Hooray, I’m Cured!

By Amanda J.

A couple of my recent posts have summed up where things are with me at the moment.  In ‘The Dark Clouds Are Looming’, I talked about the hiatus I was taking from spreading my feminine wings which, at the time it was posted, had stretched to 61 days and ended up lasting 112 days.  More on that in a moment.  And then, in ‘The Woman in the Mirror’, I tried to make sense of my feelings about the whole trans thing – am I really on the trans spectrum, a few steps away from a point where the urge to make more permanent changes to my lifestyle would be difficult to ignore, or am I just obsessed with the woman in the mirror, a woman I have created and who I strive to make as attractive to me as possible?

[Simply click on Amanda’s name above, immediately under title, for a listing of all of her posts!]

September 8 was a significant day for more than one reason.  It was, of course, the day our beloved queen died – with my parents’ deaths a few years ago, her reign was the only remaining constant in my life of 62 years – and it was also the day when, a few hours before The Queen’s death, the hiatus came to an end.  The urges had come that morning with a vengeance so out came the loft ladder and I was soon removing the cable ties used to seal the bags and unpacking them, getting dressed and applying makeup before that wonderful moment when I went into my daughter’s bedroom with its full length mirror and once again saw the woman of my dreams smiling back at me, unable to conceal her joy at finally being set free.

It’s almost impossible to articulate how, as someone who’s always hated mirrors & photographs, it feels to look in the mirror and absolutely love the person looking back.  How right it feels and how all of the trials & tribulations of life just seem to evaporate, replaced by a feeling of complete and utter bliss.  As I said in my last post, it’s an assault on the senses – not only do I love what I see but I’m treated to the unfamiliar smells of the cosmetics, the taste of the lipstick, the softer & smoother feel of the clothes and the sounds of skirts swishing & nyloned legs gently rubbing together as I walk.  Even the smallest details delight – the gentle tug of earrings, the transformative effect on hands of deep red press on nails, the lipstick mark on teacups (necessitating, of course, a trip to the nearest mirror to top up the lippy afterwards) and the gentle tickle of hair on the neck.  And women complain about male privilege!  In fact, it’s so amazing that, I’m surprised that far more guys don’t indulge in this sort of thing!

But, of course, there’s a flip side.  Those amazing few hours on 8 September, and indeed on any other day when I have set my feminine side free, were spent in a parallel universe.  It’s a universe completely separate from my normal world with no passageways between the two.  It’s a universe denied to ‘him’ and to everyone that knows ‘him’.  It’s a universe where Amanda can be free to be herself and live her life however she wishes.  It’s a universe where she enjoys a full online life with online friends and, like the universe in which we all live, it’s a universe that’s continually expanding.  In short, it’s a universe where nothing in the other world that ‘he’ inhabits seems to matter or seems half as good.

Except that’s not really true.  Because although ‘her’ world and ‘his’ are separate, there’s a common thread running through both of them – me.  As anyone who is in my position (or ever has been) knows, keeping those two worlds separate is exhausting.  And that’s because at any moment, they can collide.  While Amanda was enjoying her freedom on 8 September, ‘his’ phone is turned off.  But when it was turned back on, a ‘where have you been?’ message popped up – not because I was under surveillance but because, no matter how I happen to be dressed, I’m still the co-owner, manager, IT support, HR function and general fix-it bod of the family business.  And let’s face it, turning up to breathe life back into a computer or calm an unhappy team member while wearing a dress and heels is not going to go down too well with my co-owner!  And I have to confess that there have been a few occasions over the past few weeks that I’ve breathed a sigh of relief that I have not grasped the opportunity to set the inner woman free since to have done so would have resulted in either discovery or a mad panic to change back into ‘drab’ with all the risks that trying to do that in a hurry entails (I’ve learned through experience that you can never have too many makeup wipes!).

But whilst I can breathe a sigh of relief that fate saved me on each of those occasions, it does beg the question as to why, earlier in the day, I had not grasped the opportunity of an empty house to spend a few blissful hours without a care in the world?  And the answer is that I’ve been ‘cured’.  I’m free of the transness that has blighted my life for as long as I can remember.  Those 112 days reprogrammed my brain from one which needed mindless CDing several times per week into one that no longer needs that side of my life.  September 8 was a reminder that when I spread my feminine wings and fly high, there’s always something waiting to bring me back down to earth with a bang – that time it was a text message but how long would it be before it’s a key in the door or an emergency requiring immediate action?  I loved Amanda – and still do – and am incredibly proud of what I achieved in her persona but the reality is that she’s gone leaving me to leave a less joyful, but much less stressful, life without her.  Of course I’m going to miss both her and all of the things that made her who she was but perhaps as she fades into memory, the gap she leaves will be replaced with new found enthusiasm for the aspects of my life that I can share with others in my normal world.

