How to Be an All-Inclusive Gender Thread

Today's (and yesterday's!) adventure: Spending too much money on a variety of clothes trying to make an outfit that works for going out tomorrow night. Eventually realized that it wasn't the clothes that were the problem, it was me. Put on corset, and suddenly each individual item at least sort of works and most I can use in some combination to make an outfit. Need to stick with looser or darker tops that don't highlight all of my still-unlost pudge and how the corset shoves it around. Wish I could miraculously teleport it all to my hips. Ahh, well. I suspect that as I continue to lose weight, a number of these items will fit much better.

Anyway, at the end of it all I have an outfit. Going to wear this polka-dot shirt dress:

IMAGE(http://img3.targetimg3.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/10/14100444_120614163000.jpg)

with my shoes I've shown before and cable-knit pattern tights. I'll try the pencil skirt some other time when I'm going somewhere more sedate.

I also bought my first purse!

I'll see if I can manage to take some pictures tomorrow. I'd do it tonight but I'm in no-shaving time for electrolysis.

Edit to add: It occurs to me that I should probably try to figure out what styles I can wear without the aid of a corset. *sigh* I think the combination of my taste and what things I spot in stores that fit it just go together to create that problem. I should look around more online, since there's more variety there. And mostly I should be satisfied to just have a few things I can wear, and wait for further developments on the body shape front. Having just a single outfit wasn't enough, though.

Wear what works, you've got the rest of your life to hone in on what works best and satisfies you.

A new challenger enters the crappy photo arena! At least this one wasn't taken by me in a mirror. My eyes probably look extra weird because of my attempts to correct the children-of-the-corn reflections from the flash. Also, I totally failed to pose in any useful way. Not even duckface!

IMAGE(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cxsUnAZrpZw/UIzFBR8FUDI/AAAAAAAAAEc/xIRkNdLanDQ/s400/2012-10-27.jpg)

Had a lot of fun. I did have to loosen my corset a little while into the evening--the first night you manage to get it cinched all the way in is *not* the right night to wear it like that for an extended amount of time--but just a little. Loosening the laces of a corset underneath other clothing while in a restroom stall was a special new adventure. I danced a good amount--hearing late 90s goth and industrial music that I knew and seeing that the way people dance to that music really hasn't changed helped. Also, the beers probably helped a bit, too.

They were projecting clips from [em]Nosferatu[/em] onto screens near the dance floor. Nice choice.

On the corset front--a few of the girls dancing were wearing gorgeous gorgeous corsets, which is not terribly surprising a few days before Halloween in a place that plays some goth music. I was [em]totally[/em] envious. I look forward to a someday day when I can wear a corset for effect rather than to correct nature's oversights. I want to get a better corset now, but know better than to even think of doing that before I lose another 30-40 pounds.

Hypatian wrote:

Edit to add: It occurs to me that I should probably try to figure out what styles I can wear without the aid of a corset. *sigh*

My knitting teacher pointed me a web series on fitting clothes to flatter your body type, which might be useful. It's tailored (heh) toward creating handknits, but there's plenty of useful information in the whole series. (It's the series of 10 posts titled "Fit To Flatter: Installment #").

Yeah. I've been doing a ton of reading on all things style-related. The overall principles have been doing better than the specific tip type stuff.

There are also a number of things that just don't tend to get addressed for female fashion, because it's unusual for women to work with. For example, my neck is [em]huge[/em]. (17") I hope that will change eventually, but in the meantime I've been trying to figure out how that interacts with other things. Some of the sorts of things that work for shorter necks or wider shoulders apply--but I've also noticed that I think stuff works slightly better if I [em]don't[/em] try too hard to de-emphasize my shoulders. The width of my shoulders balances out the width of my neck and makes it look less huge. And then after that, it's a matter of trying to balance my upper and lower body.

I'm kind of at my limit for now, though. *sigh* I can keep working on makeup skills, figuring out eye makeup and stuff and just getting better at applying it in general. But pretty much everything else is just liberal applications of time: time to work on my voice, time to lose weight, time to have more hair zapped off of my face, time to get on hormones and then let them work their magic. Time time time.

I'll get there.

The GWJ community has really grown past the point where I'm comfortable being much of an active participant anymore, but the fact that this kind of thread can happen here makes me very happy that I hit the donate button again this year.

Pay no attention to the strange noises in your closet, Hypatian - it's just me borrowing all your stuff.

Another great find, and it really suits you!

