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  • #483827
    stephanie plumb
    Participant
    Registered On: November 17, 2018
    Topics: 152
    Replies: 2079
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    This one is not about the birds and bee’s, or even tree’s!  Or 2poos chasing squirrels. Or Steph catching the breeze.   No, This one is about challenging myself.

    I don’t know about you but I find my confidence is fickle … some days I’m fine and not too bothered about relatively close encounters when out and about, but on other days I’m just not up for it and keep my distance.  It does take some nerve to pass by, face to face, with a stranger or group of strangers when wearing a skirt!

    So I decided to heck with my standard walk I was going to challenge myself.

    The Common and woods I usually frequent lead into a large newly forested area of around 250 hectares. The newest forest in England – Heartwood Forest.   The paths and tracks here are quite narrow. It’s only about 12 years old so the trees are still quite small and set in grasslands.  Since the lockdown this area has become very popular … and now its also Bluebell time (one of the old woods in this area – Langley Wood –  featured on the BBC Breakfast weather bulletins  last Monday.)

    I decided … to hell with it… I needed a change.  It was going to involve close encounters!  The sun was shining and I was up for it.  The starting point for close encounters is having the confidence that you are looking  and behaving the part.

    I dressed in my standard dog walking uniform of lightweight jumper under a black and grey hoodie, my button through denim mini-skirt, 40 denier opaques, and tan ankle boots.  I must have been feeling bold because I chose my “Stacey Dooley” orangey-red wig.   And I hid behind my oversized sunglasses!  Hoop earrings and a bit of orangey lippy and I was up for it.

    I devised a point system. Each close encounter was worth +10 points, a slightly avoiding one (5 yards) +5 points,  a wide berth worth 0 points, and chickening out and turning back or away worth -10 points.

    So we set off down the common – its about 800 metres to where the path splits off and leads up into the “forest.”

    First challenge!  A swing gate and access point for horses. A choke point.  There was a couple with a dog coming the other way, slightly closer than me. What to do?   Well, social distancing helps as one is expected to give others a little space.  So I waited until they came through, our eyes met briefly followed by a “good morning” and “thankyou.”   Inner sigh of relief.. it had gone well. I had been accepted! +10 points.

    Well, the walk continued uphill and through a bluebell wood, across a grassy field and into a larger old wood where I did have to pass by a few people, again with nods and good mornings.  +60 points.

    My confidence was sky high now.   The next challenge was a  path about a quarter of a mile long bordered by  boundary fences screened by shrubs and small trees. No place to hide, or get off the track, which is fortunately quite wide – about 5 yards I guess- enough for social distancing.  It is popular with dog walkers, so I was guaranteed to meet some coming up from the car park. And it didn’t take long!  They were coming my way in droves! At least that’s how it felt.  And I …. well I had no choice, I was committed, so I put on my best smile and went in!   I ran the gauntlet with smiles, nods, hello’s and good mornings. Nary a second look or overlong glance …  nothing to suggest I hadn’t been accepted.

    About +80 points.

    Time to head back. I had been out for an hour and a half.   The route back was through a massive choke-point straight through the middle of the park to a picnic area, and so back down to the Common.  A narrow path about 100 yards long- just wide enough for 2 metres social distancing, fence one side, dense bushes on the other.  And coming the other way a man without a dog. This was the crux. The ultimate challenge. This was almost a squeeze past and I didn’t like the look of him. Time for -10 points?  My heart was pounding, my confidence in dire risk of crashing!

    No! damn it, I was going for it.  So best ladylike walk, arm swinging and a pretty smile and I went in. Our eyes briefly met as we passed by.  I guess he clocked me by the huge grin on his face, but nothing was said and he didn’t look back.   So I had passed the test and also failed. I had been sussed.

    You know what?  I didn’t care.  He  was a stranger and there was no problem. +10 points. Yay!

    So I finished the walk with a spring in my step and with another +30 points.  Grand total about +190 points.

    This was another milestone for me. I had confronted my fears and overcome them. I had proved to myself I can be accepted as being a woman by most people I meet.  And if I wasn’t ….  so what!  I must be doing something right!  I think the sunglasses played a big part by giving me the extra boost to my confidence.

    Stephanie P xx

     

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    • #485765
      LisaT
      Lady
      Registered On: January 31, 2021
      Topics: 48
      Replies: 553
      Has thanked: 444 times
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      Steph I’m not sure if I can appropriate your points system as I’m not trying to pass as woman but rather find a presentation that suits me. However as this presentation is quite feminine and includes my need to wear a bra. I feel a great deal of nervousness and then achievement whenever I feel I’m making progress.

