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“It Was the Worst of Times; It Was the Best of Times”

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Posts: 1294
Baroness Annual
Topic starter
(@d44)
Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Joined: 5 years ago
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It Was the Worst of Times; It Was the Best of Times.”

With apologies to Charles Dickens for rewriting his classic line from A Tale of Two Cities, this post’s title is a very apt description of the last year and a half. During this I experienced the absolute lowest point in my life, along with one of the best things to have ever happened to me. It was a period of not only sadness, shock, grief, anger, and a sense of unreality but also a period of deep introspection, discovery, change, acceptance, and the adoption of a very “new normal.”

It was the worst of times because in November 2021, my wife of forty-two years passed away following a fourteen-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease combined with dementia that had developed later in her illness. She was the love of my life and I miss her more than I can put into words. I was her caregiver as Parkinson’s relentlessly took away her ability to physically care for herself, and dementia eventually took away her ability to think for herself. It is difficult to watch someone you love physically deteriorate, but it is truly heartbreaking and excruciating to watch their mind and memory fade away. I held her in my arms as she took her last breath and was torn by conflicting emotions: comforted that her considerable suffering had finally ended but devastated that the best part of my life was over. I soon descended into an agonizing state of darkness, grief, and despair, with months passing in a confusing blur. In the spring of 2022, my state of mind improved thanks to the efforts of a bereavement counselor, who guided me through the darkness and enabled me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was not long before my thoughts once again returned to crossdressing. I am past retirement age but have been crossdressing since my teens. For all those years, I was a closeted, lingerie-only dresser who used any alone time at home or time away on business trips to indulge my passion, which included under-dressing on occasion. My dressing significantly diminished during the worst of my wife’s illness, disappearing completely during the darkest time after she passed, but now it has returned, albeit in a very different fashion.

My life began to change from the worst to the best of times thanks to a lady named Fiona, who I met last April. I had occasionally seen glimpses of her around but did not really know her very well. This gal was intriguing and unlike any woman I had ever met. Soon after we got acquainted, we quickly became friends, then very close friends, and finally wound up being inseparable. She was pleasant and seemed very comfortable with who she was. Like me, she was mature, tall, and thin, but unlike me, she dressed stylishly and younger than her actual age. We were opposites in many ways: she likes to shop; I do not; she cares a lot about her appearance; I did not think about it that much. She also turned out to be much more outgoing than I usually am. I very quickly became enamored with her and wondered what it would be like to experience life as such a person. I answered my wondering in early May, and it came in the form of a wig, my first. I had accumulated a small wardrobe because my thoughts about dressing had somehow shifted to wanting to dress fully and go out in public, something I had never before contemplated doing.

On the day they delivered the wig, I put on a nice dress, some lipstick, and the wig. Walking into a room with a full-length mirror, I was mesmerized by the nice-looking lady looking back at me. My feelings burst out in a soft, “Oh my” and I just sat and looked at her for a long while. It was then I decided to become her. I soon found out that deciding to be her was one of the easiest life-changing decisions I have ever made. On May 5, 2022, I was out the door in public En Femme as Fiona and have not looked back since. Initially, I did not want anyone looking at me and was nervous the first few times going out, although not as nervous as anticipated. Soon afterward, I became relaxed and felt very comfortable while out dressed and did not care at all who looked at me. In fact, I learned to welcome the attention and my confidence soared. It developed into a feedback loop where the more I went out, the more my confidence increased, making being out even more comfortable and me more confident. As the months went by, I had no idea where all this was headed. I decided to just let things happen and see what developed. Well, what developed is that since last fall I now basically live 90% of my time out in public and 100% of my time at home dressed as a woman. There are usually a few days per month when I go out in drab, but otherwise, I do all the run-of-the-mill, day-to-day things like food shopping, the library, post office, restaurants, doctor’s office visits … etc. as Fiona. I have determined that I am not a woman trapped in a man’s body and have no desire to fully transition. Living the majority of my life as a crossdresser suits me just fine.

