Humans, by design, are social creatures. We need other people for friendship, support, and companionship. We spend a lot of time and energy looking for someone to share our lives with. We seek out others to celebrate our victories, to confide our fears to, and for comfort in our darkest days.
We are all complicated and nuanced. As individuals we need our together time, and we need our alone time. And these reasons vary from person to person. In my male life, I have a small number of friends and I prefer to stay home and read or have company over. En femme, however, is a completely different story. Yes, I am a t-girl, I am a crossdresser. But I suppose the most accurate label (if you will) is that I am bi-gender. My closet is divided between neckties and little black dresses. Wing tips and sky-high stilettos. There's very little overlap between my two genders, not only in my wardrobe but also in my life.
En femme I am social, chatty, have a lot of friends, and love nothing more than spending the day running errands, trying on dresses, and meeting friends for dinner. Almost seven years ago I started a social/support group for girls like me simply so I could meet friends to hit the mall with. While I do enjoy a quiet day at a museum listening to my heels click against the floor as I wander from sculpture to painting, there is nothing like looking at cute dresses with another t-girl.
It wasn't that long ago, but it seems like those days were forever ago. It isn't an exaggeration to say that COVID-19 has changed everything. Schools are closed, people are fighting each other for toilet paper at the grocery store, the baseball season has been postponed, many of us are working from home. Routines are completely changed and we are all adjusting to a new (and hopefully temporary) world. The dystopian and apocalyptic themes from many science-fiction books do not seem like much of an exaggeration anymore.
I see a lot of discussion online about how people are adapting to limited resources, and basically never leaving the house. Of course, girls like us also consider anything and everything through a very different set of eyes. Eyes that love to be adorned with heavy eyeliner and a beautiful shade of shadow, of course. For my male life, not much has really changed. I already worked from home, so not being able to go into the office isn't much different than what my life is already like. I prefer to stay home and read than go out, and if I need something, whether it is a new book or a cute dress, most of what I am looking for is found online.
But Hannah's life? God, I am feeling trapped.
I had been looking forward to going out this week for the whole month. I had booked my makeover, decided on my outfit (and then changed my mind a dozen times), shopped for a new dress, and had a wonderful day with friends planned out. But slowly my plans unraveled. My makeover was canceled since the salon temporarily closed, some of my friends felt it wasn't safe to go out, and then the event itself that we were planning to attend was put on hold. My day just evaporated. I was crushed. For those who hit the town regularly you know exactly what I am talking about.
I am hoping, for many reasons, that things go back to normal soon. I am not going to pretend that being able to hit the mall (and everywhere else) en femme is not one of the reasons. Sure, I can dress at home, but for me, Hannah needs to go out. I like looking amazing. I like interacting with the world as Hannah. I like men holding the door for me because I am a lady, I like the barista calling out Hannah's name as they make her latte, I like being called ma'am by a salesclerk. I like seeing my friends, the wind blowing my skirt (but not tooooo high), I like trying on new dresses at the mall.
So, how do I cope? I know it sounds dramatic, and yes, probably shallow, but this side of me needs to be....hm, acknowledged and attended to. What's good for her is good for all of me. If the last few weeks have taught us anything, is that things can, and have changed, dramatically from day to day. It is pointless to make specific plans anymore. Whether it is booking a flight or dinner reservations. Domestic flights could be canceled today (if they haven't been already), and who knows when restaurants will reopen? Instead of making plans, I am doing a few things to help this side of me get through these difficult and frightening times.
First of all, I underdress. I may not be able to wear that cute outfit, but I can certainly wear a sexy matching bra and panty (and garter belt and stockings) under my boy clothes. Panties and lingerie have and will always been how I connect with my femme side, especially when I am in male mode.
Wearing that little black dress while binging Netflix just isn't the same. If I am going to be stuck at home it's a perfect opportunity to be lazy (and cute) in a pair of leggings or yoga pants. Wearing a femme t-shirt and leggings is not only super comfy, but also a wonderful way to be connected to this side of us. Talking to your boss or having a conference call with your co-workers is a lot more fun if you're wearing a cute outfit. Trust me. But shut off your webcam. :)
I also shop online. Looking at cute dresses and pretty lingerie has me feeling femme in just a few clicks. This side of us needs to be taken care, and buying a cute bra is a perfect way to give this side of us a little present.
I daydream. A lot. Having my plans canceled is depressing, but I am trying to remain hopeful that things return to normal soon. I am thinking about all the things I want to do as soon as the malls, salons, and restaurants reopen. Whether it is going out to dinner, trying on dresses, or just feeling the sun on my face after a makeover. It doesn't take much for this side of me to be content. Sometimes it's a cup of coffee and a book at a cafe is all I need, but as days like these pass, my en femme plans are getting bigger and bigger. If this lasts much longer, I will have a trip around the world planned soon.
Watch makeup tutorial videos. Clean the house in a French maid uniform. Mastered walking in three inch stiletto? Order some five inch ones and practice in those.
Stay connected with other t-girls. This is essential whether you are stuck at home or after life returns to normal. Make a profile on www.crossdresserheaven.com, www.transgenderheaven.com, crossdressers.com, urnotalone.com or gendersociety.com. Only another t-girl knows how we feel, in all aspects. We never have to explain ourselves to another girl like us. Start a website with wordpress.com and express yourself through your writings.
Of course, not all of us have the freedom to take a conference call in a pencil skirt and kitten heels. We may not be out to the others who live with us, whether they are roommates, our partners, or our children. Many of us look forward to being home and having the house to ourselves so we can dress how we like. With everyone working from home and schools being closed it poses a bit of a problem. This is when I am thankful for underdressing and being able to shop online. It's not the same as being able to dress head to toe, but wearing or buying pink panties can really help.
One thing I will not recommend is thinking this is the perfect time too have "the talk" with your significant other. Let's face it, many of us are stressed and worried right now. Our lives, our routines, and everything else has been turned upside-down. We can't do the things we used to do, whether it is meeting a friend for dinner or going to a yoga class. Our routines were a comfort to us. We could look forward to them. Visiting the gym was a great way to relieve stress, having coffee with a friend was a nice escape. These little things are gone for the time being. It's easy to understand why people are tense and already on edge. This is not a good time to tell your partner that you are who you are, if you haven't already. Yes, you and your spouse may be around each other all the time and you have a lot of opportunities to just enjoy each other's company, but even under normal circumstances this is one of the most stressful things you can introduce into a relationship. When you come out to your spouse, they may need to process it. They may need to talk to a friend. They may need to step out of the house and take some time to themselves. These actions are not options at the moment. We need to be considerate of how our partner and how they are feeling and what they may need after this revelation.
These days are difficult. No one is certain when things will go back to normal. This is not the same thing as waiting until the weekend when you can dress and go to the mall. This is not the same thing as waiting until the kids go back to school after spring break and you can try on your new dress. We need to be prepared for the long term. Taking care of our other self, our femme self, is always important. We need to acknowledge her, we need to pay attention to her. Not doing this can cause stress and anxiety. We need the release and comfort that our other side brings us. For many of us we can't let her out at the moment so we need to do what we can when it comes to caring for this part of us. Underdress, shop online, create a blog, daydream, paint your nails, watch makeup tutorials... do what you need to do for her.
Just don't ignore her.
Stay safe, and stay sane.