Sunday, 30 December 2012

A to Z: Confidence

This was delayed somewhat by Christmas, but also a copy paste, auto save failure which ended up deleting my draft, so this is actually the second version of this post but there we go.
For the letter C, I'm going to be talking about confidence.

In general I'm not a wonderfully confident person, and that's without the crossdressing muddying the water as it were. I'm not entirely sure where my general lack of self confidence comes from, school teachers thought it had something to do with being dyslexic but I'm not really convinced by that. I quietly suspect it's linked in to my crossdressing and general identity issues in a fun cycle.

Leaving the house dressed up is rather intimidating, and frankly that's kinda unsurprising; there are several things to be intimidated by when doing so. Mostly I worry that someone is going to causes a scene; for instance being bared from entering a bar or club of some description because of what I'm wearing, or being "found out" and someone being disgusted by me.

The threat of physical attack is always present leaving the house, however I assess and consider each time, and if I think that's it's even remotely likely anything like that will happen I won't dress up. There is a bit of fear regarding transport while dressed up. I don't mean going for a long train journey and the like; but the getting from my house to the place I'm going that night. Taxi's tend to be good, if expensive, busses are concerning  due to proximity with the general public, and walking has the issue of both heels, and the general public.
Dressing up at home however should not be intimidating at all. There tends to be no one but Izzy around and I'm not likely to invite anyone who is going to cause an issue to my house if I intend to dress up.  Even if I'm on my own I find it hard to dress up, part of it is effort, part of it is feeling uncomfortable (physically) dressed up and a big part of it seems to be the intimidation of being found / walking into the room.

As much as the cliché of being found by the wife wearing her clothes is inaccurate (both in my case and in general, at least from my experience) I still get massively embarrassed when being "found out", which is one of the reasons I don't really like dressing up alone, unless I know I'm going to be reliably alone for a decent amount of time (for example if Izzy is away or similar). I know that Izzy won't care, and in fact will be supportive and likely say nice things, which almost worries me more.

It's the same issue I have when entering a room full of people when dressed up (at a party for example). As said before I avoid situations where I fear anything happening, and thus people tend to respond in a positive, if surprised manner (likely because I don't announce my intentions, I tend to just kind of disappear then reappear later), generally complementing my appearance and choice of outfit. All this leads me to become extremely embarrassed.
Don't get me wrong being complemented is lovely and does make me feel more confident (seriously, who doesn't like receiving compliments about things they are self concious about), the issue is that the response is normally at complete odds to how I'm feeling, matched with the embarrassment immediately makes me think that they must just be being kind, making more of it than they really feel, or even flat out lying. I'm not implying that my friends are dishonest, or malicious; in fact I know they're not. However the juxtaposition with how I'm feeling is difficult to deal with, and  hence it makes me not want to dress up. Which is stupid. 

Another big source of worry is that I feel that the number of events I get to dress up at is steadily decreeing, and I'm getting older. I worry that I'm missing out on that part of my life because I can't encourage myself into dressing up for things. I've said before that I wanted to get married in a dress and how that didn't happen, and that kind of sums up my feeling behind it. It's another event, another chance I've missed that will never come back. I worry about feeling bad because I've gone dressed up, and feeling bad because I haven't, and then worrying about if I made people uncomfortable, or regretting that I didn't dress up. All of which is kind of stupid because I should be confident enough to dress up if I want to, or not if I don't instead of spending my time constantly worrying about every little aspect of it.
Some people have said they think I'm brave by dressing up (more out of the house than otherwise); again it's a compliment so I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, however I'm not sure if I agree. I'd say it takes a decent amount of self confidence and determination, but I think of it as brave as wanting to wear a particularly low cut dress, or ... not sure there is a male equivalent really. The only issue I see in mens clothing is if judging if you are under, or over dressed; In both cases it leads to a kind of mild embarrassment. I'd much rather think that it's not so much being brave, as much as it's just being myself ... or at least some kind of version of myself, which should be enough in of itself really. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A to Z: Breasts

To start with I wrote this about breasts, however now it's more about body shape in general, with a heavy lean towards breasts.
There are many differences between men and women, both mentally and physically however one of the most obvious visual ones body shape, and a major element in feminine body shape are breasts.

