I had always wondered what it would be like to try on every single clothing style in the store.  Somehow I doubt I’m the only one of us that has felt this way.

One day I had a few hours before meeting a friend for lunch, so I went to the Target department store. I was presenting as female that day. I walked wherever I wanted to, and nobody paid any attention to me. I started with some blue jeans. I mixed in some colorful tops with creative cuts and lovely fabrics. I tried on dresses, skirts, rompers, capris, jackets, cardigans, overalls … everything. I literally tried every woman’s style and cut in the store. All of it. And it. Was. Glorious!

With each new outfit, I’d look in the mirror, spin around to see all sides, and think, “Yeah, I could wear this. I could wear this too. I could pull this off. And this. Even this! Wow!”

Truly astounding, it was ALL my style. It felt free and fun and full of endless possibilities, like a Caribbean all-inclusive resort vacation in eternity.

But it got me thinking, I’ve never heard any woman have this experience of every style being their style. I’ve never experienced that as a man. Everybody eliminates most styles because “I can’t pull this off. You can pull this off, but not me. That one doesn’t suit me. This just isn’t me.”

En Femme Style

What was different about this for me today? The question was profound. It haunted me in the best ways and wouldn’t let me go. I knew there was a crucial nugget of understanding and realization in it for me.

It was a couple of days later, after my regular Jungian therapy session, that the thought came to me. It’s because Hope doesn’t have an Ego yet. My male self has 40 years of built-up ego/reputation/persona to defend, uphold, maintain, and protect so that everyone will keep seeing him the same way, and he can keep having the same influence. But Hope … doesn’t have an ego yet … because she isn’t a person yet. Sure, she’s a human, but she hasn’t claimed and constructed her personhood yet, which is so much equal to an Ego.

Perhaps this feeling of freedom and unity I felt when I was Hope, when I flowed through the world as an anonymous woman … working, shopping, eating, relaxing, laughing … was just what it felt like to be free from ego? To live a life free of the built-up expectations of persona and burst free into the pure nakedness of anything?! And what would happen if I worked toward releasing ego in my male self? I bet I could get closer to that freedom as a male, but that would take courage. And as scary as it was at first to be a female in the world, being my ego-less Female self actually takes less courage than changing the ego of my Male self.

Because the reality I knew then, and that has proven true since that time, is that if I let Hope live in the world with relationships and friends and integrate her world, she will gain an ego … people will layer her with an ego too. Sure, in Target this day, she can wear anything because no one expects her to wear certain styles, but soon, I will perceive that people will expect certain things from Hope, and I will try to maintain those, too. She will get an ego. And if I’m not aware enough, she will lose her freedom, too. Then I’ll be back where I started.

Because the temptation for me was to think that Hope was free because she was truly me. That was partially true. Hope was my true essence without an ego, so she felt free, because she was; I was. But I’m so glad I saw what she really was … a sign of how much my Male self was enslaved to ego and reputation. It wasn’t that I needed to be Hope. It’s that I needed to free my masculine self from its ego and reputation. No wonder my male self didn’t feel free. He wasn’t. But he could be. And my feminine courage could help him.

So I started the journey away from Hope … toward hope.

En Femme Style

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Hope Clark

Married man trying to figure out how to make sense of his feminine self with a loving wife that doesn't want to mess up our lives. Since I was 8 or 9, I've always felt very solidly like a boy, but there's also been a feminine layer to my soul that I was shamed into hiding. But I've always been some kind of mix of male and female ... I just haven't shown you all the feminine layer. I've done a lot of soul searching on it, reading, learning, diving really deep, and my soul doesn't need to transition to be female like many transgender folks, but for my psyche and soul to feel right, it seemed spending a few days a month living as my female self helped a lot. It's like a poison layer builds up inside me when she doesn't get to live, and I am a more vibrant, whole human when she does get to live. I love both gendered expressions of my soul and wouldn't want to lose either one. Lately, merging my masculine and feminine wardrobes in regular life has helped this all even more.

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Bree Carrington
Active Member
Bree Carrington
3 years ago


I enjoyed reading your article and your profile. I’m from NC as well!

Would love to chat more in 2020.


Paula Sullivan
Active Member
3 years ago

I am very envious of you! I would love to go to a store and try on everything!

skippy1965 Cynthia
Trusted Member
3 years ago

Very insightful article Hope! While I shop for Cyn freely no matter what mode I’m in, I’ve still never actually tried stuff on in stores(probably due to the shyness I have had my entire life -no matter what mode I’m in). But like you, I don’t rule out any particular style or outfit unless I just don’t like how it looks on myself IM MY OWN opinion. Even at the “mature “ age of 55, I keep my hair long and my favorite dress style is strapless or cold shoulder. Do I have a bit of a paunch? Yes I… Read more »

Harietta' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
3 years ago

Saleswomen might be on commission and they want you business. Don’t be shy. They can only say no, but probably won’t.

Deborah Sullivan
Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Harietta

I have only been denied the womens dressing room once and have no fears now of trying on outfits before I buy. I have myself completely at ease with debbie when out

Christy Hunter
3 years ago

Just a great article (and profile). I have similar feelings about Christy. It was not until I fully embraced the personality and as you say, ego, of Christy that I finally found myself. One that happened everything else has fallen into place.

Jezzebelle Sanchez' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
Jezzebelle Sanchez
3 years ago

Wow the revelation your article promotes about ego, really intrigues me because of the battle inside about coming out and being honest to my inner self. Your explanation of being free when you do come to terms with identity, 20 yrs ago I walked through the part of town I grew up in no wig or make up but en femme fully dressed I felt free, free of opinions, scorn nothing could get to me, when I got to my destination and discussed with family my inner self they were truly accepting. That was along time ago and a world… Read more »

Michelle Jones
3 years ago

Wonderful, just wonderful. It put a chill in me reading this. A really good feeling. Maybe I’m finally starting to understand my true inner self a little bit

Harietta' class='avatar avatar-64 photo' height='64' width='64' />
3 years ago

That sounds like a wonderful time you had at Target. Target was a big bust (lol) here in The Great White North. Boldly go girls! Fun and bliss awaits. Stores and CSR’s, especially those on commission, want to dress you. And some of them really like it. Especially at non-busy times. Once here in Ottawa I was in my favorite store Melanie Lynne near closing time. The CSR’s there have always been very gracious to me as Harietta. They always have treated me as female using the right pronouns and such. So, being close to closing they said that they… Read more »

Daisy Marie
Active Member
3 years ago

Hey Hope, Thank you for sharing the whole experience and your reflections. We are so trapped inside our beliefs, fears, constructions (either self-made or imposed by society) that many times we don’t realise how those mechanisms work over us. Therefore, when we are building up a new persona (or waking up our inner, true and unknown one), we feel free to explore whatever comes up to our minds. So, for both personas (usual and brand new), when we get rid of such constructions and let us try new things that are likely to make us happy, finally we reach our… Read more »

Mia Riggs
3 years ago

Just amazing!

I recently came out to my wife and she has been incredibly supportive. I also recently put together an outfit I really like and can’t wait to go shopping and try them all on.

Your story was so familiar I was taken aback. I’m more Inspired than ever to get out there and just be me.

Christine V
Active Member
3 years ago

You looked beautiful and it sounds like you had fun!

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