Why Do We Do What W...
 
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Why Do We Do What We Do?

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Posts: 46
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(@april-king)
Trusted Member     United States of America, Washington, Camano Island
Joined: 6 years ago
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I have noticed that when I write I tend to be contemplative, as in always wondering why. It could be any topic that has my interest, and it's no different with my dressing. I'm wondering the why exactly for not feeling fulfilled when presenting in my birth gender only. What causes the desire, or should I say compulsion, to dress?

Because it is a compulsion. Make no mistake. And so I revisit and analyze and try to understand this part of me.

Why as a young child did I find my mom's makeup so fascinating? Why did I sometimes imagine myself as a girl? I didn't often dress, and on the rare occasions when I did, I made sure I was absolutely alone. My fear of being caught was so great that I was actually able to go very long stretches without dressing at all.

As an adult, I went years without dressing, to my ultimate detriment. Let's just say I was tired of life. Oh, I had my reasons—a wife, kids, parents who probably wouldn't be very supportive (I loved you dad – but I'm talking about you.) But still, along with other factors it ultimately brought me to a point where I no longer wanted to go on. So why do we dress? Or go even further?

I think a lot of it has to do with the stereotypes men are supposed to live up to. We are not supposed to show our feelings, express emotion – be human. When I was younger, I was tormented by the feeling that I just wasn't living up to the masculine ideal. I was an emotional, introverted, shy boy, who wanted to express my feelings, but felt as if I couldn't. It wouldn't be “manly” to do so. I was not macho. I liked reading and learning. I liked school. I went out for cross country just to say that I participated in a sport. I loved girls (women), but I wasn't even on their radar. Nerdy guys don't really cut it in high school.

But I never lost my love of things feminine—makeup especially. I loved the thought of being someone else; someone who could be who they were. Show emotion. Show feelings. Be the empathetic soul I felt I was. In other words, be more feminine.

And…I knew that wasn't allowed. If I wanted to express my emotions it defined not only my gender but my sexuality. And that, I think, is a real problem. I love women, but I would love to be one, too. Society defines us as girls or boys, women or men, gay or straight; with or without emotion. There is no gray area.

So I come back to the why. Why do I (we) dress? I have my thoughts. Ultimately, I may never know the whole answer. And yet, that is not what is really important. I just know that it is a part of me, and what is important is that I embrace who I am every day! To know that I can express my feelings, that I can be emotional, and that I can let the feminine (woman in me) out. Let her be expressed in the loving way I look at my children, or in my interactions with others on a daily basis – to show appreciation for the effort they put into their appearance or the care they show their spouse or children. Show my admiration in how they interact with others.

That is a true benefit of femininity; the ability to interact and empathize with other people. How much better would society be if men were allowed the same privilege?

But we aren't. And yet - that is the essence of April.

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Member
(@jessicar)
Active Member     United Kingdom, Dyfed
Joined: 4 years ago

This reflection of your transgendership mirrors a lot on this site I expect. A great article from beginning to end. I can only tell people reading don't leave it festering and get on with life.
Love to all reading.

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Posts: 14
Member
(@terrim)
Active Member     United States of America, New York, Long Island East Nassau
Joined: 6 years ago

I started going out enfemme in 1978 at age of 30. Prior to that as teenager I would put on a slip and makeup belonging to my mother. In 1981 my wife of 10 yrs found something and as a result I told my wife and stopped dressing. After almost committing suicide I saw a psychologist and asked Why I dress ? She had no clear cut answer. But she did help me. I then began a policy of balance in my life.
If I found out Why ? , what would it change. I dont think it would change how I would feel. We are always looking for answers to questions that there are really no clear cut answers.

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Ambassador - Editor
(@april-king)
Joined: 6 years ago

Trusted Member     United States of America, Washington, Camano Island
Posts: 46

Terri - in some ways we actually have similar stories. I too had a suicide attempt about 4 years ago, prior to resuming dressing. My psychologist has been helping me to come to terms with things also, and although I have my good and bad days I am mostly OK with just being me, and I have finally learned to like myself, at least most of the time.

I have always been one who wants to know the reasons for things, and even though I expect I'll never really know the answer to the why's of my dressing, I expect I'll always keep looking.

April

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(@maxined)
Active Member     Australia, Victoria, Melbourne
Joined: 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this contribution, April. I for one really enjoyed reading it.
Your account of the early years is so familiar. I too loved school, was a nerd and worshipped girls from a distance. I rarely dressed, only partially and in total isolation. In late secondary school I was fortunate enough to meet the love of my life and to this day I consider my HSC year (last year of secondary school) as the best year of my life. Sadly, during 1st year at uni I was convinced by my mother and a few of her friends to end the relationship as we were "getting too serious". It still feels strange that women were encouranging me to go "sow my wild oats".
The ensuing years were spent raising a family, persuing a career, building a lifestyle and the feminine feelings were completely suppressed although never absent. On reflection, I was rarely truly happy during this period.
Only in my early 50s did I allow my conscious mind to contemplate my suppressed femininity. It hasn't lead to instant happiness but it has lowered the distress levels significantly. I can now see the tunnel and am actively searching for the light.
Hugs and warm wishes to all.
Maxine.

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Ambassador - Editor
(@april-king)
Joined: 6 years ago

Trusted Member     United States of America, Washington, Camano Island
Posts: 46

Are you still with the love of your life hon?

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Member
(@maxined)
Joined: 4 years ago

Active Member     Australia, Victoria, Melbourne
Posts: 5

Unfortunately not, April. I ended the relationship during my 1st year at university.
40 odd years later, I am yet to find a field with grass as green as that 1st paddock. 😳

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 Josh
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(@Josh)
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Joined: 4 years ago

What a lovely story. I can re late in several ways, good luck to you on your journey!

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 Josh
Guest
(@Josh)
New Member
Joined: 4 years ago

I too took a 30 year break from dressing raising a family, now its my time well almost, best wishes

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Posts: 102
Member
(@margprodue)
Estimable Member     United States of America, Wisconsin, Madison
Joined: 2 years ago

Hi April,
As a late comer to TGH, I just came across this wonderful article of yours. I can really relate to it since I was always trying to be my father (which was impossible) but in reality I was actually my mother. Thanks for all the helps
Safe Journey,
Marg

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Posts: 192
Ambassador
(@reallylauren)
Reputable Member     Canada, British Columbia, Victoria
Joined: 2 years ago

Oh April! I just found this, and it so truly echoes all that I feel and have felt as a feminine person. I have always been feminine and drawn to femininity. I too have always been very emotional, I cry while listening to music and watching movies, and was often teased because of that. But to be able to show my emotions as I have moved through my life has always been a great gift and not a problematic issue. I wouldn't give that part of me up for all the treasure I could ever be offered. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart. 

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