Yeah, right!  Time for a reality check, Amanda.

Some of you reading this will identify strongly with what I’ve written.  The need to cross the gender divide has blighted your whole life, the continual deception of those you love has exhausted you and you grasp any reduction in the need to express this side of yourself as an indication that you have finally managed to deal with it.  And I can say that with 100% certainty because I’ve been there myself.  Several times.  And what happened then was depressingly predictable for that other group of you who read the foregoing and are now shaking your head in despair.  I purged everything only to realise a few weeks, days or even hours later what a mistake I’d made.  So I restocked and started the whole sorry cycle again.  And that wasn’t a one-off – I’ve gone through that several times.

What the 112 day hiatus did show me was that I had let things get out of control and that I was fuelling the whole thing in a sort of vicious circle.  That would have been fine if I’d been on my own or had an understanding family but not when other aspects of life are suffering as a result.  As I speculated in ‘The Woman in the Mirror’, the person I saw in the mirror was driving her very existence and breaking that cycle has enabled me to put things back into perspective.

But, as most of you who are reading this already know, the truth is that I’ve not been cured; I’m just going through one of those lulls that we hit from time to time.  And luckily, I’m now sensible enough to realise that too.  My stash may be sealed with cable ties but it’s not going anywhere because I learned the hard way that it’s only a matter of time before the inner woman is screaming to be let out once more.   I could of course try to expunge every last vestige of Amanda from my life but that would mean not only a full purge but deletion of every photo I have, cancellation of forum memberships, a cessation of contribution to the amazing place that is Kandi’s Land and shutting off every connection with like minded individuals that I have ever made, several of which have developed into lasting online friendships.  But the thing is that no matter how hard I try to steer clear of anything that will ‘trigger’ me, I can’t shut out life itself.  There will always be something to remind me who I am – a gorgeous outfit in a shop window, a woman dressed a certain way in the street or even just an empty feeling that life doesn’t feel half so good when it’s not viewed through darkly lined eyes whilst balanced atop a pair of gorgeous stilettos.

More than anything, though, accepting who I am has been a pivotal point in my life and it’s now more important than ever.  Because whilst I do not currently have any need to present in the form that others in her world know as Amanda, I no longer equate that with the idea that she’s gone.  She’s more alive and kicking than she’s ever been and if & when she’s good and ready, she’ll be teetering on the heels and trowelling on the eyeliner once more.  Maybe that’ll have happened by this time tomorrow or maybe it’ll be months or even years but it no longer matters because I no longer need those to define who I am.  Of course, like any other woman, I’m not averse to getting ‘tarted up’ from time to time but like the child who learns to ride a bike without stabilisers, those things are no longer a prerequisite to feeling content with this side of my life.

Because the thing is that I have been cured.  Not of my ‘transness’ but of my inability to accept and embrace who I really am.

Hooray!

16 thoughts on “Hooray, I’m Cured!”

  1. Amanda,
    I understand your use of the word ” Cured ” but it does have different and often devestating meanings .

    To reach the point where you know you need outside help , in my case a consultation with my GP to find specific help . When I first entered therapy my wife thought it was good because I was looking for a cure . At that time perhaps I felt it was possible but then the penny son drops it’s not an illness but a part of our being , the new term transgender is being thrown in the mix , not what wives or partners wnat to hear . I question if I force myself tp accept the obvious when it’s been almost like an alien need , why would any man wish to dress like a woman , what is the driving force ? To finally realise and accept we are born like it is a great relief because it’s something inside that can never be changed , it will never go away . It doesn’t matter if you have long breaks or have the need to live 24/7 , the hrad part is trying to find the balance between your needs and the needs of others .

