A Long Life to Freedom

If you have read my prior article, “I learned something that Halloween” you will be familiar with the context of this article, when I was 5 years old (https://www.crossdresserheaven.com/i-learned-something-that-halloween/).  That Halloween I became the heartbroken tutued ballerina that never was. Somewhere in the intervening years, completely unaware of how deeply I longed for girlhood, mom somehow decided I should go trick or treating as a woman – and old grandmother-type frumpy woman. Ridiculed to be sure I again was heartbroken.

But in costume, I was a woman, wasn’t I? True, I was. But I wasn’t ready to be a woman at that age; I was 8 or 9-year-old girl. Couldn’t I just dress up as a princess or Alice in Wonderland or a ballerina or if I had to be an Indian, couldn’t I be Pocahontas? No! it was wrong for a boy to be a girl, but there was no problem with a boy being grandma.

Time moved on. Playing in the garage one day with some friends we found a box of clothes. And there it was, an average plain brown skirt, but for me it was like a hidden treasure found. Quietly over my pants I slipped into it and finally paraded in front of my friends announcing, “look, everyone, I am a girl, I am a girl” in falsetto. As I remember it, I was serious. I thought somehow with a skirt on everyone would see the girl I knew I was.

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Mockery and derision, humiliation and hurt locked me away that day.

I was kept in solitary confinement. Male me was determined that since boys can’t be girls and when you try to be so humiliation was the reward, it is best that I be forgotten. Forgotten perhaps, but I was determined to live nevertheless.

Eighth graders had the privilege of sitting in the back of the grade school bus. So there he sat with the eighth-grade girls. And there within the walls of my prison, I heard their conversation.

As girls become young women they talk about their new bras, their experience with pantyhose, how to do their make up –  and boys. He grew quiet, but I was determined to make a break, so I pressed him. Ha, he may have forgotten me, but that day he knew I was still alive.

And to my surprise, he talked. Nothing too revealing mind you, but in a timid teasing sort of way, much like a puppy might do timidly getting used to his new owner, he entered the conversation. Just a little making-fun-of-them quip about wearing pantyhose and how he too was looking forward to his first bra. The girls laughed and teased back, completely unaware of how much I really meant what I said, because all they could know was him. They were oblivious to the secret me he was hiding from them.

But that was enough. I was out of solitary; not out of prison mind you, but no longer abandoned and forgotten.

So I pressed and he relented, allowing me to dress secretly. Carefully and ever so guardedly I was given more freedom. I fondly remember my first bra, and girdle, and hose, and panties and lipstick. . . with each foray I was delighted and strengthened; he was anxious about the terror of being discovered.

One day he shocked me by asking his sisters when we were home alone if he could try on one of their bathing suits. Laughing and giggling they agreed and before I knew it I was one of the girls!

I was giddy with the joy of my freedom. Not just free, but free and accepted by other girls. I wasn’t humiliated or made fun of. No! I was complimented: “You look just like a girl.” Oh if they could only understand how much I felt just like a girl at that moment. . . that indeed I was a girl; I was one of them! Just like them; well in my heart at least.

As we lived out in the country with mom and dad gone and no one else around to see us, it was suggested that we go out and run in the sprinkler. I was elated; he was terrified. A battle ensued. He won and in a few minutes, I went from being a giddy pre-teen girl to once again being locked away with the promise that my sisters would never tell mom and dad about their brother really being a cute girl.

Over the last 50 years, he has given me time but never freedom. I have worn both a prom and homecoming dress as well as everyday dresses and outfits. I have persuaded him to even buy me my own clothes, lingerie, and breast forms. I have walked in heels, wore pantyhose on freshly shaven legs, as an amateur did my makeup, left my lip print on the rim of my coffee mug, underdressed to work, spritz on my favorite perfume and have known the bittersweet feeling of late night walks, with hips padded and my bustline creating an obvious feminine silhouette yet knowing it was just a masquerade. And sadly I have never been out in a dress.

To my chagrin, today my things are gone, victims of one of his purges. It has been a long wearisome road but I am still alive. No longer a girl, I have become a woman, a mature woman to be sure . . . and no! I will not embrace being a frumpy grandmotherly type woman. I know I can be better. Nothing wrong with grandmothers, like years ago on that fateful Halloween, I am just not ready to be one . . . no, not yet!

