In a previous article, I have related how, to all intents and purposes, I had retired. After many years of ‘doing my own thing’, apart from the occasional outing in my local area I basically became a recluse.
My life had experienced some hiccups. I suffered a work related injury, eventually I had to leave a place where I had been employed for ten years as a nurse. Eventually I had surgery in an attempt to reduce the pain and I returned to the work force, but in a different area. Sadly, due to the increased physicality of the work, the pain got worse and I had to leave. I tried once again, in another hospital but the same thing happened so I had to retire. Then things got bad. I mentioned this in the previous article and don’t want to rehash too much, (too late).
I had lived in Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, for twenty years, meeting many people and making some wonderful friends but for better or worse it was time for a change. I moved to a coastal city, a smaller one. I had resolved to revive my life, be refreshed, more decisive and renewed. But yet again, the emotional roller-coaster took a plunge. In a fit of panic, I did the unthinkable, something I promised I would never do again. I purged!
I should say here dear reader that my intention in writing this was not to dwell on this event. I was simply going to discuss my progress in creating a ‘new look’. I was taking the opportunity to renew my image, working my way through my ideas and purchases, how I was using this creatively, to revive and also for renewal. But I think perhaps some comments should be made, comments on why? Thoughts trying to cover, “What the hell just happened”?.
Statistics suggest that approximately 1 in 5 people will experience some sort of extreme emotional event. Personally I think these stats are very conservative. I would hazard a guess some of you dear readers will have had experience of this, either personally, a family member or friend.
Depression is strange! One minute you can be walking happily round the shops whistling, singing, saying hello to everyone and the cat. But the next day everything crashes and overwhelms you. People generally aren’t aware that an exaggerated ‘High’ is as much part of depression as the more obvious ‘Low’.
I have experienced this for many years. A psychiatrist described how these things work over a long period and what I might have experienced when younger. He described my life pretty accurately, for no tangible reason I would be so distraught I wanted to go into a corner and just cry and how difficult it was coping with these ‘extreme roller-coasters’.
Of course when things are ‘stable’ I don’t experience it as intently, which is reasonable, but some little thing can occur. Losing your spectacles, or in my case my mobile phone, (cell phone), luckily I have my mobile number keyed into my home phone so I can ring it and find it, I have a phone with a very loud ring tone volume now. I just have to remember to not leave the volume down or I have no chance in finding it.
An argument, frustration when driving, shopping, change of employment, a separation or divorce, any change in circumstance and it was so easy to slide off the pedestal and come crashing down. To say the least this is annoying, frustrating and, if you get visited by ‘The Black Dog’, scary.
I speak to many people, I’m Irish, try and stop me. And over the years have gotten to know many who have been through situations as I have described. In the trans community there must be very few who haven’t and even less who never had a purge. One such friend is actually a counselor among the TG community here in Australia. She herself went through an episode, she was verbally assaulted in public and we had a long session talking which seemed to help her. Just being able to do this this helped, being able to speak to someone who listened and more importantly, understands, makes such a difference. I had a long chat with her after my own recent episode and it helped.
While I did tell my doctor about the depression I haven’t told him I am a T person, I use that term because I am no longer sure that ‘Cross Dresser’ is sufficient have to describe myself. I used this term for years as it seemed user friendly, certainly more so than the vaguely scientific sounding ‘Transvestite’ or ‘Gender dysphoria’. I suppose I will eventually have to consider telling him and maybe ask him to recommend a counselor or therapist. This might also have to involve traveling to another area for this. This place might be called a ‘city’ but it’s really a large country town where too many people know each other and my, grown up, children seem to know everyone. This in part is one reason I haven’t been it and about much, someone might recognize me and then the ‘fit will hit the shan’! Anyhow, this is on the back burner for now.
Op Shops, Charity Shops are everywhere. everyone loves them. Collectors hunt through them for something of value, hobbyists hunt through them, and we hunt through them. You can get some wonderful bargains just because someone no longer wants it, it was ‘so last season’. I don’t care, Classics never fade.
A short while ago some of the local shops had a large donation from me. A varied collection of clothes, lingerie and shoes. Other bags just went into the garbage. Of course, within a few days, I had intense regret, recognizing how totally stupid I was. There is no point in denying or trying to rationalize it, we all know it. Nothing stops this need and at my age I definitely should have known better. Wisdom of age? Hah!