Now, I am going to start this by saying that breasts cause some big issues for not trans women, including occasionally trying to kill their owners. They can be too big, too small, irregular, sagging or simply just not right for the woman in question as well as many other issues. I don't think I know many women who aren't that thrilled with the pair they were born with; and a few who have decided to seek a solution but with varying results.

All of these issues can have massive effects including mood, sexual identity, self confidence, and prejudice. I'm not going to go into great detail because as I mentioned before I'm not writing a feminist blog. But it's enough to say that women with larger breasts often get more male attention than they might want, and women with small breasts can often suffer from bigotry, being seen as somehow less female than their more endowed compatriots. There is a lot more to talk about on that topic but I'm not going to pretend that I have some deep insight into something that I don't.
What I'm trying to say is that there are a lot of different body shapes out there without staying into those between the genders. Having small (or no) breasts doesn't make you masculine; they are just one element in body shape. Body shape seems to have a greater effect how people perceive the genders compared to the abundance or lack of breasts. People often rely on breasts as a first pass test for gender; often to relatively success due to social norms breasts often equates to female. 

However, the rabbit hole goes deeper. The perception of gender is often binary since we are a biologically two distinct genders. There is a lot to go into about gender identity for the individual, but just from the viewers perspective it's a minefield of (often unconscious assessment and reassessment, and while societies are moving to remove prejudice I don't think that this subtle analysis of gender will disappear.

Effectively we are driven by our biological desire to procreate; knowing if something is either a potential mate, or is a potential competitor is kind of hard coded into us. There is no single element that makes a person appear either gender ... that said breast are often somewhat of a give away, but sometimes lead to misconceptions.  

Anyway; back to the breasts at hand, as it were.

Personally, breasts are an important part of the transition towards female. I have quite a male body shape; I'm effectively a rectangle with legs. Having breasts helps me see myself as female and thus makes me feel more feminine and therefore I tend to move and act so. However, looking back at photos they don't really seem to add to my form that much, obviously different outfits effect how they appear.
I've had 2 pairs of breast forms in my time (well technically 3 because of damage in transit). The first pair were approximately size C's with a sticky back, overall they were ok, over time the sticky backing became less sticky and kind of messy. They were also not a great size on me, being a touch small. The 2nd pair were a Christmas presents from Izzy, they are more like C to D and don't have a sticky backing; however they did come with some double sided tape, I am relatively happy with them but it's taking some time to get use to them and find the right bar size.

The other day at a party someone asked me if I was wearing them, then looked at my chest and went "oh! yes you are! I kind of forgot they were there since I'm so use to them being there" which was interesting because when I'm wearing them I find it very hard to get comfortable with them being there, both physically and mentally. I've never spent a lot of time wearing them in a normal environment so I've never really go use to them being there at all, they're also not the most comfortable things in the world.

Having fake breasts is really rather limiting in what I can wear, for example as much as I'd love to wear strapless dresses (even though they would make my shoulders look even bigger) I can't since fake breasts don't actually connect to the body and thus I wouldn't have anything to hold the dress in place. I also have the untidy join where the fake breasts meet my chest, which means I have to cover up that join. I have the same issue with corsets, however I can get away with it if I wear a top underneath, or have a halter-neck style corset. Cleavage however is right out of the question however.
With that said, high necklines and tops that cover my shoulders flatter my figure even though I'm not a massive fan of them. halter-necks are supposedly the worst thing to wear if you want to minimize your shoulders.

At the end of the day wearing breasts makes me feel and act move feminine, putting them on somewhat marks the transition from male to female for me, since they are really the only thing I have that reads as woman, rather than a man in a dress, at least that's how I feel about it. I should consider wearing them more casually to try and get use to them.

There are many questions regarding acquiring real breasts, for instance hormones and implants, but that's for later. What I will say now is that I really wish they would come up with some fake breasts you can feel though, partly so I can tell when people are having a feel me without me noticing ... which is somewhat strange but hey, I love my friends!

Also, have a gif because someone said they wanted to see animation.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A to Z: Acceptance

To start of this alphabetical foray into madness I'm going with Acceptance.
I spent a while contemplating this topic. I tried starting it in several different ways, thinking about how there are two kinds of acceptance. The acceptance of other people, and personal acceptance. 

Acceptance is a hard thing from some people to give, tolerance is one thing but acceptance is something different. Luckily I don't think I've met someone who was unable to tolerate my crossdressing, or at least act like they didn't have a real problem with it. 

