Remember to Breathe

I have just poured myself a second cup of coffee, a Taylor Swift record is playing.  Other than the music that is quietly playing, the house is silent and still.  I am in boy mode but wearing a femme hoodie, panties, and leggings.  

It is the day after Thanksgiving, commonly referred to Black Friday.  It is a time of contrast for some of us as I am off from my day job today so on one hand I am able to relax, but it is also the unofficial start of the upcoming holiday season and all the stress, anxiety, anticipation, and planning get into full swing today.

I am thankful for this morning as I realize that this moment is probably the calmest, most peaceful moment I will have for the next four weeks.  Between the holidays and the end of year work that needs to happen at my job it won't be long until I am feeling overwhelmed and tired.  I struggle with anxiety and much of that comes from anticipating and dreading what is coming.  This anxiety comes from looking at all the things that have to happen, and all the things that might happen.  I tend to be pessimistic and assume the worst will happen so I prepare for that.  From one perspective it helps me (mentally and emotionally) prepare for something that (admittedly) may never happen but I also needlessly put myself through stress about things that probably won't occur. 

We all know self care is important.  I know this, you know this.  I will be the first to tell someone to take care of themselves, to make time for themselves, to do something that makes them feel happy, calm, recharged.  Telling myself that, though?  Harder than walking on ice in stilettos.  I am getting better, however, at both walking on ice and taking care of myself.  It wasn't that long ago when I would wake up on a day off at the same time that I would for a normal workday.  I wouldn't go to work, but I would try to be productive and run errands or clean the house or work on other projects.  Although I find satisfaction in these things, I am realizing that it is also important for myself to rest.  It's not easy to do this, but I am trying.

Acknowledging that I dread things that will likely not happen, I am also taking time to plan for good things as well.  As Thanksgiving approached, I started to get anxious about everything that the holiday brought.  Winding down work projects before I would be off for a few days, getting ready to travel to visit my family, and countless other small details.  Through all this, I was also forcing myself to look forward to other aspects of the holiday.  I thought about returning home after a long day and relaxing on the couch with my wife and watching a movie.  I looked forward to wearing my favorite floor-length pink nightgown and going to bed.  I planned a few small things to do on my Friday off, things I was looking forward to doing.  These small things kept me going.  I felt myself recharging when I settled into a soft chair after returning home yesterday evening.

A few years ago I would have never planned these small moments.  As I get older I am getting better at giving myself permission to be less productive, to relax, to rest.  It might seem silly to saner people but this isn't easy for me.  I am halfway through my second cup of coffee and part of me is telling myself to finish it off and start one of the endless projects that come with owning a home.  But!  I am resisting.  I am enjoying the coziness I am feeling right now.  There will always be time to be productive but moments like this happen less often than we need them to.

I am stubbornly acknowledging that like everyone, I also need to rest.  Rest, at least for me, doesn't just happen.  I need to plan my downtime.  And I did!  I was productive for most of the day yesterday so I would have last night open to, well, doing nothing.  To be able to rest without feeling that I SHOULD do laundry or something instead of feeling sleepy and cozy on a couch.  Resting without guilt is something that I constantly need to work on.  I know that others can just... spontaneously rest or do something they enjoy.  I am not wired that way and I admire and am jealous of those that are.  I need to PLAN my relaxing time.  But it is not as bad as it sounds.  It gives me something to look forward to.

As busy as we all are in planning for a very hectic and stressful (it SHOULDN'T be this stressful, but it is) December, I am also planning my downtime, my own self care.  It's not easy but being who I am, but being who I am makes it easier to take care of myself, to be honest.  I am bi-gender, I am transgender, I am non-binary, I am a crossdresser.  Although being anything or anyone other than cis-gender can be stressful, this side of me allows me a way to unwind, to give me something to look forward to.  And I hope this side of us does the same thing for you, as well.  For a few moments, let's not consider how complicated and anxiety-inducing our gender identity and wardrobe preferences can make us.  I know it can.  I know it does.   

Let's instead focus on how happy this side of us makes us.  Every single one of us knows the joy, the happiness, and the peace that a new pair of panties brings.  We all know the confidence and sexiness we feel when we take those first steps in our high heels.  We know how AMAZING a new dress makes us feel.  Although human beings grow and evolve and change over time, this side of us is never lost.  It thankfully never goes away.  And yes, I acknowledge that some of us dearly wish we could wake up tomorrow and our desire, our need, our want of wearing lingerie or wanting to transition some of us feel would disappear.

A crossdresser's life is complicated.  I get that.  I live it.  But I also remember and know how amazing and wonderful my life is because of who I am.  I know I would have less things to look forward to if I didn't have a new nightie waiting for me at the end of the day, or a new dress to wear the next time I go out en femme.  It sounds silly, but I know you get it, but if I wasn't sitting here, in this chair, listening to Taylor Swift, next to my now empty cup of coffee, wearing leggings I would be running around the house being productive.  But rest, self care is more important than being caught up on laundry.  The dirty clothes will always be there, but quiet, calm moments like this are too few and too far between.

Holiday planning was the main topic of conversation over Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.  We chatted about which family members were flying in when, we discussed meals, travel plans, gifts... It is stressful and takes a lot of planning and coordination.  It's normal and easy and inevitable to get overwhelmed.  But through all the noise and busyness and excitement (I don't want to sound pessimistic, I sincerely love the holidays) I am also thinking about how to look after myself over the next few weeks.  Holiday parties and gatherings are scattered all over December, but the one I am looking forward to the most is the party that I get to attend en femme.  I am the head of a social/support group for trans women and crossdressers and each year we plan a holiday party where we get glammed up and wear amazing dresses and celebrate the season together.  I have had my dress picked out for months and I am so excited for it. 

