We are all actors, playing a part

William Shakespeare, once wrote “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”

And that’s true for everyone. As we go through life we play the parts dictated to us by our families, our friends, our employers, society and finally our selves.

The problem is there is sometimes a disconnect between what we want and what the rest of the universe has lined up for us. Whether its a tough as being in the wrong body and having the wrong “bits”.   Or the other end of the scale; a simple liking for something feminine in our wardrobe.

Stepping Out Secrets

We all play parts in the drama that is our lives and for most of us we do that without any fuss or angst. The small amount of time we have in our alternative role is enough to sate our appetite and ease our discomfort. But for others the whole living in the wrong body eats them inside. They look out at the world with regret at the part the universe decreed they were to play. They look at the other actors with envy and sadness. If not for a small twist of fate back in the womb they would be living the life they desired. But yet they are stuck with this part and play it they do.   What choice do we have?

How often have we looked at those ladies dressed to the nines wanting to be them, or sadly at the ladies dressed as if they stepped straight out of a “People of WalMart line-up”. Those that just threw some stuff on and look as if they just don’t care or even treasure their femininity. We then look inward at ourselves and think we’d do a better job of being a woman than them. Then we move on with our boring lives.

But how do you just move on?

For some we secret away our femininity and allow that secret woman to be released only when the world is safely locked outside. Others much braver strut their stuff in the real world and we envy them their courage. Feeling the wind swirl their skirt and the echo of their heels on the side walk as they let their femininity “breathe and live” are things we dream about.

When I first dressed it was because I wanted to and I liked the clothes my sisters had. They were pretty and nicer than mine, the innocence of youth.   They were so lucky to have that variety, so I wore some of their stuff. Until I got caught that is and my parents explained that I was a boy, so I didn’t wear that stuff.

It was then I was typecast into my life long role. Or rather the universe thought I was.

Of course I still wore what I could and kept it secretive. For a time it exciting and maybe that drove the urges for a while, but when I hit puberty things changed. I’ll admit the dressing took on a fetish type of appeal. In that hormone crazy period of my life I dont think I really considered why I dressed. It was a troubling time and probably was for most. I was aware of sexuality for the first time and of course the common ideas of the time were if you weren’t manly or liked the wrong things then you were gay.

The period of time as a teen was tough. I fought against those feelings and didn’t dress much if at all. I convinced myself that I would be fine if I just stopped. Well that didn’t quite work out. I found myself sneaking into my mom’s stuff to get a quick fix. Convinced that if I just did it one more time then Id be okay.  Id kick it….. until the next time.

I hated myself. I hated my weakness and I hated that I couldn’t do what I was supposed to do. To be the man I was supposed to be.

Fast forward 30+ years and I had a crisis. My marriage fell apart. That was it. I broke. I couldn’t cope and I withdrew into myself. I sought out a place to hide and a way to avoid my life. I let that hidden female figure within me to “take the wheel for a while”. I became that woman when I was out of the view of the world. And it was the best thing I have ever done.

I had no idea the effect that would have on me. That female influence softened me. People now comment on how much I’ve changed in the last 3 years. I’m a nicer guy to be around and a better person I’m told. And truth be told I know I’m better too.

I am now back with my wife and we are trying again. I give credit for the new person I am because I finally let my inner self come to the fore. I’m still closeted, but I’m slowly peeking out from my self imposed prison a little more than I ever did before. My wife isn’t okay with Sarah, but she tolerates my Cross-dressing because its a part of me and not just something I do.   And because its not something I’m ashamed of or going to give up.

I spent decades playing the part that I thought society and everyone expected me to play. I forgot about adding some flavour from within myself to that part. And for a short time I played a different part; I was a woman playing the part of a man outside the home. In fact I played that role for quite a while and still do some days.

And then one day it dawned on me that maybe I didn’t need to conform quite so rigidly to my role. I could actually ad-lib and just be me. I could let a blended version of myself be the part I played. I let myself be an amalgamation of the two persons I was trying to be. I take better care of myself. I moisturise and look after my skin. I walk more and cycle a little (which gives me a reason to shave my legs) and I’ve allowed myself to be a bit silly and paint my nails (which when asked I just say “I like it” and not justify it past that).

