What a revelation! …or maybe just a complete waste of time

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A friend sent me a link to a quiz that was supposed to tell you which iconic American figure you are most like, so I decided I would give it a try and see what the interwebs think of me. I was hoping for Grace Kelly (imagine that) but apparently that was not a possibility. Here was my result:

Jackie Kennedy

Jackie

It’s no wonder that everyone who meets you instantly falls in love. You are so similar to the closest thing to royalty that the U.S. has ever seen. You are charismatic and beautiful, and you have the lady-like elegance of a queen. You are a natural people person, and you put the people around you at ease.

I cant complain about the result, Jackie Kennedy is also quite a role-model for myself. However it was the line You are charismatic and beautiful, and you have the lady-like elegance of a queen.” that had me laughing. I thought, well… the internet just might be a lot more in tune with my reality than I thought. (That would be the “lady-like elegance of a queen” part, and not so much the “charismatic and beautiful” part).

From there, I took a quiz that said it could determine if I was male or female. Well it came back saying I was “most definitely a woman”, but the truth is the questions were so sexist and stereotypical that it it was downright insulting (but I still liked the answer).

That then led to the next quiz… “What Disney Princess Are You?” Turns out I am Belle. I was hoping for Cinderella and I can’t honestly say I know much about Belle, but I approve of the hair and the gown:

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From there I think I ended up taking about eight more quizzes of various topics. So what does all this mean?? Well, it means that with so few opportunities to blog lately, when I finally got an opportunity, I wasted on these worthless quizzes. But they were entertaining for a bit, and I’m still pleased with the line “lady-like elegance of a queen”. How appropriate!

So go ahead, waste some valuable time. Here is the one that sucked me in:

http://www.playbuzz.com/margaretbrown10/which-iconic-american-figure-are-you-most-like

Have fun…

-ValS

My mind opens up and more fragments come out…

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It’s been awhile since I have just opened up my mind and poured some of those random little thoughts out, so I have decided to further pollute the internet and blogosphere with more Valerie Fragments. For anyone who might not have experienced my often-times pointless ramblings, these are some of the thoughts I have that are not significant enough to warrant a full posting on their own.

Every Spare Moment:

Lately, every time I am out by myself or traveling for work (in Bob mode), I keep thinking to myself that I should be taking advantage of the alone time to buy something for Valerie. This is especially true when I am in a different town and nobody knows me. I am getting quite good at walking up to a sales counter and putting something clearly femme on the counter without giving a damn about what the sales person thinks. Make-up, pantyhose, fake nails, etc. etc. I couldn’t care less about what they think, and now I feel like I should be doing this at every opportunity. Thing is, there is really nothing I need right now, but I feel like I am missing out on a rare moment of privacy when I don’t go get something. Maybe this is the shopping gene fully developing.

No, not those…

Speaking of shopping, I recently needed to purchase another pair of sunglasses for Bob, having broken them once again. In the shop looking at the sunglasses, the layout was such that the women’s sunglasses were right next to the men’s. I could not focus on a pair of men’s sunglasses because I kept spying some fabulous feminine frames. I struggled to find a pair for Bob that were satisfactory, but could have easily purchased Valerie about three pairs. I have had this problem before with pants and shirts, but never with something so basic. Valerie’s preferences are quickly becoming synonymous with all “my” preferences. Bob rarely has a preference for anything anymore.

Don’t Look Down!

On a similar note, I was recently in an elevator with some other people that I didn’t want to engage with, so I just looked up at the ceiling and then down at the floor. Then it hit me… I have never really noticed how hideous men’s shoes are! My pumps/heels are so much more classy and beautiful than these things that I found on my feet. I might as well of had a couple of black boxes taped to my feet. Actually, I’m sure I have thought about this before, but at that moment it seemed like such a revelation. I’ll stick to looking up or just staring aimlessly ahead from now on.

What not to do…

When at work, I try to maintain genuine male mannerisms and persona. It is part of the “hiding in the closet” routine I must adhere to, however some days I let a few things slip here and there. Maybe not enough to arouse suspicion, but if one were to add it all up… a gesture here, a saying there, a compliment a guy just wouldn’t typically make, etc. But without thinking about it, when going to sit down in a meeting, I swept my hands down my rear-end and further down the backs of my thighs as if I was smoothing out my skirt and petticoat to sit down. I didn’t realize I had done it and a female co-worker asked me “What was that all about?” I made the mistake of saying “What was what?” to which she responded by describing to everyone what I had done and then conveniently demonstrated for the group. Luckily, I quickly commented I had worked out the night before and the backs of my thighs were really sore. Most of the room seemed satisfied, but she just let out a unconvinced little “uh huh”. Kind of concerning that such a feminine act was executed without an ounce of awareness on my part. Fortunately I won’t be seeing many of those folks again for a very long time.

Couldn’t have said it any better!

