Cleaning The Closet: A New Year Beginning

New Year’s Eve.
It had been 15 years. It was time.
Even though it was going to be down and dirty work, I picked out a short, floral, flouncy skirt that I had just bought the day before at Dillard’s Outlet.
Yes, I know, age-inappropriate and out of season. But that’s not the point. Lorie has been held back for 50 years, and it’s time to spoil her whenever she wants.
While searching through the racks and racks of clothes in the women’s section at Dillard’s, I thought back to my first foray into the women’s section at a thrift store. The heart beating faster, the fluorescent lights seeming brighter, the metallic taste of fear as I frantically looked for the right size and something I “liked” before somebody… what? Threw me out?
Not anymore. This is MY department, too. And I’ll use the fitting room to try them on, too, thank-you-very-much.
As I stood there looking at comical Lorie, I knew “Today I’m going to clean the closet.”
No, not a purge. This is my “girl” closet that was actually the second bathroom, in actuality, not much bigger than a closet. When I had been married, we converted it by installing shiny steel closet rods in the bath/shower for my wife’s excess clothes. In addition, she had the bedroom closet, which is kinda small. Even my guy clothes fill that one to overflowing, now. When I was married, my clothes were relegated to the hall closet. (Did I mention that I still have some forgiveness work to do?)
On that day at the thrift store, the day I let Lorie own her dysphoria, I frantically gathered a few skirts and sweated my way through the cashier line. Arriving home (I live alone), I started using the bathroom closet that day, hanging a few items with disregard for wrinkles, on rusty wire hangers, 2, 3, even 4 skirts per hanger as the months accumulated in my new indulgence.
It didn’t take long for this “closet” to be filled. I started with the top clothes rod, and over the months eventually started filling the second one halfway down.
But since my divorce, I had never cleaned the room.
In fifteen years.
Imagine.
That’s how long I’ve been single.
I started with the cobwebs. Reaching with my 6′ 1″ wingspan, I rolled the duster to collect the wisps and drips from the ceiling and walls. Then I started cleaning the bathtub, which had a golden brown patina on the porcelain, and a musty smell ripe from the years.
I continued through the bathroom; the toilet (remember, 15 years!), the sink, the walls, the light fixtures, the floor.
I was amazed that each of these retained a luster of newness beneath the crud, and it gleamed with pride at being loved and cared for. Like Lorie.
As I stood there in my frilly, pleated skirt, standing in my clean, shiny “girl” closet, I knew I had stepped into a new era of self-kindness, ownership of my being, a room of non-judgment.
What a way to start a New Year.
Tomorrow: clip hangers for the rows of skirts.
Welcome home, Lorie.

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Lorie Peace

Since I was 8 I’ve found myself occasionally dressing in girls clothes and loving it. Then I would feel ashamed. About a year ago I decided to embrace it fully. I’ve found that I enjoy different points along the spectrum, and just seeing what feels right at different times. Sometimes I feel like I’m not “legit” because I’m not full trans, or gay, or bi. Just enjoy genderfluid when it happens. It took me months to sign up for cdh, but here I am!

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11 Comments

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  1. Author
    Lorie Peace 3 months ago

    Thank you to all of you for sharing your thoughts around this article. To answer some “questions…”
    This bathroom is a second bathroom, so it wasn’t used since the divorce. Until 14 years later when Lorie decided to express herself.
    I don’t go out en femme yet except to CrossPort support group meetings. I’m working my way up to attending one of their social events at a bar. In public.
    I wasn’t purging or sorting clothes: I was cleaning the bathroom itself. That being said, maybe I need to winnow the wardrobe a bit. I told myself that the other day, and then brought home 10 more items (10!) yesterday from the thrift store that I just HAD to have, lol. The Thrift store on Sundays is 50% off if you’re over 50. Who can resist? (This victorian sleeveless top I have on right now had Lorie written all over it – with lace trim.)
    David; I love hearing your story. I can vision that for myself, knowing there is evidence to support it! I have no interest in anything less.
    Thanks gurls!

  2. Ashleigh 3 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. I periodically go through both “sides” of my closet, cleaning out things I no longer wear, or that don’t fit anymore. I gave up purging years ago. Now, if I haven’t worn it in a long time, I don’t need it. Styles and preferences change, so my wardrobe changes with it. I will admit to having a few sentimental items, such as the first skirt I ever bought for myself.
    Totally agree about the thrift shops. I have found some AMAZING bargains on really nice things over the years. Confidence while shopping will help immensely. Act like you belong there, and nobody questions it.
    Thanks again for sharing!

  3. June Richards Jewell 3 months ago

    🙂 Thankyou. Nice article.

  4. Janine 3 months ago

    Hi Lori
    It’s been quite awhile since I have had the opportunity to dress en femme but after reading your story I’m going to make time soon because it’s been way to long since I transformed into Janine
    I’m going to go shopping for new feminine clothes and a new pair of shoes then wear these things and go out to dinner or shopping so that Janine can be seen like she wants to be seen .
    I’m going to make a point of not taking so long to respond to my wanting to dress en femme
    Thank you for making me see that I’ve been neglecting my feminine self

  5. David Thompson 3 months ago

    I am so Lucky. I c/d 24/7 and my wife has no hang ups about it. She even shops for me. I feel complete now .

  6. Hope Clark 3 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, hun. Having a closet is such an important space. Peace to you and in you.

  7. *skippy1965(Cynthia) 3 months ago

    Lovely article Lorie! My closets too have exploded in the last 3-5 years to the point where it is actually 3 rooms full of Cyn’s clothes which is jokingly known here on the site as Cyn’s boutique. I suppose eventually I’ll pare down a LITTLE bit-definitely not a purge just more organized and getting rid of things that I got before I found “my style” or that are the wrong size (damn those Chinese company measurements-in what world would a size 5XL have a 32” waist?). Anyone thanks for sharing your story and may all the rest of your years be lived to the fullest!
    Cyn

  8. Khloe West 3 months ago

    I’m back here after a long hiatus and a relative noob to properly dressing. A great read,

    My preferred outlets are thrift’s based on the wide selection. We have a brilliant one close that organizes like a retail store as opposed to a garage sale, so it makes shopping far easier. They separate by type and size, which helps, as it’s the size of a super market.

    I’ve been doing some winnowing of the wardrobe as well. Not a purge, as there was no need for that. (I was was good naturedly, yet utterly unexpectedly, “outed” after my first “Girl’s Night Out” on FB in my boy profile and I just let it be). More of a refinement. I bought many things blindly in my early dressing days, but now have a better sense of my own fashion style and getting rid of those things that neither fit nor suit me anymore.

    K

  9. Amanda Patrick 3 months ago

    Hi Lori,

    My first Shopping experience was also in a Thrift Store. Like your self I was quite Anxious at first. But Now I am more Confident when Shopping. I still have my moments. But like your self I have tried on things in the Change Room. Because I would rather not have to take things back if not necessary.

  10. Shari Newman 3 months ago

    First, thanks for sharing.
    And it sounds like you haven’t been in the house for 15 years, (unless you have more than 1 bathroom and /or bedroom closet).
    Me, myself would like to “come out” as Shari but not everyone knows I dress. I mainly dress in private or if I go to meet others in hotel/motels.

    Shari

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