However there must be some people that know me who have no idea, similarly there are likely people who have gotten to know me before finding out. I question how much my crossdressing colours my general personality, and if it makes a difference to how people respond to me before and after they find out. For example I don't go up to people and introduce myself as a crossdresser, but I don't try and hide it. As much as it may or may not be a key driving part of who I am it is not defining.

A big issue for me however is that I strive for acceptance, I find it uncomfortable being in a social situation where some people are unaware. It feels like I can't really be myself, despite the fact that it doesn't naturally come up in conversation that much. Sometimes I find myself accidentally slipping in the odd comment relating to it without really thinking, then I worry that I'm being really obnoxious and pissing people off, which I obviously don't want to do.
It worries me that there are some people who override their dislike of my crossdressing because they wish to  remain friends with me. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, on one level I don't want to think I've lost friends because of it. However I don't like the idea that some people don't like that part of me. It's likely just part of the human condition to ignore part of someone's personality that you dislike in order to remain friends. I myself and guilty of this, just not about trans issues.

I often consider what to expect from people, what level of understanding, tolerance and acceptance can you expect from people, or more importantly what level of intolerance and dismissal is justifiable from other people. It gets into the question of expressing your right to free speech via the medium of  intolerance, which is a minefield of civil liberties, and I'm not going that deep right now.

The other form of acceptance is personal. The short version is that I'm not sure I completely accept my own crossdressing, I'm almost ashamed of it in some ways. I find it quite hard to talk about in anything but a trivial manner, and I'm not sure why exactly, or what to do about it.
I suspect the issue comes from my initial urge to hide it from people and almost pretend that it didn't exist. My experience at uni opened me up a bit but recently I've somewhat gone back into my shell. I've gotten to the point where I'm not sure what I want to do with my crossdressing, I'm not sure what it means (if anything), and I'm not sure how much of a part of my life it should be, however I'll go into that in some later posts.

I feel like there should be more to this section but I'm not sure what else to say here so I guess I'll leave it here.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Hello World, It's been a while ...

So I'm now living in Ely and Izzy is working in Cambridge! We have a new house and we're (slowly) decorating it. Life isn't too bad, it mostly consists of sitting at home not doing very much.

Why did I stop posting?
Short answer, I don't remember. I think I just got out of the habit like I do with many things.

What's happened since February?
Related to the subject matter, an array of events occurred at which I dressed up, several of which were public. This included going to a restaurant for a leaving party, attending Liverpool pride, and going out to a local pub for a drink with friends. Which shows a great improvement on my habit of not dressing up, or going out. However since the move I let my beard grow and my clothes linger in suitcases. Also, my mood has really taken a dive. Being stuck inside all day with no one I know around and Izzy working all week the house has been a lonely place.

When I moved to Liverpool I had the structure of being a fresher which dampened the effect of the new environment, it didn't mater that I had no idea about the city because hey, no one else did. And now I've moved here, and I've not managed to get a job yet so I'm stuck in the house.

Oh, I also bought a few new things including some nice new heeled Dr Marten boots as well as a couple of new items of clothing.

What am I going to do?
Short answer, I don't really know. But I plan to post on here more, and in order to encourage me to make at least 26 posts I'm going to do an A to Z, addressing different areas. So far I've thought of A to M, hopefully the rest will fill in as I go.
Also hopefully this will help me work though more stuff and maybe try and fix some things.

The bright side is that I've met some nice people in Cambridge, namely the Cambridge University Treasure Trap society (or CUTT). They are very nice people and have been extremely welcoming.

Short post I know, but I hope to write more soon :)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Beard

First off let me apologies for the missed week, It was a mixture of computer messing up and really bad sleep pattern! I'll try not to let it happen again :)

Today I'm going to talk about my beard. I've taken to drawing it like this: 
But this isn't exactly accurate, in fact my face looks more like this:
So the obvious question is, if I want to be more feminine, why don't I shave? Well the first thing is that I takes time and is a pain in the ass to do everyday. I've never been very good at having a daily routine and I have a habit of over sleeping and rushing out at the last minute which isn't behavior conducive to having time to shave. I also quite like having a beard, it suits me and adds a certain gravitas to my appearance. To boot being able to grow a proper beard makes a lot of men envious!
However a deeper reason I keep my beard is somewhat ... ceremonial I guess is the word. One of the things I always have to do when dressing up is to shave, I always feel more feminine just after shaving; probably because it's the only real reason I do so. I generally try to grow my beard out between times I dress up, almost like a visible marker to remind me how long it's been. It's not something I do consciously but I do occasional look in the mirror and thing "wow it's been x months since I shaved".

