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It’s Not Fair!

Amanda, bringing perspective again!

By Amanda J.

The life of a closeted CDer is a challenging one.  In fact I’d go as far as to say that it’s full of disappointments, frustrations and constant thoughts about what might have been. More than once, I’ve read the words ‘if only I’d known then what I know now…’.  This is generally the lament of a more mature CDer wistfully imagining that if, when in her teens or 20s, someone had told her that those nagging thoughts about being female she had then would never be banished but would grow and intensify, she’d have dropped everything and transitioned on the spot. 

She no doubt looks at all of those amazing before & after comparisons which are only a Google search away and perhaps even looks with envy at young TGs whose transitions are seemingly so jaw droppingly good that they will be able to live their whole lives without anyone ever suspecting that they’re anything other than natural born females.

I’ve had those thoughts myself.  A quick glance at my profile photo here leaves no doubt that I feel extremely happy in my feminine persona and every time I have the opportunity to fully transform myself, I look in the mirror and see a viable future as ‘her’.  If only Ms. X had got to the egg ahead of that pesky Mr. Y.  Grrrr, it’s just not fair.

Of course it isn’t fair.  Life is often not fair but no amount of lamentation about what might have been is going to change a thing.  And the truth is that ‘if I’d known then what I know now….’ I wouldn’t have done a single thing differently.  Not one single thing.  Because my life has given me a great deal, not least a wife & kids who love me and without whom life could not be contemplated.  Granted, they frustrate the hell out of me most of the time but I’m sure the feeling is entirely mutual – in fact there’s more than enough evidence to prove that beyond any doubt!

So I’m happy with who I am and I actually quite like the idea that below the surface lurks an inner woman, the polar opposite of her ‘twin’ brother in almost every respect.  She is the answer to many questions that have nagged at me over the years.  She is the resolution of all the dislike I’ve felt when looking in the mirror or when I’ve seen a photograph of myself.  She fills in the gaps in what would otherwise be an incomplete life.

But for me, and so many others like me, she is constrained.  Her world is completely separate to his and ne’er the twain shall meet.  No one from his world can ever be allowed to encroach into hers and vice versa.  And for the closeted CDer, his world will always take precedence over hers.  And because of that, the times when we can spread our feminine wings and bathe in the sheer bliss that overcomes us are precious.  And aren’t we mad when our best laid plans to enjoy a bit of she-time get blown out of the water?

When my inner woman is screaming to be let out, I only need one thing – an empty house.  My wife goes to work early, my daughter has now left home and, before he left school in June, once I’d dropped my son off,  I would have a six hour window of opportunity to indulge my feminine side.  I would wake up in the morning and feel the urges  and know that they needed to be dealt with.  But what would I wear?  The stilettos obviously but a dress or a skirt & top?  Smart or a little more casual?  Full femme with makeup or just enjoy the sensations of the clothes?  And a relatively new decision to consider – stay at home or step into the big wide world? 

I would feel the anticipation building as I heard my wife go out and close the front door.  Just my son to sort out and get to school and then the day would be mine. But then it would happen.  ‘Dad, I just threw up’.  Yes, fate, in the form of my son, had struck again!  Vomiting this time but it could just as easily be a headache, cold, stomach upset or any one of the other ailments in his armoury.  A heated debate about whether he was well enough to go to school would begin and it would rapidly became apparent that he was suffering a level of illness not seen since the plague, at least in his mind even if not borne out by physical symptoms.  On the one hand we’d have my ‘you can’t keep taking time off school, your education is suffering’ argument and on the other we’d have his ‘I don’t want to infect everyone else’ standpoint.  And I’m ashamed to admit that it was normally me who’d cave in; not because his argument was in any way robust but purely because I’d come to the realisation that I didn’t have enough time left on planet Earth to spend time on convoluted debates even if my case was cast iron!

But, of course, the real underlying argument on my side wasn’t anything to do with his education because he was at a decent school and the teachers would have made sure that he caught up with any work that he missed.  It’s that if I allowed him to stay home from school, all of my plans to indulge my feminine side that I may have made for that day would fly out of the window and that was just not acceptable.  Didn’t he know that my mental wellbeing relied on him being out of the house and his lack of resilience had far reaching consequences in that respect?  Didn’t my barely disguised anger not make him realise that, even if he did not know the real reason for my irritation, perhaps he should have made more of an effort and not just assume he was on the danger list because he’d sneezed or sprouted a spot?