      Yesterday I took the dogs for a nice walk in glen Orchy. I bought myself a new pair of pale grey Iuga leggings which I wore with a t-shirt and bra together with my hike boots. With my shoulder length hair and manicured and polished nails I’m beginning to get to the type of look I want. It’s the boobs that cause the problem (isn’t it always). I was wearing my black t shirt bra with padding plus my B forms which gives me quite a large bust. Over this I started the day with a jacket which, when closed, disguised my bust somewhat but was still slightly femme.

      Initially I had intended to walk the dogs on Munroes that are approached via farmland and have sheep on them. not ideal as it means I have to keep the dogs on the lead as if a sheep comes close they will chase them and of course there are young lambs in the fields.

      Of course Lulu had to get overexcited getting out of the car which set Amber off. so now i’m trying to get my bag and the dog leads sorted, remain not too obvious to the person parked next to me when the farmer pulls up and politely asks if I’m taking my dogs across his land among his sheep. He was very nice and politely told me I know my own dogs and that he wouldn’t deny access. To be honest I could see his point both dogs were being hyper and he had new lambs all over the hill. I decided to go elsewhere after all there’s plenty of choice and I was feeling very exposed.

      Nearby there is a lovely walk that starts from a large waterfall on the river Orchy and goes up the hill through a Caladonian forest reserve. It is nearly all Forestry commission land so Sheep free and the dogs can run off the lead. Again in the car park I was not alone. A couple were also planning to take their dogs up the same trail. Following the incident with the farmer I had decided not to have the forms in at the start. That still left my natural breast plus bra and bra pads so nice small breasts which were not too obvious under my open jacket. As a result I was comfortable to chat with my fellow walkers about Lulu and Amber and their two small terriers which they were holding nervously as apparently they were a little unreliable outside and very nervous of other dogs. They kindly suggested I set out firsth and after 100 yds I let my dogs off their leads and they set off up the hill.

      Lulu soon found herself a stick for me to throw and we walked alongside a stream falling down the hillside up to and trough the Scots pines with Lulu running twice the distance fetching her stick and Amber trotting along investigating the smells and features along the track. after a couple of hours we reached the high bealach and a small lochan with a view across to the still snowy peak of Ben Lui. We stopped by the Lochan allowing the dogs to play in the water and eat some lunch. During the walk I started out with my forms in and jacket on but as the sun emerged I was soon stripped to my Tshirt and leggings and enjoying myself. After a while despite being totally secure and alone I decided to take out the forms and just be in my padded bra. It was cooler and comfortable and I just relaxed totally into the day.

      Descending back to the car park we met a couple of guys just setting out. I was still in t-shirt and padded bra but so happy with my look I just stopped and chatted with them. Amber especially always attracts attention she is such big good looking dog. Lulu is just friendly and will go straight to people to be stroked. It was therefore quite natural to stop briefly and chat about the dogs, the walk and the fabulous moody view across to the snow laden face and peak of Ben Lui that I was returning from and they were walking to.

      It’s different when you are not trying to pass but looking to be accepted with breasts and nice clothing but still quite definitely male. It’s the hope that I can achieve acceptance while being myself and free and thankfully these two guys were open and friendly and quite honestly made the day.

      So Steph Im not sure how my day rates for points but I felt a great sense of hope that perhaps I can really get to a day to day presentation that aligns with my sense of self and not be rejected.

      hugs

      Lisa xxx

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      • #485774
        stephanie plumb
        Baroness - Annual
        Registered On: November 17, 2018
        Topics: 152
        Replies: 2079
        Has thanked: 3309 times
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        A lovely story Lisa. I can equate to your apprehension  as it mirrors how I feel. My trip took a great deal of mental resolve to see it through, especially at the start of my walk.  With each encounter my confidence increased.   It was not a relaxing walk – I was challenging and testing myself to see if I had the confidence to walk freely where I wanted to despite meeting people on the trail.

        What I have noticed, many times, is that as my confidence rises so does my enjoyment, and one feeds the other until a sort of overconfidence takes hold.  I’m free! And I don’t care! (as much). It can lead to risk taking. But it is wonderfully liberating.

        Your “descending” paragraph is an example of this. At the start you were hiding your boobs, at the end you freely showed them off!