I was taking to a CD friend of mine, who happened to have some alone time and spent her day dressed as Linda and wandering around a fine art museum. She was searching for a favorite painting when her cellular phone broke the silence of the library-like quietness. It was her wife (who does not know about Linda) on the phone and Linda answered. While quietly trying to sound like a husband, and obviously not looking the part, Linda explained to her wife that she “had lost a Rembrandt”. Her wife’s reply was perfect… “Be a woman!” Of course she meant to stop acting like a typical man, swallow the male pride and just ask an attendant. I found the situation so amusing that I had to share it here. Mrs. South wouldn’t have to tell me that twice!

What’s in a name?

In my hours of searching for pictures of vintage 1950’s fashion, I have become acquainted with one of the first super models named Dovima. Several of her photos have adorned various posts here in So Very Deep, including this post. It wasn’t just the fashion that attracted me to her photographs, but it was also her fabulous eyebrows! Another thing I found interesting is the name. Dovima. Say it out loud and it just sounds so sophisticated. However, like many of us she picked the name, or actually crafted it. Dovima was born Dorothy Virginia Margaret Juba.  First two letters of each of her given names yields DoViMa. I love it, but then simple things sometimes impress me. Those eyebrows certainly do.

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All right, that’s enough rambling for now.  I feel the seasons beginning to change and am eagerly anticipating my return to fully femme form!  It can’t come quickly enough for me.  It’s time for me to “Be a woman!”.

-ValS

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A voice from the closet; or just making my opinions known

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I am an opinionated person. Trans* or not, both sides of my personality have insights, perspectives and viewpoints. But when it comes to trans* issues, I simply am not a good advocate. I don’t hide or deny my trans* or GLBT opinions, but I don’t actively make them known. I don’t preach nor “get on a soapbox” and sometimes I feel guilty about that.

Truth is that in trying to hide my trans*ness from the world (you know… this whole in the closet thing), I feel too self-conscious to really let me opinions be heard. It’s sort of that Shakespearean “I think the lady doth protest too much” sort of fear. The more you push the issue, the more you risk being seen in a different light…possibly leading to outing one’s self. I have been hesitant to really engage others on a variety of trans* subjects since since a friend once fired back at me in the middle of a discussion with “How the hell would you know what they think or believe?” I so wanted to answer “because I am one of them”, but all I could do is shrug my shoulders and say “just seems logical to me”. The rest of the day I received repeated looks of “is she or isn’t he?” and I have censored my tongue ever since.

Like most of you, I believe all people should have the right to be themselves without fear of harm or discrimination. Live and let live is indeed my whole outlook, unless it means someone else is being harmed or encroached upon. I mean you have to draw the line somewhere I guess. It just seems I often find myself amongst ignorant people and trans* issues seem to be taking center stage more and more often.

My desire to blend in with the crowd is often at odds with my desire to express my opinion, especially when some bigot needs a dose of reality. In my recent experiences, whenever something trans* related is being discussed with my work peers or other friends and family, it is only one or two railing against us. Most often there is no one really taking up the trans* side, and the majority of people don’t feel it needs to be hashed out (or simply don’t care). I assume these non-participants are generally on board with the “live and let live” program and don’t really care to hear arguments either way. I guess what I am getting at is that there are times where I would like to speak my mind without fear of outing myself.

When the whole Caitlin Jenner news broke, it seemed it was constantly in your face. The media was really taking the circus to a new level. I never really made a comment about it except to say “whatever she wants to do”. I don’t really have much of an interest in Caitlyn, even being trans*. She just seems to be riding the same media/reality chaos that the Kardashian clan has perfected. Didn’t seem that “brave” to me. Try doing the same thing at 15 years old with no fame, sponsors, and cash while attending a public school. That would take bravery.

The only reason I mention Caitlin is because at one point I received a text from a friend that said “Caitlin Jenner’s dog:” and there was a picture of a cat. I’m sure he was expecting me to make some equally distasteful response, but I ignored it. When he point blank asked me what I thought, I just said I don’t find people’s struggles and life choices to something to be made light of. I haven’t heard from him since, and that’s OK with me.

Now more recently, there have a number of debates going on about transgender kids in schools and which bathroom and locker room should they use. In one very close school district, a transgender girl asked the administration if she could use the girls facilities to change and go to the bathroom. The school gave her permission to use the bathroom and locker room of the gender she identified with… and all hell broke loose in the community.

This one is difficult for me. I absolutely understand and support her right to use the girl’s bathroom etc., but I can also understand why some parents don’t want what they see as a boy in their daughters’ changing rooms and showers. Few people seem to get the idea that sex and gender are not the same thing, unless you have been blessed with perspectives like we have. I heard multiple times “but he’s not a girl”. Now before you cuss me too much, you also have to understand that another person in the same community then also claimed to be transgender and wanted to be able to change and shower with the girls. This individual has never before claimed to be transgender and most don’t believe it to be true. But how can anyone say yes to one and no to another? The debate rages on even now.

I am just so uncomfortable tackling these issues publicly, so I keep my thoughts to myself… until I can’t help but just speak out. Being in the closet is a such a mental constraint sometimes that I often think I should just come out and let the chips fall where they may. Big talk, but I’m not willing to risk my life and family.

