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  • #698328
    Kayla Kross
    Participant
    Registered On: March 25, 2020
    Topics: 3
    Replies: 9
    Has thanked: 26 times
    Been thanked: 72 times

    Hey everyone! This may be one of my first real contributions to the forum but I’ve been lurking around for a year or two and really do appreciate the community that has been built here.

    I’m in my late 30s (married with kids) and have been consumed with these thoughts from time to time since childhood. I’ve had my fair share of experiences, from completely ignoring it, dabbling with it behind closed doors, then finally going all in with full clothes, makeup, etc and going out on the town. But over the last 5 years or so the thoughts have become more consistent, my desire to dress like a woman have been met with an equal desire to act and feel like a woman, potentially live like a woman, and even enter into relationships with men. So I decided it was time to talk these things out and maybe try to make sense of this, so one way or another I could move forward in life with some sort of peace behind who I am.

    I set up counseling with someone who specializes in all things concerning sexual health and gender issues. The broad spectrum of sexual health was important for me as I also have an addiction to “adult content” and “adult related activities” that I need to gain more control over. Some will tell  you that crossdressing can be a symptom of a sexual addiction (I’m not subscribing to that idea) but for me I’m fairly certain that my addiction issues and my gender identity concerns are mutually exclusive, yet both things that I want a better handle on.

    Anyways, yesterday was my second session and we decided to tackle the gender side of things first. And I guess if nothing else, all I really wanted to say here today is that it felt really really good to get things off my chest in a setting where I didn’t have to feel guilt or shame about how I feel or things I have felt.  I didn’t sleep well last night because  I physically just felt  under the weather, but through last night and into today emotionally I feel like a small weight has been lifted and I’m feeling some sense of optimism. I honestly just feel really good about who I am today.

    We’re all on our separate journeys, and some of you may relate with these “gender feelings”, and others may not. But I know the majority of us  have all felt the stress of being caught or outed and I want to leave you with this. As we talked about my experiences growing up I told my counselor about 1 time when when I was in 8th grade and I told a friend about my interest in dressing and my friend didn’t believe me and the topic died. I told my counselor how when I was 18 I lied to a gf to save myself when she found evidence that I had interest in dressing and guys, and my gf believed me. My counselors only response to those situations which could have completely changed the course of my life is that she just felt sad for me because I lived this alone for so many years with nobody really knowing. I sit here today not feeling bad for present day me, but I do feel bad for the preteen me who was dismissed when I actually came out to someone, and the late teen me who felt the need to lie and cover for who I really was. What I want to say here to anyone who struggled, or questioned, or denied, I’m also sorry that you had to feel those things, or went it alone, and I hope we all find a way to move forward in our lives being true to ourselves with peace and happiness along with it.

     

Viewing 7 reply threads
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    • #698439
      Kim Dahlenbergen
      Lady
      Registered On: November 18, 2019
      Topics: 1
      Replies: 285
      Has thanked: 261 times
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      My thought is that addictive/compulsive behaviors may be common among those of us that have had difficulty dealing with repressed interests in cross dressing and/or some repressed or confused thoughts about gender identity. My colleagues who work in behavioral health often have noted that addiction can often be a person’s attempt to manage internal pain/conflict/trauma… essentially self medicating with substances, gambling, food or sex. And surely the pain of repression/denial/self loathing associated with crossdressing and gender identity may respond at least momentarily to the positive feelings one derives from expressing those inner desires, however briefly.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #698502
        Kayla Kross
        Lady
        Registered On: March 25, 2020
        Topics: 3
        Replies: 9
        Has thanked: 26 times
        Been thanked: 72 times

        I’ve often wondered whether my addiction lead to my dressing or if my inability to dress and possible sexual frustration lead to my addiction. It could be either, but for me I feel they’re either independent of each other or that the addiction was caused by my repressed desires.

        It was actually my brief experience in a 12 step program that taught me that crossdressing can be a symptom of, or caused by a sexual addiction.