Good call on loosening the corset. I've worn one twice and nearly fainted on the dance floor of a goth bar once for having the thing laced too tightly (but does it ever make your boobs looks awesome when it IS that tightly laced - I suppose there's a trade off there, breathing vs. cleavage...).

Sounds like a great evening overall!

I suggest we change this thread title to "How to be a Happy Woman".

I've only just caught up on the last few pages, and I've denied myself some imagery of very happy people, looking great, relaxed, and in sync with themselves.

Kudos ladies, now I've got my smile on too.

Hypatian wrote:

IMAGE(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-cxsUnAZrpZw/UIzFBR8FUDI/AAAAAAAAAEc/xIRkNdLanDQ/s400/2012-10-27.jpg)

Woah. Looking good Hyp!

Whee. It's been kind of a rough week. I came down with a cold on Tuesday, and have been recovering and feeling under the weather and stuff since then. Cue massive feelings of fear and doubt and general depression and feeling like a freak and... bleah.

On the one hand, I do find it a lot easier to feel positive looking forward these days. Having the support of friends helps a ton. Being able to sometimes look at myself and see where I might end up helps. It's a comfort to know that I have the resources I need to make some pretty major changes to my appearance some day if I feel that I need to do so. And the biggest thing is that when I do look forward and imagine where I'll be, so many more things open up about where I want to go after that. It's exciting.

But, on the other hand, that doesn't stop stuff from being really intensely scary. What if things don't turn out well? What if I decide I need plastic surgery, and it goes poorly? What if when I come out at work, things go so much worse than I can imagine and nobody who doesn't already know me takes me seriously at all, and I'm just some sort of joke to them? What if people mock me forever for having to wear a wig? What if I meet somebody some day who I fall desperately in love with, and they like me, too... up until I tell them about my past? What if, by choosing transition, I change my life from merely painful to agonizing?

I know these are feelings that aren't founded on logic. But it's harder to dispel them because there [em]is[/em] a logic behind them--and a lot of it is the logic of "common sense". The stuff we just sort of absorb and learn about the way the world works. The same thing that makes some people who've never had reason to think about such things recoil at the very idea of trans people sharing their bathrooms. Those feelings are in [em]me[/em], too. And that seriously, seriously sucks.

And, I think it's hard to shrug the feelings off sometimes because... there's just so very very much time. So much waiting. And I kind of forget that I don't need to change everything right away. That in the time between now and when I can some day live full time as a woman, I'm really no worse off than I've ever been. It's not like people can suddenly see into my heart and know that there's a girl in there. I mean, they never could before. *sigh* If they keep seeing me as a man, it's just the same as it was yesterday, and the day before, and the day before. And some day, it will be different. (And thank heavens I'm not subject to the British-style rules of "you must first go full time as female *before* being approved to receive hormones". Ugh.)

Anyway... yeah. Some weeks are rougher than others. I blame stupid colds and their stupid mood-dampening effects.

--

In other news, I hope Clocky is doing okay. I've seen her posting around, but not in this thread. I want to know how her night out went, but I'm kind of afraid to ask. But... you know what? screw fear, I'm asking anyway: Hey, Clocky, how did your night out go?

*hugs*

My immediate thoughts was to suggest quelling those "what ifs" because they don't really help much, etc, but really the best thing I can add is that you've been strong enough all your life dealing with things and you'll be strong enough for when some of those "what ifs" happen.

(((HYP)))

You know you have no idea what the future will really be like, so like Garion says, don't worry about the what-ifs. Lots of change happening, anyway. What feels right for your now may not feel right for you later, so you'll cross those bridges when you get to them. Just focus on RIGHT NOW: lots of rest and fluids : )

That was a story about a couple of assholes in a troubled relationship from the perspective of one. Doesn't seem relevant in a support thread.

My, what an uplifting story to post immediately after Hypatian posts about her worries about people accepting her.

Edit - Here's the non hateful story from the comments. It's about a dad's experiences with his trans son, and a bit about his cis son's reaction to it. Skip the first story entirely unless you're interested in a bitter ex's PoV.

NM

I hadn't read Hypatian's comment, just came in and posted it. But I think you're right Amoebic, since I double-checked Clock's first post and was reminded this was more about practical tips than the experience in total. I'll remove it.

EDIT:

And Stengah, have a look at Amoebic's post at a good way to approach something you disagree with. Your post was sarcastic without being useful. Hers was firm but fair.

1Dgaf wrote:

I hadn't read Hypatian's comment, just came in and posted it. But I think you're right Amoebic, since I double-checked Clock's first post and was reminded this was more about practical tips than the experience in total. I'll remove it.

