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2024 Strategic Plan

Alex is a real life friend. These posts from her Flickr page underscores how this is so different for each and every one of us.

By Alexandra

Click to view her Flickr page.

Hello, friends!

Rummaging about in my virtual box of photos I found this, which isn’t all the different from previous snapshots but different enough to serve as a visual complement to some recent thoughts.

Before you read the next few paragraphs, know that I am very happy and healthy and life is looking good. I say this to preempt any concern that I am in denial or otherwise experiencing something unpleasant regarding my state of mind.

January 2024 will be it for Alexandra Forbes, methinks. My plan is to spend a couple of days in a nice hotel in the DC area and snap away like there is no tomorrow. I’ve several outfits never worn and a few I intend to wear again. I may even venture out if I feel up to it. When I feel tired, I’ll bag everything up nicely and donate what I can to Goodwill or an equivalent and toss the makeup.

I still enjoy crossdressing, or at least the idea of it. But the long spans of time between dressing events have revealed that I don’t crave it nearly as much as I did. I still get a buzz when gussied up, especially going out into the wild, but it really isn’t the same anymore. The good news is, while bittersweet, physically parting company with my alter ego will be a relief. Of course, Alex will live on in my cranium, but her exhausting manifestation in the real world will be over. I figure it is best to bow out while ahead and not just end the nearly 20-year run without some sort of celebratory event.

Another reason for this controlled reentry is that social media is not what it used to be. The CD community on Flickr was much more vibrant and interesting years back; during the past few years many folks have moved on to other platforms or just vanished entirely with nary a word. Some of us remain, thankfully, but the traffic has dwindled and a good deal more faceless folks and creepy trolls have entered the holes that formed. My guy self recently reengaged on Facebook, and I already regret it as it serves as a messy, noisy froth of conspiracy theories, pointless rants, and “suggested posts” I just assume ignore.

Having said all that, my Flickr presence isn’t going anywhere and I intend to post photos from my marathon next month for weeks thereafter. I also want to keep in touch with friends and some I admire from a distance.

Now, does that mean an elderly Alexandra will never be seen? Maybe. But I wouldn’t hold my breath 🙂

__________________________________________________________________________________________

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve decided on a swan song-type of conclusion to the Alex thing in January 2024. This will mark about 18 years since starting this curious adventure, at least in terms of an online presence.

As I also mentioned, I have a slew of outfits I’ve never had a chance to try on, so those will be modeled. I also have a salt-and-pepper wig with a tossed style that I’ve seen on some women I rather like, but not sure how it will appear on me. Silver hair need not be associated with old age, of course; I’ve always been attracted to women in their 50s who have their shit together, professionally and in terms of fashion. I hope I can emulate this look I so admire without coming off as trite or amusing.

It’ll be a busy marathon day or two in some hotel in DC. I do look forward to it, for two reasons. I like the idea of dressing again, at least the end result. But I also look forward to purposefully concluding the physical manifestation of this aspect of myself. I’ve been mentally preparing for it for a few years, in fact, and it will be a relief to move on and end the hiding and lying.

I will confess something to you. I hope that when I put everything on and look at myself in the mirror, I will feel ugly, a man in drag and not doing a good job of it. Recently, when I’ve looked in the mirror, what stares back at me is ok. As a guy, I’m healthy and I think aging well. But I marvel at the gall I have in assuming I can make myself look like an attractive woman. The balding head, wrinkles, hooded eyes, sagging jowls, the dewlap, and so forth add up to a mortifying realization that I likely cannot pull off the Alex thing anymore. I’ve had this feeling before, since about 2015, and each time I do surprise myself. But I am not delusional; I am aware that it is much harder to pull off the look I am aiming for and the results are not nearly what they used to be. The photos you see are curated, of course. They are not modified beyond your typical photographic manipulation, but they represent a tiny fraction of the overall pool. And that pool is not pretty. I say that not to elicit sympathy or false modesty. It inspires in me something a good friend and fellow CD-er once asked me: “Will you be honest and tell me when I can’t do this convincingly anymore? I want to quit while ahead and not look the fool.” How does one answer that? Alas, I’ve been posing that question to myself lately.

Now, if I put on the getup next month and what stares back at me is an attractive, snobbish, chic woman of a certain age who won’t suffer fools, I’m worried things will be complicated going forward. Will I instead exceed expectations? If so, what does that mean for Alex going forward? Perhaps I won’t be so eager to hang up the nylons.

To be honest, I don’t think this result is likely 🙂

Dress: STATE
Cardigan: Calvin Klein
Boots: Charter Club
Hosiery: Tiffany Quinn

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7 Responses

  1. Alex, a very moving and deeply personal post so thank you for sharing.

    Social media has been a wonderful resource for us; I too was active on Flickr a few years and loved the interaction with other girls and, dare I say, particularly liked being on the receiving end of (mostly unjustified) compliments! But as I got more and more sucked in, I forgot the fundamental rule in all of this – we should be doing it for ourselves, not for the entertainment of others. And I also realised that my occasional feminine presentation is a consequence of who I am, it’s not a necessary factor in defining my identity. So I completely get and endorse what you’re saying here.

