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Effect of Tension

I am pleased to bring to you the wisdom of one of my very best friends, who has taught me by example, how to be a better woman, a better person.

By Nora Simone

“Not being comfortable in my own skin” is a common saying that expresses internal anxiety or tension. 

What if this tension existed your entire life? 

What would the effect be on your life? How about those around you? 

Friends and family refer to me as a “mystery” or “enigma. “That’s understandable given my secretive and guarded behavior. 

Many, most really, give up on me. “Not worth it.” I can hear them thinking. Sigh. 

True friends look deeper and judge by my actions which demonstrate a track record of love, generosity, and kindness towards others. Their happiness is an achievable goal I can help with. It is a result that, through them, brings me happiness too. 

The tension between wanting to be in and wanting to be out place me where all artists need to be: alone. 

That seems my destiny but today wonder, is this really so bad? 

This photo is one of dozens of similar photos by professional photographer Diane Crow of Atlanta, GA. She sought to capture an image of my soul. I wonder if this is the one. 

My hair and MU are by Amy Hoaeae of Las Vegas, NV. 

My dress is by Leota New York. 

My selection of butterfly pendant was inspired by a visit to a butterfly sanctuary in Hershey, PA where this photo was taken. 

My appearance of calm composure is based on knowing BFF Cristy Garcia (whom we will meet soon!) is with me – awaiting her turn to pose. 

“Not comfortable in my own skin” appears to be my resting state. That at least partially explains my chameleon-like presentation. 

Well, everyone is happy at this moment. I hope you are too. 

Enjoy, Nora


19 Responses

  1. Nora,
    To be happy in your own skin can sometimes take so long to achieve but I really think we must strive to find that place . Life really is too short , even at my age I can finally say I’m happy , naturally I wish it happened sooner , so all I can do now is live for the future and not dwell too much on the past .

    1. Teresa,
      Thanks for commenting.

      If being happy was your objective, and you’ve achieved it, then I am happy for you. What a wonderful feeling that must be – both in celebrating achievement and also in enjoying the result.

      In contrast, my resting state is being restless. As odd as it may seem, I am most comfortable in discomfort and acting on it. Doing so makes me feel alive and is a motivator for my art. It has taken most of my life to understand and accept this. However, with this experience based knowledge, I have found my own sense of peace.


      1. Nora,
        One of the aims in my trans life was to combine the love of painting and share it with others , I attend a new art group now which is going very well . My ultimate aim is to run my own art group , it’s lovely to see I’ve already inspired others members to push their boundaries and try new ideas .

        1. Teresa,

          Wow – you are even more “awesomer” (as my kids say) than you let on.

          “Helping others” is always a good purpose in life. Perhaps those you’ve helped will continue the tradition. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

          Hey – when you’re up for a portrait, would you consider Kandi as a model? I’m she we’d all love it as much as we love her.


          1. Nora,
            Kandi very kindly asked to me contribute here as I live fulltime , I understand your ” Awesome ” comment but it’s now a normal way of life for me . The one thing I learned some time ago was ” never say never ” . I would never have believed it could ever become normal , kit was like talking to others from a differenet planet , so I now live on that planet mand there’s plenty of room for all of you .

            I’m thinking on about a Kandi portrait , I do have a couple of self portraits which my art group loved .

  2. For me it was when I finally had the conversation with myself that said who am I harming with my dressing. My answer was nobody unless my children found out and had to endure some hardship based on my exposure. Avoiding that issue became my main concern with my crossdressing and I have taken precautions accordingly.

    Now with all that guilt I hauled around for so many years behind me I started going out and having fun. Being a Gemini I have always had two sides, so I just flip from one to the other. It is far easier to go out now than it was decades ago because most people don’t pay any attention anymore.

    It’s a great time to point your toes, hold your head up, put a smile on your face and have fun.