I told the bereavement counselor about Fiona, and she fully supported me. We covered two important subjects related to my grief and Fiona’s subsequent appearance. First, was her appearance an attempt to have a woman in my life after losing my wife? Second, was I using Fiona to escape the grief? Further discussion showed that neither of these applied in my case. In fact, I made it a point to ensure I was not being an escapist by visiting my wife’s grave dressed as Fiona. I have also come out to a select group of friends and acquaintances with everyone being very accepting. There are others who I will never tell about Fiona, not because they will cut me off and never speak to me again, but because their knowledge about Fiona will likely change our relationship. I value my relationships with these people just as they are and do not wish to alter them. Last fall, I had the good fortune to meet a great group of other trans ladies from CrossDressers International (CDI) in New York City. Allison and the other gals were very welcoming and quickly made me feel comfortable. They hold weekly dinners in their private city location, and I try to go there twice a month to socialize, enjoying being with a nice group of friends and acquaintances in a relaxing atmosphere.

So, as you can see, my recent past has been one of extreme lows and exhilarating highs. The highs do not cancel out the lows, though. The grief of losing the lovely woman with whom I had the pleasure of sharing a good part of my life will always be with me, but it will change. It has already changed somewhat because the last eleven months have turned out to be a wonderful experience. My future is trending towards increased happiness and contentment and things are definitely headed in the right direction. I consider crossdressing a gift, one that has made my life immeasurably more interesting and pleasant. When thinking about my very new normal, a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet often comes to mind– “To thine own self be true.”

I am so glad that I was.

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47 Replies
8 Replies
Baroness
(@annaredhead)
Joined: 4 months ago

Prominent Member     Cornwall, United Kingdom
Posts: 442

@d44 Thank you for sharing this

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Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

@annaredhead You're welcome Anna.

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Baroness Annual
(@finallyfiona)
Joined: 7 months ago

Noble Member     Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
Posts: 846

@d44 You mentioned in your PM to me about how you now live almost completely as Fiona.  I'm glad to have read the story of how it came about, although I was saddened at the heartbreaking loss of your dear wife.  Let me add another belated thanks for having written this lovely article.

Albeit without having been bereaved first, it does rather seem that I'm now treading the same path where you have gone before.  "I had no idea where all this was headed. I decided to just let things happen and see what developed."  That's more or less where I'm at, although it was approached as more of a plan to see how much Fiona I wanted in my life versus how little Fiona I could be comfortable with having in my life - the former stage of that now being underway, feels very like "seeing what develops".

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Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

@finallyfiona You're very welcome Fiona.

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 Dani
Lady
(@danirost)
Joined: 2 years ago

Estimable Member     Central, Illinois, United States of America
Posts: 137

@d44 This was a great story. Sometimes coming out of the ashes helps us know who we really are and who we are supposed to be. I'll be many of us feel that exact same way. 

Thank you for sharing and I wish you well. 

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Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

@danirost Appreciate your comments Dani.

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Lady
(@joanarbour)
Joined: 8 years ago

Estimable Member     Missoula, Montana, United States of America
Posts: 92

@d44 so beautifully written. Thank you.

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Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

@joanarbour You're welcome Joan.

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Posts: 12
Guest
(@Susan Wetherby)
Active Member
Joined: 8 years ago

Thank-you Fiona for putting into words a life-time of love. So many difficult times yet so many wonderful times to remember and treasure and embrace forever. Xxx

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Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thank you Susan.

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Posts: 2700
Hostess
(@ab123)
Famed Member     Surrey, United Kingdom
Joined: 4 years ago

Such a touching and heartfelt tale Fiona. Thank you so much for sharing.and now you have weathered the dark clouds grief it is time for the sun to shine again in your life.

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Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Angela, the dark clouds will diminish but never disappear entirely. That is okay though because now I can handle them and fully expect my life going forward will be bright and sunny!

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Posts: 882
Duchess Annual
(@robertaf)
Noble Member     Louisiana, United States of America
Joined: 4 years ago

Thank you, Fiona for sharing.

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Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

You are welcome girlfriend.

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Posts: 1435
Hostess
(@cdsue)
Noble Member     Delaware, United States of America
Joined: 5 years ago

Fiona -

Thank you so much for sharing your story.