    Good luck!

  2. Alexandra,
    No I’m not going to brow beat you and convince you your’e wrong in fact i’m going to say I fully understand . I posted a while ago about this situation titled , ” a good talking to ” . Even full timers have days of doubt but in my case I know there’s no going back , old age or not Teresas is going forward and not the guy because I know i would to hate myself so much .

    Holding an ” Alexandra blowout ” sounds good but what if the girl staring back in the mirror still holds the magic you once knew ? If so why not give her some public time and test the water , we all get old and show more wrinkles and bumps but all I do is compare myself with women around my age group and realise the old girl doesn’t look too bad . At 72 of course I wonder what happens if I can’t keep sustain it , I guess we reach a certain age when every day is a bonus and at the moment life is full of bonuses , I have a better social life as Teresa than I did in male mode .

    Perhaps you should consider giving Alexandra more of a chance , a few more outings to justify the work you put it , obvioulsy I don’t see it as hard work because I’ve honed it down to be able to step out the door more easliy . The lesson I had to learn was not how much but how little does it take to be acceptable . Only yesterday I had an appointment to have my hearing checked and update my hearing aids , the guy made a mess of my hair during the test and checking the fit . At the end I calmly brushed my hair in his mirror but I still felt a mess with my makeup and yet within five minutes I bumped into a sales lady while shopping and her passing comment was , ” looking glam as usual !” We don’t see ourselves as other people do !!

  3. Alex,

    Thank you for sharing with us your very personal 2024 goal. Kandi is going to post a short essay of mine in a couple of weeks that goes in an entirely different direction (for me).

    These different approaches (and how we feel about them) show dramatically that no one should lump us all in the same group.

    I have acted on stage in secondary school, university and post-university. One of my roles was as a feminine gay man. I was so convincing that my gay director hit on me. But I have always been sexually interested only in women. My acting ability enhances my “chutzpah” factor, which prompts me to seek interactions with other humans rather than recoil from them. But I have never felt that Lisa is an act, as you have said Alex is for you. Actresses often leave the stage when they no longer feel there is a part they can convincingly play. So, apparently, it is time for Alex to step off the stage.

    Good luck with your journey. Make sure to always embrace the real you, however you see that person. If you say goodbye to Alex forever, you will be charting a new course entirely. May you encounter fair winds as you do so.

    Lisa

  4. I have been contemplating cutting off Marie’s Credit cards and emptying the closet and cosmetic drawer and perfume shelf and just being Marie preparing for bed and enjoying that experience every evening & night. I do this every night -Dusk to Dawn. The last dozing off view is a rack full of rainbow femininity and first morning sensation is the lingering scent of my perfumed talc from the evening before and the glorious comfort my girls give me as I do a toe to finger tip stretch and little girl wriggle. Marie Anne

  5. Alex I wish you well and if this works for you than great
    I’m a bit different in being fluid so my look changes all the time and as Kandi says I fool nobody either completely en fem or not.
    My biggest regret is wishing to find a women to care an love again but how would I explain Rachael to her
    That alone is what hurts me but it does not say to me just stop
    I really hope you find your peace in this decision and all goes well

  6. Alex,

    I wish you the best in whatever direction you decide to go. I met you briefly at last year’s Keystone Conference and I think you are being overly harsh on yourself concerning the looks issue. I don’t know your age but, believe me, when you’re 60 or 70 you’ll still present as an attractive woman. But I don’t think looks is the main issue; your talk about the lack of desire and the relief of not having be Alex are primarily what led you to this point. I enjoyed following you here and on flickr and meeting you, even if only briefly. Again, all the best.

    Fiona

  7. Alexandra, I can totally relate to everything you said here. I have seen my male self age, even faster in the last few years as I rapidly approach 70. A few years back I was also feeling like it was time to walk away from Claire. My enthusiasm had waned, I was retiring from a long career and my wife and I were downsizing and moving to a totally new area. What better time to give away all the trappings of Claire and live out the rest of my life “Claire-free”, right? It lasted a few months before I found myself considering how I might look in the women’s outfits around me. I started wondering how much joy I would have attending this event, shopping in this store or eating in this restaurant as Claire. I couldn’t get Claire’s voice out of my head and soon I was building a small wardrobe. I started noticing that as the women around me aged, they appeared more masculine; that it was actually easier to present as a mature woman. Claire is back. Not nearly as strong as she used to be but likely here to stay.

    I wish you happiness and peace in your decision, however it turns out. It seems Alexandra has been a part of your life for a long time and probably brought you a lot of joy. She will probably speak to you again. It’s OK. She will always be a part of you.

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