioned later on initially thought they were a TV and only after coming out as one and fully exploring their feminine side did they come to this conclusion, so is this going to happen to me?

At the moment I see myself as a part time TV/CD, I dress because I enjoy it. I walk and talk like a man, I think like a man, im lazy like a man, but at the same time I have a need to express femininity from time to time too. I love being dressed up like a girl, it makes me feel good about myself, and when I see photos of myself dressed it makes me smile too. If I could go back in time and start again as Aimee, I would.

As far as I understand, being a TS is a 'need'. Its something which is and always has been part of your psyche. Its the kind of thing that when you look in the mirror and see a mans face staring back at you, you just know that is wrong. Ive never felt like this. For myself, I think being a TV/CD is between a 'need and a 'want'. I need to express my femininity, but I see going full time as a want. I would love to do it, and its something ive yearned and wished for very hard over the years since my childhood, but ive never looked in the mirror and not recognised myself. Ive never internally identified myself as female, ive just wished I was. Im interested to find out what your definition of TS is, and what the defining moment was that made you realise that is what you are.

Ive been trying to remember back to my childhood, trying to remember the feelings I had, why and when they started, and how strong they were. Its difficult because I can remember bits but I cant remember in what order which means they may be out of context. I may make another post about this soon, today I dont really have time.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

So Whats Next?

Do I intend to let this blog die? Erm, no.

But surely at this point it has served its purpose, im no longer a confused Crossdresser right? Well this is true, but I get the impression my Transgender journey is still going to go on for a very long time, and there will be bumps in the road.

While I have certainly accepted myself more over the past few months and also finally told my partner which has been a huge relief for me, there are still things I am unhappy with and want clarification about.

I read about other people who have gone through I have, told their partners who accepted them, and then 10 years or so down the line suddenly realised they are TS. I dont want to hurt my partner anymore than I have already. I feel bad in a way because she is probably only still with me because we have already been committed to each other for nearly 10 years at this point. If this happened to me we would be 40 by that point and I would be forcing her hand again.

In some ways I feel guilty because of this, I think about it from time to time and I probably do force her hand a lot. When I came out to her and we were still in the heat of the moment she said that I take a lot from her, and she didnt know how much more I could take from her. By this she refers to the fact I dont want kids, I dont want animals, and there are probably other things in there too culminating with the latest issue that im Trans.

Lets get the easy one out the way. I dont like having pets, they smell, youve got to walk them, feed them, look after them, and they are just a random element in the house that could do anything without prompting. My partner comes from a dog family, the whole family has dogs and they love them. I cant give in on this and my partner has had to reluctantly accept it.

As far as kids go, im not ready for the responsibility of having one, and I dont think ill ever be. I know she gets broody from time to time, ever since her best friend gave birth a few years ago,  yesterday she learned her friend was having another and im sure it got her thinking about it again because she was feeling down but said she didnt know why. I just dont have the patience for kids, and I love having complete freedom to do what I want when I want. Not only that but we are not exactly set up financially either.

And then there is the whole Trans issue. I was going to see a therapist privately (6 month waiting list on the NHS!) until recently but had to stop because im running out of money. I really want to try and get to the bottom of it all because then itll at least be one thing I wont have to feel guilty about anymore. Itll be one less thing to force on my partner.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

10 Days Since Coming Out

So a lot has happened in the 10 days since I came out to my gf, it was initially a very difficult time for us but im glad that I seem to have such an understanding partner and im glad I took the steps to tell her, rather than the easy way out and leave her.

So the day after my last post my gf was in tears again first of all but I reassured her that im still me, but with this extra piece ive been hiding from her while I came to terms with it myself. After this we decided to go to the park since the sun was shining, we sat on a bench and just talked for hours about everything from why I do it through to clothes and makeup. It was good to get it out and since then she has been a lot more comfortable with the idea. She still thinks its weird but has been accepting enough to go shopping with me, and she even bought me a top. She also met my alter ego for the first time 2 days ago and didnt seem to be fazed by it at all. Im able to move my stuff out of the box its been hiding in and as soon as I can buy a few cabinets tomorrow ill be able to store my things properly for a change.

I met with her friend and we talked for hours about everything and she seemed absolutely fine and supportive with it. She came round again while my gf was here and we talked about it again as a group, even went so far as to talk about clothes and even go through some of my wardrobe.

My depression has all but dissapeared which is nice, I do worry a little that maybe shes not taking it as well as shes letting on in an effort to make me happy and this does get me down occasionally, but generally im feeling a lot better. I still have the occasional esteem issue but its a lot less of an issue than it has been. Im still going to see a therapist because while this is fresh I want to make sure that I know exactly what this is, I dont want to have a second realisation in 10-20 years that I should have transitioned or something and then hurt my gf for a second time. Id rather make sure now.