A few days later, I was in the process of emptying some rubbish, I found a plastic bag. I had a thought and grabbed it. Sure enough I found some night dresses and wraps. I felt so elated at this small gain. I sat down and, over a cup of coffee, tried to come up with some sort of plausible scenario to try to recover my clothes.
Basing my plan that people dump clothes in error all the time I informed the staff at the charity shop that my wife had left some bags out to be given to the Op shop. In my enthusiasm I delivered the bags only to discover they were the wrong ones! “Can you please help and see if any of the items were still about”? Adding “My life was in peril”.
One of the staff pointed out this happens all the time and they were more than happy to help.
I had even downloaded some photos of myself onto my smartphone, obviously in ‘Claire-Mode’ wearing some of the items, I showed these to the staff to help them. In all honesty, I have to admit I rather enjoyed doing that. I may be depressed but I am still an exhibitionist
Well, some of the items turned up! A couple of coats, a dress and two of the tops. Later that week, as I drove past the shop, I saw another of my dresses in their window which I also retrieved. Actually this particular dress was a special favorite, I was so relieved. By the way, I had offered to make up for their potential loss buy paying for the items but they declined, I made a financial donation in their collection jar. I still make occasional visits to this particular shop in case something else has turned up.
So, while at the moment I feel better enough to regret having a purge I also have to remember that I can crash at any time. I have to remember the symptoms and feelings I experience prior to this and be ready.
OK. There is an upside to this ramble. Hands up those who don’t love shopping? I did say that I decided to take the opportunity to renew and give serious attention to my appearance. I am sure you are all aware of the ‘ideal’ feminine hip waist shoulder/bust ratio. The ‘pear’ shape. Males tend to have wider shoulders, female swimmers excepted, I have often noted there is a tendency to ‘undersize’ ourselves, not so much in actual clothing sizing but in this ratio I mentioned, the balance. In comparison to my proportions, shoulders waist and hips, I felt I needed a more generous breast size. I had been using a set equal to a small B for many years because I thought it was a ‘nice’ size. I had been given a DD size once, many years ago and was told how effective it looked but I still felt it was likely to draw too much attention. As if i wouldn’t anyway.
I wanted to keep the proportions womanly so I added larger hip and bum, (sorry, derrierre) padding. While I am not excessively tall for a male I am definitely tall for a woman, add heels and this is even more so. I did notice that there seemed to be more taller women these days. I even had a discussion with a lady in a shoe shop who was explaining that so many companies were losing out because there were taller girls with larger feet who wanted style, fashionable shoes and not the boring ‘Old Woman’ shoes that seemed to be the norm.
So my figure was now of the taller, generously proportioned, mature woman. I also wanted to be a stylish one.
Like many I had gathered bits and pieces of lingerie. Not everything was coordinated. My lingerie necessities are well in hand but I do imagine this to be an ongoing endeavor. I love bra and pantie sets, but also matching slips, camisoles and whatever else grabs my attention. I think I have developed well into an impulse buyer, keep me away from shoe shops!! I still am on the lookout for new night dresses, two of my night dresses were full length satin. By full length I actually mean floor length. I did love seeing the old movies how the heroine would sweep into a room with her beautiful night gown and wrap which was always glamorously full length. Well, I think so. The trend to the cotton tops and pajama pants as they seem to favour today is such a loss to style and fashion as far as i am concerned.
So far I have purchased some skirts, my corporate look is always to the fore. Straight skirts, medium heels, secretarial type shirts or blouses, although these days I fancy the corporate image is much further up the chain and I can, at least, adopt the image of a P.A. if not a manager myself.
I have added a few new dresses, some casual skirts and tops for those times when I eventually get to visit friends. They live a long drive away so this is usually something that takes a lot of planning. I have also need for a baby sitter, well, my baby is my Golden Retriever. She is a rescued dog so I need for her to be with people she has confidence with, she does fret when I am away. But this entire process has been a continuous flow of opportunity and adapting to ongoing circumstance and I imagine it will continue to be so. I will keep you, dear reader, whoever you are, informed. I hope.
Claire is our “Stylish Crossdresser” for April, 2015