Sure its not a perfect solution for all and for some it would be impossible, but what if it isn’t. What if its a way to have your cake and eat it. Maybe not as much as I have or maybe even to greater extents, but maybe its a way to acknowledge that inner you without compromising the image the world expects.

I now wonder if the part I’m playing is that of a woman pretending to be a man, or a man playing at being a girl. With time I’ve realised that maybe its both and probably neither.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that what we do is playing in any way. Its serious stuff. We have complicated double lives and its how we chose to live them and which part of us we show the world is tough. Everyone’s situations are different and what is good for one is poisonous for another.

So what image or part do you portray to the world? Are you letting the inner you come to the fore or are you hiding that inner you in a bid to stay “normal”? Maybe you are worried that any easing up will result in an inability to pull her back inside. Either way take comfort that there are untold numbers just like you playing the part they believe they should, while they wish they were cast a different role.

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  1. Paige 1 week ago

    Thank you for your heartfelt letter, coming from the heart we are all people wether we dress like the opposite sex or not it’s what’s inside of all of us that makes us unique.
    When we were born everyone around us was smiling and we were crying, live your life so that when we die we are the ones who are smiling and everyone else around us is crying.

  2. Namaste’ Sarah; I too have chosen to reply to my painted nails with “because I like it” and simply repeat that phrase when the curious seeker feels the need to find a deeper darker “meaning” for the strange (for them) behavior.

    I now wear eye shadow and mascara publicly and small prosthetics continuously, I do my hair differently with a softer look and wear all girl clothes tip to toe.

    I haven’t quite gathered the courage for leggings and skirts to walmart, lol but always, skinny stretch jeans, nice tops and in summer, bootie shorts, tank top n sandals with some cute boho foot jewelry and a high ridin pony tail hehe “because I like it”

    I Am practicing expanding my playpen a little more each week, dropping the need for the good opinion of others and growing the good opinion of myself.

    I turned 57 this Oct and as each year passes, so does the desire to make everyone else feel “comfortable” while I have not been.

    I Am grateful for this site, for you and for the incredible courage and strength so many share in making us be seen as part of the “normal” world, where we once were.
    Be seen, Be You as you choose and make no excuses, do it “because you like it”. . .
    Namaste’ n huggles for you all, keep going….
    Char

  3. Terri 2 weeks ago

    Thank you Sarah for sharing your life. Your story is a lot like mine. I am 70 and have struggled with trying to balance this part of me since as long as i can remember. When i met another person that was just like me in 1978 or 9 , i realized that i was not alone. Your article was perfect. Thank you again for sharing it.

  4. sarasue olson 2 weeks ago

    Great article Sarah, When it comes to cross-dressing we all have our own stories some of us its all been good others have had there ups and downs. I am going on eighty years old and dressed when I was fifteen and enjoyed it immensely, I have never purged as I never felt any shame in wearing what I was wearing but I did have to keep it A secrete to all my friends and coworkers. One thing you all will find out you will enjoy your dressing more as you get older and mellow out and have more leisure time . And I think it makes you feel younger at that. Sarasue

  5. Melissa Davis 2 weeks ago

    Sarah, thanks for your thoughtful article. I’m, sure it resonates with many of us who live part-time as women. Expressing our feminine side embodies a vital part of our being and makes us better people. As a woman I pledge to myself never to swear or lose my temper, two long-time habits. I smile more. I speak and try to think like a woman. I empathize with the vulnerability of women. The benefits are even physical. I tend to move more thoughtfully and gracefully. Elsewhere on this site crossdressing is described as holidays from masculinity. Just so. These holidays are restorative.

    Melissa Davis

  6. Lisa watson 2 weeks ago

    Excellent, I’m rather new to dressing and the emotions and gathering information. This was a nice read.