As I have done for so long I am waiting patiently for my release. And he is learning, finally understanding that I am not a bad shameful part of him, but rather an integral part of his whole. I am not to be locked away but to be embraced and incorporated and in so being I will make our shared life richer and fuller than he ever thought possible.

And so now his musing is no longer the question fraught with shame, “how could I do that?”
Rather now it is a question filled with inquiry, “How can I do that?”

And in that, I anticipate emancipation is coming.
I await my freedom and living!

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  1. Charlene, so many things in your article remind me of how I’ve felt over the years. I am a grandmother too, but that is not how they choose to address me currently. I can live with that as they’ve had an entire lifetime to know me as only the one person. But, I refuse to be frumpy anything. It is possible for him to learn and to let you live as one and to even learn to wear a dress in public. I know because I am Cloe now in the eyes of the law and of my employer and my new friends and even inmost part my family. Many now see that I am not a replacement, but a completion of the person I once was.

  2. Deety 3 days ago

    An interesting point of view and a way of addressing the the dichotomy that we sometimes feel between our feelings and the reality of the world we inhabit. I feel you perhaps need to give greater credence to what that inner voice is telling you. You are both of those personalities and when you can accept that mix the path becomes clearer and you begin to realise that crossdressing and transgender are just two outward manifestations of something that lies deep within us all. as you accept soyou find freedom to become the complete and singular you.

  3. Janine7 3 days ago

    Charleene, I love your story it resonates so completely with my own experience. I wish that I had the courage to follow your example and just keep looking for the day when I can really declare my feminine self.

  4. Charlene,
    Great article-I think you will enjoy mine which i coming out in a few days-the parallels are similar but with some differences-for while Cyn was locked away she never purged. And she will never be locked away again-she stands with male me-visible even while in stealth mode.
    Thanks for a great article!

  5. Delbra Dawn cordry 3 days ago

    Charlene i understand what u are saying could be me u are telling about . i too am two, people twins

  6. Sarah Anne 3 days ago

    I am sorry and I do not wish to seem rude but I am lost on this article. Sounds like a case of bi-polarism or multiple personality disorder.

    Once again my apologies if I misunderstood the context of this article

    Sarah Anne

    • Many folks see their feminine side as a ‘separate’ part of themselves. It can be difficult– if one has to remain closeted for various reasons– to get comfortable integrating every part of one self together. Soo-NO I don’t see this as multiple personality disorder-just a sadness that a part of oneself has to be hidden far too often.

      • Author
        Charlene Victoria 3 days ago

        Skippy, thank you for your encouragement. You are so correct.

    • Gina Angelo 3 days ago

      The first time I read it to edit, I was a bit lost with the switch between two people on the bus. I almost corrected it, thinking Charlene when referring the 8th grade boy in the back of the bus, was talking about another boy that she envied. Once I understood that the two people were one in the same, the whole piece came together for me and I was enthused.

      I have not had that feeling, I guess gender dysphoria is not part of Gina, but I appreciated the way in which Charlene described her emotions and experiences as a story of two people in one body.

      Thanks Charlene for sharing your stories,

      • Author
        Charlene Victoria 3 days ago

        Gina, you have been so kind and gracious in your encouragement and editorial direction as I worked on this piece. I can’t thank you enough for your excellent spirit shown me.

    • Author
      Charlene Victoria 3 days ago

      Sarah Anne, your thoughts are not rude. Forgive me for not being clearer in my presentation. At first glance It does look like I might be bipolar or multiple personalitied. I assure you I am not, but to be sure because the feminine me can not be integrated seamlessly into my male side I am forced to live individually; him (my male self) and me.
      What you and many others have the joy and privilege of doing outwardly; dressing, relating to others and being related to others as a woman, developing your inner woman outwardly, I and many others must do in our heads (our “closets”). Thus our seemingly multiple personalities.
      To be sure this is an odd, diifucult, and exhausting way to live. But unlike yourself I am not able to live freely as a blended crossdresser. Until my male self can be brave enough to allow me my freedom I will have to live what appears to be as a multiple personalitied individual if I am to live at all.
      Hope this helps in understanding me and the article better.

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