The thing is, I tend to get into this strange place where my beard is starting to get irritating, or when I feel like dressing up but don't have an event or similar upcoming. Basically I don't want to shave my beard off for what feels like no reason, or at least not a great reason. I don't want to waste that feeling I get when I shave, and I especially don't want it to become less potent, if I was clean shaven all the time I suspect I would start to think I looked less feminine dressed up. 

Eventually something comes along and my beard disappears but those are getting less and less frequent, partly because I never want to dress up on the fly because of my beard, it's a really annoying circle.

At this point I went to have a shave, seemed like the thing to do.

Since this is quite a short post I'll give a little update on what's been going on. I've been dressing up a bit more, just around the house and not really doing all the make up and the like (now that I've shaved I might bother, there's nothing like a bead to ruin lipstick and eye shadow). I also got a cute new dress and some awesome shapewear which helps cover up my gut, which I'm trying to lose. I'm trying to give up snacking between meals as well as chocolates and sweets for the next 6 weeks (yeah it's lent, I'm not religious so I feel bad saying that's what I'm doing it for). Hopefully I'll dress up a little more soon :)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Public perception.

Last week I mentioned the reputation that crossdressers, and transgendered individuals have, obviously being the former makes it difficult for me to be entirely unbiased but I'll try my best. I'm also looking at this from a very British point of view, I think things over in the US, and on the continent are a little different.

There are several stereotypes related to crossdressing and the transgendered (I wish there was a better way of saying that but it's not abundantly clear to me) and while they do have a grounding in reality they, like all stereotypes, make massive sweeping statements and simplify to a fault. I want to take a look at these different stereotypes and explain what they are, why they're harmful and maybe what can be done about it. 

Obviously everyone is different, no two people will experience gender identity issues the same way, however parallels can be drawn, and groups can be seen. I'm not sure what group I would fit in exactly, if any. 

Drag Queens
The classic drag act is rather innocuous in it's inception, men wearing rediculliously over the top frocks and wigs, ham acting to the hilt; It's about entertainment and comedy and not primarily about wanting to be, or act female in itself, this doesn't mean that drag queens don't self identify as female but I believe it is more of a passive "for fun" attitude. To be fair this stereotype is relatively accurate, obviously not every queen fits the mold but in general it's not terrible.
Personally I don't have an issue with Drag queens, mostly because they're a laugh and widely understood, especially in the UK. Some people might find it a little off putting but at the end of the day they probably don't fear them.

Some crossdressers and transgenders (is that better? I'm not sure) however do have an issue with them; I think the main issue is the perception that all  crossdressers and transgenders are drag queens. They fear it trivializes a major part of their identity and the difficult process they've gone though. While I am understanding of this, there are bigger fish to fry.

Weirdo Transvestite
First off, this is not my term. This one was coined by the wonderful Eddie Izzard:

I think the general public perception of crossdressers fall into this crazy, weird and scary stereotype; and it's predominantly not true. While I understand that it is atypical lifestyle it doesn't make you some sort of freak in all other aspects in your life, nor is it some form of excuse to explain crazy behaviour. That's not to say that there aren't Weirdo Transvestites out there, there definitely are.

However, as with other LBGT issues things are getting better. I don' think it's ever going to be considered 'normal' but with the advent of social networking and the push for equality it is becoming an acceptable lifestyle choice. In addition I've seen more and more news articles, blog posts and TV programmes broaching the subject of Crossdressing and Transgender in a slightly more unbiased way.

But, if it came out tomorrow that some male celebrity or influential figure was a crossdresser the media would hound them into the ground, treating it like some shameful secret. Why? Because people don't like being lied to, especially if it's about something they don't understand.