    To pick up on your comments about reverting to male mode to rejoin reality , I have lived through that situation the same way Kandi has . We are on slightly different roads but the fact we are out the majority of the time or in my case full time can only give hope to you and others that it is possible , it can happen . i love my new painting group the interaction is wonderful , they accept me as Terri , they enjoy sharing the common interest in art . How they see me I can’t honestly say , some may have read me while others are content to accept me as female but no one has given me a problem .

    If I talk about a cure , it means I found a way of being ME and it feels so good .

    1. Teresa,
      You are missing Amanda’s point. She, like myself, do not “hope” to be out a majority of time or even full time. You think you are encouraging us by saying it is “possible”, but it is not something we want.

      I am happy that Amanda has found self acceptance and contentment.

      Jocelyn

      1. Jocelyn,
        Please remeber I’ve been through this scenario but eventually the inevitable had to happen . I guess I’m lucky I lost very little apart from the end of a 45 year marriage . When separation was finally talked about we were more relieved that anything and for the sake of the children we remain good friends .

        I do feel it’s important to be truthful to yourself so you can be truthful with other people , I ceased to function due to the suppression I endured , my wife realises that now , she regrets more that she could have handled the situation differently as she is the one feeling the loss .

    2. Teresa, thank you as always for sharing your thoughts.

      The references to being ‘cured’ were slightly tongue in cheek but with a serious side too. Anyone who’s ever experienced any kind of gender incongruence eventually finds out that it’s never going to go away and quite possibly learns this the hard way, as I have done several times. Even the slightest sign that it’s gone away is latched onto and a sigh of relief is breathed that this life-blighting issue has been consigned to history. And often, disapproving wives see it as something that can be banished with a few well chosen words or actions (normally something along the lines of ‘cease and desist or the marriage is over’). You are absolutely right when you say that it’s something inside that can never be changed and never goes away and I think that’s a hugely important lesson for anyone in this position, whether an occasional CDer or full-blown transitioner, to learn. So reference to a ‘cure’ was both ironic, because there isn’t one (other than perhaps, in certain cases, hormonal or surgical transition to address gender dysphoria) and serious because many, as I have done in the past, harbour a belief that there is one.

      I still have vivid memories of the relief I felt following my several purges. Each time it felt like the real deal and I was finally rid of the thing that filled me with shame and caused me to deceive my wife. The longest time I had before the regret set in was a couple of years; the shortest was a couple of hours. On one occasion, I even went back to the clothing ‘bank’ that I’d deposited a bag full of things in to see whether it was possible to retrieve it (it wasn’t). But I’m different now and whilst I am experiencing a lull in the need to CD – apart from 8 September, it’ll be six months in a couple of weeks, I’m now sensible enough to realise that deep inside me, nothing’s changed and that’s purely & simply because there’s no ‘cure’; just a state of mind that can be misinterpreted.

      But against that background, I started to realise that there were certain factors that are within my control but I was failing to control them. Of course, by definition the uncontrollable cannot be controlled but I became aware of two important things; the first is that, to use a personal cliché, the stilettos and eyeliner don’t define me (much though I love both them and all of the other things that have become the trademarks of this side of me) and the second is that I was in danger of fuelling my ultimate demise – the highs of seeing ‘her’ in the mirror were amazing but the lows when I was confronted by her far less fabulous alter ego just sucked. So like an out of control drug addict, I just chased the highs. Now that I’ve broken that cycle and accepted myself for who and what I am, I’m generally in a better place, at least as far as the non-trans elements of my life are concerned.

      How long this phase will last, I do not know. But, to be honest, I’m just content being me at the moment so if it carries on for a while, I won’t mind. Equally if the uncontrollable parts of this side of me start to make their presence felt once again, I won’t resist. In the end, life is full of compromises and we just have to do what works for us. We’re all different so there’s no single set of compromises and solutions but that’s what makes us all so interesting!

  2. Amanda,

    I have just posted and sent a comment for you and I don’t know if it went through to KL. The internet made some remark that I didn’t understand. I don’t want to repeat my post in case of being repetitive.

    Let me just say, well written and thank you for sharing. I am so happy for you.

    Jocelyn

    1. Jocelyn, thanks very much – tricky beast that internet thingy!

      Anyway thank you for your kind words and for your ongoing support – it’s very much appreciated.

