I have, for the past few months, been distant from CDH. This is in part because of my chronic illness and how it has become active again after almost a year of remission. Part of it is also because of a side effect of that illness, and this may be something others might be able to relate to.

Two and a half years ago I spent twelve days in the hospital and nearly died. No one could determine what was wrong with me. Still very ill, I was discharged from the hospital and went to see a string of specialists. As my mother would say “You’ve seen every kind of specialist now except an OB/GYN.” Finally I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus (SLE) in the moderate to severe range with severe rheumatoid and osteo arthritis.

I have been crossdressing in one form or another since 1986. I have gone through periods of full dressing, but most of my dressing has been “waist down” crossdressing. I have an affinity for miniskirts, nylons, fishnet tights, and high-heeled shoes and boots. Now try to reconcile this with dealing with two forms of very painful arthritis. For starters I will say it pretty much makes wearing heels a form of self-harm.

When I have a Lupus flare, my knees, ankles and feet become swollen. So do my hands, but that doesn’t really bother me. I’m what you might call a crossdressing fetishist. I’ve admired women’s legs on the level of fetish since I first hit puberty. It became an obsession for many years while I was a socially awkward and shy teenager who couldn’t find the courage to talk to girls. Then, in 1986, my first real girlfriend, while commenting on my fetish, told me that I should try shaving my legs because “you have legs like a girl, you know.”

I would dress for Halloween most years after that, always combining a costume with a reason to wear a miniskirt and heels. There was the wicked witch, the harpie, the demoness, and my all-time favorite “the cheerleader from hell.” And every appearance I made was met with remarks about how good my legs looked in heels and a skirt.

Eventually I found other reasons to dress, surprising girlfriends by slipping into a skirt and heels as a way of revealing that side of me. Unlike a lot of ladies on this site I rarely met with rejection. In retrospect it was because I played it off as something I did to mess with people rather than as a lifestyle. Aside from a two year period in which I revealed that side of me to the wrong woman, a narcissistic sociopath who took me down a very dark road, it was always a part time thing I did. Truth was, when I was by myself I frequently dressed while playing it off as an amusement or sideshow.

My illness and the symptoms have made it very difficult to dress the way I like to. I can’t really wear heels, my legs look swollen, pale and veiny. I am always in pain, sometimes low levels, sometimes higher levels. Sometimes I can’t walk across a room in sneakers without wincing in pain. I take a lot of medication to alleviate my symptoms. I suffer from chronic fatigue, and sometimes I can’t bend down well enough to shave my legs the way I have daily for most of the past 30 years.

Sometimes I come to CDH and I feel like I don’t belong. It is an irrational thought. I am aware of that. I am reminded of how I can’t dress the way I used to and how I wish I was physically able to do the things I once took for granted. And sometimes even when I have the time I start to feel down chatting with others when I hear them talk about dressing and doing the kind of things I once could.

I’m adjusting upon realizing this is the primary reason I’ve stayed away, because of how it makes me feel to be reminded that I can no longer dress the way I’d like to.

It is probably my ego that needs to get over it, like the fifty year old woman I met not too long ago who still dresses the way she did when she was twenty-one and thought she could still pull it off. We all get older and can’t do what we used to be able to do. I just hit the wall a bit harder than most.

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Dionysus (Captain Di) The Corsair

Captain Di is an evolving explorer of the merger, or co-mingling, of the elements of the masculine and feminine that exist in different levels within us all. Captain Di believes in honest, self-expression and self-exploration with the goal of pushing the boundaries of what we limit ourselves to when we adhere to a system of what we "should" or "should not" do, become, or express our individuality through.

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10 Comments
  1. Rochelle 12 months ago

    Sally, I’m sorry to read about the difficulties that you have to deal with. I can somewhat relate. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, in 2010, and it definitely changed my life, along with what I am able to do. People often ask me, “how do you stay so happy, and optimistic?” I simply say crying and anger have certainly not been proven to cure M.S., and I also know people who are suffering far worse than I. You seem like a wonderful, strong woman, it would be an honor to call you my friend.
    Hugs, Rochelle

  2. Caren 1 year ago

    Cap’n,please remember that we are always here for you! Much Love and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Mona. 1 year ago

    Dear Sally, Very emotional and heart touching story. I feel so strongly for you… when I am not able to do what I like the most… I know how miserable I feel. It is very discomforting. Further your illness is very unforgiving. I would like to say that you do belong to CDH and we are not just a bunch of fully dressed up dolls but real people with real emotions and varied degree of being a CD. I am a closet one and at times, I feel incomplete as I cannot live a day as a woman I like to be… but I always tell myself that I am lucky to do it in closet compared to those who cannot even do it no matter how much they want to.

    I just wish and pray to God that you get well soon and recover fully to live happily. These are the grim reminders of the fragility of us beings and how we do not control so many things about us and our lives. “Man proposes…n God Diposes..” this is what a wise man used to say.

    I again with you a full and speedy recovery and hope you will be writing back soon with latest photos of your beautiful legs in heels n nylons and miniskirts.