I am thankful that there are more and more of us (you) that are out and willing to speak up on such issues. Even on non-trans* issues, I am just not an activist. Opinionated? Yes! Outspoken? Not so much. I really would like to change that.

I know it’s just paranoia (again). I just need to find a way to present my opinions and beliefs on any issue I have an opinion on, especially trans*. I can discuss other issues without feeling like I am assumed to be part of the group or position I am defending. Trans* issues have been simply “too close to home” for my comfort, but I pledge to change that as our causes now begin to get more and more of the attention they deserve. I need to be able to educate people with my perspective, and keep them thinking it is the opinion of just an average person. And if they think I might just have some personal involvement in the issue beyond the (hopefully) obvious… well I just have to put that in the category of que sera, sera and get on with my life.

-ValS

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Seems to me you don’t wanna talk about it… Seems to me you just turn your pretty head and walk away

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Yeah… it’s been a while. 120 days actually…

Being in the “off-season” has been very difficult for me to manage this year. For the first time in my life I feel what can only be described as dysphoria. I have always struggled with the return to male form each spring and summer, but this year is different.

This time around the dissatisfaction and discontent are almost like a constant irritation. The word that come to mind is “querulousness”. Seems like a totally appropriate word to me in my current state. In years past, the roles and responsibilities that come about in the warmer months have seemed to keep my mind occupied… well maybe “fooled” is a better way to look it. The problem appears to be the more I explore my obsession with feminine form and clothing, the more I grow, the more I keep my mind in Valerie’s world…. the harder the male months become.

I have gotten some wishes, and now it is very hard to get the Jeanie (intentional) back in the bottle.

Most of us have said this before… “I look in the mirror and what I see doesn’t match up with what I feel”. This happened to me the other day. I stopped and stared at myself in a mirror and I thought to myself… “who the hell are you?” I stared so long that my wife asked what I was doing. All I could say was “just looking”.

I have been saturated. I reached a point where every waking minute was consumed with some sort of thought or desire about being Valerie. This isn’t balanced anymore. This isn’t right, and it surely can’t be healthy.

I went from saturation to saturnine, and I wasn’t sure what to do. So I just walked away.

I took off my heels and walked away from everything Valerie. I didn’t purge, in fact I have never purged. I know I will be back in femme form soon enough and would regret it. I’m not disgusted with my trans-ness, I just think I needed a serious break. This last winter the pink fog somehow seemed to become a pink binding. I think what it really amounts to is that I am a little scared of where this is going. I am also afraid that I may pass (and may already have) certain “points of no return”.

I haven’t been blogging, chatting, emailing, reading, or even web/window shopping. I was hoping that shutting down everything related to Valerie would allow me to let the male side of me back into the driver’s seat for awhile, and re-institute the balance I have been able to maintain for so long.

It didn’t really work. I still seem to be consumed with thoughts and desires of a femme nature. Instead of 50/50, my current normal state is more like 80/20. I feel more femme now than I ever have in my life. Summer has long been a time of masculine pursuits, but not this year. Even a forced break didn’t ease the situation.

It’s possible my current state is related to some changes I have recently gone through with my medicines. Dosages were adjusted and a couple of changes to the basic mix of meds. It has had a positive effect on my condition, but there have been some side effects. This general state of gender blah may be one of them.

One thing I have noticed is that I have dreamed more in the last few months than I have in years. Vivid dreams, almost nightly. Previously, I had rarely dreamed at all, or could rarely remember having dreams. Some are Valerie related and some are not. For those that are related to my cross-dressing, I immediately took some notes in a notebook I am now keeping at my bedside. (Thanks for the suggestion Pat) Once I get them translated and my thoughts organized, I will describe some of these here.

For those that emailed me recently and expressed concern over “where I’ve been” or “if I am OK” , first of all let me say thank you. I appreciate your concern but I really am fine in the grand scheme of things. I am just simply trying to force balance and the cosmos is pushing back hard at me. The emails were nice, but I didn’t intend to create worry. If I did, I apologize.

Writing this entry has been difficult. I had been away for such an extended time, that I honestly didn’t know exactly how to get back in. I’ve never really been one to tell you what I have been up to, and prefer to just ramble on about the thoughts in my mind at the given moment. Organizing those thoughts has indeed been a challenge today.

So here is what I know (not much different than before):

Valerie is a huge part of who I am. Closet or not, she is me.

I still enjoy many aspects of being male. I just can’t force one side or the other at any given time.

I love my family and my role in my family life, that still takes precedence.

I don’t want to be a woman, but I would like to live as one.

I just love feminine and vintage things.

I still can ramble on about virtually nothing.

I have missed blogging and indulging in other blogs.

Fall/winter is coming and my femme desires may be more intense than ever.

I really don’t know where any of this will take me.

I love this aspect of my being, but it simultaneously scares the hell out of me.

-ValS

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Do you hear that (Ms. South)? That is the sound of inevitability….

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I have not been very active in the many aspects of being Valerie as of late, surely a product of the time of year and my mandatory return to a more male existence. I have described it often (and probably way too much) that there is a depressing funk that embraces me when my body goes down the right path while my mind remains on the left.