  3. Hi Amanda,
    A very well written article that encapsulates exactly what we CD’s go through in trying to deal with our hobby, obsession or what ever you want to call it.
    I guess I’m somewhat blessed in that I came to terms with the desires to be Trish and accepted what I was in my late twenties. It made my boy half and my girl half very happy which in turn those around us were happier too. Gone was the moody and often depressed person I was. In his place are two much happier and more balanced people. Both enjoying their time in the sun shine.
    Thanks for posting your story and getting me think a bit more about the journey we’re all on.

    Trish ❤️

  4. Trish, thank you for joining the conversation.

    I have to confess to a little trepidation about sending this post Kandi’s way. Let’s face it, a CDer posting that they’re not CDing is hardly good for business on a trans orientated blog!

    I’m in a bit of a minority here – ever other contributor regularly goes out and about, interacting with ‘ordinary’ people in the real world and having amazing experiences in the process. They are truly inspirational and I’m certain that many have read their accounts and taken their own first steps as a result. But there’s another group that’s particularly close to my heart and they are the people who struggle alone perhaps dipping into places like this in search of answers. They’re the people who are perhaps still in denial or worried that they don’t belong because they’re buried deep in the closet or bewildered and trying to make sense of it all.

    As I hope came across in the post, I love this side of me, both physically and emotionally. And it’s only by embracing this side of myself rather than trying to banish it that I have the confidence to loosen my grip on the one thing that used to define me – ‘Amanda’s physical form. It’s nice to be complimented on how I look but I derive far more pleasure from comments like yours and the others here, and even comments from those who don’t necessarily agree with what I say, because these are the ones that look way beyond skirt length & heel height and understand the lows as well as the highs of this life. And if I can give a little support or comfort to even one girl cowering in the shadows & trying to make sense of it all, that’s more than I could ever have hoped for when I started on this particular journey.

    1. Amanda,
      I’ve never been in a situation where I needed to or could purge basically because I snatched my brief moments wearing my wife’s clothes . I moved on to her knowing I was buying my own items even if it was mostly from charity shops . I had to smile at Cali’s comment about being cheap , i guess some could call Miss Charity but I have bought some great items from charity shops .

      I entirely get your comment on not belonging , like Kandi I was a member of another Cders forum , I’m not sure if the separate sections were a good idea because some people felt they didn’t qualify in certain sections . Twice I was knocked back for writing replies in the TS section . One moderator told me I wasn’t ” Trans enough ” to comment and another told me I wasn’t qualified because I’d never declared myself a ” Woman ” . I admit I evetually was banned from the site , it bothers me sometimes but I’m glad because I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy .

      So please never put yourself down for not being qualified enough or feeling a fraud because you can’t follow in other people’s footsteps . You have made the decisions that you feel are right for the present but as I keep saying ” Never say never ” , your day will surely come , I hope I’m about to raise a glass to you and try not to purge anymore !

      1. Teresa, what makes this so fascinating is that we’re all different. There are, of course, common threads running through all of us – we all have some form of gender incongruence (to a greater or lesser degree) and we all strive, or have strived, to find a balance or compromise in our lives. I’m in absolute awe of Kandi and what she does but have no desire at all to try to live that life for myself; from a trans perspective, it’s just not where I am and from a general, non-trans, perspective it would be a long way out of my comfort zone, even dressed in boring old drab! But I can still draw much inspiration from Kandi, not to live her life but to carve out my own niche and ‘own’ this. In the same way, I can draw inspiration from everyone else here to see how you all have reached your own point of equilibrium.

        The fact that, in some quarters elsewhere, some feel the need to set minimum ‘standards’ of transness is a true tragedy. There’s an old joke – What’s the difference between and transvestite and a transsexual? About five years! – which, for all its crassness is quite a powerful message – everyone has to start somewhere. And that’s the beauty of this forum. I particularly want to communicate to the people who look at Kandi’s posts and think ‘that’s amazing but I could never do what she does’ or who look at yours and think ‘wow, what a step to take but that’s not where I am’. And, who knows, someone who reads my ramblings with a sigh of relief that they’re not the only person in the world with these strange thoughts will eventually go on to re-read Kandi’s posts and think ‘bring it on’!

        And finally, please be assured that I don’t always take life quite as seriously as I probably should! Life can suck if you let it and a little bit of self-deprecation from time to time is my way of ensuring that the proberbial suction pump is taken elsewhere!