I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another.  A child’s illness, a spouse’s changed plans, a household emergency or any one of the other myriad reasons why our feminisation plans had to be put on ice.  At best it’s frustrating but it may mean that we then don’t know when the next opportunity will present itself.  And let’s face it, we curse whatever and whoever has ruined our day, either silently or more openly to our online friends.

And once again, we realise that life isn’t fair.  It’s bad enough having that wretched Y chromosome but now we’re being denied what little time we can set aside to make amends for it. But two unrelated but intertwined incidents recently hit home to me where my priorities really should lie.  Without going into too many details, the very young granddaughter of an online friend recently lost her fight against cancer.  

That is a real example of when life isn’t fair and puts my moans into the perspective they deserve.
And then my son had a milestone birthday.  One of the things I’ve done for both my kids is to write them a letter looking back at their childhood and forward to their adulthood and the challenges they will face.  Challenges that, in the overall scheme of things, are insignificant but which, if they don’t face them head on, will diminish their fulfilment in life.  And as I was writing my son’s letter, I remembered three occasions when he could easily have been taken from us had things panned out just a little bit differently.

But he wasn’t taken from us and has thrived & grown into a young man I am incredibly proud of.
My son recently announced that he wanted to go on holiday overseas to spend a week with friends he’d met online.  Now that he’s left school and at home all day, I couldn’t believe my luck – that would be a whole week having the house more or less to myself (Mrs. A is normally out at work for around 13-14 hours per day) and was I going to make the most of it?!!  Things started well and I was able to enjoy a whole day of Amanda-time, some of which I related in my last post – Go On, I Dare You!.  But then, as I was changing back, I received the WhatsApp message I feared – ‘my friends have gone, please can you fly out?’.

There was a time when I would have read that message with abject disappointment and, probably, barely disguised anger.  He’d reassured us that he was old enough and mature enough to travel to Europe on his own and fend for himself and I’d made plans as a result.  But now, at the first sign of a problem, he expected me to drop everything and go and sort him out.  Didn’t he know that my mental wellbeing relied on him being out of the house and his lack of resilience had far reaching consequences in that respect? 

Of course he didn’t.  But what he did realise was that, in his hour of need, he could reach out to the person he probably trusts more than anyone else in his life.  It was his first time away from home on his own and even though he dismissed it with a ‘yeah, OK’, he knew that I meant what I said when I parted company with him at the airport and promised him that if things went wrong, I would be on standby to join him.  And he knew that spending a few days with his 60-something father was probably preferable to sitting alone in a hotel room counting the days, hours and minutes until it was finally time to fly home.

But the thought of pushing back never entered my head.  Of course, he should have had a contingency plan that didn’t involve the expectation that I would drop everything and spend several hundred pounds to come to his rescue but that was a matter for us to discuss face to face when we were back home again, not via WhatsApp message in his hour of need.

But there was another realisation to come.  Was it really my son’s fault that another day or two’s girl time was thwarted?  I was discussing the situation privately with a group of online friends and a couple of them jokingly suggested that it would be a great opportunity for me to ‘fly pretty’!  What’s not to like about that idea?  I get my she-time and my son gets his dad (sort of!) – win-win in everyone’s book!  Of course, it was an idea that was never going to fly (sorry!) but that was solely down to me and decisions that I have taken regarding this side of my life.  And in that context, my son had no case to answer as far as my thwarted plans were concerned; the culpability was solely mine and he was just proving that whilst he may have reached the age of maturity, he was still my child.

And that’s really the bottom line.  Of course it was frustrating in the past when my son thwarted my feminine plans with yet another minor illness and of course I got a little angry but that anger was misdirected.  The fact that my opportunities are limited is solely of my making.  I am in touch with people who lead a full and happy dual gendered life and people who live what we now refer to as a non-binary life.  They have the full support of their families and that life works for them.  It would not work for me, not only because I know that it would make life very difficult for Mrs A, another innocent party in all of this, but also because I purely and simply don’t want to live my life in that way.  So I really can’t complain when one part of the life I have chosen for myself gets in the way of another part and I definitely can’t blame others for it!  All I can do is to be thankful for what I have and have faith that another opportunity to indulge my feminine side will present itself at some stage.