        Like you, I am not trying to “pass”. I hate that expression. But I am trying to be accepted as female. So I am definitely not shy about my boobs as I am presenting totally as a female. They are an eye-catching distraction that draws men’s eyes away from my face! Lol.    And I am expected to have boobs!

        Unlike you I am not trying to be accepted as a man with boobs and nice clothing.

        It seems that both our days were a success, so you can award yourself however many points you feel you deserve!

        Hugs

        Steph xxx

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    • #484893
      Amy Myers
      Baroness
      Registered On: February 11, 2019
      Topics: 16
      Replies: 1326
      Has thanked: 3803 times
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      That sounds like quite the walk! Good for you for sticking with your walk, and it sounds like a lovely place to have a walk too.

      My experience is so much like yours, most people don’t notice, and those that do don’t really seem to care!

      Amy

    • #484875
      Jennifer Walker
      Duchess
      Registered On: September 11, 2019
      Topics: 26
      Replies: 144
      Has thanked: 625 times
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      Hi Stephanie

      I love your points system,  perhaps you could set up a CDH league.

      On my small trips out last week I think I accumulated zero points and probably went negative when I bottled it a couple of times.   If I want to grow my confidence and self acceptance, pushing myself by measuring it in such a way is a great idea.

      Hoping to reach double figures

      Jen

       

       

      • #484926
        stephanie plumb
        Baroness - Annual
        Registered On: November 17, 2018
        Topics: 152
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        Has thanked: 3309 times
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        The  first time you “unbottle it” is a game changer.  One step or bottle at a time.  My technique was to go walkabout without getting near anyone until my nerves had settled and my confidence had built up. Then pick a “target” and go as close as I was comfortable with. No reaction?  + to confidence.

        I used to walk along white van-man parade (a path parallel to the road about 20 yards in) to build my confidence. Each time I went out I would push my boundaries just a little further.  I soon realised that no one was taking any notice of me.   The BIG step is the face-to-face close encounter (social distancing of course! – which helps enormously.)   It is a bit nerve shredding at first but after a few it is easier.  It’s your own fear you have to overcome. People? They really don’t notice or care.

        I find that sunglasses add +10 to my confidence level too!

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        • #484942
          Jennifer Walker
          Duchess
          Registered On: September 11, 2019
          Topics: 26
          Replies: 144
          Has thanked: 625 times
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          Sunglasses and a mask really helped me.  I agree it is little confidence building steps that push you further on.  You can’t do it in all in go.

          looking back to when I first stepped out  of my car in a dark and silent parking bay I know that  girl could never have imagined standing in a public place  in broad daylight.

          Thanks for your post

          Jen

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    • #484152
      Bridgette VonSmirff
      Lady
      Registered On: October 18, 2020
      Topics: 29
      Replies: 924
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      Way to go Steph! Now we all have a new game to play, and a long way to go to catch up. Well, some of us have a long way…I know I do. Just have to hope there’ll be a chance soon!

      Bridgette

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    • #484125
      Regine Rich
      Princess
      Registered On: October 9, 2020
      Topics: 32
      Replies: 907
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      Well done, Stephanie!! I love your points system, a new game for us? lol
      So proud of you, for having the courage, and saying “I dot care”
      Wonderfully done
      Hugs, Regi👩💕

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #484107
      LisaT
      Lady
      Registered On: January 31, 2021
      Topics: 48
      Replies: 553
      Has thanked: 444 times
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      Super brave Steph but also gaining more freedom every day.

      Hugs

      Lisa xxx

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #484099
      Diana Morgan
      Lady
      Registered On: February 22, 2021
      Topics: 8
      Replies: 647
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      Great story Steph, here’s to more close encounters of the +10 kind!

      Keep those confidence levels up..

      Diana

       

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    • #483910
      Leslie
      Lady
      Registered On: September 14, 2020
      Topics: 17
      Replies: 194
      Has thanked: 1601 times
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      Stephanie,
      First off a huge good on you girl sounds like it was a great experience!! All victories great or small are wonderful and yours was a great one.
      Today being the first descent day in a week, last Monday it was 70F.over night it feel into the low 30’s and rained. Tuesday the high was 50 and Tuesday and Wednesday nights we had freeze warning and the lowest temperature in 80 years with 1” of snow. Today was the mid 60’s.
      The SO was off to a family event with her family. So I dressed and took a couple of Netflix videos to return. So I decided to go around the block (just at a mile according to google maps). The first person I ran into was a young lady, college age, I think she did a slight double take but I’m not sure. Then there was another woman walking her dog. She just went on by. Then there was a couple again nothing. Going around the corner there was another couple, the girl gave a pleasant good morning and how are you doing. I managed to chock out a fine and continued. Around the exit corner is a restaurant with out side seating. There were two large groups two tables. I walked past both with nothing said by anyone. So I chalked it all up to a win. A great day.
      Hugs,
      Leslie

