Thursday, February 3, 2011

The New Millennium: A Look Back at Ten Years in Five Inch Heels

As the first decade of the new millennium draws to a close, I can’t help but look back over the past 10 years at the important role my crossdressing has played in my life. You see, it was exactly ten years ago that I started dressing, so my dressing life parallels the timeline of the new millennium perfectly. (Or, imperfectly, as much of my life seems to go.)

What follows is my journey through the 2000 decade. And my journey through t-world. That’s actually one of the drawbacks of writing this blog. I originally set out to talk about the tgirl experience, but the truth is, I really only know one tgirl’s experience. Mine. I’m sure at times my writing has seemed more than a little self-indulgent. And I’m sorry for that. I think it’s one of the hazards of writing a blog.

But I can tell you this. Everything I do as CiCi. Everything I experience. Everything I aspire to. And everything I write. Is somehow colored and shaped by the many amazing tgirls I’ve met, corresponded with, chatted with, partied with, and, yes, slept with. It’s been a pretty amazing 10 years. New millennium? OMFG. For me, I don’t think it could possibly be more different than the previous one!

So here’s my 10 years. And please… there’s a comment section below. Use it! This is supposed to be an interactive forum. Tell us all about your decade. Or your year. Or the special moment you had in a chat room last week. It’s your chance to be self-indulgent. (And what self-respecting tgirl could pass that up?)

In 1999, my wife left me. There was a lot of tension in our house between me and my stepson, and by 1999 – our fifth year of marriage and our seventh year together – my wife had had enough. So I reluctantly went off to live by myself. The happy ending to this story is that my wife and I reconciled and moved back together after a year or so… but I didn’t know that then. And that time alone was pretty important to me, and to the tgirl that would some day become CiCi.

It’s kind of weird to look back and remember what life was really like 10 years ago. I’m going to sound like someone’s elderly grandma here, but, geez, it’s amazing how things change. In 2000, there was no Facebook, MySpace, or YouTube. Google was a nonsense word. Most of us had never heard of LeBron James, Barack Obama, or Al Qaeda. Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga had each just written their first songs. (Of course, they were only aged 10 and 13 at the time!) And I had no idea that I was transgendered.

I was pretty lonely when my wife left me. I live in California, but most of my family and my closest friends live back East. 3,000 miles away. I didn’t know much about computers at the time. But I logged on to the internet and spent some time surfing around. My fem side was all very vague and blurry to me. At the time I was more into bdsm, so when I logged on, I started checking out bondage sites. The bdsm world was pretty scary and intimidating to me, but I loved the fetishy outfits… the leather corsets and latex. The shiny pvc.

I remember being struck by all the amateurs I was seeing. Up until then, any bdsm or porn that you saw involved professional performers. Porn stars. Pro dommes. People who had chosen to make a living in that world. But now, with the internet, anyone could post photos or blogs or stories of their personal activities. And I was struck by how many people not only shared their crossdressing photos, but shared my strange (and somewhat kinky) cravings.

It was not long after discovering bdsm sites that I started to see transgender imagery. (And when I say, “not long,” I mean about 10 minutes.) I found myself very drawn to that world. I was familiar with drag queens of course, and I knew a little bit about transsexuals. But what I was seeing now was different. I was seeing part-time girls. Crossdressers. Sissies. Total amateurs who wanted to show off a new dress, some skimpy lingerie for men, or a hot new pair of shoes. And it really affected me. I remember looking at a photo of one cute L.A. girl out at a nightclub – and I thought, I could do that.

Now, to be honest, I have no idea why I thought “I could do that.” I mean, I’m not even sure I knew what “that” was. But I was alone. And lonely. A little bitter. And I had a lot of free time on my hands. So I went to K-Mart.

I know that probably sounds odd. But I had no idea where to shop for women’s clothes. I bought the biggest knee boots I could find (size 11) and some heavily discounted, post-holiday, bright red Valentine’s lingerie (so this must have been late February 2000). The boots fit (barely). The lingerie did not. But I certainly enjoyed walking around my empty rented house in those boots. There were not a lot of stores like Suddenly Fem around at that time. Today's selection is much more varied and exciting.