I probably wouldn’t have gone in for a chat, but Samantha had some issues she wanted to talk through and no matter what my mindset is, I will always be there for a friend… especially one who has been there for me many times! So we talked and hopefully I was able to help a bit. I’m not sure I really did, but Samantha said it was beneficial. However, I know she would tell me that no matter what. What I do know from personal experience is just having someone listen can be therapeutic, even if there is no possible way the listener can offer a solution. So at the very least I was a good listener.

Some others came and went as we talked. No one we knew from previous discussions, and none of them stayed very long so it seemed more like a distraction vs. some other perspectives. I think they could sense it was a one sided conversation and just chose to move on. I’ve been there before and sometimes it’s just the best way to go.

After Samantha’s issues were talked out, the conversation migrated to a phenomenon that I have experienced several times over the years. The idea that all cross-dressers are really transsexuals, in various points of discovery and acceptance. What brought it on once again is that so many of the CDs we both have known have grown to discover/accept they are women. Samantha wondered if she (and even I) were just hanging on to avoid the inevitable.

She described her feelings like that of the spirit left hanging out in the subway in the movie Ghost. As Patrick Swayze was trying to figure out what he was, how to cope, and how to move on, the subway spirit just stayed behind in “limbo” for some reason. He gave some guidance to the Patrick character, but became agitated when questioned why he was still “in between”. Eventually he ran off and yelled to just leave him alone. It was both an interesting and somewhat amusing analogy.

The discussion moved away from trans* issues for a bit, as we traveled down a bit of a Hollywood tangent (Off on a tangent?? I’m sure you are not surprised), discussing various movies, actors and actresses. It was noted that actresses no longer like to be referred to as such, preferring that all are categorized simply as “actors”, with no reference to gender. Interesting…

However, it came back to trans* as it is bound to eventually do when we both are involved. I said she can stick with the Ghost analogy, but I am feeling like The Matrix is making more sense to me right now. For those who don’t know the back story of the movie, the matrix is a program designed to fool and satisfy the human brain into thinking it is living an existence so that the machines can use our sedated bodies as a power source. Crazy huh? Anyway, at one point in the movie, one of the agents was explaining that the initial matrix failed because the architect made it utopian. Everyone was given a perfect life with no conflict, but it failed because humans could not accept it. Instead they had to build in individuality, suffering and anguish before the mind could be “fooled”.

So the matrix gave some of us good jobs and some undesirable jobs. Some were rich and some had to be poor. Likewise, some of us have to be “perfect” (and I use that term loosely) males and “perfect” females. I just happened to be one of the “copper-tops” that were made gender and era confused. It makes as much sense as any of the other explanations I have heard. So whenever we get one of those deja-vu moments in life (and there are many), remember… it is just a glitch in the matrix.

So no matter how many times I tell myself and the world that I am 99.9% sure I simply a cross-dresser, nothing more and nothing less, the conversation inevitably comes up and I have to consider that 0.1% possibility there is a possibility of something more. Right now the gauge is at about 99.5 to 0.5%, but still the odds are with me. That is until the architect rewrites the program again…

-ValS

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So what’s wrong with you? or… Needing a feminine influence

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This is not a posting about cross-dressing, at least not directly. In fact, it feels almost like a rant… but it’s not quite that either. Maybe it’s whining? Negative observations?? I guess it’s just a list of reality that can only come from a trans* perspective.

I suppose I should explain what I am talking about and how this all came about… I was chatting (internet chat room style) with a couple of other cross-dressers and Emily, a GG (genetic girl; still dislike that acronym/phrase, but it is descriptive). Emily said to me “I get the desire to wear women’s clothes, but I don’t understand why you would like to actually look like a woman if you are not interested in becoming one.” A valid question, and one I have pondered many times. It is true I would like have a completely female appearance even though I don’t want to transition. I do the eyebrows, want to cinch my waist (even with permanent effects) etc.

Her core comment was based on the idea that clothes were one level but looking and acting was another level. I guess I really don’t disagree, but that’s where I am. Her further comments were then centered around the idea that she would not mind at all if her boyfriend wanted to dress as a woman, but any sort of body change would be a different issue for her.

Fair enough. That’s how she feels, but I can’t just be a guy in a dress. I need the full feminine presentation to feel complete. I know in the universe of transgenderia, we all have different desires, needs, and goals. That is completely fine with me. If another CD can just put a skirt on with their male shirt and shoes and feel fulfilled, then go for it! Valerie simply requires a more complete feminine presentation.

The conversation then became of one of “what’s wrong with your male body that you want (need) to change it?” Well… simply put… then the flood gates opened! Below are the main issues that were brought up. Not all mine, but I can’t really argue with any of them. Some are more relevant than others to me, but they are not in any particular order:

Caterpillar Eyebrows:

One of my biggest dislikes about the typical male presentation. I don’t know why it bothers me so much but those long, wild, unkept brows disgust me. Clean arches are so much more attractive. Got to be careful though, go too far and you’ll end up with a bit of a Boy George look in your day-to-day life, which wouldn’t be good either.