    1. Hi Micki,
      It’s nice to hear from you. It’s been years since we last met.

      With someone who’s as intelligent, accomplished, resourceful, and skilled as you – it’s not totally surprising you’d find a way to move ahead in life – somehow, someway. It’s commendable for sure and something others, like me, envy.

      Most of the trans people I interact with are not so blessed. Many live in a world where it is unsafe if not illegal to be their “true” selves. I’m talking about here in the USA today.

      Sure things are better today than a short while ago. At least we now have a more useful vocabulary to sharing info. However we can only control ourselves, not others.

      Thus I remain in tension – always alert and ready.


  3. Nora, what I wonderful photo. An amazing beautiful presentation of femininity. I absolutely love your wig/hairstyle. Being comfortable in your skin and accepting yourself is not easy. It takes time. Like many of us, I am trying day by day.

    1. Hi Christina,

      I’m so glad you appreciate my words and presentation. We’ve chatted before so now is a good time to acknowledge your support and input.

      For years, you’ve been helpful to to me on styles, design, posing and more. We even shared the same style dress once – right?

      So first of all – thanks!

      Second, please know that every bit of feedback is useful. Good or bad – any reaction is better than the void of nothingness. Again – thanks.

      FYI – this photo was taken by trans photographer Diane Crow in Atlanta, GA. Isn’t that in your neighborhood?



  4. Nora first off your presentation in the photo is so beautiful
    I know for me I’ve struggled for many years trying to be happy as the person I am. I am trans and I do accept that but my divorce was very difficult for me as she was that one person I really thought would eventually understand me.
    Now I’m left alone
    However Kandis blog and those like yourself who contribute help me know I’m not alone in my trans journey.
    Thanks for this post and sharing here

    1. Rachael,

      If you were the only person who found value in my words and presentation, I’d feel it was worth it. Thanks!

      I am sorry you had a difficult divorce experience. and hope you will not allow that to define nor put limits on you to pursue happiness.

      Your message made me wonder if we put too much emphasis on the “trans” aspect on our lives as an explanation for our relationship with the world. After-all, being “trans” is just one characteristic, of dozens(?), of our identity. For example, My social awkwardness is because I am a strong introvert. Trans or not – I’m pretty sure I’d still avoid parties, gatherings of strangers in public places, speaking in public, and more. That is just me. There are trans introverts and trans extroverts like Kandi Robbins – OMG! I used to blame EVERYTHING wrong about me and the misfortunes of my life on being trans. It was an easy justification. In reality, that is not the case.

      Be free, Be happy


      1. Nora,
        I feel you make a very valid point about emphasising our ” trans ” element too much . I very rarely if ever mention it now in the RW , people will either let you happily go about your daily life or not and I’m glad to say 99% do the other 1% have more problems of their own to deal with .

  5. Nora, that was a very thought provoking piece. It reminded me of times when my son asks me what a particular word means – a word that I understand and use, yet one that is very difficult to put the definition into words. In the same way, I could see a lot of relevance in what you wrote to my own situation and yet explaining exactly why still eludes me!

    Your point asking what if the tensions lasted all one’s life is particularly pertinent and for many of us, that is indeed something we have to live with. Being finally able to accept that there’s only one person living inside me, not two, was a huge step and resolved a lot but, equally, it brought other issues into focus – ‘Amanda’ is not someone I become when I climb the ladder to retrieve ‘her’ things – she’s part of me and that, in turn, creates a tension between what I (in my entirety) want and what society (which only knows half of me) expects.

    And as you rightly say, this is something that I face alone but I actually don’t mind that and, as you suggest, perhaps it isn’t so bad. I can lament what might have been but, in my heart, I know that if I had my time all over again, there’s very little if anything I’d change second time around. I could say that it’s sad that few in the ‘real’ world will ever get to fully know this side of me but I doubt that things would be very different, if at all, if they did. And overall, that suits me just fine.

    1. Amanda,

      It is obvious you are a beautiful person. To have such thoughts and be able to express them in writing is a wonderful. After-all writing is like thinking with your hand.