EDIT:

And Stengah, have a look at Amoebic's post at a good way to approach something you disagree with. Your post was sarcastic without being useful. Hers was firm but fair.

Maybe read the thread before posting next time, this wasn't the first time Hypatian has shared her fears on that subject, and it was an pretty insensitive thing to post regardless. Sarcasm was exactly what I was aiming for.

P.S. Take it outside, you two. I wasn't really happy to see that article linked here, but there are a lot of opportunities to turn stuff that could hurt into stuff that can help. If something cuts kind of close and then gets retracted, that's not a bad thing--and everybody goes away understanding a bit better what can be hurtful. But: arguing after the fact about who was being the most rude definitely does [em]not[/em] belong here.

I had actually read that article already. I agree that it might not belong in this thread, but it's still some interesting food for thought--at least in the context of other thoughts on the issues involved.

The hard questions involved there are about our relationships with people, and how to handle the changes in them, and how to be... hmm... good to both ourselves and to others, I guess I would say. It's all really really hard.

After the last Transpitt meeting, I was talking with someone who I had met that evening for the first time--someone in their 70s, I'd say. Maybe a little younger. She lived as a woman for a good number of years in her place of work, apparently. She's never had hormone therapy or surgery. She eventually stopped living publicly as a woman because she felt is was unfair to her wife. We were talking for a while about the situation of people in marriages, and different approaches. She couldn't understand how anybody could possibly put transition ahead of maintaining their marriage or other family relationships. All of us who were chatting had seen a certain tendency in some circles to encourage people to blow off anybody who didn't understand, to discard them as not being a good friend or whatever. And we all pretty much agreed that as blanket statements go, that's not very good.

My own position was somewhere between the two: It depends a lot on the situation, on who you are, on who the other people are. I mean--some marriages break up even without this kind of major major stress involved. Likewise, some trans people have feelings that are more or less intense. If I was married... I don't know what I would do. Maybe living with someone I loved would make it easy for me to avoid dropping into the sort of bad places that I've occupied over the years. On the other hand, maybe my feelings would just have continued to build up until something broke, and things would be that much more complicated. It's clear that some trans people come to a place where they just have no choice but transition. It's also clear that some cis people just can't understand those feelings, for one reason or another. If two people like that are in a relationship... yeah, things are messy. Even two people who are more compatible can have a messy situation. I've heard stories of people trying to make things work, but deciding that they need to go their own ways because they're just not romantically compatible any more--and that they don't want to keep being friends because it's just too awkward. I've heard other stories of couples transitioning into friendships, after they're still super compatible, just not sexually. I've heard of couples staying together and being totally happy. I've heard of couples trying to make it work but having it explode, and couples where they can't even bring themselves to try and it just disintegrates.

Anyway... on another similar train of thought, I was talking with my therapist this week about family, and about how relationships with people and identity are so terribly intertwined. Our understanding of our own identity tends to interpenetrate with our understandings of the identities of those people who are important to us. Finding out that something you "knew" about someone wasn't... quite true... that shakes things up. Not in the sense that "OMG, Bob is gay? Maybe I'm gay, too!1!!", but in the sense that learning that someone is a different person than you thought they were shifts your understanding of your relationship with them, and that in turn shifts your understanding of yourself. Everything gets kind of shaky and up in the air. Because of that, it's really really easy to see why people get defensive of their prior understandings of people--because it's a partial defense of their understanding of themselves.

And all of that is kind of on a subconscious level, so it can be pretty hard to apply logic to it and say "Well, they [em]are[/em] the same person they've always been. I just know something else about them now.", and intergrate that into y our view of the world. (And that's another place where there can be confusion and misunderstanding--because some people make that sort of assumption more easily and unconsciously than others do, and can't understand why others wouldn't be able to.)

So I was talking about that a bit, and about my worries about how my sister is reacting to things, and about how my dad will react to things, and how it's really hard to try to balance things out. Because I do need to be true to myself, and I do need to move forward and try to be happy in [em]my[/em] life. But at the same time, I want to be as gentle to the people I care about as I possibly can. My therapist mentioned that another of his patients has been very angry lately about how people are responding to their choices, and agreed with me when I was sad about that.