    • #483898
      Katie Time
      Duchess
      Registered On: April 3, 2021
      Topics: 18
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      Hey Stephanie that was awesome. If the rest of the world just knew how lucky we are to be the way we are.💕💋 Katie

      5 users thanked author for this post.
    • #483880
      Sarah Du Hessisse
      Lady
      Registered On: September 16, 2020
      Topics: 21
      Replies: 506
      Has thanked: 3131 times
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      Stephanie well done you for challenging yourself and you didn’t turn back, award yourself extra points +10 for talking to people and +10 for completing.

      Love Sarah xx

    • #483873
      Grace Scarlett
      Baroness - Annual
      Registered On: February 16, 2021
      Topics: 66
      Replies: 1390
      Has thanked: 4938 times
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      Steph.

      What a wonderful idea…

      trust you to come up with a ” cdh snooker” game.

      Love it….

      dare I ? should I ? can I ?……..what the hell, go for those points girl…. fantastic….I think we all eventually reach that ” what the hell, I don’t care” point in our lives.

      next thing you know….2poos will be claiming 5 points per squirrel!!!

      Smashing, well done.

      Huggs, grace ❤️❤️

      • #484953
        Amanda Burton
        Baroness - Annual
        Registered On: January 15, 2020
        Topics: 31
        Replies: 1410
        Has thanked: 8637 times
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        Only 5points?

        • #485037
          Grace Scarlett
          Baroness - Annual
          Registered On: February 16, 2021
          Topics: 66
          Replies: 1390
          Has thanked: 4938 times
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          Well, she catches SO many…..😂😂😂

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #485117
            Amanda Burton
            Baroness - Annual
            Registered On: January 15, 2020
            Topics: 31
            Replies: 1410
            Has thanked: 8637 times
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            Catches, or humps?

    • #483872
      Krista
      Duchess
      Registered On: January 24, 2017
      Topics: 8
      Replies: 570
      Has thanked: 1518 times
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      Hi Stephanie, that is a really cool idea.  Scoring points for close encounters.  Are you going to track your points on a scoresheet for awhile?  You’d probably score really big points on Mother’s Day – probably lots of people will be out and about (unless they all go to restaurants for a Mom’s Day brunch).

      Can’t imagine there’d be many squirrels in Heartwood Forest yet with the trees still being so small (much to 2poos dismay).  But I’m sure she’d have lots of new and different smells to keep her busy enough.

      Yes, it is all about confidence.  And even if someone clocks you (which happens to me as well) that gives the old confidence a bit of a shake, doesn’t it.  And I like when you said you didn’t care.  That’s where I’m at too and it really helps.  Congrats on challenging yourself.  Making life challenging and interesting helps to keep us going.  All the Very Best, Hugs, Krista.

    • #483871
      Amanda Burton
      Baroness - Annual
      Registered On: January 15, 2020
      Topics: 31
      Replies: 1410
      Has thanked: 8637 times
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      Stephanie sweetie, that was a brave confidence boosting walk, congratulations sweetie, so happy for you. It’s always a worry that straight away we assume people are going to clock us and be nasty. It’s not true, in many cases we pass un-noticed as just another older female out and about, walking our dogs or just enjoying the countryside. I think being a younger female it harder to go so un-noticed as they tend to stand out more, which understandable. But if you dress rather conservatively most of us blend in to some extent. Well done sweetie proud of you. Lol Amanda xx

    • #483844
      Beth Green
      Lady
      Registered On: February 24, 2021
      Topics: 14
      Replies: 196
      Has thanked: 644 times
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      Yeah Stephanie! A big day and huge confidence builder. Acceptance is so wonderful and more important than “passing”. Passing is just a mistaken goal in our minds but acceptance is the better goal. If we are accepted, we may not be perfect but we are no longer hiding, we are now a part of society.

      Congratulations on your day of challenge and success. Keep pushing yourself forward, I will be right behind you as will all the other girls here that love you.

      Beth

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