Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Get Out!

I don’t know what it is, but I sometimes think that t-girls are like bears. And every year, with the coming of spring, the t-girls come out of hibernation. Here in LA, I can look forward to a very busy calendar of t-girl parties and fetish events. I start looking at clothing websites. I start window shopping in malls. Checking out all the latest fashions for spring. (On a side note, I recently bought my first bikini. I’m not sure when I’ll actually wear it in public, but when I do I’ll be sure to let you all know about it! Just another one of those “firsts” that we t-girls encounter along our paths of progression.)

But each year, along with the posting of the events calendars, I start to get a lot of e-mails. Perhaps because of this blog, or perhaps because I tend to post a lot of photos of myself online (can you say, “camera whore”?), I get a lot of emails from t-girls around the country who are just starting out.

It’s funny—because in many ways I still consider myself a beginner. Like most cross dressers, I dressed in private for years. But I’ve really only been “out” and active in the scene for the past four years. And because of my personal situation and job requirements, I don’t go out a lot. Once a month is a lot for me. So I still feel pretty new to the scene – even though others might not see me that way.

Still, I get a lot of questions from the real newbies. The ones that haven’t been out. And I remember how much anxiety that causes. Because I think there’s a part of us t-girls that just loves show-and-tell. It’s as though exhibitionism has been woven into our DNA. So we start out dressing for ourselves. Checking ourselves in the mirror. Then we start taking a few photos. (Thank God for whoever invented digital photography!) We chat online, we trade a few pics and we post a few pics. And we do this for a variety of very personal and specific reasons depending on our backgrounds, our goals, and our self-identities. But beneath all of those other individual reasons, I think there’s simply a part of us that just wants to stand on a mountaintop and scream, “Look at me!”

And in a culture like America’s, where society can tend to be pretty superficial, we’re not alone. Ask any junior high school girl. Ask any young exec trying to move up in his company. Ask any politician, preacher or prostitute. We’re all screaming for attention.

But it’s a little different for t-girls. It’s a little bit scarier. We want to show off our new and improved feminine selves. But at the same time we’re terrified to do exactly that! We want the whole world to see us! And we want no one to ever see us! So imagine the guts it takes to actually go out in public in a dress for men! To leave the safety of your room (or closet), to leave the anonymity of the internet, and to actually strut your new self off to a t-girl tea party or a gay disco or the local theatre. I think this is what someone had in mind when they said, “It takes balls to be a girl.”

So beginner t-girls write to me quite often and ask me, “Do you think I’m ready to go out?” And the truth is, there’s no easy answer for that. I have friends who started going out within days (!) of discovering that they were transgendered. And then I have friends online that I’ve chatted with for years that have still never gone out. It’s a very individual decision. Everyone’s circumstances are different. And there’s no way that anyone else can accurately calculate the risks you’re facing, the cost of those risks, or the value of the rewards waiting on the other side.

I can tell you my stories or point you to the blogs of other girls who have also experienced some pretty amazing things by stepping out into the world. And that may be encouraging. But it often doesn’t apply. In other words, I don’t know your wife. I don’t work for your company. I’m not trying to raise your kids. You are. And only you can decide how you’re going to go about doing all of that… while balancing this alternative lifestyle that you feel so drawn to.

But I will say this. If you’ve assessed the risks, if you’ve discussed it with your friends or loved ones, if you have some friends to go out with or a specific event to attend…then go! Get out!

There’s an old saying that says, “You can’t learn to swim if you’re standing on the dock.” And boy is that true when it comes to t-girl world. As a child standing on a dock, you simply cannot anticipate the feeling of having water all around you. The fun that awaits in swimming, diving, boating and just plain splashing around. Nor can you anticipate the otherworldly feeling of being in the water—of being weightless. Of not knowing how to move or stay afloat or even breathe.

And then there are the risks. The dangers. The fears. The fear of drowning. The panic that sets in if you’re underwater too long. The desperate way you cling to a flotation device. The way you strain to touch bottom. And then there are all those creepy little fish and crabs and crawfish out there in the water with you! Yup. It’s a whole other world. And you start to think that maybe it’s not so bad sitting on the dock, sunning yourself, enjoying the breezes that come off the lake.

