As I think back on my life, in my youngest days I loved looking at my moms Glamor mags and the Sears and Roebuck catalog looking at the cloths, shoes and undergarments. I loved the style and design. I would even try on my moms panty hose. Over the years on occasion I would try on one of my wife’s dresses when home alone. As a photographer I was ask to photograph an lgbtq event and while I was in my ubiquitous photographers black on black pants and shirts. Everyone else in the place was in fabulous costumes and outfits. They were beautiful and so much fun. This year the event was in February and in October I decided that I would go in femme! My wife (who is super conservative and freeked out by anyone different) was gone for 3 weeks. So just me and the dog. I decided then and there that I was going all out. I went to see Phebe Cross here in Georgia, who works with the lady’s to dress them and style them and put makeup on them. It was a wonderful experience! I never felt so complemented in a genuine way. I felt for the first time in my life, beautiful. Phebe even gave me one of the outfits she dressed me in because it fit me so perfectly. I recognized that everyone really, man or woman, wants to or wishes they could be seen and feel beautiful. Who wouldn’t? I told my wife and grown girls that I went through that process to prepare for the event and shared with them the photo’s with mixed results. My girls were ok with it but my wife did not like it at all. I focused on loosing weight so I would look as good as I could in Feb. I went to Goodwill and would buy heals but was to embarrassed to try them on in the store so I would buy them, take them home and try them on and if they did not fit I would return them. I finally went to DSW and asked them to help me. They were fantastic! I found a pair of heals that fit me right and wore them out of the store. I went to the bank in them and I swear no one even noticed. I loved what wearing heals did for my posture. I would wear them around the house all day and worked on my walk. I ordered wigs and dresses on line and could not wait for them to come in to try on. I would wear night gowns to bed and shaved my body from head to toe. I loved the way my smooth skin felt. I remember thinking that if men would just shave there body there would be less violence and wars. My first experience doing my own make up was terrible. My wigs looked bad on me. But I finally found a wig that fit my face properly. When my wife got home after 3 weeks away she saw several dresses in my closet and went off on it. “You have women’s dresses in your closet!) I said “Those are not women’s dresses. Those are my dresses”. Those dresses are still in my closet but all the other stuff is hidden away. So the night of the event came and my wife chose to leave the house to shop but I am sure she did not want to see me prepare for the event. I got showered shaved and dressed up and headed for Sephora. I had to valet my car and in walking to the store no one even gave me a second look. I told them it was my first time out in femme and they were amazing. The makeup job was great and a ton of fun. Again not a single person in the store, women or boyfriends gave me a second look. I then went to the event and it could have not been more affirming for me. People who I have known for years did not recognize me but when I spoke to them and told them it was me. The response was wonderful. There was a woman who identifies as a lesbian approach me to tell me how great I looked and that she would totally date me!! I shot that entire event in 4 inch heels and had a fantastic time doing it!! I felt amazing! When I got home however, my wife came to see me and just stared. I said aren’t you going to say something? “What is there to say”? I said “I don’t know maybe you look great?” Nothing, she just went upstairs and has not mentioned it at all. I still keep those few dresses in my closet. But I now have probably 20 pair of shoes and I don’t know how many dresses and outfits that I keep hidden away. I only get dressed up when I know my wife will be gone. I still shave my legs every other day and my underarms and man bits daily. I put lotion on my legs and moisturizer on my face after every shower. My nails look great, and I am getting better about my makeup. In spite of my wife and her absolute objection to my experience, I have talked to her about what a wonderful experience it was for me and the never before level of self-care I am giving myself. I am very proud of my femme side. I share the photos with everyone I know. Not embarrassed at all to shop. Yesterday I went to Goodwill, mask on of course, and bought a dozen dresses, pants and tops. I was so happy to be doing it and did not feel the least bit conspectus or embarrassed in any way. I will sit down and try on heels and not think twice about it. So I am very proud to be exploring my fem side. I know this is a long story but thank you for giving me an opportunity to express it. UPDATE: I have been living as my true female self full time for the last 2 ish years and loving it! I've been on hormones for the last 10 months and have beautiful b cup breast. I've not worn breast forms in 6 months!!! The Atlanta Jewish Times did an article on me titled " Photographer Finds True Self" I am proud to say that I did not lose a single client or friend! Tells me I had the right clients and friends! I am living my very best life so far and intend to keep on that trajectory. I have had my own show "The Diane Crow Show" on my Facebook page and am the Co-host of The Gayly Dose. You can see that show on YouTube or anywhere you watch or listen to your podcast.