Big Feet:

So disappointing to find you can’t get the shoes you would really like in your size. Some men have feet that rival skis and while I think my feet are too large, I know many with bigger! Seems to be getting worse with the youth of today also. Their feet seem to be huge comparatively (or is it just me?)

Big Hands:

Big hands can be a bit of a “give away” to those out and about. That’s not my biggest issue with hands though, I dislike not being able to find costume jewelry rings that fit my fingers. Also, being a vintage girl, I like the formal gloves my ladies used to wear and finding some of those to fit me is almost an impossible task.

Balding/Hairlines:

This doesn’t bother me too much because I need a short male business-like haircut anyway. However I have some friends that have their hair grown out long and love being able to have their own hair when dressing, but even if you are not balding, the hairline still tends to recede to a disappointing point.

Height:

Men are just taller than women. Typical men like it, but we really don’t. I would give up all the so-called advantages of being taller to have a better female presentation. Add that I like require heels with most of my outfits and it gets even worse.

Hairy Ears:

Might be even more disgusting that the eyebrows issue to me. Seems as we age the hair that might be leaving the scalp begins to take up residence in our ears. I simply can’t stand it!

Body Hair:

Any body hair is disgusting to me, but hairy arms, legs, chest, backs, butts, etc. are… well… disgusting! I guess top of the head and reasonable brows are the only body hair I can stand.

Shoulders:

Our shoulders tend to be broad. Even though I don’t have a muscular physique and really am a bit of a weakling for my size, my shoulders are too damn broad. The shoulders sometimes force us into larger sizes to accommodate them. Then the look or selection suffers…

Deep Voice:

The deepness varies person to person and the issue can depend on what you are trying to accomplish. But a deep baritone voice is never what you want accompanying a beautifully feminine presentation.

Adams Apple:

I fortunately don’t have much of an issue here, but some really struggle with it and claim that it gives them away more than anything else. It can also force some to wear only outfits that tend to hide it (lotsa scarves I suppose?).

Penis and Friends:

Yes if you are going to try and wear a string bikini at the beach this may be an issue, but with my choice of clothing, the tried and true “packaging” methods are fine for me. I should also note that while I do like to put them away, I don’t want them removed. They come in handy for other things…

Belly Fat/Big Gut:

Another issue that just tends to come with age. I am trying to get a small “wasp” waist and nature is fighting me tooth and nail. Seems like you practically have to starve yourself to win the battle. If your preference is to present as a pregnant female, nature may just have us covered.

There were many others thrown into the conversation, but I simply can’t remember any more of them at the present time. I’m sure more will come to me as soon as I hit the publish button. Come to think of it, isn’t memory (lack of) another one of those male traits? I’m sure each of us has a similar list.

It was a good chat and much of it was pretty light-hearted, while some was very serious. In the end, Emily said” You may be right. Men can be repulsive in a lot of ways, but I still like them that way… but they need a feminine influence”. Well, a feminine influence is one thing we certainly already have built in…

-ValS

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There is no male equivalent…

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I had mentioned in a recent post the fact that when I was growing up I thought a whole lot about weddings, and more specifically wedding dresses. Typical boys don’t think about such things… EVER, let alone fantasize about wearing a white gown and one day walking down the aisle. But as I said in that post, but then again there are boys like me.

Some recent emails with a new friend (Linda) have brought me round to thinking (OK, obsessing) about wedding gowns again. It is the ultimate dress in my opinion. Women stress and obsess over a gown they will wear once, for a short period of time, where money is often no object, and it simply HAS to be perfect! There really is no equivalent in the male world, and most men think it’s crazy how women think of weddings, gowns, bridesmaids dresses, etc. However I understand completely why they put such extreme value on such things. In an alternate universe, I would do the same thing.

Way, way back in time, I used to love looking at wedding albums and pictures of the wedding parties. I knew it was taboo for a boy to like or want to wear a wedding gown, but I also knew I wished I could. So as I grew and heard girls and women talking about such things, I grew ever more envious and fascinated by the whole experience.

As I said, I knew boys didn’t wear wedding gowns as early as I can remember. What never occurred to me was that I was not supposed to care about wedding planning at all. It also never occurred to me that if I did get married, not only would I not get to wear a beautiful gown, I wouldn’t get to walk down the aisle either. Once while attending a wedding with my family, I asked my mom why the groom came in from the side and was standing at the front of the church. Why didn’t he walk up the aisle?

She said men don’t do that. She then filled me in… the bride is paraded for all to see and then presented by her father to her husband. Sort of from one man to another. (I’ll leave out all the archaic issues here, because remember… I love weddings). The groom just kind of enters inconspicuously from the side to pick her up. I guess that’s just how most men prefer it.

What also had never occurred to me is that the bride would be given away to a man. I dreamed of walking down an aisle and then… well… never really thought about the rest. It was just about me. I just assumed there would be another bride at the alter waiting for me. Or maybe one would walk down the aisle after me. I dunno, but that’s when reality began to ruin weddings for me. Still I love them like only a cross-dresser can.