I soon added some pvc stuff from the local lingerie/adult toy store. And a wig for men from a nearby costume shop. I experimented with some make up and voila. Suddenly, I was a crossdresser. Not particularly attractive. Not particularly feminine. But a full-fledged dresser just the same. And it only took a few months of solitude -- and 40 years of pent up desires – to achieve it!

It wasn’t long after I started dressing that I got caught. My wife stopped by for some reason. Unannounced. She was in the area. And I was all dressed. My car was in the driveway. I couldn’t hide. I couldn’t ignore her knocking on the door. So I had no choice. I yelled, “Come in.” And she did. I wouldn’t say that my wife was shocked. Surprised, yes. But definitely not shocked. We had always been a pretty open couple and, when we first started dating, we’d gone together to several alt clubs and fetish events in L.A. So she knew I had a kinky side. And, unbeknownst to me, she had always suspected that I had a feminine side.

Many people have asked me about my wife and our relationship. I know that many tgirls struggle with their wives and girlfriends. Should I tell her about my dressing? And if so, when? And if I don’t have a girlfriend, how can I find one? Where do I find a girl who will understand my desire to dress? The honest truth is, I have no idea how to answer that question. All I can say is that you should definitely avoid anyone opposed to the idea of your dressing. Because your desire will probably never go away. Chances are it will grow stronger. And that will only lead to hard feelings between you and your partner.

So I can tell you what to avoid. But unfortunately, I can’t tell you what to look for. I didn’t look for a wife who was open to my crossdressing. I honestly didn’t know about my desire to dress when I first met my wife. But I did know that I wasn’t “normal” when it came to sex and fetishes. So I was looking for someone who would be open to unconventional behavior. And, my wife was definitely that.

Any way, she proved to be very supportive. And truly understanding. And, by 2001, we had decided to reconcile. Apparently, to her, my dressing was not a deterrent. She knew all about me by that point. My stepson decided to go live with his Dad, so my wife and I moved into a new place together.

I really can’t say enough about my wife and what she has meant to my development as CiCi. (I could also go on and on about what she has meant to me in other areas of my life as well, but this is a blog about cd life, so I’ll try to keep it on topic.) I know all too well how difficult this life can be. TV/CD folks have a tough time finding acceptance. And it hurts the most when you can’t find acceptance in your own home. It’s then that you have to resort to secretive behavior. Hiding your clothes. Hiding your online activities. Hiding your most intimate desires. It’s not a great way to live.

I’ve been lucky that way. I was accepted. And I know what would have happened if she hadn’t been so accepting. I would have stopped. I mean, I probably wouldn’t have stopped entirely. I probably would have kept chatting online. But I probably would have stopped buying clothes. And I’m sure I never would have gone out.

Not too long ago, I asked my wife about those early days. What she thought of me. What she thought of crossdressing in general. And she said something that really blew me away. She said, “I accepted before I understood.”

Now you can read all of Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Danielle Steel. You can watch every Nora Ephron or Richard Curtis romantic comedy ever made. You can check Wikipedia, Webster’s and the World Book Encyclopedia, but I doubt you’ll ever come across a better definition of love. “I accepted before I understood.”

That’s my wife.

I went out a few times in the early 2000’s. Both times I was accompanied by my wife. And both times, I really didn’t talk to anyone. At that point, I’d chatted a bit online, but I really didn’t have any friends in the scene. So when we went out, everyone was a stranger. My wife is much more outgoing than me. (Plus I was terrified.) So she chatted with a few people. But I mostly sat in the corner and nursed a drink… and marveled at the girls around me.

And I really did marvel. (And I really was scared.) So the sight of those girls around me… laughing, drinking, dancing, making out in the corners… was astounding to me. I was amazed at their confidence. Their boldness. Their lack of shame. Yet, ironically, I was too ashamed to even approach them. It’s an odd feeling. To be in a tgirl club and to feel like you belong there… and yet to feel like you don’t belong at all. That you’re not one of them. It’s both intimidating and inspiring at the same time. You want to be like them… these amazing girls that you don’t dare talk to.