  4. Janedon 1 year ago

    Ageing—-It’s either a “litteral” pain & Or just emotionally painful for Everyone—
    For a lot of us—-It can mean Regret –regret that we didn’t allow ourselves to be Ourselves for most of our lives–Spending most of our efforts worrying about making money & fitting in—-With age-most of us do gain at least a Little wisdom–(better late than never)—
    When I see Others who have lived their life the way they wanted & still managed to have a decent life—I wonder just why I was so afraid—
    For myself—the ironey is-I did build up wealth(respectalbly however–I ended up Losing every penny & avoided living how I should have to please others–
    But—You know—-It’s not all doom & gloom—-The Rest of my life(with or without money Will be better because I no longer give a dam what people think as long as I’m a decent person & true to myself-
    Jane

  5. Sheryl Johnstone 1 year ago

    Hi Sally, welcome back, I have also missed your special blend of humour in the chat room although I thought it was due to my own infrequent attendance there.
    Do you fit in – hell yeah – every group needs a resident pirate in a skirt and no one else can do that as well as you.
    I would dearly love to wave my magic wand and fix all your health problems too but it won’t even fix Jane’s eyelids and she is only just up the road from me not half a world away. We just have to hope that medical science can come up with a new wonder drug real soon to put you right.
    In the meantime all I can offer is to be with you in spirit whenever you are down.
    Hugs
    Sheryl

  6. Cap’n – I for one am glad you’re back with us in whatever capacity works for you. I miss your biting wit and repartee, and you’re the only one who actually calls me by my “official” nickname! I’m sorry to hear about all your medical problems; pain has a way of dampening anyone’s enthusiasm. I come on CDH to talk to others who share my unusual hobby to one degree or another, but I don’t think there is any qualifying “amount” of crossdressing that is necessary. Heck, I haven’t crossdressed in a month now. I still like to feel connected through the site, and you are an important part of CDH. Your absence has been felt a lot. I’m just happy you’re here now.

    Showers

  7. skippy1965(Cynthia) 1 year ago

    Cap”n,
    your article touches my heart! Having met you in person, I feel especially sad realizing that you are so restricted in what you can do as far as dressing due to your health issues. It reminds me so much that one can never know if or when one will be stricken with circumstances beyond their control and prevented from expressing your true self. It is my fervent prayer that all the research being done will find a cure for your conditions. You are an incredivle person who i feel bleseed to know and you have helped me on my journey immensely. Thank you for being here and for the myriad things you do to help the site run well and our members to realize theit hopes and dreams!

    Luv ,
    Cyn

  8. JaneS 1 year ago

    There is a sometimes not so subtle irony in coming to a site that exists especially to cater for those who live in various stages of fantasy, yet feeling like we don’t quite belong.

    It is too easy to make ourselves feel inadequate when we think we can’t fit in with others here or we allow a touch of envy to influence how we react to others at CDH. When I see photos posted of younger members with their tight, flawless skin I often cast my mind back to the last time I applied my makeup, struggling to get eye shadow onto saggy, loose eyelids that seem to want to flee towards my ears at the touch of the eye shadow sponge. I recall trying to apply eye liner only to see half the bottle disappear into the myriad crows feet that denote the borders of my eye area.

    I too have sometimes withdrawn because I feel I can’t do what others here do. Unlike you Captain it’s not usually because of physical limitations (though this past two weeks have been to a degree) but in my case more to do with self perception and emotional status.

    All I can offer is that crossdressing can be as much in the mind as it is in what we wear. Those who do, or just desire to, dress en femme are always welcome as part of our sorority. If we can overcome our own feelings towards how much or how little we can be the ‘girl’ we want to be then we can continue to share thoughts and feelings with like-minded souls here at CDH.

    I’ll join you at that wall any time Captain and if I’m needed I’ll always help pick you up again if you crumble. Friends are like that.

    • Jane – when you mentioned your trouble applying eyeshadow to saggy, loose eyelids I almost burst out laughing. I have the exact same problem. Sometimes it feels like I’m dragging my eyelids to my temples. I guess we’ve gotta laugh at our “problems”, because we all have them; some big some (like eyelids) kinda small.

      April

  9. Jaimelynn 1 year ago

    Hi Captain Sparrow,

    Liked your article…a great reminder of the grim reality of life.

    I have heard it said,
    ‘no man is ready to live until he is ready to die’.

    You note you hit the wall the wall harder than most…the most in this case…are folks who imagine they are doing okay because they have their health and have not yet encountered any real problems, maybe imagined, self inflicted, or the cost of our choices in life, but not real problems that you are now encountering, beyond your control…age and health.

    We all will hit that wall…sooner or later…and best if we keep in mind are we the cross dresser or other variations we want in life…and what about when we hit 60-70-80-90…what will life be like?

    If where we are today…is covered by where we will want to be in eternity…our problems are solved forever…even if our troubles here are just getting started down here in the real world…planet earth.

    Eternity is not even on the radar for most folks…because God (NOT RELIGION…and not the god of our own making and choosing)…and His words has no part in their lives…this is the path America is on today.

    Here is hoping you have the hope that will lift you above the burdens, suffering, and pains this life will bring to everyone, sooner or later.

    Here is hoping you are in Christ…and he will be with you in your daily struggles, and meet your needs along the way where ever it takes you from here.

    Best wishes.

    My hope is built on nothing less…

    Jaimelynn

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