But what about the small things?  The small day to day chaos that the holidays bring?  It sounds so silly and shallow, but I have my lingerie to look forward to.  Girls like us tend to have an outfit for every occasion.  I have a dress for Sunday brunch, Friday night at the club (lol, I NEVER go to the club, but if I did I have a dress ready), a work meeting, or really, any event you could possibly imagine.  This wardrobe versatility is shared by my lingerie drawer(s).  I have panties that I only wear in December, panties with candy canes and snowflakes and the like.  It's something small, something private that I give myself.  Of course, no one is stopping me from wearing whatever panties I wish whenever I choose, but it doesn't feel right to wear panties with Christmas lights on them in July.

I ordered new lingerie that I am looking forward to wearing as I fall asleep on Christmas eve.  Again, it's something small, intimate, and private.  

I know you get it.

Crossdressing, lingerie, panties, leggings, THIS side of me is how I will get through the next few weeks.  Healthier than drinking, I guess, although I used to do plenty of that. 

But please don't misunderstand.  I love my family, I have fun little and big things to look forward to.  However, good things are sometimes mixed with stress so self care is very important.   

I recognize that my life, my wife are blessings.  I acknowledge that too few of us are able to wear what we want, whether it is a little black dress or panties under our boy clothes, when we want.  I think every person reading knows the peace and happiness of "girl clothes".  Whether we underdress every day or are able to get dolled up whenever we wish, we know how happy this side of us makes us.  A simple pair of pink panties can start the day in the best possible way.  For those of us who aren't able to dress when we wish we aren't able to take a break from our lives, our boy wardrobes, for this kind of bliss.  So, how do we deal with stress, whether it is the day to day to-do lists or the stress that the holidays bring?

Well, like I said I used to drink.  Thank God those days are behind me, although some days are easier than others.  The holidays are harder to stay sober if I am being honest.  I absolutely know how stress can be easier to deal with when you have a drink (or a bottle) in your hand.  I hope you don't turn to drinking when life or the holidays get to you.  If drinking is how you cope, please get help.  I've been there, and I am always close to going back.  Sobriety is AMAZING.  It's hard but God it's worth it. 

There are ways that you can get through the holidays. Try to take each day one moment at a time.  Try to remember that these days are numbered, for ill and for good.  Take a walk.  Read a book.  Go to a movie.  Get out of the house.  Meet a friend for coffee.  Cook.  Do something small you love.  There was something you loved doing when you were younger that you don't let yourself do anymore.  When I was growing up my mom was always doing a giant jigsaw puzzle. Even today doing a puzzle is a calm way to pass a few hours.  Find something like that.  Tap into your childhood.  Paint.  Build something.  Got to the gym.  Do yoga.  Take a nap.  Listen to a record.  One moment at a time.  Breathe. 

These things nurture our soul.

BUT!  What about this side of us?  We know we need this side of us.  We need to stay connected to our femme side and we do that in other ways.  I would love to wear a sparkly black dress to a holiday dinner with my family but that simply isn't going to happen.  A cute pair of panties will have to suffice.  Some of us aren't even able to do that.  As I said, I recognize my life and spouse are gifts that are too big to fit under a Christmas tree.  Being able to live this side of me is something that I am grateful for that I will never be able to express adequately.  I have been in relationships where I wasn't able to wear ANYTHING I wanted, whether it was lingerie or leggings or panties or an evening gown.  I remember how depressed I would get.  It would put me into such dark moments and made me feel so empty.  I did what I could to stay connected to this side of me by connecting with others like me.

Reading blogs written by other crossdressers helped.  Reading and posting on discussion boards and forums helped remind me that there are countless others like us.  Only another crossdresser will know how happy a matching bra and panty set can make us happy and complete and whole and calm.  

Each New Year's Eve I have a secret wish where I hope that the good things from the year remain.  I thank whatever higher power that might be out there for my life.  I wish these things for everyone.  I wish these things for you.  I wish you nothing but cute panties and sexy dresses and the highest of heels.  The reddest of lipsticks, the blackest of eyeliners.  I hope the holidays are kind to you.  I hope that you are kind to yourself.  I hope there is one gift under the tree that you give yourself, whether it is a new dress or something else that you want.

Take care of yourself, nurture your femme soul, and look out for each other.

Love, Hannah


  • Lia

    Thank you

  • Lia

    Thank you

  • Rob

    I just want to say I enjoy your letters. I too am a lucky one I can dress how I want at home, the wife and I go shopping together at times which is nice. I will never be able to go out in public dressed up I have to manly a body but I can run around inside and outside of my house in femme. I do wear panties every day which is really nice and sometimes I bra made for men when I go shopping. With all that’s going on in the world right now I found out when I go shopping for myself in women’s stores they are so helpful. I went to Victoria secret which is my favorite store and they helped me try on bras and nighties without any judging. Thanks for letting me tell my little story.

  • K.

    Thank you Hannah.
    Thank you for the reminder that there are so many of us who have the uncomfortable role of being both male and female and the difficulty of balancing the two into our lives.

    Thank you for the beneficial words that remind us to take time for ourselves without guilt. Time to recharge and rebuild. And time to have the courage to face those endless days that seem to work against us.

    Thank you for sharing your strength and resiliency as reminder that we all can rebuild the little pieces of ourselves that occasionally get broken. We are not Humpty Dumpty. We just need patience and sometimes lots of glue to keep us from falling apart.

    Thank you for your strength and encouragement.


  • steph

    Hannah thanks for pointing out the benfits of down time. I went and got a manicure for the first time today. It felt amazing! Recommend this to others.

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