My condolences on your loss, it is never easy to lose someone you love. It sounds like you have a lovely grief counselor that has helped you through those difficult times.

It is nice to hear that you met Fiona and have embraced her. It is nice that you have met a group of ladies that bring you happiness.

Enjoy your journey.

XOXO

Suzanne

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thankfully I am enjoying my "new normal" and am looking forward to even greater enjoyment as time passes Suzanne.

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Posts: 1559
Baroness Annual
(@secretpassions)
Noble Member     Wisconsin, United States of America
Joined: 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story Fiona!
I’m very sorry for the struggles, and loss.
I’ve lost my father, and also my mother in-law (mother in-law lived with us for 20 years)
to dementia. It was very long term in both cases. It’s got to be so much more difficult with a spouse!
I’m so glad you found Fiona, and you have a good grief counselor too.

Congratulations on becoming Fiona!
Lara

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thank you so much Lara. I strongly recommend using bereavement counselors especially when someone loses someone close like a spouse or a child. It can make a world of difference not only after the loss but in the rest of one's life as well.

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Posts: 52
Lady
(@mariannepc)
Trusted Member     Ulster, Ireland
Joined: 1 year ago

Fiona, that was quite the roller coaster. I am sorry that you had to go through such pain. I won't even let the thought of losing my wife enter my head as that is too hard so I can't really imagine what you went through. But I am happy for you to get to know Fiona. Great choice of photo though as I can almost see 2 contrasting emotions at the same time. xxx

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thanks for your comments Perse. I'm glad I got to know Fiona too!

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Posts: 6
(@nicolette)
Active Member     NFP, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Joined: 1 year ago

A big hi to Fiona Black for her lovely article, 'It was the worst of times, it was the best of times'.

I too have someone close with Parkinsons Disease and it is very sad to see a thing like that happen to someone you love dearly.

I have also been a cross dresser since my mid teens, only to stop when I joined the armed forces for five-years, and have since taken it up again. Can't CD in the armed forces, they used to court marshal us for things like that in my time, hope it has changed.

I bought a new wig only yesterday, my first one, raven in a bob, synthetic. I don't know the first thing about wearing one other than the label goes at the back. The hair strands from the fringe and sides keep falling into my eyes in clumps, so I started tucking the sides behind my ears, then I noticed my sideboards were obvious because they are totally grey and I'd started growing them longer again to make up for the lack of hair on my crown, hence the wig, so today I cut my sidedeboards back to my middle ear lobe again. Must get some 'bobby-pins' from the supermarket today when I go get my dinner, and a new night-dress. I go out wearing sports bra, leggings, body suit and knickers under my drab each time I go outside. Not ready for outing he deeper woman in me yet.

I also bought a new book yesterday, 'The Trans-gender Issue - An Argument For Justice' by Shon Faye, a trans-gender author. Shon is clearly very knowledgeable on trans-gender issues, and the book is a very interesting read, I'm only just half-way through chapter 1 at this early stage, read the Prologue and Introduction last night. I is a Penguin Random House paperback if you are interested.

I am happy as a cross dresser also at this point, and can't see me having any gender changing surgery at this stage but who knows.

Enjoy your femme life Fiona, you deserve it. I will also read your other articles on 'Crossdresser Heaven' as they are very readable.

Love from Nicolette.

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2 Replies
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thankfully I am enjoying my femme life Nicolette and am sure that enjoyment will only grow as time goes on.

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(@nicolette)
Joined: 1 year ago

Active Member     NFP, Merseyside, United Kingdom
Posts: 6

Well done Fiona.
Love from Nicolette
XXXXXX

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Posts: 741
Baroness
(@trish1980)
Prominent Member     Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada
Joined: 3 years ago

Hi Fiona, thanks for sharing this very personal story. I can relate a little bit in that my best friend died 2 years ago from that dreadful decease. It’s so hard watching it destroy the person you knew.

I’m so happy that between your therapist and your own resolve that you’re back in a much better place girl friend.

Love,
Trish ❤️❤️❤️

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thank you Trish. Much ❤to you too.