    Love,
    Lisa 🙂

  7. Paula1 2 weeks ago

    Hi Sarah what a fantastic article, I totally relate to what you have written, over the years of growing up when I was younger I would often sneak some of my mothers stockings and under wear, and under dress as I got older I tried to stop but the urge just kept on creping back. Then I meet the love of my life and told my self it had to stop, and he dressing did stop for quite a few years, I thought the dressing was over. then as life stated to et a bit more stressful I needed an outlet and without know it I just stated to under dress again, this was OK till one day when I came home and my wife was waiting for me with my small collection of underwear, she thought I was having an affair at first then said to me is this yours and do you want to be a women, we spoke for hour I thought this was the end for us, I then stated do loads of research and gave it to her, She dose not approve of my dressing but is ok with it, as we are who we are and ill never change. I am also a better person when I dress as well and I think that is why I do. I do have many days when I am going through gender dysphoria as I can not dress as much as I would like to but I have come to terms with it

    Thank you for sharing these articles help me get through the days

  8. Rozalyne Richards 2 weeks ago

    Hi Sarah i love your article, i can relate to it as I’ve lived my life just like that, i always feel a softer side to myself when I’m Rozalyne it’s as if all my troubles just fade away, sometimes it feels like I’m just playing a part in a play and it’s not real, I’m still in the closet and none of my family or friends know about the girl inside me, like a lot of people I’ve kept her hidden away all my life especially when i started a family, i thought it was the done thing becoming a father and husband when you’re a man, i started to let Rozalyne out of the closet after about 30 years of marriage and I’ve been dressing up for the last 15 or so years, i still don’t know what my wife’s reaction would be if she found out about Rozalyne I’m just a bit scared and worried that she would throw me out and i would lose everything my family and friends, it’s a very big step to take and I’m not sure if I’ve got the courage to go through with it, anyway I’m glad I’ve read your story it was so helpful to know that there are many more people like me in this world, hugs Rozalyne x

  9. Kirra Vonzipper 2 weeks ago

    God, it Is so hard doin the balance! There are days that I have no idea who I am & that feeling is so lonely! I know there are many out there like me, but on those particular days, nothin feels more lonely! Thnx for the article Sarah!.

  10. Elila 2 weeks ago

    ABSOLUTELY! LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Thank you, sooo much, Sarah. This is a wonderful article and absolutely true. Thank you, again, so much.

  11. Jennifer Love 2 weeks ago

    Dear Sarah, that was a very well written and thought out article. So much of it is true for me. I too
    have struggled with my part in life. It was when I finally was back on my own after raising a family that Jennifer started wanting to come out. I could not let those around me down so I had to control when Jennifer appeared, but slowly she started becoming part of me. She clammed me down and people around did like the change in me. I became less harsh and softer in my attitudes, I starting having a lot more fiends and people who care about me. My scenes in this crazy play we all live in started to better fit me and give me joy. It is a bit scary some times as the attention I now get is something foreign to me. But I love it. Jennifer now gets to come out more and more and as she does I become softer and softer. Thank you for the wonderful article.

  12. Jessica Rabbit 2 weeks ago

    Sarah,
    I connected with a lot of what you said, especially when you talked about seeing women who didn’t care how they looked and thinking that they are wasting the gift of femininity.

    I’m just starting to let Jessica take more of a role, but a little nervous as to how far she will go. It no longer feels like I’m being torn in half and beginning to feel like I’m showing the real me a little more. So I definitely think blending the roles is the way to go, or at least to start, ‘divided we fall’ and all that.

    I’ve got a long way before I figure myself out, but thanks to articles like this and the other members, I no longer have to feel like I’m the only one.

    Jessica

  13. *skippy1965(Cynthia) 2 weeks ago

    Sarah,
    What a wonderful article! It is awesome that you have been able to “integrate” both aspects of your inner self and I wish you and your wife well in making it work for both of you. I’ve let a lot more of Cyn show through to the world (my earrings and long hair being the most visible outward sign) to the point where I often get “ma’amed” when in male mode. I take it in stride, not caring what others think-even getting a slight thrill when it happens(about once a week usually). Who knows where things will lead in the future but I’m going to enjoy the journey!
    Cyn

  14. Sarah,

    Well put. I enjoyed reading about you growing up…yep…did the same things. Once, I had on my sister’s dress and she came home early. I dove under her bed and had to wait for her to leave and go into the bathroom so I could race into my room, avoid being seen by my mother, who was also home now and change out of the dress. I eventually got it put back into her closet later that night.

    I’ve written about, and totally agree with your assessment of becoming a better person once you let both halves merge as one. Nicely done!

    Brina

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