        Either way, my counselor is very confident that my questions regarding this intersection is one of her top areas of specialty. I’m just glad shes open to looking at the entire picture and moving forward together rather than steering me towards a generic or traditional prepackaged answer.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #698451
        Emily Alt
        Hostess
        Registered On: August 24, 2019
        Topics: 24
        Replies: 1275
        Has thanked: 1437 times
        Been thanked: 6563 times

        I’m gonna steal onto Kim’s thread here in regard to addiction….

        I agree that addiction can often be attributed to a person’s attempt to manage internal pain/conflict/trauma.  Essentially self-medicating.

        I dealt with pain, self-loathing, and denial with alcohol.  Alcohol and crossdressing were the main contributors to my divorce.  Divorce led me to 12-Step, for which I’m eternally grateful.  Recovery was the foundation for discovering who I really am.

        Learning to love my trans self was the key to overcoming addiction.  And it was the key to living a happy life as a transgender person.  Women’s clothes became a way to express who I am.  But I don’t need them to feel feminine.  That’s in my head.

        I got out of 12-Step and do have an occasional drink.

        Rainbow trails…..
        /EA

        • #698463
          Gabriela
          Managing Ambassador
          Registered On: January 11, 2021
          Topics: 1189
          Replies: 503
          Has thanked: 440 times
          Been thanked: 2765 times

          Hi Emily. Let me quote you:

           Women’s clothes became a way to express who I am.  But I don’t need them to feel feminine.  That’s in my head.”

          I was so happy when I realized the same. I dress because I want to. Not because I have to! Of course I love being able to present as a woman, but that is the exterior, the wrappings. I am who I am 100% of the time.

           

          4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #698414
      Davina
      Duchess - Annual
      Registered On: April 15, 2022
      Topics: 1
      Replies: 171
      Has thanked: 1522 times
      Been thanked: 552 times

      Kayla, thank you so much for posting your story. All of us here in CDH have similar bot different paths we have taken. I am so happy that you are able to find a professional who you can talk freely to and is supportive. I wish you the very best moving forward!

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #698386
      J J
      Lady
      Registered On: September 13, 2019
      Topics: 5
      Replies: 491
      Has thanked: 0 times
      Been thanked: 1873 times

      I come from a very different place and experiences, but I would say to not be too hard on your young self, or your young friend. We don’t always respond as we ideally should, but that is mostly from a lack of experience in our young lives. Looking back on my young self all those years a go I would certainly do things differently based on what I know now, but given what I knew back then I would probably do exactly what I did. Don’t beat yourself up because you can now see things better in hindsight.

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #698381
      Holly Morris
      Lady
      Registered On: April 15, 2022
      Topics: 106
      Replies: 284
      Has thanked: 3397 times
      Been thanked: 3334 times

      Hi Kayla, thanks for sharing.

      Many of us here have dealt with these same (or similar) issues, I know I have. But many of us, like me, also grew up in a different era when people were not as open to different gender expressions as they are now. Back then, counselors might be helpful (not usually the case), but could also actually make things worse. You’re young, so I assume the counselor you went to may be of similar age to you? That means you’ve both grown up in a time that has become (somewhat) more accepting of those of us who crossdress. However, back in the day that wasn’t always the case, as crossdressing was considered to be deviant behavior that could be “cured” instead of understood.

      I’m glad to hear that you’ve found a counselor who you can work with. I hope your spouse is also understanding and supportive of you finding and better understanding your feminine self.

      Hugs,

      Holly

      6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #698549
        Kayla Kross
        Lady
        Registered On: March 25, 2020
        Topics: 3
        Replies: 9
        Has thanked: 26 times
        Been thanked: 72 times

        Holly,

        Yes, my counselor seems to be similar in age to myself. Glad you think we’re both still young lol. But aside from her working in this particular area, her approach to our sessions tells me she is very understanding and accepting of things other counselors may not be.