-o-O-o-

As I was finishing writing this piece, another day had dawned with my son at home and me being resigned to have to once again bottle up all of the mounting urges for a bit of she-time.  And then the planets aligned – Mrs. A messaged me saying that she needed reception cover in our business and our son needed money!  I didn’t have long between dropping him off and picking him up – barely two hours in fact – but enough to both appreciate the time I did have and to feel that the wait was worthwhile.  Of course, it’s never nice to look at the clock and realise that this side of me has to be once again packed away in its plastic bags, sealed with cable ties and returned to its hiding place but I now understand that’s just a reminder that there are things in my life far more important to me – my wife and kids.

But unlike opportunities to retrieve my stash for a bit of she-time which are not time-dependent, there won’t be another day in July 2023 when I receive a message from my son telling me he needs me and I will forever be happy that I not only made the right call when I received that message but that the alternative never even entered my head.  Because I can’t contemplate life without him, or indeed without my wife and daughter either, which would have been the case if I actually did ‘know then what I know now’ and acted on it causing my life to take a completely different course or because of what the implications of having a permanently empty house to be who I want whenever I want actually are.
In life, it’s all too easy to lament what we don’t have.  But thanks to a young girl I never met and a young man who I’ve known from the second he was born, I’ve learned to be thankful for what I do have and the truth is that I wouldn’t change a thing.  It’s not a perfect life – no life ever is – but it’s pretty good and that suits me just fine.  And all in all, it sounds pretty fair if you ask me.

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13 Responses

  1. Amanda,
    A great insight into the workings of your mind and life, the mind and life of a CD/TG.

    You clearly explain what goes on at your house and your ability to express your feminine nature. Each of us have a different story to tell. Thank you for telling yours.

    It is wonderful to know of your complete acceptance and happiness in the way you balance family and your female needs. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should do something different. Don’t let anyone say to you that your life would be better if you would be Amanda full time.

    It is great that you know who you are. Continue being “YOU”. And I’ll continue being “ME”, your friend.

    Lots of love,

    Jocelyn

    1. Jocelyn, thanks as always for your support and for taking the time to comment.

      I know exactly what you mean regarding the views of others and it’s an important message for all of us. We can disagree with others but that doesn’t mean that our way is right and their’s wrong. It just reflects that we’re all individuals trying to live our lives in a way that works for each of us. We offer up our experiences and thoughts not to imply that the alternative view is wrong but just to provide a little comfort and help to those who may be struggling with this side of their own life.

      It’s also easy to sometimes forget the big picture when lamenting thwarted opportunities and that really hit home to me as I was writing this post, not least because in one month’s time my son will leave home to start university and whilst the thought of the almost unlimited opportunities to indulge the inner woman are not lost on me, that pales into insignificance compared to void he’ll leave when he goes. As I intimated in the post, in the past I’ve often wished that he was out of the way to give me a little freedom but now that it’s a reality I have a very different view.

      Thank you again for your friendship which I value greatly.

  2. Hi Amanda:
    A wonderful article – and how well I can relate to all of it!

    Of late, I personally have been ruminating on the duality – and sometimes dueling – personas that are now a part of me. I find frustration at times when I cannot take on my femme persona as often as I wish, and that is often due to family responsibilities of varying types. It does feel unfair at times, but your your article explains that it is not so much of a matter fairness or unfairness but part of achieving the balance that all of us in our position should strive for.

    For me , I realize that is not something i can turn away from either, or deny ans I did for so many years. You put it so well – and in words I could not articulate :

    “So I’m happy with who I am and I actually quite like the idea that below the surface lurks an inner woman, the polar opposite of her ‘twin’ brother in almost every respect. She is the answer to many questions that have nagged at me over the years. She is the resolution of all the dislike I’ve felt when looking in the mirror or when I’ve seen a photograph of myself. She fills in the gaps in what would otherwise be an incomplete life.”

    How well know this feeling! I cannot and will not turn away from this way of life now. In spite of its complications it does me too much psychological good, and in times of frustration or shattered plans I’ll be reflecting upon your words.

    Thank you, and all the best,
    Kris

    1. Kris, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      I’ve been a regular here at Kandi’s Land for nearly two years now and I firmly believe that any of us who contribute could successfully transition. We are all completely comfortable in our feminine skins and not only understand that acceptance has to be earned, not demanded, but also respect what it means to conform to society’s expectations of being female in this day and age.

      But we have other lives too and each of us must decide where our priorities lie. Conforming to what Mrs A expects of her husband and what my kids expect of their father is far more important to me than indulging my feminine side. Just because I believe that I could successfully transition doesn’t mean that it’s the only option in life that I have. And what I realised is that if I set my priorities a certain way, and am happy that I have my priorities absolutely right, who am I to complain when the planets don’t align?