I want to pause here to say something about the girls I saw. They weren’t all beautiful. I say this because I think there are a lot of girls out there who think you have to be stunningly beautiful or totally passable to go out. But you don’t. We all like to look our best of course, but the girls I saw at the club (LA’s legendary Queen Mary, now sadly closed), came in all shapes and sizes. They were all at different levels of progression in their feminization. Some were very skilled with their crossdressing makeup. Some were pretty bad. Some dressed with style. Some most decidedly did not. My point is, I wasn’t intimidated by their looks. I was intimidated by their attitude. Their boldness. I was intimidated by the fact that they felt free to express themselves openly and honestly.

Think about it. Think about your personal life. Your vanilla life. Your professional life. Is there anything more intimidating than self-confidence? Than true honesty?

I was petrified.

I’d like to say that these experiences set me on my way to a whole new life as a confident, carefree, out-of-the-closet cross dresser. But the exact opposite happened. My stepson came back to live with us. He never found out about my dressing. But I didn’t want to take any chances. I didn’t want to risk adding any more drama to an already tense household. So I threw away all my clothes.

Yup. I purged. Where I live we actually have a dump. So I took three large garbage bags full of crossdressing clothing, fetish attire, and bdsm toys… and I threw them in a landfill. Probably a few thousand dollars worth. (Sigh.)
Purging is a pretty common thing among tgirls. I know many who have purged several times. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably purged once or twice yourself. T-life can definitely be a roller coaster ride. Full of ups and downs. You often find yourself in an emotional place where everything feels good and you feel confident. And then a few years (months, days?) later, everything changes. Maybe you lose your job or miss out on a promotion. Maybe your kid says something. Maybe your wife says something. The reasons to purge are numerous. But almost every person I know who’s ever purged has regretted it. I’m not sure what the alternative is… perhaps to put your “gear” in storage? All I know is that most girls some how come back to dressing. The urges are too strong. And once you’ve started dressing -- once you’ve let the genie out of the bottle -- it’s really hard to cram her back in.

So I spent a few years in the mid-2000’s in total boy mode. Sure, I chatted online every so often. But, with an active teen in the house, I didn’t have much privacy. So CiCi shut down. That lasted about two years, then my stepson left for college. And CiCi came back… with a strong desire to go even further as a girl.

By this point, I had a much better computer. This was important because I could finally keep up with the discussions in the tg/cd chat rooms. As I said, before this, I really knew no one in the trans community. And with a slow computer it was nearly impossible to keep up with the multiple, overlapping conversations going on in a chat room. So the new computer helped. I met a few friendly L.A. girls through the transgender chat… and they invited me out. I also met a fetish photographer who offered to take some pro photos of me. This was in 2007. And those two events changed my life forever.

I did the photo shoot with a rubber fetishist in L.A., and I posted the resulting pix on MySpace. (Does anybody remember MySpace?) And it was like the world stopped. And everything started going in slow motion. The amount of attention I received skyrocketed. And so did my self confidence. By the end of that year, I was getting invited to parties, clubs, fetish events… I even got an invitation to write this blog. Trouble was… at that point, I hadn’t really been out all that much! So I was bascially thrown into t-world like being thrown off a dock. Sink or swim. It was scary. Unsettling. And rewarding beyond my wildest dreams.

But equally important during that time was the chatting I was doing online. In the tgirl chatrooms, the vibe was welcoming and accepting. I started to feel this wave of support. I started to feel like I was a part of something. Something special. And I was. The world was changing. Slowly. But it was definitely changing.

Pop culture was changing too. Logo - the gay-focused cable station hit the airwaves in 2005. TV series like “Queer as Folk” and “The L Word” proved successful. And RuPaul started her “Drag Race.” Felicity Huffman was nominated for an Academy Award (and won the Golden Globe) for her portrayal of a transsexual in “Transamerica,” and Ellen launched her daytime talk show. Clearly, America was becoming more and more accepting of LGBT people and issues.