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But to this very day, I am still in awe of the exalted wedding gown. I watch wedding planning television shows and especially like “Say Yes to the Dress”. My wife will watch these shows and I “just happen” to be in the room while they are on. That’s the cover story for the family. When it’s just me and my wife, we will talk about the gowns and we know what each other will think of the choices, because we know each others tastes pretty well. Occasionally my wife will say “that dress is horrible” and I will say “I like it”, to which she will smirk and say “of course you do”. I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I prefer the full, princess style ballgowns. It’s just the Valerie in me. I like many styles from the 50’s as well as many from the 1980’s (god forbid) with full skirts, poofy sleeves, and huge trains. But I love modern gowns also, as long as they are feminine x10. “Traditional” is the word I use… white, ballgown style, minimal bling (crystals that is, pearl beading is good!) etc. My wife calls it “old-fashioned” and I know she’s right… but I like what I like.

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But from these recent email conversations I have once again been dreaming of going into a bridal salon and trying on a multitude of gowns. This is because Linda has done it and is telling me all about the experience. A wonderful story that makes this cross-dresser pink white with envy. In those conversations, we have both wondered why the average woman (already married or not) doesn’t want to go try on wedding dresses on occasion. They could make an appointment, go in and play dress-up any time they wanted. Many women obsess over gowns like me and many plan their wedding days down to the minutest detail, so why don’t they want to do this like we do? I told Linda I would ask my wife, but haven’t had the nerve to do so yet. I have flooded her with issues lately and want to ease up a bit.

My wife knows I like wedding gowns, and actually knows I own one. I bought one a few years ago. I always knew I would get one when I had the means, and really just thought it was a culmination of lifelong desire. In retrospect, it probably didn’t help my case about being thought of as straight to my wife, when I bought myself the ultimate symbol of being given away to another man. As I said, I never really thought it through to the end. It was just about me and a wedding gown.

Anyway, this thought of why everyday women don’t still fantasize about wedding gowns, or go try them on, has me thinking… is it because they CAN that they don’t feel the desire to do it? Is it a case of it not being forbidden fruit? As I told Linda, I guess I could go try on a tuxedo anytime I wanted, but who in their right mind would ever want to to that?? Is it the same thing? I don’t think so because as I said earlier… there is no male equivalent to the wedding gown.

But then the whole Beth experience made me think some other thoughts… Is the fascination with wedding gowns a fetish type desire? That is, similar to Beth’s claim that my 1950’s fascination is like a french maid fetish? I don’t think of it as a true fetish, because there is no sexual nature to it for me. However, on some level the desire to dress as a bride can be considered similar to wanting to dress as a 1950’s housewife. Everyday women don’t want to dress like either in their spare time… but I do.

Along those same lines, I have chatted with many other cross-dressers who share my love for wedding gowns, but it seems to be confined to our deck of the trans* boat. The only transsexual woman who really ever joined into our wedding gown conversations at a deeper level wasn’t fixated on the gown per se, but the overall life experience. That is she did hope to one day get married in the traditional sense… gown, church, bridesmaids, and even groom.

I don’t really understand my fascination with wedding gowns any more that I understand the my fascination with the 1950’s, Barbie dolls, or almost anything vintage or feminine. My wedding gown is just another item tucked away neatly in Valerie’s closet. On occasion I get it out and put it on, noting all the other accessories I need to obtain to complete the bride look I prefer. It’s another project I will work on during the “off-season” But every time I just see it hanging there, it makes me smile. There simply is no male equivalent…

-ValS

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The search is on for that “bigger closet”

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I have recently spent a decent amount of time looking into support groups in my area… or I should say anything within a 250 mile radius, because there simply isn’t anything close to me. There are “ghosts” of organizations that I have discovered while surfing the internet, but they all have led to disappointing dead ends.

Web searches frequently find what appear to be promising results, but when clicked lead to a “page not found” or some grossly outdated information that leads one to believe the group hasn’t been active for quite awhile. One link was so old it led to a Geocities page, and the Geocities web network has been defunct for well over 5 years or so.

I am willing to travel a bit if the group/organization is good. In fact, I kind of prefer it be a decent distance from my closet so that I don’t potentially run into anyone who knows me. It would be horrifying to run into someone who could cause me to be outed, but I guess they would be in a similar situation if I ran into them at a cross-dressing support group.

Still, I have yet to find any potential groups or organizations at this point, but am determined to explore the regional options fully before admitting defeat. I still have plenty of time to continue the search.

I had been discussing my lack of fruitful results to date with Samantha, who wondered why I needed a support group at all. Her point was that I am not in distress or suffering any real issues related to my cross-dressing, so what exactly do I need “support” with? This spawned much deeper conversation as I began to go down that rabbit hole… what was a really looking for?

Initially I have been simply looking for someplace to go when going out as Valerie. Sort of like a half-way house” to assist my transition to a more substantial existence outside my closet. This would be the the next or “bigger closet” as Kirsty and Ruth have described many times. Maybe not ideal for everyone, but a significant growth step for my closeted existence to date.