      Your last paragraph is an important mantra for all of us. We may never achieve psychological perfection but if we psychologically feel that we’re in a good place, that’s really all we could ever wish for.

  3. As I read this piece, I recalled a recent “Hidden Brain” podcast (I highly recommend), that discussed how we often focus on things that upset or disappoint us, while missing the opportunity to savor and feel gratitude for the things we have. Perhaps we have so much (certainly as compared to our ancestors) that we take these for granted while complaining about what not be up to our hopes or expectations. One might, for example, fixate on feeling deprived on those occasions when we were unable to express this part of ourselves, while failing to fully appreciate the times we were able to do so.

    I could make a long and tedious list of the times I had to present as a male due to work and family obligations, or how long it has been since I was able to be out in public and enjoying life as a woman. Or I could be grateful for the freedom I have to live most of my life as I chose and the many, many experiences I have enjoy as a result. Looking back, far more than I could ever have imagined before I finally embraced this part of myself.

    1. Kim, thanks very much for your insight here and I’ll certainly try to catch that podcast.

      Your second paragraph was really quite thought provoking and your final words – ‘before I finally embraced this part of myself’ – really sums everything up. It’s not about being ‘her’ or ‘him’, neither is it really about being male or female. In the end, it’s just about being ourself and comfortable in our skin. Embracing who we really are doesn’t mean we have to forsake all that’s gone before we make that leap if we don’t want to. Of course, having the blessing of those around us helps but it’s not a prerequisite. Knowing and accepting who we are is really all it takes and we can then decide on the compromise that gives us the best chance of a happy and complete life. If we’re lucky, we can have the best of both worlds but, if not being able to say that we’re happy with each, despite the challenges and shortcomings, is pretty good.

  4. Amanda,
    There’s no question I sympathise with your situation because it was me for so many years . It often carries a huge guilt factor , we want the house to ourselves to be .. what exactly ? Slipping into clothes we sometimes only dream about to achieve what ? After I told my wife she knew these facts , she didn’t want to see me so she knew she had to spend time out of the house only to be frightened to step back through the front door . Some can live the double life and some can’t , I thought I could only to find I eventually ceased to function which placed even more pressure on my wife . Is it fair or are we being selfish ? Being reduced to a life lived with the aid of anti-depressants holds no long term future , to be simply and honestly ME would solve all the problems , I could return to my old self but with those desired changes , what harm is it really going to do when considered against giving the family my full support again .

    To question fairness we must consider all parties the problem is we can’t be honest when we demand that fairness , we try and retionalise it by considering other people are worse off than us but when your low those thoughts don’t help , is it so wrong at times to want to cry out , ” What about me !” OK I’m a husband and possibly a father or even a grandfather but I’m also human with certain needs that I desparately want to express .

    I’m not sure if you consider me one of the lucky ones or not , life isn’t perfect evenso I see myself as one of the lucky ones but being realistic I know it’s come at a price . Am I happy with that price ? Overall it hasn’t proved as bad as I feared , separation and divorce was a sensible solution for both parties and more important when we considered our children . Two unhappy people were free to find something better in the future and also remain friends so we could still support our family .

    Please try not to beat yourself up over this question , you know the true answer , it’s a matter of considering the options that are right for you . I know how important it is to be totally honest with yourself because at some point in the future you will have to be honest with other people . I was in my mid sixties before I came to that conclusion but it still wasn’t too late and after six years I have no regrets .

  5. Teresa, why the sympathy? This was a post about self-discovery and realising where my priorities really lie, not a lament about missed opportunity. Your life and mine are obviously on different trajectories – the choices I have made wouldn’t work for you and vice versa – but that doesn’t mean that either is wrong or suboptimal & needing sympathy. I am lucky enough to have found my ‘sweet spot’ where my two sides complement each other and where I can finally feel that my feminine side is part of who I am, not just the product of fantasy and ultimately uninspiring dressup sessions which was the case for a long time. But more importantly for me I have kept this away from my family whose needs will always take precedence over my own and, as I said in the post, that’s a choice I have made, not had foisted upon me.

    Thwarted opportunities are frustrating but I’m far happier now I can focus on the positives and whilst, as I said in the post, it took the realisation of how precarious & precious a child’s life is for me to finally get my priorities right. I was lucky enough to have a short window of opportunity today and, as always, I allowed my mind to wander and think about what life would be like if what I saw in the mirror was the norm. And, as always, I decided it would be pretty good. But not good enough to warrant any change from the far more than pretty good life that I have now. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in life – we all do – and probably far more than most as far as this side of my life is concerned. But I know that learning from those mistakes has made me who I am now and I’ll never beat myself up over them.