Now, to most of us, it seems that transgender people lag behind the gay and lesbian population when it comes to acceptance. So we’ve got a long way to go. But by 2007, things were definitely on the rise.

The years since 2007 have been pretty amazing to me. Back when I first logged on to the internet, I pretty quickly named my female persona, CiCi. The name came from the fact that I was a cyber chick. I was, for the most part, a tgirl only on line. I had a few clothes. A few pix to share. But I was totally closeted, and I never expected to actually go out. So I took that concept (cyber chick) and reduced it to its initials, C.C. But I didn’t like the way the initials looked, so I expanded it to CiCi. That somehow seemed more chic.

So for many years, I was just a cyber chick. And I’m sure that’s true of a lot of girls reading this blog. It’s not really the same as being in the closet, because to me, the closet is very solitary and lonely. Cyberlife is the opposite. It’s full of people to share with and learn from and grow with. I realize now that there are a lot of “cyber chicks” out there. Tgirls who will never leave the online world. And I know why this is. It takes a lot to go out. And once you’re out, you still have to summon the courage to keep going out. I’ve been out and about in L.A. for several years now, and I still get nervous. Every single night.

Yet, despite my anxieties, that’s what I’ve been doing these past three or four years. Going out. If that cyber chick that gave CiCi her name could see CiCi now, she’d be pretty shocked. Today, CiCi goes out pretty regularly in L.A. and quite often in Vegas. She’s also been out in Miami, San Francisco, and Atlanta. She attends at least one or two tg or fetish events every year, and, if that’s not enough changes for one person, she has also started dating men.

That last part? That part about dating men? That just happened in the past year-and-a-half or so. (See? Things are always changing.) I always considered myself heterosexual. Perhaps bi. But in the past year or so I’ve started dating men and found that I really like it. Does this make me gay? I know a lot of you ask yourselves that question. If I’m a cd, does that make me gay? If I still like girls, does that make me a lesbian? If you ask me, you are whatever you want to call yourself. And it’s nobody else’s business. For me, once you get into t-world, all those old labels… gay, straight, male, female… start to blur. And I see no need to clarify further.

In my life, I can now say that I’ve been attracted to men, women, and tgirls. So for me, it’s not the gender, it’s the person. There’s either chemistry or there isn’t. And when there is chemistry… on those happy rare occasions… I am no longer willing to limit myself because of some ancient tradition or religious belief. Nope. I’m going for it.

And I’m having fun. I don’t think I realized just how depressed I was in the 90’s. Just how lost I was. I knew something was off. But I didn’t know what. Now I do. Dating men happened slowly for me. It’s kind of like my transgender life. It was probably always there, but repressed. Or denied. Who knows? I was a pretty conventional kid from a pretty conventional family in a pretty typical small town. There weren’t a lot of gay role models or tv/cd girls to look up to. Like most of you, I had to learn to make things up as I went along. (And I’m still doing that.)

I’ve also learned that you can’t predict the future. In 1999, I had no idea I’d be a crossdresser in 2000. In 2000, I had no idea I’d be attending fetish events in 2003. In 2003 I had no idea that I’d purge and withdraw in 2005. In 2005, I had no idea that I’d be going out regularly in 2007. And in 2007, I had no idea that I’d be dating men in 2009. My life as CiCi… as well as my boy life… continues to unfold with constant, and sometimes terrifying, unpredictability. Where will I be and who will I be two years from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? I have no idea. In the past year alone, I’ve taken a couple of girls out for their first time out (always very exciting), but I’ve also seen two very good friends withdraw from the scene (always very sad). I’ve watched my friends weather good times and bad. I’ve partied a little, cried a little, and hoped a lot. On a happy note (a very happy note), two of my friends got married this year. One to girl and one to a boy. And no matter what your situation, that has to give you hope!

