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My Triggers

One of my most resonant essays.

Prior to my self-acceptance, as I now look back, there were three definite triggers that fueled my CD desires.  There are no longer triggers, per se. These is nothing to “trigger”, this has become part of my life (except under unusual circumstances. like we have all recently experienced). There are days I am 100% male, days I spend a great deal of time dressed and some in-between. Portions of my female wardrobe is interspersed with my regular wardrobe. But this is a little trip down memory lane and what it used to be.

First let me explain, all of my life CDing was an impulse, nothing joyful or happy.  It was never at all satisfying.  I hated it and I hated myself when I succumbed.  It was never, ever complete.  It could be simply wearing a bra.  It might have been getting completely dressed, covered with my then voluminous body hair, and dressed only from the neck down.  I looked ridiculous and felt the same.  Shame and guilt, always.  I have now experienced more joy and happiness in one day dressed then I had in the previous, almost 50 years doing so. Literally. I cannot recall one single time that I did it and felt great during or afterward. Never.

There were three separate triggers.  First, opportunity.  Being alone for some period of time as well as having access to some article or articles of women’s clothing.  That might have been a sick day when I was young or simply access to my wife’s lingerie drawer on a then rare afternoon home alone. When any extended period of time became available to me (not very often), I might purchase a few items. This was always done like a shoplifter, moving quickly from item to item and looking for just the right cashier and the shortest line for the check out (in the days prior to self checkout). There was a bit of an adrenaline rush doing this, but it soon faded and turn to guilt. The purchased items became toxic to me, like nuclear waste.

A second trigger was an idle mind.  When my mind is engaged in whatever, life, my career, the children, friends, sports, etc., the thought never entered.  When the kids were small and I was building my career, I could go months and months without even a single CD thought.  As I grew older and my career deteriorated (another story), the kids became more self-sufficient, the mind wasn’t spinning 24/7.  CDing always rushed in when there was mental downtime. You can read about it in the “About” section, but eventually my mindless job, and frequently idle mind, was the breaking point. That was where the possibility of Kandi started to germinate.

Finally, intense stress really fueled the fire.  I went through a business failure earlier in this century and it created significant collateral damage to my life, ripples still being felt today and will do so beyond the grave.  Work days felt like a daily trudge to the electric chair and I often would have preferred the chair during those very dark times.  My morning generally begin with a quick vomit before I got into my car and ended with more than a few stiff drinks. Every moment of every day was torture. During this period, buying various items or articles of clothing, wearing them usually briefly and the headache-inducing guilt afterward at least distracted me from the misery I was living.  Buy, wear, purge, sometimes that same afternoon.  Hell on earth. I rationalized the purchases as distractions, I certainly wasn’t a crossdresser! Yeah, right……

So we fast forward to that day of self-acceptance referenced above and there is a convergence of all three triggers.  The nest is empty, the girls grown and gone.  My absolutely mindless job has my mind as idle as it has ever been and idle for days.  My wife’s work schedule varies, which means I was home alone quite a bit.  I ate and drank too much.  I’d run through a bottle of whiskey in a few days.  I thought about these wretched urges all the time.  Trapped inside my own head for hours at a time, I finally broke.  I finally accepted who and what I am and the rest is history.  Everything from that moment forward was a step in a positive direction, a step toward happiness.  Go and look at my blog posts on days out.  Look at those smiles.  You cannot fake those.  Those smiles come from the heart and they come from someone who stopped the fight and is blessed beyond words to have such a great family.  Can you do it?  I sure hope so and am happy to at least offer my support along that difficult path.  Reach out through the “Contact” section as I am a very good listener.  God bless anyone going through gender identity issues.  They are very real and even more misunderstood, even by many going through them.

Quick story: On my birthday, I get in the car, turn on the radio and on comes Neil Young’s “Old Man”. Fitting, right? A few hours later, we’re strolling through the Rock Hall and on the speakers comes, you guessed it, “Old Man”. Now I can assure I hadn’t heard that song twice in one day, maybe ever. You think someone is trying to tell me something?


19 Responses

  1. Kandi, once again I can use that well-worn phrase – ‘I could have written much of that myself’. Your three triggers are so relevant in my case too, particularly as I now wrestle with the knowledge that ‘opportunity’ will probably soon more or less disappear and I find myself hoping that, with full retirement, the loss of stress and the new stimulation of an idle mind will perhaps compensate in some way or other.