Anyway, it's super super hard. And it does really sound like neither of the people in that article really worked enough at understanding each other. The wife who was writing... I got the impression that she wasn't really listening to what her partner was saying. That she heard it, but then kind of discarded it and assumed things would just kind of blow over. And when that didn't happen, she got increasingly angry and bitter about the whole thing. I got a very clear vibe that she still doesn't have a clear understanding of where her partner must have been in the past, trying to deal with these things internally without letting them spill out. And the partner, well, I don't think she listened as well as she should have, either. And when her assumptions about her partner's supportiveness fell through, she felt betrayed and angry and then went on to become angrier. Not a good situation, on either side. I think a lot of relationships like that are likely to fall apart... but the fact that it sounds like both people left feeling angry and bitter and betrayed suggests to me that something broke down really hard. If they can understand each other at least a little, I think bitterness and sadness isn't unlikely. But anger? I don't think it ever makes sense to be angry at somebody for their feelings. Angry and betrayed for being lied to? Sure. But trans people don't generally think "I'm going to try to get into a relationship and then learn that I can't deal with my feelings and then transition, and I'll hide it the whole time! Bwahahaha!" They think "I'm dealing with this. Really. Nobody ever has to know how I feel, because it'll all be fine. I'm fine." If they're lying to anybody, it's to themselves, because if they ever ever admit that things aren't okay, well, we know where that goes. And then eventually they do have to admit it, and... boom.

Anyway... whee... yeah. Heavy stuff. How do you balance being true to yourself and trying to live a happy life against not wanting to rock the boat of people you care about any more than you have to? The answer is different for every person, and for every relationship.

Yeah, sorry for my part in it. This isn't the thread for that either.

Came across this interview from "Conversations from Penn State" with Mara Keisling.

Mara Keisling is the founder and executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). Keisling explains what the “T” community is (and isn’t), the issues it faces, and what the NCTE is doing on its behalf.

Still watching it. Pretty nice interview so far. It's good when things aren't sensationalized.

Internet hugs to you, Hypatian - I hope you're beginning to feel better both physically and mentally!

I'm not sure what to say that would be reassuring, or that would quell all your fears and doubts in one fell swoop, but we're all here for you anytime you need us.

Get some rest and watch some cartoons. I'm not sure what it is about those, but they do seem to help.

I'm hoping that soon in my cleaning project I'll have things fixed up enough to be able to build a sofa fort. I hear those are extremely comforting.

Hypatian wrote:

I'm hoping that soon in my cleaning project I'll have things fixed up enough to be able to build a sofa fort. I hear those are extremely comforting. :D

Excellent choice of activity! Be sure to take provisions into your fort: cookies, NyQuill, juice boxes, books, and music. You won't have to come out of there for days with supplies like that.

Hypatian wrote:

Hey, Clocky, how did your night out go?

It went well. Thanks for asking.

I took my wife out to a nice restaurant while my in-laws watched our son. I'm not out with them yet, so they assumed that I was dressed up for Halloween. I expected that, and they gave me a bit of good-natured ribbing. It was a little weird to think that before too long they'll find out I wasn't kidding around, but for now I let it slide. The only part that was really uncomfortable was when my wife's step-dad groped my chest to see "what I had under there". I felt horribly violated and wanted to slap him, but I didn't really know how to respond without outing myself on the spot and making the whole thing weirder. I had at least prepared myself in case he did that; he's just that kind of guy.

At the restaurant, there was an awkward exchange where the waitress complimented us on our looks, did a double-take at me, and then made sure to tell my wife that she was especially beautiful. I don't think that would have happened if it weren't Halloween, so I wasn't bothered by it. I'll probably be really bothered by it next year when I'm more out and want to stay in on Halloween, but this year it wasn't a big deal. Besides, the server at our regular coffee shop made up for it when he complimented me on my costume; I told him it wasn't a costume, and without missing a beat he said, "Doesn't matter to me. You look beautiful." Kinda made my night.

It was really wonderful and really comfortable to go out dressed up like I've always wanted to. I took the day off work to just spend the time with my wife, do hair and makeup at a leisurely pace, and just relax. It was fantastic, and I can't wait to do it again. It's been a lot harder lately to not go out in girl mode, but I'm waiting until I've talked to local family first so that we don't run into each other out and cause a scene.

Sounds awesome! I'm so glad you had a great night.

Hooray! Sounds like a great night out.

That does sound like a pretty great night out. I'm so glad you got to relax and have fun!

Barista wrote:

"Doesn't matter to me. You look beautiful."

SWEET BARISTA, YOU GET ALL THE TIP MONEYS

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Besides, the server at our regular coffee shop made up for it when he complimented me on my costume; I told him it wasn't a costume, and without missing a beat he said, "Doesn't matter to me. You look beautiful." Kinda made my night. :)

That's fantastic. Sitting at my desk smiling here.