I will likely be going out next fall by myself, which is already a nerve-racking thought. Having a safe & sympathetic destination arranged would be extremely comforting. I suppose I could go to a trans* friendly gay bar, but I’m not sure that would be a good idea for someone not experienced in going out and trying to blend in, and I certainly wouldn’t want to have to contend with the idea of any sexual overtones. An organized support group just seems like the ideal next step.

So the conversation continued with the occasional person popping into the chat to say they either loved their support group or to describe some less than satisfying experiences. I recognize I may or may not find an ideal group but still need to have the experience first hand, regardless of how positive or negative others experiences may have been. Most of the others agreed that their experiences shouldn’t stop me from trying to find a good option and encouraged me to do so.

But it was during the conversation that I think I really realized what it was I am truly seeking… if I push aside all the excuses and insecurities… I think I just want someone to talk to.

I love chatting online with Samantha and the other girls. I love posting on some of the forums I have visited over the years and reading the many opinions in the discussions. I love exchanging emails with the people I have with come to know from various sources. I love the friends and acquaintances I have made through So Very Deep. But even with all the interactions, conversations, sympathies, common experiences, and shared stories… I just would like to talk face to face with someone like me, or at least someone who understands and accepts me.

I want a chance to be myself, dress like myself, and talk to other people in person. I don’t know why this is such a big deal to me, except that 1st person interaction is the one thing being in the closet does not allow for. My wife and I have have discussed my cross-dressing, and bless her for trying to be accommodating, but it’s just not her thing. I am just tired of being silent in real life.

I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know if it will be satisfying or severely disappointing. At this point I don’t even know if I will find a group, but I know I have to seek it out and at least cross this bridge to see what is on the other side.

Maybe I make some friends. Maybe I can grow with the group and eventually help it to grow bigger. Maybe it is a complete waste of time. All I know is that “maybe” and “what-ifs” are words frequently used by the restrained, bound, and yes… closeted. They are words Valerie uses frequently and I hate that. It is time for a “bigger closet”.

-ValS

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I shouldn’t think like this… but I do

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There has long been a thought in my head that isn’t really pleasant to think about, but one that I frequently return to time and time again. That thought is…Why doesn’t my wife leave me? I often tell myself that it is paranoia that makes me think this way, but recently it was a few comments made to me in emails that brought it back to the forefront.

The first basically asked me why do I stay with my wife, when she doesn’t seem to want to fully embrace the cross-dressing aspect of my being. I stay with my wife because my wife and my family are my world. I don’t know if anything, including cross-dressing, can make me happy if I were to lose my family. Leaving my wife and children is just not a possibility from my perspective.

The second email wondered how they (also a married cross-dresser) would react if the tables were turned and my wife wanted to look and dress like a man. This is hard to really answer because I look at it through my own transgender perspective. If I were not transgender, I would probably not be as accepting as I am in this incarnation. If I were a straight, cisgender, tough-guy and my wife decided to let her body hair grow, cut her hair off, dress in men’s clothes, and possibly even try to promote chest and facial hair growth, etc… I can’t honestly say I would react as acceptingly as I know I would as a transgender person.

So flip this around again… as a cisgender woman, why does my wife stay with me?? Truly, I wonder just what is it that makes this woman stay with me knowing that I am seemingly less and less a man each time she takes a good look at me. She has told me with absolute certainty that she is convinced I am gay, even though I tell her I am not. When I asked her recently why then does she stay with me, she said it is because she loves me. That answer makes me happy and I do believe it’s true, but it still doesn’t answer the question fully.

I am not the kind of guy she dreamed of marrying when she was young. In fact, I have never heard of a young woman describing her dream partner saying he will be kind, sensitive, caring, and more feminine than most women would ever dream of being. He will want to be so much like a woman, that it will be like having a best girlfriend instead of a husband.

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When she was young and dreamed about how her wedding would be, I’m pretty sure she didn’t think about comparing notes with her husband-to-be about dresses, hair, etc. In fact she didn’t ask me a thing really and I didn’t ruin her day, but I had a lot of opinions and preferences that I just kept to myself. Fortunately most things were the way I would have liked them anyway. Point is, most girls dream about their weddings and assume the boys do not. But then there are boys like me…

Over time my wife has become less and less interested in my cross-dressing. In fact, she recently stated it was all for me and did absolutely nothing for her. Her personal interest level has seemingly dropped from 10% to 0%. I actually think that as she has grown older and a little more conservative, she probably dislikes it all together. I can only assume she tolerates it for my well-being and no other reason.

So again I wonder, why doesn’t she leave me and get rid of the hassle that comes along with being married to a cross-dresser. Instead of a “girlfriend” she could find a “real man” to make her happy. One that wouldn’t want to borrow her clothes or makeup or something else. One she wouldn’t think (falsely) would rather be with another man. So why does she put up with me?

Maybe we are just too far long in life for her to want to start over. Maybe a “girlfriend/roommate” is tolerable as long as the kids and outside world are unaware. If she knew 20 years ago where we would end up, maybe she would have bailed out on me then, and avoided what we have become.