      You said “only one person living inside me, not two,…” is a healthy point of view. That may not be the case for all of us, but I believe it is true for many, including me. It is my hope those affected will eventually recognize and appreciate how special they are as one. Gifted really.

      Do you agree that if recognition, acceptance, and appreciation for differences continues on an upward trend, people like us will be celebrated and honored as special in a good way? When that happens, it seems reasonable to think fear driven tension in people like us will no longer exist. Then what?

      Like a coiled spring, having tension packs power. I for one like having it and, like any power, can use it for good.



      1. Nora, thank you for your kind words. For me, self-acceptance was a big deal as it relieved a lot of the pressure that I was feeling. No longer did I feel that what I happen to be wearing guides who I am, but rather it became a case of who I am guiding what I wear and sometimes that means I want to dress in a different way to how conventional wisdom defines what’s applicable to someone with my chromosomes. My communication with the outside world is through the written word but I don’t feel the need to change how I write according to the persona I’m writing under – I may use a bit of female privilege to tell another girl that her dress & heels are gorgeous without looking like (a) a pervert or (b) a predator but that’s about it!

        Your question about recognition, acceptance, and appreciation is an interesting one. To a point, I agree. We only have to consider something like gay marriage which, a generation ago would have been unthinkable and is now celebrated almost as much as hetero marriage to see that that day can come and practically everyone who spoke in strong terms against it is now going ‘what the heck?’!. The big stumbling block, of course, is one’s spouse and that’s where I think the wheels will continue to come off. Perhaps universal acceptance will take us to a point where we can talk freely about this in relationships before they get serious so that tolerance is intrinsic to the marriage and not something we’re begging for 20 to 30 years down the line but I think that an awful lot of water has to flow under the bridge before we get there.

        I often think that my wife would get along well with ‘Amanda’. She’d probably disapprove of the heel height and amount of eyeliner but overall, I think they’d enjoy doing things together. The problem, of course, is that she didn’t marry ‘Amanda’; it was guy me that she fell in love with and I have to respect that – the fact that I confessed two decades into our marriage doesn’t change a thing. My defence is that, at the time we met, I thought occasional CDing was well and truly behind me and, along with many other things I’d done in my teens and twenties, I saw no need to mention it. And I guess that’s the problem in the end – in our utopian world of the future, we’ll be accepted & celebrated and talking about it will be run of the mill but, as we all know, marriage ‘cures’ us of our dreadful obsession. The problem is that the cure is only temporary and down the line, we’re soon experiencing far ‘worse’ symptoms with a very obvious cure!

        So I don’t think we need worry about that particular facet of tension evaporating any time soon!

        1. Amanda,
          Sometimes I’m saddened to think my ex-wife could have got on well with me as Teresa . We do now talk as friends on the phone , she has met me once but still struggles with seeing me again , it doesn’t concern me either way as I’ve now moved on with my life . Truthfully I can’t see what the problem is as she knows I’m comfortably and happliy full time .

          1. Spousal relationships could/should be a whole new topic. I’ve learned a lot of details from the experiences of others – especially things NOT to do.

            An average relationship experiences a lot of stresses – different kinds: financial, emotional, health and more. Each instance of stress is an opportunity to demonstrate your values. So the question is “Who are you?” Even if the relationship does not work out “How do you want to be remembered?”

            This is as important, if not more so, for yourself as anyone else.



  6. So lovely to see you here, Nora! And I do love reading what you write. Your pondering is also an art form, a kind of poetic exploration of this thing we do. You manage to embody calmness and a sense of bold, damn-the-torpedoes approach to The Craft, and many of us have benefitted from your explorations!

    1. Alex – It is I who am grateful to you. You already know I’ve been a fan of your work for over a decade, and now that we’ve met in person, it is obvious there is incredible depth and beauty beneath the surface. Some of my very favorite adventures and learning experiences involved you. For that I will always be grateful. Nora

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