    Ultimately, each of us has to make choices based on what works for us. The fact that there’s a place for everyone makes this a vibrant and fascinating community and I’m glad to be part of it on my terms as I am sure you are on yours!

  6. Amanda,

    Your post definitely reflects my reality at a certain point in my life. You also articulated so well the question of whether we should be angry about the cards we have been dealt. My conclusion like yours is that we shouldn’t dwell on what we don’t have, but rather on what we do have.

    Recently, my sister asked me whether I would have lived more of my life as a woman earlier in my life if I had known then what I know now. It is a variation of the question you asked. I told her very emphatically no. I told her that I can’t imagine being married to a better person, and I love the gift she gave me of wonderful children and ultimately grandchildren. Also, as I have expressed elsewhere, I know I’ve benefited from a successful business life based at least in part on male privilege. So I don’t second guess where I am right now. I’m very thankful for all I have

    That being said, every day is a challenge in its own way. Sometimes I have despair, and sometimes I have joy. I live each day fully and find that I must accept myself anew each morning. The wonder of it all is that I remain convinced that I am blessed because I am one of the few lucky ones who has been able to live on both sides of the gender divide.

    Thank you again Amanda. You are very thoughtful and are a gifted writer.

    Lisa

    1. Lisa, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for your kind comments.

      It’s inevitable that our minds will wander into ‘what if’ scenarios, sometimes even straying into ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ territory. Given that ‘Amanda’ is far more polished and comfortable with her looks than her male alter ego, some would say that proceeding down the path to feminine Utopia is a no brainer. But that’s a very one dimensional view and once we add in everything else in life, the perspective can be very different when we add in all of our other priorities and desires.

      The rollercoaster ride with the lows of despair and highs of joy is never going to be easy but in the end, it’s my privilege to be the person that Mrs A chose to spend the rest of her life with and the person my kids recognise as their dad. They enhance my life in ways that making fundamental changes to who I am never could and thanks to the reboot of my attitude I can now understand what those thwarted plans truly represent.

      1. Amanda,
        I apologise if you feel I’m projecting on my own lifestyle . As a former member of an online forum I found I had to read between the lines with some members to discover the whole truth and very often people thanked me for not taking them at face value , there is often as much unwritten as there is written . So many had aspects of their lives hidden away and carefully guarded , their stories show life to many of us is unfair and struggle to resolve it . It’s good to read you are comfortable with your decisions , I’m sure you also realise that aspects of your life aren’t set in stone , Amanda isn’t going to disappear she will always surface given the right conditions . We never know what is around the corner as your son’s illness proved , of course he is more important he’s your flesh and blood , my family all know I’m still there for them , dad in name will come to the rescue but they know dad may not look like other dad’s . One of my fears is the opposite in that should they come to my rescue the same situation will apply .

        While your post wasn’t looking for sympathy , it’s good to know we understand and we are here to offer well meaning support . Again going back to the forum some people desparately needed to vent , that’s the only outlet they had , being transgender is a very lonely place for some people .

  7. Boy can I relate to this post Amanda. We had two boys who both played competitive sports. They were 8 years apart in age and because of this age difference Trish was totally suppressed for 15 years. All she could manage was some ‘under dressing on occasion. What made it so hard to accept was up until the 15 year hiatus was imposed. Trish was dressing fairly often with trips to Vancouver en-femme often as well. In those 15 years depression set in as well as weight gain (155lbs to 218lbs) along to turning into a prick from the depression.
    But all bad things come to pass, thank god and Trish is back and very happy.
    Thanks for the post girl.

    Trish ❤️

    1. Life can be challenging can’t it, Trish? In one month’s time, I’ll have the complete freedom to get dressed and made up as soon as I get up in the morning and remain that way all day long. But the downside of that will be that my son will have left home and I know that since he got his exam results and university place confirmed last week, the sadness I’ve felt that his moving on represents the end of a huge chapter in my life has far outweighed any frustrations I’ve felt about the dearth of she-time opportunities for several months.

      I’m also acutely aware that the aforementioned freedom will be short lived and once we’ve sold our business and Mrs A retires, there’ll be a whole new set of challenges – not least how can I indulge in something that she has given her blessing to do as long as she never gets to hear about anything to do with it?!

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