When I was young, I loved Deborah Harry. I thought it was just a crush, but realized not only did I find her attractive, but I looked closely at what she wore. It was the way she moved and how the clothes moved with her; I was mesmerized. Not having the words for what I was feeling, and yet instinctively knowing it would not be acceptable in my little part of the world, was frustrating. I had already stood out for being different. I was that shy kid who wanted nothing more than to go unnoticed.

The age of 11 was the first time I tried on a dress, pantyhose, and bra. I’d waited for my family to go out. It was amazing! I was hooked. We had a storage area in our garage where my mom kept some of her old clothes. I dressed whenever I was alone, and it made me feel euphoric. I became braver and would dress in the house while they were out. How could I not love the feel of the clothes on me that I “borrowed” from my mom. But the guilt was there for secretly trying on her things and feeling that this was not considered a normal boy’s behavior. Then again, I was never a normal boy.

Finally the day came and I got caught by my parents. I forget why they’d left me home alone, probably something to do with my younger sibling. They came home much earlier than expected. I had no place to hide in our small house. I was fully dressed, even borrowed a necklace and ring. For some reason, I thought if I stayed still they would not see me, alas they did.

Transgender Heaven - Gender Journey

I was beyond embarrassed. They placed me in therapy believing that I’d been acting out because of a loss in the family. It seemed like a good enough reason to me, anything to help me escape how horrible I felt. Like many others, there was an arousal and confused feelings about my identity, but I internalized the guilt and agreed that it had just been me acting out and nothing more. I forced it deep down inside and worked hard at denying it.

I was out of work for a long time five and half years ago. I went to counseling. Between the two, I became introspective about my life. One day during a session, I blurted out to the therapist that I had crossdressed a few times as a child. I did not go deeper into details, instead, I talked about it as if I was talking about having dinner or how’d I slept. It was something for him to know, but we didn’t need to explore it further; or so I thought.

As I left that session, I started thinking about all those small moments from my past, like going shopping with my girlfriend and the thrill it gave me helping her pick out things, or seeing a pretty outfit on someone, either on TV or in real life. I masked it as more of an attraction to the wearer and not the outfit. I could never have admitted that I was being envious; that wasn’t something allowed.

I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to dress again. After a little time, I told my wife. We’ve been together for 18 years and married for 12 of those. We’ve had our ups and down, but have always found a way to make it through. I told her about my earlier crossdressing and how those feeling had returned.

Since telling her, I have taken time to think, and to make sure that I don’t push her into accepting anything. Luckily, she has been growing with me as I figure out and learn more about Michelle. I have promised to be open and honest with my wife. She is my rock and my ally in this life; how could I not.

I never thought that my life would change so much again as when I finally accepted what I’d kept deeply buried for so long as well as being able to share it with the love of my life. As things progressed, I found CDH, joined, despite my fears at beginning this new chapter. And what an amazing chapter it’s turning out to be. I could not have envisioned that from May of last year until now that I would become an active member, an ambassador, or post pictures and make a whole new set of friends and family.

I smile every time Michelle comes out. I feel happier when I look in the mirror and see her. I can only say that…

Michelle, I see you!

Every morning as I begin my day, I see you. 

I know that you are there even without the clothes, wig, makeup etc.

I smile and say thank you!

Thank you for knowing that I never meant to keep you so hidden away,

That I was too afraid and embarrassed to accept you as part of me.

Instead of being angry, you give comfort and compassion.

I thought you were a memory of a childhood full of awkward and uneasy times.

You gently remind me that you were never truly as far away as I thought.

You guided me unconsciously to be gentle, forgiving, caring, loving.

When I needed to cry or be joyous, you nudged me to both.

Now I have accepted that you are part of who I am, you have given me strength.

You gave me the courage to reach out first to our wife and then to find a community

To help learn how to be and guide us to a better we.

You helped strengthen the bond with our wife. 

She accepts you and willing to have you in our life.

