Living for Yourself

It was suggested by a dear friend on CDH that I tell my story, even though I don’t think but a portion relates to my CD experience. I don’t know if it is interesting or enlightening, but I think it may be something that is at least worth telling.

It had been such a long time between my last real crossdressing experience in my 20s and starting up again earlier this year in my late 50s, that it almost feels like I’ve lived another life in between. A life that included getting married, having and raising children, dealing with the near death of my mother and then the death of my father, somehow getting past my wife’s affair, and finally a suicide attempt – all these emotions almost overwhelming my ability to cope, and in the long run actually doing so as it turns out. It’s a funny thing, the people that love you the most, and that you love the most, are actually the ones that have the ability to hurt you the most – to hurt you so bad that ceasing to exist feels like it would be a welcome relief.

My childhood was rather typical for kids of my era growing up in the 60s and 70s. Not quite “Leave it to Beaver”, but close. Two great parents and a loving household. My father, bless him, was a good man, but a man for whom life seemed to be defined by achievement. Being the oldest, and a boy, of course I was supposed to achieve, to accomplish, to be “better”. My whole life seemed to revolve around being the best, or at least very good, at whatever I was doing, because just enjoying an activity for the pure pleasure it might give me was never really an option. I became obsessed with perfection, and if I wasn’t perfect (I never was) I was a disappointment in my own eyes, worthless, never good enough.

I don’t know exactly why I started dressing, but I was always drawn to the clothes and the makeup – especially the makeup. Girls just seemed to have it so much better and easier than guys. My sister was never pressured at home to achieve. While I was supposed to get As, Bs were OK for her. I was supposed to excel, she just had to do OK. It seemed to my pre-adolescent and adolescent mind that girls just had it so much better. I loved the ability they had to express their emotions and express themselves through their clothes, hair and makeup, while I was kept in the same old boring clothes and the same short boring hair. No flamboyance whatsoever. No expression of who I really was – just who my father, and society, wanted me to be. Now that I’ve actually lived life I know there is so much more to being a woman, and they have their own set of difficulties, different, but at least on par with those of men, however, to my young mind that just didn’t register.

When I came out to my wife 35 plus years ago she wasn’t hostile, but it was apparent she wasn’t interested in having that be a part of my life or hers. And when your life is spent living for others and trying to please them, you bury your own desires deep within, because to give way to them means you might lose everything you hold dear. Instead I put my life into my marriage and my kids, and buried all my CD thoughts deep down. Only now do I realize that it just contributed to my unhappiness, depression, and rifts in my marriage.

When I eventually found out about my wife’s affair I ended up questioning my worth as a husband, a father, and just as a person. When your self worth depends on the approval of others they can destroy you without meaning to. My wife’s affair basically took from me the ability to love and trust someone completely. The hurt was that bad; and I decided, subconsciously I think, that I will never be hurt like that again. We reconciled – sort of, because we really didn’t have any choice financially – but things have never been the same.

It’s funny, but all this “stuff” just percolates under the surface of your life until it just can’t be kept under wraps anymore. For me it culminated in a suicide attempt not all that long ago. Fortunately, my perfectionism didn’t carry through to suicide and of course I failed. I had just wanted to fade away, but then life never works that neatly. After all this though a funny thing happened – I stopped caring about what others thought of me. It seems that after I looked my own mortality straight in the face, I saw this desire for perfection and the approval of others for what it was, nothing but a distraction to living my life – for ME.

I wonder how many of us have gone through our entire lives never doing enough, never achieving enough, never being enough. That was me, and behind all the smiles and appearances of happiness, I actually hated myself. In my own mind I was never good enough. I actually told my therapist just a few short months ago that this was the first time EVER that I can remember liking myself just for being me. That has actually been a revelation to me; that I can like who I am just for being myself, and enjoy my life as it comes to me. What I accomplish in reality means so little compared to how I enjoy myself getting there.

