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An essay from many years back, updated, renovated, new furniture and curtains.

I was having a conversation with my Big Sister and we touched on something that got me thinking. Selecting the life we have chosen (necessitated by our innate need as humans to seek happiness or at least mental comfort) requires a great deal of patience. I am very proud of myself these days. I believe I look very nice (I know I am no Jennifer Aniston), I am stylish and I am well received in general by the public. I know that from significant personal experience.

But it took time. A lot of time. There is so much to learn. There was a need for things to settle in and make for the circumstances that allow me the freedoms I have found. The act of telling one’s spouse. There isn’t one single spouse that immediately said, go for it (unless this is introduced on Day One of the relationship or is the basis for that relationship)! It has to sink in. It has to be processed. It has to happen and the world not implode. It has to be found out how it will effect the relationship. A comfort level with your husband in a dress has to be realized. I could go on, you get it.

Putting your look together takes patience. Learning how to use makeup. What makeup do I even use? Where do I get it? Oh my, there are a million options for just the lipsticks! Learning how to apply makeup properly on your face. Figuring out your face in this context. Learning what looks best on you. How do I feminize my male features (we are all full of tells). All requires “practice, practice, practice!”.

What to wear? How to wear it and look female? What do I like? What looks best on me? What is my style? What is my bra size? Dress size? Blouse size? Skirt size? Shoe size? What is comfortable for me? Can I walk in high heels? Should I wear flats?

What do I wear to a museum? What about a restaurant? What do I wear shopping? Oh, I need an overcoat. I need a light one and a heavier one for the winter. What color wig do I want? What length? What style? Where do I get one?

Where do I go when I go out? What do I do? How to I speak? What is my (femme) name? How do I wear earrings without piercing my ears? How do I make body changes without being obvious? Do I even care? What should I carry in my purse? How do I relieve myself when out?

Ladies, this is a process. It takes time. Every time out will offer you new information about how the world perceives you. Pay attention. Notice things. Notice how women comport themselves. Remember what goes with what. Pay attention to human nature. Be smart, be appropriate, be confident and be visible! Be yourself!

Take the appropriate safety measures, use simple common sense. If you are dressed inappropriately for your age, location and body type, nothing else will matter. “Passing” (which never happens, please do not fool yourselves thinking it does, the term “man hands” exists for a reason), being accepted is all about being confident, confidence is attractive in any circumstance. If we’re not visible, the momentum given to us by our fore-sisters will stop. Take the baton and pass it forward!

Be safe when you go out, soak it in because there really is nothing quite like it. I cannot think of anything comparable. I recently had a dinner conversation with a new friend. We agreed on one thing: dressing (for whatever reason, in whatever circumstances) is joyful. Being accepted, being valued, being loved, being complemented, all available to you but take your time, learn and do it right. You are building the woman you want to become one outing, one outfit, one experience, one day at a time.

MUST READ: Missy’s Prom

Not only are we mentioned in the article (I am sure many of you already have read this), but it absolutely demonstrates the founding principals of Kandi’s Land. We are making a difference, we will make changes, but as I have said time and again, this is a slow cooker proposition in our microwave society. Ladies, just get the meal set up and allow it to very slowly become something beautiful. Microwaving the process causes unintended consequences. This all feeds back into today’s post, written years ago, but a perfect compliment to Missy’s story. She was able to navigate circumstances, allow her family to wrap their heads around it and become incredibly supportive and inspire so many of us. Missy, you go girl!


11 Responses

  1. Kandi,
    This post reads almost like a handbook or dare I even say a bible .

    I had to smile at the contradiction in paragraph 6 , you list so many points and query , ” Do I care ?” You bet I do otherwise that list is valueless .

    The one thing possibly lacking from Kandi’s Land and often other forums is an impartial response from women , we talk about ” passing ” as a woman , how to behave and conduct ourselves and sometimes hold a biased view on outfits . I stress impartial because it’s not always ideal to sugar coat everything , I do speak from experience , I’ve had the ” Wow you look great ! ” comments but often the complete sentence should read , ” Wow you look great for a man !”

    This is why I regard this post so highly , it does take time and patience , living so much of our lives in male mode our attempts to be a woman don’t happen overnight . Even after six years I know I can’t be too complacent but then women don’t always get things right .

    Again we should consider some who don’t wish to pass but judging by comments of most members here that really is the bottom line , Kandi you do a great job in helping them .

    1. Teresa,
      What is the goal? To pass, to just blend in, to be accepted? Teresa, I think your goal in your art groups is to be accepted as just one of the girls. And you have learned to dress for the occasion. You have learned to dress down to paint. You can still be very stylish, but you learned to tone it down. Don’t over think the compliment: ”Wow you look great !” Just thank the giver and soak in it. Don’t over think it.
      I get compliments all the time on my nails and heels, but I don’t get the “for a man” feeling. I know because my nails are to-die-for and I wear exquisite heels. I don’t over think it, I just soak it in.

      Interesting comment. I saw a program called ‘Catfish” and one of the hosts was taking about difference between how men and women write. The crust of it was that girls put a space before and after the punctuation. I have noticed this in your comments.

      1. Cali,
        The big game changer has been my formal name change , so yes you are right is saying I have to be one of the girls because the guy has almost gone . Saying that I know I have influenced members of my painting groups , while there still aren’t many wearing a skirt or a dress many have started wearing more makeup , so they may not be ” WOW ” moments but more of a gentile , ” you look nice today ” or ” I like your top ” . The compliments are still there but very subtle .
        The one thing I attract attention over is when they discover my outfits have usaully come from charity shops , the times people have said they wished they could shop with me , so it’s become a bit of a joke and they sometimes call me Miss Charity !

  2. Kandi,

    Thank you for the link to Missy’s story. It moved me, literally. As I was reading it a 4.8 earthquake struck. First time I’ve ever experienced one and definitely not an experience I want to repeat. I live in NY and just talked to a friend who felt it down in MD.

  3. Kandi and all other GIRLS,

    Kandi your wisdom patience AND persistence are hallmarks to be admired. Thank You.

    I have watched the terms of reference change from Transvestite to Cross Dresser, both of these (In my opinion) are focus more (or at least begin with clothes and female image). Some ten to twelve years back, I adopted the term “Femmulator” as being more attuned to me and my inner sense of who I am and my perspective. We all deserve to be who we are without being critiqued for our choice as long as we are not hurting anyone else (including animals). Live and let live is the APPROPRIATE motto. I have noticed since being on this road, MY sense of value has matured from the superficial (look/prettiness) to the more substantive of Friendship and Acceptance and having a Gal Pal or 2-3-4 etc.).
    Marie Anne Greene

    1. Just like we grew up as the males we were born as, we also go through growth as the woman we are. It may be a bit hastened, but it is undeniable. Thanks Marie!!

  4. Kandi,
    “Man Hands” made me laugh. Last time I went to work dressed for Halloween, I did a ‘dry’ run to gauge how long it would take to get ready in the morning. I looked down and noticed my HAIRY man hands. So, I slaved my fingers, tops of my hands, and up my arm a bit since I was going to wear a long sleeve top. It completed the look. However one colleague got upset, her reason: I “looked better than she could ever look”.

    Fiona Black
    4.8 is easy. I’ve been through many 6.5+ quakes…it’s our State Ride.
    Imagine the 7+ quate in Taiwan this week.

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