So again I say I see you!  And I never will pretend again that I don’t.

Much love and hugs!

Michelle

 

 

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35 Comments
  1. Hi Michelle………….Thank you for sharing your story with us. It really does point out that we are all different, yet we are basically the same! I wish someone would put up a column werein we could collect each others cross-dressing adventures as youths. I am certain they would be a great help to those youngins….struggling with their first feelings. Would it not be great for a child in the womb to be able to order the “options and accessories” you can like with a new vehicle??

    I missed out on a lot of “Girls” experiences being the oldest sibling so my early life was relatively stress free. My first job was in advertising for a bit and was involved with working with gays, lesbians…….so the idea of being different never bothered me. I accepted what I learned and was very independent…….even more so after a stint in the Cavalry – Vietnam. As a loner……..I had no ceilings or restrictions after that. I went and still go for the Gusto as Dame Veronica…….ancestory aside.

    Thank you for sharing Michelle!!!

    Hugs and kisses

    Dame Veronica

    • Author
      Michelle Liefde 5 months ago

      Hi Dame Veronica, thank you I really appreciate your response. It would be something to see. And though ultimately i still do not know where I am heading, I do hope that we all can learn from each other as we tell our community who we are. Our paths may diverge here and there but all the more to know that we can travel along but still be there for each other. My exposure to a diverse group of people at an early age may have helped realizing that we are all just people.

      Hugs to you my friend,

      Michelle

      • You are too kind Michelle…so pleased to travel the yellow brick road together.

  2. Brianna Rain 5 months ago

    Thanks, Michelle. That is a very inspiring story.

  3. Ashley Parker 5 months ago

    What a wonderful story. I identified with so much in this. I just wrote a letter to “Ashley” and the sentiments I had were very similar, but in reading this I found other things that I’d felt but overlooked. Especially loved how you said Michelle was there, unconsciouly guiding you to being gentle, caring, etc. I feel that with Ashley as well.

    • Author
      Michelle Liefde 5 months ago

      Ashley, thank you and I am glad you found something in my words and that you feel that way about yourself too. As I read everyone’s stories of their journey, i too find things that I overlooked. By accepting Michelle as part of me has helped me in so many ways and by looking back I can see that she has always helped.

  4. Leslies Ann Gray Girl 5 months ago

    Michelle , what a wonderful letter, it says so much about how you came to be . As i read your letter it was like a mirror image of my life , minus the understanding wife thou . We all share a common journey it seems . Thank you for this . Leslie

    • Author
      Michelle Liefde 5 months ago

      Thank you Leslie, i agree there are a lot of common elements to our stories. I just wish our journeys were smoother and there was more support from those around us. Hugs, Michelle

  5. Rochelle Mills 4 months ago

    Wow, Michelle, thanks so much for sharing your story! I find it so interesting and encouraging to see parallels in the femme journeys among so many on this wonderful website. Your poignant lines that finish your article left me almost breathless. Always great to hear how some can express so beautifully feelings that are often inexpressible.

    • Author
      Michelle Liefde 4 months ago

      Hi Rochelle, thank you for saying that. I don’t consider myself the most expressive of folks but I just needed to write that poem., I agree that seeing the similarities to so many of our shared stories is encouraging. I definitely feel less alone in this since i joined CDH.

      Hugs,
      Michelle

  6. Rose Turner 3 months ago

    Michelle, we love you as you are. Be Michelle as often as you can. I’m happy that you have a wife that accepts you as you not just your male half. And we love your wife as well. Welcome to our little group. Be happy. And be happy with your wife as well. Wearing a dress is so wonderful. Of course you know that. Liked the article by the way.

    • Author
      Michelle Liefde 2 months ago

      Rose, thank you and the same goes for everyone. Since writing this article, I do make sure that expressing my Michelle side has as many moments as I can. And I feel it when I do not get a chance to show my Michelle side. Lastly, I absolutely agree about wearing a dress. 🙂

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