It's a Trap!
This is a very recent stereotype that currently only exists online, and only in a few specific places. The best definition I could come up with for a trap is: A male who, while dressed as a female, would be able to attract the advances of a straight male under the pretence that they are, in fact, female. I.E. a very convincing crossdresser / pre-op transsexual. They tend to be young, no older than say mid 20s and engage in posting pictures of themselves online to receive praise and/or adoration. Due to the nature of the stereotype, you can't just call yourself a trap, you have to be reviewed and accepted by the internet before you are, and I'll go into a few details in a second.
For reference for those who are unaware; The term trap refers to the Starwars character Admiral Ackbar who, during the battle for The Return Of The Jedi uttered the line "It's a trap". If you have been on Facebook or Twitter in the past few years you've probably heard it referenced somewhere, somehow; if not then I don't know how.

From one point of view it's good that crossdressers are receiving praise and/or adoration and not fear and rejection, but it's not all sunshine and happiness. While I am sure that almost everyone who is labelled a trap, or wishes to become one (as I said, it's a label others put on someone) I'm also sure that the majority of them get caught up in the attention they receive and possibly never consider the ramifications of their actions. Also while I am sure a lot of traps suffer from gender dysphoria and may want to become more feminine though hormones or surgery, I fear some get pushed into doing things because they crave the attention and adoration poured upon them from faceless comments on some website as they post more and more explicit and pornographic images online. To me it's becoming a facsimile of the way women are judged by their appearance and feel forced to comply with the social expectation of attractiveness.

And what happens if you don't meet the ridiculously high standards of these internet elitists? You get ridiculed, torn down and made a joke out of; they will go out of their way to crush you. And I'm not going to start to explain why that is just wrong. 

Traps are also stereotypically highly promiscuous and do not help disparage the next stereotype.

Transvestic fetishism
Simply put, some people believe crossdressers are perverts who want nothing more than to put on a dress and try to get off with them, or their children. It's seen as disgusting, vile and dangerous behaviour that corrupts everything it comes into contact with ... the people who believe this probably think the same about gay men and women. Again I'm not going to waste my time explaining how this kind of incorrect and negative stereotype damages people. We're not all sex crazed perverts, or worse.
The major problem with this one is that we do not help ourselves at all in this case. Googling various different  crossdressing and transgender related topics you will probably happen upon some porn. And while you could make the argument that whatever you google for you're likely going to find porn it pisses me off that the first two result when googling "Crossdressing blog"give you one unashamed porn blog and one that seems to be a collection of soft core porn pictures sent in by users. There was also another flat porn site just on page one. 

Granted searching 'transgender', or just 'crossdress' gave more reasonable results but seriously, what the hell is this community doing to itself.

Obviously a man in a dress
This is probably the most common, and most accurate stereotype out there. As much as a man might try to look feminine there is only so much one can do without hormones and surgery, even then there is quite a strict limit.

By far the thing people think of when prompted with the idea of a crossdresser, or a transgendered person is a 6ft, broad shouldered, strong jawed individual who is not quite the right shape for the dress they're wearing. Or at least something near that, and I don't really have an argument here ... this is close to what a fair few crossdressers, and transgendered people do look like. They are also people, who just want to try to get near how they feel inside, there is nothing wrong with it.

But, sometimes you need to sit down and think, can I really get away with wearing this mini skirt? Would a woman my age actually wear this kind of thing? I'm all for wearing what you want and not what society tells you to but sometimes the subtle approach is much better. Some people might want to leave the house and get noticed by everyone they pass, others just want to blend into the background and long not stand out.
There are a couple more more niche stereotypes, I might revisit this post at a later date and detail some more, but for now that sums up how I feel about the issue. 

At the end of the day these stereotypes started life with a grounding in some kind of truth, however tenuous it might have been; some are still quite accurate while others were never true. Everyone is different and deserves to be treated for who they are and not what box they fit in, unfortunately the world just doesn't work that way.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Privacy and employment.

Before I started this blog I had to think how it might effect my online appearance since this is completely public, names me, is linked (really rather tenuously to be fair) to my professional blog, and is often shared on Facebook and Twitter. Obviously I decided that it was still worth setting up otherwise you wouldn't be reading this right now!

The main issue is how it reflects on you; ok I'm unlikely to upset or anger anyone I count as a friend, but that isn't where the worry lies. What really worries me are the people who don't know me at all, and more importantly people who might want to hire me. Crossdressers and Transgendered people get a bad press, and have a certain reputation which is, on the whole, undeserved; but that's another topic entirely. 

