I want to say thank you a million times. Femulate has become a very important positive thing in my life for one big reason ― it has helped me find a way out into the world as my true self. What could be bigger?
My goal is to transition to being the woman I am full time. This week has been my very first week of what I am planning to be a three-year process. It has been my dream to be myself at least since I was 12 years old. For more than four decades, I never have been able to see my way to fulfill this dream until now.
Seven months ago, I was at a very low point in my life. I had daily thoughts of ending it. A friend said to me he thought it was good I didn't keep a gun in the house. He maybe was right. A big reason I was depressed was because my marriage had ended. It was complicated, but a lot of the trouble was due to me being transgender.
Just prior to my marriage, I had promised myself that trans was over and that I always would keep this secret from my wife. I had come out in two previous relationships, neither of which lasted long after that. Many readers here will understand what I mean by "purge." All of my clothes and shoes left one day in a box, picked up by a garbage truck in a Chicago alleyway. In the end, I had to try to tell my wife anyway. She was so angry that the marriage was pretty much over before I could give her a full explanation. (Amazingly, my ex-wife is very supportive now.)
I had to do something. I finally decided to do the obvious thing ― I decided to stop suppressing my transgender identity. What followed has been nothing short of a miracle. As therapy tells us, suppression and secrets take enormous emotional strength and exact terrible costs. So almost immediately after releasing myself, my mood soared to the highest point it had been for years. Body hair came off, I bought some new dressy clothes, heels, sleepwear, and so on for home life (I live by myself now).
But then I realized this was not enough. I had to be out in public as a woman. My approach was to buy things I could wear everyday. I got some casual wear, sandals, capris pants, etc. and started just wearing these clothes all the time. I even spent a couple of days all around town in Minneapolis during Pride Week in my most feminine casual attire. Nobody said, “Boo.” I was onto something!
In the seven months that followed, I practiced voice and mannerisms, got a lot more clothes, and even wore toned-down, androgynous outfits to work nearly every day. I wear these wedge-heeled booties all the time ― obviously women's ― no one seemed to notice or care. After a while, though, I came to the realization that what I have been doing is so good, so right, and so necessary for me to live the rest of my life that I decided that my transitioning to full time is the right course of action.
The first week of the New Year has been an intensely joyful launch of my transition. Really, I have been reborn. And I have a new sister, Ava Green, who has helped me enormously. I cannot thank her enough. Emotion wells up in me now when I think of her.
The pictures you see were taken with Ava. They, of course, jump off the charts as my favorite pictures of me that ever have been taken. She created an Eva Marie Saint North by Northwest look for me that moves me so much I know I am going to want to recreate and improve it again and again. Wow, I didn't think I could wear a form-fitting dress, but Ava got me into one. Being a woman is so very, very, very much fun!
I did feel some discrimination in my new role as myself ― all positive in my favor. It's amazing how people treat a well-dressed woman. "Yes, ma'am, can I help you," ... "How are you ladies doing?" ... "That's such a pretty ring!" ... They're all over you with kindness I don't remember getting before. Ava said I was natural at using my feminine face and smile. I suppose it comes from letting my emotions and true self out. Or maybe it was just from batting false eyelashes!
The restaurant scene is at a great Thai place Ava suggested. Here's to you, Ava! And to you too, Stana!!
The road ahead will be long and undoubtedly will have many difficulties. I am way more public now than ever before. It's getting tricky, so I am trying to plan carefully how to come out completely ― including at work (where I'm not yet) ― at the right time. But my terror is gone. We can live our authentic lives as transgender women! We can do it!
Please let readers know, Stana, that I'm keeping a travelogue of my transition at http://ericajkilian.blogspot.com. I want to try to contribute to our community as much as possible, the same as you and many of the very fine people whose blogs you list. Your links are a wonderful resource. For example, I found Hannah's Diary through you, and from there I found Ava! Don't doubt for a second that you're doing something important here!
Thank you so much, Stana.
Calling all girls! My open invitation to post your favorite photo along with the story behind it and the reason it is your favorite photo still stands, so don't be shy, send me your fave foto. ― Stana
|Actor Jonas Chernick wearing fur coat in the 2012 Canadian film My Awkward Sexual Adventure.|