So now all the fear I once had about “discovery”, disappointing my wife or my children, and not being “man enough” is gone. Where I used to fear being seen with long hair, wearing something that looked too feminine, having left over polish on my nails, or God forbid ever going out dressed, now I just don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of me. I know not everyone will feel this way, but I am at a point now where I finally feel free to express who I really am – all the male, female and “whatever” characteristics of my being that are within me.

Where this journey of mine will end up I’m not really sure because I am discovering new things about myself all the time. I never thought I would enjoy just “being” while dressed, or that I would find talking about my CD experiences almost as relaxing as actually dressing. And I never thought I would find a site like CDH. People who accept me just for being me.

And that leads me to the most important thing I have learned while on this journey. Be yourself, love yourself for who you are, and let others come to you not because of who you think they want you to be, but because of who you really are, because let’s face it – we are all worthy of friendship and love, and if you’re a member here then you’re also part of a pretty damn interesting group of people.

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April (Pacific Princess)

I have been crossdressing since about the age of 7, but took a 30+ year hiatus from dressing while I was busy with family. I started dressing again a little over a year ago, and I finally like who I am. I only dress once a week or so, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist and love going “all out” when I do. I guess I'm kind of a late bloomer (re-bloomer?), and I don't know where this journey is going, but I plan on enjoying the ride!

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  1. Joanna Knight 4 weeks ago

    You are so right we should live for ourselves and do what makes us happy! As a young girl I worked hard to please my adopted parents only to find out that I never could no matter how hard I tried!
    I learned to like my self back in high school at boys town! I now do what I like and dress as I like too !
    I just don’t think coming out to my family would be a good thing! How ever I do know that they accept there youngest daughter being bi! My being a crossdresser is a whole other thing!
    I have been think about asking them this: If a family member was a crossdresser would they be accepted as still family?
    Do you my sister think I should or not?
    Love your sister ,

  2. Nina 2 years ago

    April, I so recognize your description of growing up. I too learn to achieve and work hard and always focus on what was expected of me: get a good education, get a good job, get a good family and take well care of it. After all, we did grow up with superheroes during the 60ies…
    I am trying to un-learn that now, after a bad period of depression, to convince myself that suppressing and holding back is not the right thing to do, instead fill my life with what gives me joy. I just started seeing a councellor specializing in trans issues to help me get there. Thanks for sharing your story. xoxo

  3. Wanda Shirkey 2 years ago

    I loved your story. I can relate to the suicide. Although I have not yet attempted it, I have thought a lot about it. I then think more about my two kids than I do my wife. Although suicide may not be for me I often think that if I should die of normal circumstances such as illness or car accident it would not be a big deal for I have lived a full life and I think my family would be better off in the long run. I like you am in my fifties and I feel like I have wasted so much time worrying about what others would think instead of living my life the way i want. Again, thank you for your story.



    • Author

      Wanda – I hope you can take from my story that it is never too late to start living your life the way you want to live it. When I was at my most depressed I also thought my family would be better off without me. It’s just not true. And after a lot of counseling and soul searching I knew that they would much rather have me around with all my “quirks” than for me to be gone. I can only live my life from this day forward, and the same is true for you. Make of it what you want. I am lucky in a way that I had an “epiphany” after my suicide attempt, and I was able to shed a lot of the baggage that was making me miserable. You may get there more slowly (and believe me I do not recommend the way I got there), but you can get there. It is not too late. Try not to despair hun – the people here care about you, and that includes me. Please PM me if you want to talk.


  4. Jackie 2 years ago

    You have an amazing story April. Your part about not being “man enough” to be a part of your wife and children’s life is a strong message for others. I myself never had to go through that for when I was married a short time most of my own secrets didn’t come about. Though I dressed every chance I got I don’t think there was suspicion until afterwards. You have a wonderful story to tell and share with so many in your identical experience. May only the best come to you and may you be happy all the time with who you are. Jackie

  5. Amanda Patrick 2 years ago

    Hi April,

    loved your story. I can certainly relate to the depression and suppression of the feelings and always wanting to be pleasing others. since I have stopped fighting those feelings and taken action the last year I have also found a difference in my self. once again great story and I am glad your last act of trying perfection did not work. we are blessed to have you here.