    Your point about the whole joy & happiness thing was particularly poignant for me. To me, there is no greater feeling than slipping into a pair of heels, breaking out the lippy & eyeliner and then looking at the woman smiling back at me from the mirror who is far more than I’d ever dared hope she’d be. But she’s just a small part of my life – perhaps only 1% or thereabouts – and I often wonder whether her presence makes the other 99% more tolerable or whether her presence causes undue frustration when she’s not around. And even though, as will be revealed on my next post here, I’ve been actively looking for an answer to that question for the best part of two months, I’m still no nearer to finding it.

    That you have so much contentment in your life through self-acceptance is a particular inspiration to me. That’s not to say that your solution is ‘one size fits all’ but it underlines that none of us are not lost causes and by perhaps thinking what may seem like the unthinkable our ‘gift’ can be a true force for good.

  2. You have so eloquently outlined the stages so many of us have gone through over the years. I too feel saddened by those still ‘saddled’ with guilt and the burden of having to secretly pursue their passion to explore (and more importantly) enjoy their feminine side. The chat rooms and blogs overflow with pleas for help and guidance in how come to grips with the excess baggage that CD’ing brings! Why is it that it takes AGE to accept ourselves for what we are and be at peace with it?

  3. Idle mind and opportunity. I can relate to those. I am semi-retired right now and it wasn’t until I could reach this stage that I had that “idle time” to come to terms and accept myself. My egg cracked, I stopped repressing and began to ask tough questions about myself and began to do research. If I was still full time working I am not sure if I would have had the down time to do my self analysis. I probably would have come to a breaking point no matter what though. It was getting there.

    It is not an easy world to live in when you are Trans (I am in the closet), but the self acceptance and the internal happiness that brings is life changing. You have to live your life and live it happy.

    1. It’s the most obvious thing in the world and yet the most difficult, we have to find happiness. Not easy.

      Thanks Christina!!

  4. Most of us relate to this post, I too went through so much trying to figure out why I wanted to be the cheerleader in a skirt or being part of the girls at school just because there clothes were so cute
    I had no real access to ladies clothes till I was married and my now ex wife did know as I felt she should know.
    Well fast forward my need or it just being who I am lead to my divorce but I’ve made peace with myself and I am transgender and that’s ok.
    I wish I wasn’t and yes that may sound strange but it’s true my life would have been easier not being trans but it’s how God created me for some reason and I’m ok with that

    1. 100% life would be much easier without this. But we are who we are and need to make the best of it!

      Thanks Rach, wise as always!

      1. Rachel,
        Kandi is so right by saying , ” we are who we are ” , it really is a fundamental point to accept . Once I’d realised this I found I don’t gave a problem with being trans , it’s part of me I’ve had to learn to build a new life round it which I now enjoy .

  5. As you do so often, you capture my thoughts, my history and my struggles. Thank you for sharing your journey, it inspires and gives a frame of reference of what is possible.

  6. Kandi,
    I’m not sure if we have a single trigger , most of us know how it all started but as we progress our needs change as do our triggers .
    Being full time means there are no longer triggers , I’m so grateful for that as I finally lost that gut feeling of something not being right and as Paulette comments sometimes it takes far too long to reach that peaceful balance .
    I also fully understand the bad feelings over trying to run a business when you have GD tying your brain in knots .
    Also living through that period of wanting the home or a space to yourself and the terrible feeling of guilt being caught and knowing your wife fears walking through in her own front door .

    1. Teresa, I agree completely and the triggers I discussed here were the past triggers, I acknowledge things are different now.

      I love the dialog we have here from everyone!!

  7. As someone else said earlier, much of this I could have written myself. Some of the details were eerily familiar. I don’t know if you felt this way, but for me, the curiosity, desire and identity all seem to have been present from my earliest recollections…like age 3 or 4. Apparently that curiosity was noticeable in some way because I also have early recollections of the message that what I was doing was NOT acceptable, and in the interest of self preservation, I learned to hide and to lie. Not great early life lessons.

    The triggers were, I suppose, that early curiosity being combined with opportunity. Sad that each opportunity was coupled with fear and guilt. I have grown past both to some degree, but old habits and apprehensions die hard.

    1. Age 5, I know what the dress looked like, felt like, who I was with and where I was. And it shaped my entire life and has affected me to this day. At least now I have grown into the woman, under the circumstances of my life as it is, I became that day.

  8. Kandi,

    It is truly wonderful to read about someone who finally discovered who they really are, especially after so many trials & tribulations. Hopefully your story will open some other ladies hearts and let them accept their true selves as well.


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