  5. Amanda I do understand where you are in my 35 years of marriage I really kept hopping I could keep my feminine side at bay but it just never happened, oh sure I purged a few times but I finally had to recognize I indeed was trans gender or as some say bi gendered
    I understand this isn’t you and many CDs can put the girl away at times, for myself and Teressa we realized this was just who we were.
    My ex just could not accept me as a women in any form and so we parted ways even though it was not my choice.
    You too are who you are and I’m glad your finding the best way to be just that
    Rachael

    1. Nicely put Rachael and thanks for sharing your views. We’re all different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach – we therefore have to find a path that works for us. It’s almost always a compromise because unless we’re incredibly lucky, something always has to give way. For me, I just view the situation I wrote about as something that worked yesterday and may work today. Whether it’ll work tomorrow is very much up in the air because I know from experience that ‘she’ can come crashing back at any time! What I draw the most comfort from is the fact that I’m not feeling the need to force anything – getting dressed because it’s x days since the last time or tensing every sinew against the urges because those are two of the most destructive things we can do.

  6. For years I was a moderator on another site. The concept that you can ‘rid’ yourself of this deep down desire by purging is a lie. If you must put it away, put it in the attic, storage locker, … . Women’s fashion changes so much so fast, you may never again find that top that fitted so well.
    I was lucky that I never purged, maybe because I was cheap. I have gone through periods (maybe years) were this side of me was at bay, kept hidden. We all have these periods where we are just too busy with life, kids, profession, …
    But not everything: I’ve always liked nail polish since I was a pre-teen and for decades (in my 30′ – 50’s) I used painting my toes as part of a pre-game ritual. (They are almost always colored now.)
    I found my ‘cure’ was to merge my two sides. I present all male even though the clothes I am wearing were all bought on the other side of the store. I enjoy getting my toes/fingers done, having waxed legs, brows, etc., mascara, and …. . It helps me feel ME.
    Cali

    1. Cali, thanks for sharing your experiences.

      I think everyone who has ever purged would have benefitted from reading your point – ‘The concept that you can ‘rid’ yourself of this deep down desire by purging is a lie. If you must put it away, put it in the attic, storage locker, … ‘ – which is so true. I’ve probably purged four or five times since I restarted CDing in 2009 plus a couple of times in the 1980s. I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t considered it in recent weeks but I’m now sensible enough to understand the implications. What I have found particularly useful are cable ties – my stuff is contained in two heavy duty plastic rubble sacks which I’ve sealed with cable ties. They’re just enough to prompt me to question whether I’m doing the right thing. If I feel that I am, as happened on 8 September, they’re easy to remove and replace with new ones when I’ve finished.

      The best advice for anyone struggling with this is to listen to as many different opinions as you can and then find what works for you. It’s not easy but it’s also not impossible and I am grateful to you for sharing a very different angle that seems to have worked very well for you.

  7. Another great article Amanda.. as I was reading it and read the bit about being cured, i was already framing my answer, which would have included the classic line of if I had $1 for everytime…. but happily a bit further down you explained yourself perfectly.

    1. Becky, thanks for your kind words – I’m full of suprises aren’t I?! As I think I put in another response, there was intended to be irony in the title but also a very serious side to all of this. As we know many in this community wish that the whole thing would go away and search for a ‘cure’. The buy, wear, purge cycle is widespread and probably the best illustration of this and there are really only two drivers for it – a feeling that we no longer need the things (because we think we’ve been ‘cured’) or an attempt to force the ‘cure’ by taking away the temptation. Both are almost certainly ultimately doomed but even if they are successful (which mine never have been) the emotional cost is high. And that’s why I framed this post in the way I did – it’s aimed at those who are now where I was a few years ago. If someone had said ‘don’t waste your time trying to banish this, it never works’ to me then, my response would probably have been something like ‘yeah, yeah but it’ll be different for me’. But if that person had got inside my psyche and drawn me in by effectively describing how I felt, I may well have listened, particularly if there was an alternative view on offer which is what I tried to portray here.

      There are some amazing highs in this life but there’s also a lot of frustration and, at times, unhappiness. Whilst I’m in awe of the other contributors here and others in the community as a whole, I’m finding out at long last that there are other ways to embrace this side of my personality whilst still being true to myself.

      And if I had $1 for every time someone said that they’d read this post and assumed I was falling into the old ‘I’ve been cured’ trap, I’d have errrr….$1 – you can put it in the post (but US dollars only please, not that Monopoly money you use ‘down under’!)!

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