        I don’t want to sound dismissive about the social or societal challenges that any of us faced while we were younger in our journeys, (I’m sure being 12 in the 1930s was tougher than being 12 in the 1960s, just as the 1960s were more trying than what I may have experienced in the 1990s) but I certainly don’t feel like I had any room for expression or ‘deviation from the norm” when I started experiencing these feelings. Tbh, one of the things that sticks out to me during my early years was this media uproar about celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O’donnell having their own shows but possible being gay. Over and over people questioning them about their sexuality then questioning whether or not they should have influence through their own shows or be in lead roles on sitcoms, all because of their sexuality. For me who liked dressing and feeling feminine, and had questions about my sexuality, the thought of possibly being different scared me to death in 1996.

        Thinking about how things have changed even today, on one hand I think kids or young adults going through these things are likely more open with each other and do a better job supporting each other. On the other hand if you think about what you see in the media and in politics in regards to brainwashing our youth and pushing this trans movement, I wouldn’t blame those kids if they were too scared to speak up and be true to themselves.

        Do things get better with time and are things getting better, yes. But I’d say you have to be growing up in almost a perfect situation to not only be comfortable coming out to your family, but also friends, school and community.

        Just my 2 cents.

         

        5 users thanked author for this post.
        • #698611
          Holly Morris
          Lady
          Registered On: April 15, 2022
          Topics: 106
          Replies: 284
          Has thanked: 3397 times
          Been thanked: 3334 times

          Hi Kayla, you raise some really good points, thanks for helping me see your point of view.

          It’s interesting, but I guess it always seems that each generation thinks the next younger one has it easier, but the reality is different. Each generation just has a different set of challenges, but that doesn’t always make it easier.

          Hugs,

          Holly

          3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #698408
        Michelle McQueen
        Lady
        Registered On: June 14, 2021
        Topics: 31
        Replies: 1794
        Has thanked: 12830 times
        Been thanked: 8996 times

        Hi Holly. Your post is so true concerning the past when we struggled to make sense of our desires mistakenly believing we were alone with our “deviant, perverted” behavior. No outlets or friends anywhere to confide in. It was very dark times compared to today.

        My wife found one of my bras shortly after we were married over thirty years ago and after I finally convinced her it was mine we went to marriage counseling. The therapist had no clue about CDs so I lied and convinced him and the wife I was “cured”. This led to decades of hiding in the closet fearful that at anytime my life could be completely destroyed. I must have been very good at hiding because When I finally came out to her over six years ago she said, “I thought you were over that”. Times have really changed and its a good thing for the sisterhood.

        6 users thanked author for this post.
    • #698356
      Roberta Broussard
      Baroness
      Registered On: July 20, 2020
      Topics: 7
      Replies: 498
      Has thanked: 6807 times
      Been thanked: 2453 times

      For me, this is one of the benefits of this community. Topics come up in the forums that I would not be able to discuss or contribute too, in my other world. However, being able to open up to other girls here allows me to live openly and be me. Without hesitation or fear of judgement. It somehow allows me to express my thoughts about my life as aa a CD, openly and allows me to feel like I am living as Roberta.

      Its a huge benefit to not have to keep my emotions or feeling bottled up.

      • #698491
        Fiona Black
        Baroness - Annual
        Registered On: November 23, 2019
        Topics: 1
        Replies: 432
        Has thanked: 272 times
        Been thanked: 1824 times

        I agree 100% Roberta. It is through reading about and communicating with others ladies, both here at CDH and on another site, that helped me feel completely comfortable in becoming Fiona.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #698350
      Suzanne Martin
      Hostess
      Registered On: January 8, 2020
      Topics: 5
      Replies: 420
      Has thanked: 1827 times
      Been thanked: 1798 times