I pose a lot of questions in this blog. And I’m the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers. But here’s one thing I do know: being CiCi teaches me something every day. My boy side worries about all sorts of things. Because he has to. CiCi, on the other hand, has no worries. No responsibilities. No deadlines. And no bills to pay. She’s fun. She’s happy. She’s sexually adventurous. She is in many ways the most open, honest, and free spirited part of myself. I started this blog three years ago with a column called, “Baby Steps in Sky High Heels.” Today, I feel like I’m taking longer strides. But there have definitely been a few missteps along the way. (As well as a few giant steps backwards.) But the bottom line is, CiCi inspires me. She liberates me. She moves me. And I’ve learned a heck of a lot by walking around in her shoes.
It’s now 2011. A new decade in the new millennium. I hope it’s a good one for you. I hope it’s unpredictable and flirty and fun. I hope you’re not lonely. And I hope you find love.

Happy New Decade, everyone. And please… take care out there!
Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy.



Anonymous said...

omg cici! loved the blog! i could fill up several pages telling u how i have felt and what i have been through. i am very much in the closet as a diagnosed mtof trans person. ur blog was insperational. thank u so much! keep on keepin on! Paige

Jenny snow said...

CiCi you are stunning intelligent well spoken too..I feel like a total amateur at times when looking at other girls..But I am noticing lots of similarities in life stories..Seems like these fears etc..are shared by most who venture this way..
I made it through my first year..Wondering at times am I just whacked...errr..yes but anyway..I remember my first time going out in public..first time i needed cigarettes..was all dressed wig makeup skirt heels etc..i was living alone so i would come home shower and dress...anyways i lived in a very rural area..tobacco row as they call it in eastern nc..I sat in my car getting checked out by every guy there (or laughed at) nervous..After a couple songs I told myself just get out..they cant hurt me.besides i am just another customer..then the clerk was smiling and his eyes were checking me out..go lots of ggs dress like men..not all but quite a few do..and here i was.I had an outfit i purchased satin blouse.i think it was a leather the time clip ons.(.i have since gone piercing crazy..eyebrow..3 in each ear. I totally hate clip ons..they seem cheap and fall off or break)..Some beautiful choker i had..body shaved..and a tan in a can on my legs and body..a pair of black nylons and some cheap heels from wal mart..( i wear an 11 in those.sometimes finding shoes is hard..a lot companies quit at 10 I found out when shopping in department stores) Anyways back to the clerk.maybe he was playing with me..i was so nervous talking and being there but i made it back to the apt and was like that wasnt so bad..anyways fast forward a year and still evolving...My first baby step..

Jasmine said...

All I have to say is wow CiCi. A lot of what you say is what I'm experiencing now as a beginning crossdresser. I'm so confused about a lot of things and what you have said has helped me out. Thank you for a wonderful posting.

Kat Alexandrova said...

I read the blog entirely. You're a prolific yet accompolished writer! Many aspects of your life parallel my own. Both of us began 10 years ago on this journey. I'm so glad to have met you in person at Viva Wildside here in Sin City. Your obvious outward beauty is only eclipsed by the depth of your inner beauty! kisses, hugz Kat

Sheri said...

Thanks for your insight. I hope I can find as much acceptance and as much courage to move into the light someday.

Jennifer Leigs said...

My mind is really wirling right now. I started dressing two years ago and went fast track. I dressed and went online with a cam chatting with other t-girls then 6 months later I went out for the first time to some local clubs in Los Angeles. I loved the scene. I went out two to three times a week behind my gals back. Then she found out after I have been going out for seven months. So I stopped and promised to not dress anymore. I didn't purge my clothes. I put them in storage. Now that I have been in the closit for a few months the urge is getting so strong that I am questioning if my relationship is worth my sadness. I know the feeling about being bi too. I dated a few guys and had fun with exploration. So I guess seeing your words on that subject helped me understand more on transexual behavior. I love your strength. Soon I plan to go out again. This time I know my relationship will be over because she is not or never will be on board with me in that way. Maybe that is what needs to happen so I can be happy again. Life is much too short to be sad. I love the column you wrote and admire you lots. :) I hope one day to meet you at one of the functions around Los Angeles area.
Jennifer Leigs

Seleena K said...