The idea that someone cold judge me by a single tag and not by what I do or say upsets me; I understand that prejudice, both active and passive, exists and effects how people respond to you, and to be honest, I'm guilty of it myself, there are certain parts of society I can't stand, anyone who has spend much time with me in a busy street will probably know what I mean. When you chose to be open about anything that differs  from the consensus defined norm you have expect it to effect how people interact with you, even if it's at a micro level. It's up to you to deal with it and do what you can to combat the negative elements.
In the past few years the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and Google has created a sense of communal, all inclusive friendship and equality; it's why your boss might ask to be friends with you on Facebook and why you might feel bad ignoring them. On the whole this is probably a good thing. It's better to want to be friends with everyone you meet than to be insular. If nothing else social networking websites are great for keeping in touch with people and sharing things that up until 5-10 years ago you would have had no idea about. 

However, the truth of the matter is that your life is more public now that it has ever been and this trend is set to continue. To boot, the ability to restrict access by group hasn't been fully realised yet, Google+ is a decent attempt but it lacks the popularity that Facebook and Twitter have attained.

This leads me to a quandary, posting something online is akin to making it accessible to anyone regardless of privacy settings because of the transitive nature of social networking infomation, especially recently. Facebook sharing and re-tweeting have become more and more pervasive and intrusive in spreading information. When this is an interesting news article, a cat youtube clip or what songs you played on spotify it's benign, but if you are trying to keep something about yourself offline (or entirely hidden) one accidental   slip or mistake can come back at you very quickly. 

For example; When I set up my Facebook, Twitter and professional blog I had to decide how I was going to present myself. If I had chosen to keep my crossdressing offline to protect my future appearance I would have required been completely private about that part of my life, I would be scared someone would take a photo, upload it and tag me, or post to my wall remarking about it. So the only acceptable response would have been to put everything back in the box and more or less hide it again. For all I know my coming out as a crossdresser could have thrown Izzy off, made her question our relationship and pulled up apart. Being open about it allowed her to fully think things through, and accept it before entering the relationship. Also being scared of her response could have made me question the relationship myself..
People do not like being lied to. They do not like having information withheld from them, even when it has nothing to do with them; It's just our inquisitive nature. So when something of this ilk is revealed people can have a strong negative response. This is the other reason I decided to be open about my crossdressing. If I had decided to hide it, found employment, made some friends and then had an incident as described in the paragraph above occur it would have damaged working relationships and caused drama. 

Being open about these things, making no secret of it, and being aware of the issues it might cause seems to be the best way of operating. It's not something I'm going to put on my cv, or bring up in an interview, but if the information is available in a non hidden way it should alleviate potential issues. Theoretically the odd potential employer may find it distasteful, it might even tip the scale in deciding not to interview me, but these cases should be few and far between. Realistically the world is going to have to come up with an adult way to handle this kind of info dump, so things should get better.

Lastly, obviously I know this blog isn't going to change how the world see's crossdressers and transgendered people. As I said near the start, there is certain reputation attached to these groups and they are very heavily stereotyped, it's up to the people who suffer because of that to speak up and do what they can change perceptions. It's not going to happen overnight, and it's not going to happen because of me, but if I can better inform the people who know me, or might want to hire me then I'm going to.
A small note for any possible future employers; If you have found this blog, please let me know. I'm not going to claim discrimination if you chose not to hire me, or try to slander your company. I am just interested to see if googling someone has become a mainstay of hiring process and if so, how easy you found this blog. Also if you don't mind telling me what you thought, it would be appreciated. Again I am just trying to gather data and see what really happens.

Also I'm not going to randomly turn up to work in a dress. It's one of those incorrect stereotypes that worries me, just because I sometimes wear a dress doesn't mean I'm going to all the time. Some crossdressers may want to and it's up to the company to discuss that with the employee at hand. If I ever felt like I wanted to start coming to work as a woman it would only be following a full and frank discussion with the company, if they had a serious issue with it I would accept that and get over it.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A bit about me.

In this post I want to give the blog a bit more context, in relation to myself. So I've decided to give a brief history of me, and my crossdressing; I'm going to skip a few bits and it may be in the wrong order but I'll do my best!

