I hear and agree with you, Autumn.
As a habitual thespian, I find that the costume makes me live the character, but, of course, it’s a character that I have assumed and built up through rehearsal.
Laura is a bit different though.
Essentially it’s the same: Clothes are a form of self expression, and give an outward image of the person you’re trying to be. We’re all becoming who we are, or we stagnate and stop growing.
So different outfits become the visible part of our own multi faceted personalities.
I enjoy feeling Laura as separate from male me – even though there’s a core that’s definitely me, I’ve never identified as “boy” or “man”, and have never felt comfortable with the male anatomy.
Yet I’m not a woman, I don’t feel that, although I love women and find the anatomy breathtakingly beautiful. Yet it’s not for me.
The look, however, is very much me.
I can’t stand male clothes of any kind.
It really affects my personality and behaviour – I can say that with confidence after the past two years of more regular, more fulfilling and public dressing.
The act of being dressed and made up, doing ordinary everyday things with others brings out Laura like she’s a different person, and I love that, because I know it’s who I am.
It’s a side of me that feels trapped in male mode, that I am allowing to shine through as subtly as possible.
By treating it as a secret second persona, I realise that I give off the aura of “I Know something you don’t”, which helps others to see me as an expert in what I do.
This isn’t how I feel – it’s more like “I am not worthy, I really don’t know enough to do my job, I’m not sure if I can do this”
With Laura “inside”, I know that I can do things I previously only dreamed of, and if I don’t get it right first time, it’s like water off a duck’s back – I’ll do better next time.
The transformation is amazing, so I am keeping Laura as my other, secret persona, like Dr Jekyll and Sister Hide – except that I am very willing for her to fully take over. Having experienced her after wishing so much that I could do this for decades, I never want to go back. Only forwards.