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Posts: 119
Lady
(@tiiijaaa)
Estimable Member     Utica, New York, United States of America
Joined: 1 year ago

Fiona,

Your article really struck a nerve with me. My wife of 25 years recently divorced me and the grief was unbearable at first. I then, gradually, began to accept my new life for what it was. We are still friends, but my sweet Jenny side is more and more my new normal. I've suppressed that side of who I am for so long. Now I have the freedom to fully embrace my softer side.

Thank you for your story.

Jen

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2 Replies
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

You're welcome Jen. I am so glad you made it through that difficult time and are looking at the bright side of your new normal.

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Lady
(@tiiijaaa)
Joined: 1 year ago

Estimable Member     Utica, New York, United States of America
Posts: 119

Thank you, as well, my friend!

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Posts: 16
Lady
(@janetbarrie)
Active Member     Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
Joined: 4 years ago

Wonderful story thanks for sharing all the best moving forward. Janet

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thank you for the kind words Janet.

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Posts: 209
(@mariec)
Estimable Member     California, United States of America
Joined: 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing, Fiona. This was a very touching and well written article. I wish you all the best.

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

I appreciate your comments Marie. All the best to you too.

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Posts: 475
Duchess
(@michellemybell)
Honorable Member     Clearwater, Florida, United States of America
Joined: 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story with us Fiona. It really hit home with me since I am the caregiver for my wife of 53 years. The last couple years she has started having memory issues and it is difficult to see your loved one start to slip away. Just the thought of her passing is difficult for me and I have a hard time imagining life without her.

Your story gives me hope and I expect given the freedom for Michelle to blossom she will be a integral part of my life if and when I am on my own. Seems very complicated though since I would not want to give up friends, come out to my children and grandchildren or my neighbors in my condo building.

I'm very happy for you Fiona and hope you continue to enjoy your new normal.

Hugs,

Michelle

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2 Replies
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thank you for your kind words Michelle. I'm sorry to hear of your wife's condition and have some sense of what you are going through. You are probably in for a rough patch but you will get through it no matter how bleak it may seem at times. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. And don't forget to take care of yourself while taking care of your wife.

I wish you the best and if you ever want to talk about anything just shoot me a message.

Big hug,

Fiona

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Lady
(@kathys)
Joined: 1 year ago

Eminent Member     St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America
Posts: 20

Thanks for the wonderful story Fiona and good reply Michelle. I am my wife's caregiver too since she is disabled and is on home hemo-dialysis 4X week (I'm the nurse). I recently retired to take care of her more effectively and then also stopped playing the male I was.
Kathy is 64, trans-woman (intersex female) - forced to act and dress like a male all so many years, finally with the help of my wonderful therapist and medical doctors I am making progress towards my true self. I am intersex, born a female, raised as a boy/man, and hidden as a male all these years. Sadly, my wife of 33 years does not understand nor accept me. She talks about divorce but needs me as her caregiver. She talks about giving up all the time which makes me sad and depressed. Her dementia clouds her thoughts. Around her I continue to be a female crossdresser when I’m forced to wear men’s clothes.

Kathy

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Posts: 53
Lady
(@sunnyday)
Trusted Member     Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Joined: 1 year ago

That's very touching and thoughtful Fiona. I'm so sorry for your loss of your wife; your love and your care for her shines through in this. And I'm also impressed with your honesty in your new life, and your clarity and happiness with who you are. I'm very much a closetted crossdresser and am so pleased to hear of your freedom. You deserve that freedom, and I think that living it is no disrespect to your dearly loved, late wife. Life is precious and to be celebrated. You do that.
Alli

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thank you Alli, your comments are greatly appreciated.

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Posts: 12
Guest
(@Susan Wetherby)
Active Member
Joined: 8 years ago

Very thoughtful and well-written Fiona. Thank you for opening up and sharing with us here. Wishing continued peace and happiness for you!

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1 Reply
Baroness Annual
(@d44)
Joined: 5 years ago

Noble Member     New York, United States of America
Posts: 1294

Thank you very much Rachel.

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