I don't have a single memory of wanting to crossdress; however I do remember from a young age (primary school, so 7/8 I think) wanting to try on a female friends clothes and shoes. At the time I didn't really think about it, or understand what it meant but I did have a fear that people would find out. I have no idea what I thought would happen or why it was important to hide it, but I thought it was.
As I got older I started to think about things a bit more, it wasn't until I was 13/14 that I understood, and to some level accepted that I must be a crossdresser, and it wasn't 'normal' so I kept it hidden. I felt unable to talk to the female friend who's clothes I had tried on in the past and I was really quite confused by all this ... at this point it's worth mentioning that I have an older sister, who I know follows this blog; as does her other half so this might end up being a little embarrassing, but there we go. 

I was stuck with no one I felt I could talk to about it. I still had this dread fear of anyone finding out but the desire to crossdress was very hard to ignore; eventually I gave in and, when alone in the house, tried on some of my sisters clothes. In hindsight it's something I'm really not proud of; not only was it a massive intrusion of her privacy but it's really rather rude and a little creepy. But ... it helped me realise that crossdressing did make me happy, and that I did want it to be part of my life. I borrowed her clothes a few times, I even took some of the first photos of myself dressed up. However the more I did it the worse I felt about hijacking her clothes, so I tried my best not to do it anymore.
Around this time the school had a charity event where people got sponsorship for undertaking a particular activity or similar, I managed to convince someone to dare me to come into school in drag, I managed to get a fair bit of  sponsorship for this and my old friend from primary school lent me some clothes and did my hair. This was the first time I crossdressed in public. Everything went well and I enjoyed the experience. I did get a few odd looks but overall the day was awesome. 

It was at the end of GCSE that I decided to tell my parents. I remember arriving to an empty home, writing a note and leaving it downstairs for my mother to find, then I hid in my room and waited for my world to end. I don't even remember what I wrote in the note but I know I was completely terrified, however I couldn't keep going with them not knowing. Suffice to say my parents didn't kick me out of the house ... but we never really talked about it. 

In 6th form I managed to open up to some people both in person and online; this made me more comfortable with things and I realised that I could tell some people and not have some terrible 'thing' happen. I also started playing in a Live Action Roleplay (or LARP) game run by a local university society; being around open minded students really bolstered my conference, eventually I managed to play a female character! A rather silly fairy character with a tiny skirt and corset, ok so maybe it wasn't the most inspirational character and It might have been a terrible hyper stereotyped girly girl fairy but it was extremely liberating and I loved playing it!
When it came to leave 6th form and head to university me and my parents had an argument, basically I wanted to go to the end of year ball in a dress, my parents did not think it was a good idea at all. They won. I bought a suit and swallowed by pride, in the end I didn't go because I was ill. However the day before the ball there was a fancy dress day, and dammit I was going as a girl! Now, I'd managed to buy a few things of my own by this point, this including a really nice black corset, some fake breasts and an amazing pair of thigh high stiletto boots! I went out, dressed up and had an amazing time as a sexy kitty. Yeah I got looks, yeah people probably thought things about me but I had a wonderful time!

Then I went to university, from day one I was open about who I was and what I did, everything went rather well. I fell into a good group of people who all seemed to accept my crossdressing, I joined a few societies and on several occasions went out to social events dressed up and, in general had a great time, I even went to my departments Christmas ball as a woman two years running; and I even met an rather special lady! But as the years passed work encroached on my free time and I stopped going to these societies, lost the opportunities to dress up and I started to lose the sense of freedom coming to uni had given me.

One event in particular had a drastic effect on my outlook on crossdressing in public. A particular individual joined the main society I dressed up in, he was also a crossdresser ... but also a drug taking asshole who craved attention and generally pissed me off. He crossed a line when one night out he implied that Izzy, (we were together at the time) was only with me because of my crossdressing and that he had turned up she would leave me for him as he was more attractive and more interesting than me. I told him where to stick it and (I think) scared him a bit ... but doing so I stepped out of my female self and into my male one, for the rest of the evening I felt very very uncomfortable. It didn't help that he tried to cause a fuss when we left by getting some guys together and making out that he was going to attack me, feeling so uncomfortable I was very aware of my inability to defend myself when dressed up. If in the right might I could have done so, but at the time I was not. I was with a lot of good friends that made sure nothing happened but it was a scary situation to be in. Since then I have dressed up and gone out in public a few times but I have never regained the feeling I had before and as time goes by I find it slipping further away.