      Kayla –

      Your experience sounds very similar to my own, although I never told anyone of my desire to dress.  The exception to that was when I was in college and my girlfriend helped me dress en femme for Halloween.  I too am in therapy and have been for around 3 years.  I have found it to be very helpful in coming to realize that 1- I am not a freak because I desire to dress and express my feminine side, 2- I am not a pervert as I have bi tendencies (following a discussion with a friend I’d probably say I’m pansexual), 3 – it is okay to be me and do what makes me happy so long as I don’t hurt anyone.  I have found it to be very freeing and embrace the parts of myself I have denied.  I don’t, and probably never will, share everything about myself, but I think everyone has something they don’t share with others. Just being ablet o accept yourself for who you are and not feel shame or guilt is a big win in my book.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      XOXO
      Suzanne

      • #698374
        Kayla Kross
        Lady
        Registered On: March 25, 2020
        Topics: 3
        Replies: 9
        Has thanked: 26 times
        Been thanked: 72 times

        Suzanne

        I’ve always been of the same mindset as you in regards to keeping some things to myself. Though I feel my reservations beginning to change after counseling the other day. Don’t get me wrong, being 100% open with people in my life is something that will take time, or may never come at all, but I just feel better about the idea right now.

        Aside from telling my friend in 8th grade (couldn’t have picked worse timing if you think about all the things kids go through during middle school and high school years) I went 34 years with no intention of ever telling anyone. The only reason any of this is out in the open is because my wife found some of my things a few years back and I just told her the truth. But, despite being honest with her, I moved past that day with 100% intention of her being the 1 and only person to ever know.

        Now all that said, I guess I don’t see a point in telling everyone unless I intended on making a pretty significant change in my life. Why do mom, dad and the family need to know that I dress and am in touch with my feminine side if its something that I only do on weekends away alone?

        No rush to figure it all out now. But I guess I do see a world where I could be 100% real about who I am and be perfectly happy. I wouldn’t have said that a few months ago.

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #698378
          Michelle McQueen
          Lady
          Registered On: June 14, 2021
          Topics: 31
          Replies: 1794
          Has thanked: 12830 times
          Been thanked: 8996 times

          Hi Kayla.

          You will find that as you grow more mature in age the desire to express your feminine side will grow stronger and stronger. Some can maintain secrecy and keep in the closet while like myself and many others it can’t be contained. It will come out in various ways or completely out depending on the individual and situation. Your thinking now suggests one day you will want Kayla to be free. I wish you the best on your journey.

          4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #698335
      Lisa Leigh
      Lady
      Registered On: April 20, 2022
      Topics: 5
      Replies: 250
      Has thanked: 796 times
      Been thanked: 1122 times

      Thank you for sharing your experience. It does help.
      I tried talking to a counselor once and he didn’t want to discuss it, he was more interested in peer pressure. Take advantage of your help!

      • #698368
        Kayla Kross
        Lady
        Registered On: March 25, 2020
        Topics: 3
        Replies: 9
        Has thanked: 26 times
        Been thanked: 72 times

        Thats sad to hear. Maybe try another counselor? My first experience with counseling was 4 years ago. My counselor was more concerned about where I wanted to go with my dressing and gender concerns rather than helping me understand it.

        The easy answer for me was that because I had a family I wanted to maintain my life as I knew it. His response was basically that I needed to stop dressing or expressing if I wanted to keep my traditional family together. Sure that makes sense in a way, but it didn’t help me with anything I felt inside, My time in counseling just gave me more ways to try and suppress or hide it.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #698330
      Cassie Jayson
      Duchess
      Registered On: September 29, 2019
      Topics: 72
      Replies: 1161
      Has thanked: 2721 times
      Been thanked: 5469 times

      As you said Kayla, your life sounds like bits and pieces of my own and I am sure many here at CDH. Most of these desires are not ‘wrong’ as long as someone else does not get hurt.. As soon as you (and all of us ) realize this the sooner we can be at peace with our fem sides and go out and explore the world with her.

      . Cassie

      4 users thanked author for this post.
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