And you’re right. That is enjoyable. But in your heart of hearts, you know it’s not enough. You hear the other children splashing around. You hear their shrieks of glee. Their shouts of laughter. And you realize, there sure are a lot of other kids having fun out there in the water. Maybe I should go join them. Maybe I should dive in.

Facing your first night out as a t-girl is a lot like that. The different environment. The struggle to stay afloat. To balance. To breathe. (Not to mention all of the creepy things that come out of the muck and touch you on your leg.) It’s scary as hell and anyone who tries to tell you differently is lying.

But it’s also pretty amazing. Someone once asked me for my “ah ha” moment as a t-girl. That one moment where you feel like you’ve arrived. Like you’ve achieved something or accomplished something. I wish I had a more dramatic moment, a better story -- but I know exactly the moment that first comes to mind.

It was years ago on a street corner in Vegas. My wife and I went to a club that was pretty empty, so we wanted to grab a cab to go to another one. I think my wife was still talking to some of the other bar patrons… asking for suggestions. But I was on the street… in some skimpy little outfit, heels in mens sizes and a large cap wig… waving my hands and trying to hail a cab.

And I remember thinking at the time. This feels surreal. I wasn’t just a closeted crossdresser any more, I was out. In public. And I wasn’t just hitting the clubs of LA, I was out in Vegas. And I wasn’t just satisfied to sit in an empty club – even though it had taken all the nerve I could muster just to get that far. I was looking for a more lively club… I wanted to get out into the world… and I was willing to stand on a street corner in front of all those cars passing by… just to keep the adventure going.

That was my ah-ha moment. Really nothing to write home about. And yet…that moment was just the beginning of so much more. Of many years of fun clubs, erotic events, tender romances, hot sex, and plenty of laughs and smiles (and tears) shared with other t-girls whose paths I’ve crossed as our individual journeys have intersected. It’s all been pretty amazing. And none of it would have happened if I hadn’t jumped off the dock.

Oh, and one last thing to consider. All of those outward events are nothing compared to the inner journey that my soul has experienced. CiCi has gone to fashion shows and fetish balls. To drag shows and dungeon clubs. To Vegas and San Francisco and Atlanta. She’s done a lot. But because of those trips, my soul has traveled further. CiCi has been to South Beach. But my soul has been to the stars.

Take care out there.
Be smart. Be safe. Be sexy.



Anonymous said...

Hi I came out last year I dress in private my wife hates it was it this hard for you I love your pics of you your hot

Anonymous said...

I went to Glamour Shots and got my pictures taken. I walked into and out of the mall dressed. While walking into the mall, someone told me that the pumps I was wearing were cute and she didn't think she could walk in them. I got a few odd looks, but I survived the day. I love reading your blog and hearing of your adventures. Amanda

Lidiya said...

I've been out a few time since I realized I was trans in 06. I got laughed at a few times and actual whistled at. Lately, I've been wearing just woman's sweaters, leggings and a dress one day. It was nice to be out as myself but still it's a struggle not to feel like everyone is laughing at me. I try like hell to just tell myself to just be me and forget everybody else but still it's hard. I'm trying to just do it one step at a time.

Anonymous said...

That was very well said! I particularly liked the whole swimming metaphor. Thank you!

Debbi said...

I've been going out regularly for 20 plus years and think it's all in attitude and not feeling super sensitive (not always easy I know)- most people don't look closely and most people don't care how one is dressed. To me the key word is "blend" since I don't expect to pass with all the people all the time.

Stephanie said...

Hi CiCi...I've been dressing in private for about 40 years now (my's been that long!) and my wife tolerates it now but I wished she embraced it like she did before we had kids. Anyway, to help out the other girls out there who are itching to strut their stuff on the public "catwalk" like me, I suggest you buy yourself a kilt with all the accessories such as the sporan and knee-high wool stockings, flashes, etc. I did this awhile back and have worn it out in public several times, even to a very public mayoral inauguration. I received some strange looks but the kilt was a great conversation starter. And you know what they say about men wearing kilts...if you're go commando style, it's a kilt. But if you go with underwear, then it's a skirt. I prefer to wear pink lacy panties with my kilt so I guess I'm wearing a skirt then! LOL...Stephanie Marcus

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