By Monica M
I had never mentioned anything about who I was to anybody. I remember once, while I was still living at home, my mother praising me for being an all-around nice and good person. I said to her that she had no idea who I really was and that if she really knew, she might not think so highly of me. Of course, I was thinking of my big secret: my transgender side.
She brushed it off with the comment that of course, as she was my mother, she knew what I was really like. She was right and she was wrong. The basic person was the same, but the operating software was radically different. She never saw the results of the software directly.
In my twenties after I had moved away from home and was earning my own money in the big city, things started to change. I still had no name for my female side. The name Monica did not come to me until my 40's.
My twenties was the era of catalogue-shopping. With the help of my wife and her clothes, I was able to gauge my size and order from the catalogues. My wife was very happy to help me buy underwear and other accessories in department stores. Of course, I would be standing beside her looking furtive as if everybody knew she was buying for me. It was so embarrassing and humiliating! So different now, when I was in Boston in October, I went for a bra-fitting; I did not even break sweat when the lady asked to feel the weight of my falsies!
Gradually I built up a wardrobe. My wife was fully aware that I dressed when she was out and she was happy with that. However, she did not want to see me dressed when she got home.
Unfortunately, I do not have any photos from that era. But, in hindsight, it really was a time of fetish and “trashy tranny.” It almost makes me blush to think of it now.
I lived near a wig store… one of those 80's stores that sold nylon wigs and various types of hippie clothes. After many weeks of walking past the shop, I finally screwed up my courage and walked in. I pretended I was buying a wig for my wife. Why my wife would want a long haired nylon wig never dawned on me! I picked one out that was nearly down to my waist (I found out later when I got home) and said to the shop assistant, “I think she will like that.” As usual, the only person I was fooling was I.
Picturing it now, I must have looked like something out of The Night of the Living Dead when dressed. No makeup (and no beard cover!), long hair to my waist and skirt and hair almost meeting at the same place! And underneath, a girdle with enough elastic to make a medieval catapult! No wonder my wife did not want to see me!
In my thirties, we were into the Internet age and by then I knew I was part of a community. Through my exploration on the net, I knew about hormones, sex changes, meetings, special websites and clothes for transgender people. I even learned that there was a bar about half an hour away from me where people met in drag every Friday night. I am not sure if I was still in denial about who I was or if I was just too plain scared to dress and get on public transport to go there. Probably the latter! I had grown up with a lot of ridicule and it is often hard for me to handle that. I really wanted to go out dressed, but that was long way into the future.
(Part 4 of One Person’s Journey to Womanhood appeared here on Friday.)
Kristen Marie Rhea