    Amanda Patrick

  6. Darcy Bainsley 2 years ago

    You are an inspiration and so happy that we had some time to spend together

  7. Patty Michelle 2 years ago

    Beautiful article, April. I feel the emotion that you put into writing it. I am glad that you shared your journey with us. I love the part in last paragraph “Be yourself, love yourself as you are”. Very strong words that apply to everything we all do and want to be…

    Hugs, Patty

  8. Author

    Thank you all so much for your kind words. This place really does mean a lot to me.

  9. Tess Williams 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story April. I also agree with Jane – thank you for not being perfect when you were in that dark place. I’m so glad you made it to the light and you “love yourself” and “love yourself for who you are” – your strong words. 🙂

  10. debbie 2 years ago

    I am sure April the best part of life is now before you sis. Glad you found the courage and taken the step with such a good attitude too

  11. Tanya 2 years ago

    April, an awesome read. My wish for you is that you grow into a beautiful butterfly and that you never change your attitude towards life. My daily prayer is never to change anyone for who they are. Happiness is found within ourselves and we should live a happy life being exactly who we are. I love Maxine with all my heart & soul and i accept her with open arms. You are all precious, not worthless at all.

  12. Abbie Simons 2 years ago


    You are an amazing person, never ever forget that hunny you are not defined by what you look like (i think your gorgeous by the way) but what you do in life. wishing you great things and happiness for the future.

    Big Hugs……………………Abbie

  13. *skippy1965(Cynthia) 2 years ago

    An inspiring story of hope you have written here! I am doing my best to get to the point where I decide to be who I am regardless of what others may think. I am not QUITE there yet but a moving towards that goal a little more every day! You writing this may be the impetus that accelerates my pace down that path! thanks so much or writing and sharing!


  14. Krista 2 years ago

    Great article April. There are so experiences to which I can relate – growing up in the 60s & 70s, having a father with high expectations, trying to bury CD urges and focus on marriage, kids, etc. I’m very glad you came through the depression time of your life. Your present attitude is terrific – keep it up. Thanks so much for sharing. As always, all the best, and Hugs, Krista

  15. Kayla Jameson 2 years ago

    Thank you, Jane, for you sensitive article. It really spoke to my heart. I’ve lived much of my life trying to live up to the expectations of others, and never quite pleasing anyone. Your article has helped me move forward a bit in throwing off those shackles and giving myself permission to be me.

  16. Jesse Nicole(Smokey) 2 years ago

    Great read April. Your story represents so many of our members here. How long had each one of us buried our female before realizing what it was doing to us? I hope all of us gets her going Asap!

  17. MacKenzie Alexandra 2 years ago

    Thanx for sharing, April. As I am learning to embrace this aspect of who I am, reading your story gives me a peace of mind. It is a relief that to know that others face similar struggles.


  18. Lea 2 years ago

    April, your story was amazing, there was so much in it thiat I could relate too. Life is challenging, being a CD adds more for us to baulance.

  19. JaneS 2 years ago

    April your story is immensely moving. What it really shows is that as we went through our lives feeling very alone in our feelings there were others going through similar experiences with the same feelings of loneliness.
    I am happy that your quest for excellence was inadequate in that one specific area for if it had not been so we would have been deprived of a friend and society would have been deprived of an amazing individual.
    There are many similarities in our stories. I am saddened that it took us so long to realise the truths that you speak; that we should live our lives as we feel we need to, for ourselves. In the end, those who love us will do so for who we are, not who we pretend we are.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and thank you for being a friend.

    • Author

      Thanks Jane for your kind words. I think all of us who get through what life throws at us have similar stories. Some get to the point I’m at much sooner and some later. I’m just glad I finally got to where I am. The only part of my life that is left is ahead of me, so I guess I’m on an equal footing going forward.


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