Once again, CiCi, thank you for sharing. You write beautifully and have reminded us all that no matter how beautiful and confident we apppear on the outside, inside we're all human and have the same fears and insecurities.

Just as your gorgeous face lights up a room, your words here shine much light on our world.

donatella said...

i find we share many of the same feelings and experiences. I try to go out as my alter ego at least 2 or 3 times a month. I have met many girls like us . It took a long time for me to come out, but it makes me more of a complete person. I get very unhappy when I cant go out,but I always amaze my self with the transformation.I have helped others come since I made my way out of the closet. love donatella

Allison Atwood said...

Cici! That was an amazing post. So much history, both global and personal. Nicely written. Thank you.

CiCi said...

Thank you so much for your comments everyone. I am sincerely touched by your thoughts and stories.

i wish you well. don't worry about being in the closet. just enjoy every moment of your femme time!

i love your story. it's a lot like many girls' first time out. the nervousness. the anxieties. (i still get nervous when i go out. you just never know how people will react.) but it's also still a thrill. even when people laugh. i just think to myself. i'm doing what i love... and that's all that matters!

as a beginner, it's just important you know that almost every tgirl you meet will have gone through what you're going through. we were all beginners at one time. so don't be afraid to ask questions. you don't have to do this alone! you're part of something bigger now. ;)


CiCi said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comments. And we should talk offline, i'm going to be in Vegas in a few weeks. :)

talk about lighting up a room! that's you, girl! thank you so much for your comments and i hope to see you soon!


CiCi said...

You are in a situation that a lot of girls find themselves in. Having to choose between a relationship and their dressing. and it's a really tough decision to make. all i can say is please go carefully. if you have a special relationship, it might be worth saving, protecting. only you can know that for sure. but be sure to act thoughtfully, lovingly. then you won't have regrets later -- whatever you decide.

and yes, i do get out quite a bit in LA. (although not as often as i would like.) but please be sure to say hi if you see me in a club. we're lucky to live in SoCal where we have a variety of options when it comes to going out!

please stay in touch, babe.


CiCi said...

acceptance is a huge part of this. the more support you have the more strength you'll feel inside to move forward. (and believe me, it does take strength.) just don't put too much pressure on yourself. go at your own pace. just let the world unfold for you. you'll be amazed at how the things you want will come to you.

i'm so happy for you. you've obviously found a lot of happiness in going out. (i know i have!) and very cool that you're helping others too. that's one of the things i love about this community. the more experienced girls always seem so willing and happy to help the newbies!

Always so nice to hear from you, doll! how have you been? thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog... especially this one. it's pretty long! but i'm glad you enjoyed it. hope we can chat soon.

Nicole Kowalski said...

CiCi you have a very rich experience, thank you for sharing it with us. I can see myself in many of your words, and yes, I still don't know where I'll be in the future, but you can bet it's exciting.

Nicole Kowalski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You are so strong and courages. Of course you are stunning to.

tbsocal said...

CiCi, worth the read, well written, much food for thought, fyi: the decades pass ever faster with age you're not yet "granny" but you have reached middle age ... keep up the good work ... karyn!!!

CiCi said...

i have to admit that i'm very jealous of a lot of the girls i meet today... girls in their 20's or early 30's. and i wish i'd started all this at a younger age. but i've made my peace with that. i can't go back. so i'm just trying to enjoy every day (night?) to the fullest!
Thanks so much for your comment!

Cheryl Cummings said...

all the experiences youve had! o do this you need money. my job is ok, thankGod, b ut i have a child to support, and im dreaming of the money to go to Vegasand be with the gurls unashamed and glam, men desiring you, and leave all my cares behind ..i live alone in new york divorced, hot enfemme semi passible and lonely. all i can do at this point is to reach out--seriouslyhoping for a Sista to reach back...CiCi, bless you hunni

Cheryl Cummings said...

id like to send you some pics to prove my worth as well as meetingand there a site where i could CiCi?

Anonymous said...

Ci Ci, your sound like so much fun to be with. Nicole 12-27-14