Maybe it’s totally about the children. I don’t think either of us want to put them through the pain and ugliness of a divorce, so maybe that is why she stays with me. If we had not had kids and it was just us two, maybe she would give up and say “go be a woman…I’m outta here…”.

Maybe her justification is financial in nature. Maybe she doesn’t like the idea of splitting the income and managing on her own. Maybe the lifestyle we have is reason enough to stay in the relationship with the “gay sissy husband”.

I should state that all these phrases and terms I am spewing out don’t come from my wife, they come from my paranoid mind. She has never called me a “gay sissy” in a derogatory sense or said I was not a “real man”, but I do think it is highly possible she thinks it.

So again I wonder, why does she stay with me? It is entirely possible that she spoke the truth and she stays simply because she loves me. For better or worse, she is in it for the long haul because above all else we are life partners. I truly hope so!

So I periodically marvel at this woman that stays with me, and loves me even though I am engaged in activities she does not really approve of. Maybe I should just let it go and consider myself lucky to have what I do have in a “reluctantly accepting” wife. I know I waste a lot of time and energy thinking these negative things, and shouldn’t worry about them until I hear something directly from my wife. It’s just one of those nagging paranoid thoughts that sits on a shelf in my closet, right next to the box of insecurities and that fabulous pair of heels that are too damn small for me, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of.

-ValS

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Phantom femininity (for lack of a better description)

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I have noticed a strange phenomenon happening to me on multiple occasions, and it has happened for many years. It find it to be more intense each spring as I re-enter the dressing off-season. I am not exactly sure what to call it, but it is a similar sensation to what amputees call phantom limb syndrome.

Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not an amputee in any form, nor do I understand what they may go through… physically or mentally. It is a traumatic reality that I no way am trying to belittle or say “I know how you feel”. I mean no disrespect and I think most of you understand that. I simply don’t know of a more apt description of the sensations I am feeling.

After I spend a significant amount of time dressed, my head stays Valerie long after the clothes and the make up are removed. I still feel as if there will be breast there if I look down. I grab things as though I still have long nails. I walk on the balls of my feet as if I am in heels. I could go on and on with examples. I don’t intentionally do it, it just takes some time to regress away from the feminine euphoria I am in when dressed.

So now I am faced with a period of no real dressing opportunities for the next several months. My body is on the way there, but my mind has not let go of Valerie yet. I was walking down some stairs at work just yesterday and I could “feel” the skirt swishing around by bare stocking clad legs. I put my hand on my chest almost in disbelief that there were no feminine protrusions there. I really don’t how else to describe it except that it is femininity coursing through my veins.

If I sit down and close my eyes, I can easily imaging myself fully dressed, feeling the sensation of lipstick on my lips and mascara on my lashes. I feel the tightness of the undergarments, the pinch of the earrings, and can almost smell the perfume. I instantly relax and feel a sense of peace as my body responds to the phantom femininity.

I love to do this as almost a quick fantasy escape from reality, to touch for just a moment my other side. If I am stressed with work or life, it can be therapeutic and centering. Not much else matters when I feel Valerie.

I do have to be careful though, as walking around in public “feeling dressed” is not much safer than being dressed. Sashaying about on the balls of my feet with bent wrists and extended fingers doesn’t help my cause in trying to blend in as an average male in public. At home it will just add more fuel to my wife’s perception that I am gay, along with being a cross-dresser. After all, I am not dressed, so why would I act like that?

I also find it interesting that I sometimes have to put effort into “blending in” as a male. This should come somewhat natural, but I do have to make a conscious effort at times to “fool” the masses, especially when feeling phantom femininity. While the sensation of breasts or feeling a skirt move is phantom, the true feeling of constant femininity is not. It is real, it is pretty much constant, and it requires some effort to control at times.

Walking up the stairs at my house a few weeks back I must have been in full blown feminine mental form. I was just walking up the stairs and my wife was heading up right behind me. After I got to the top my wife said “women don’t walk like that, you know”. I looked at her and couldn’t speak a word. I thought about how I was moving and I had my arms/hands above my waist as I tend to do when Valerie, and my hips were probably swaying as I was on the balls of my feet. I was stunned because she was basically saying “nice try, but you failed”, but the truth is I wasn’t trying to consciously imitate anything.

So I get into these ultra-feminine moods, even when I am not dressing, and it effects my being. I have been less “on-guard” at home than I am at work or in the outside world and I think my wife sees it. I have to accept that is probably a big reason why she sees me as less than a straight male. So now I probably need to put a little more effort into being more masculine at home.

Where am I going with this? I don’t really know. I am pondering this as I lean back in my chair, taking a break from writing, and I reach back with both hands to sweep my hair into a ponytail. I can only shake my head and laugh, as there is no hair length there to gather up…. just my regular short male haircut.

Once it warms up and I can get outside and get a bit more active with my kids, the phantom feminine sensations will ease up. Until then, I will just enjoy the ever present feeling of Valerie coursing through my veins, just with a little more conscious thought of how I may look to the world. This closet life takes constant maintenance…

-ValS

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