On the flip side, I met Izzy. An amazing and wonderful woman who I love deeply. She has always been supportive of everything I chose to do, including the crossdressing, and in May 2011 we got married! It was a truly awesome day and I wouldn't change anything.
... but, I always wanted to get married in a wedding dress. It was a dream of mine from very early on. I had even spent years thinking over what kind of dress, designing it in great detail and more or less fulfilling the  bride/dress stereotype. But I wore a suit, for my father. He told me that if I wore a dress he would not be there; there was only one choice I could make given the options. We did talk about it and he did have his reasons (which I'm not going to go into.) and they did have substance. The idea of changing for the evening was broched, I even had a dress made (by Izzy's mother, who also made Izzy's dress!) but it never saw the light of day, mostly because I never found the right moment to slip away. 

It's something that I do regret, but there wasn't any drama and everyone enjoyed themselves. As I said I wouldn't change anything. 

The last time I wore a dress was in August on holiday, the last time I wore a dress in public was the end of May, and I've been diving into a deeper and deeper depression since before then, at the moment I feel the desire to dress up but something is stopping me and all it does is make me feel crap. That is why I'm writing this blog. 

And with that I'm going to sign off this massive self service festival, I hope I've not bored anyone too much.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

About this blog.

Hello! Welcome to Box of wings.

My name is Chris, I'm 24 and I live in the UK with my amazing wife Isobel (Izzy for short). I have a love for games, gaming and design. I have a degree in Architecture however I’m unemployed right now; I am however trying to get a job in the game industry doing environmental art, level and game design. If you want to see my work then please visit my other blog,!

So what is this blog about?
Something I didn’t say in the above paragraph is that I am a crossdresser, which in itself throws up all sorts of different views and feelings in people.  This blog is all about my thoughts and feelings regarding gender and sexuality in both a personal and general way.
Why are you writing this?
This might seem like an odd question to answer so early on, but I think it’s very important to make clear. The main reason I’m writing this blog is because I’m depressed, and a major source of that depression is my crossdressing. I hope by writing this stuff down in a structured format it will help me bring things together and try to be happier with who I am, and work out what part my crossdressing plays in my life.  Rather self serving I know.

Why post it to a blog?
I want to try to answer some of the questions people have asked me over the years, hopefully giving a better answer than I gave at the time; this includes saying that I’m ok, or not bad, or that nothing is wrong when it clearly is; which is a terrible habit.

I do want to stress; I really don’t want to offend anyone, I understand that some may find this blog distasteful or offensive. If so I am sorry, it was never my intent to offend anyone. Please feel free to comment or e-mail me (my e-mail can be found under ‘View my complete profile’) I would much rather have a proper conversation about the issue than just ignore people that don’t agree with me.

Also, if this helps anyone out there then all the better!

As a designer and an artist I love drawing and sketching, so to liven this blog up from a bunch of flat text I’ll be illustrating it as I go. It also has nothing to do with the fact that I have a new Wacom graphics tablet! To do this I have two characters which roughly equate to my male self, and my female self. Why my female self has wings is another story but there you go. Sometimes there will be one of them, sometimes both. But they are both me!
What this blog is not about.
This blog is not about me posting picture of myself in any sort of compromising position or situation; or wearing anything that anyone might suggest. I may from time to time post an image of myself but I’m going to try not to as this isn’t the ‘look at Chris in a dress’ show. Similarly it is not a porn blog.

This is also not a feminism blog, I may talk about some of the topics that touch on feminism, and I may even discuss it directly but at the end of the day I’m not willing to dive into the quagmire that is feminism ALONG with gender and sexuality, however I will have to. I’m not trying to pull the genders apart, or push them together it’s just that some topics needs a bit of preamble. I hope that it doesn’t put people off!
Well that’s all I can think of to write as an introduction. I am going to try and post an update every week but we shall see! I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I do :)

A small note about spelling, punctuation and grammar: I am really rather dyslexic. I know in this day and age it isn’t as much of an excuse as it might have been before but still, spell checkers can’t pick up on every mistake especially if I end up using entirely the wrong word somewhere but spell it perfectly fine. If you notice any obvious, glaring mistakes please let me know and I will rectify them ASAP.