Keepin’ On

When I was driving home from work this afternoon I started to think of this blog and its lack of updates.

I think the general trend is that when I dress more, I write more. Most of the time when I blog I am coming from Justine’s perspective. Usually, around February or March, I cease dressing up, in preparation for shorts-season, and with my wardrobe so goes my writing.

This summer I am getting married, so Justine was packed into the closet a little bit earlier than usual. I made this choice because I felt I should be extra careful my little secret doesn’t come out before the wedding. The last thing I want is for half of the crowd before me during the ceremony thinking, “I bet he’d rather be wearing that dress.”

After the honeymoon Justine will return, and with her the chance I finally talk to my family about her. Until then, I will just keep on keepin’ on.


 

I don’t remember what made me think of Justine while driving home today, but like usual, my mind resounded with the frequent question of, “Why do you do it?”

I don’t want to be a girl, but I have that feeling in the same that I don’t want to be a guy. I like the idea of having the flexibility to move between boundaries and norms depending on how I feel or what I’m in the mood for. I absolutely admit that guys have it easier. Men are the norm. The default. I have white privilege and male privilege. With the “advantage” of being male in mind, I think I can have the naivety to say that there are some things about being female that I enjoy that others might look at differently.

When I become Justine I become a canvas. Justine is a creative expression of mine. There are few people who try to change or experiment with their identity. I enjoy the work that it takes to become Justine. The clothes, the make-up and the overall design. Justine is an attitude I don’t normally get to express in an outlet that most people never experience.

Not only is Justine a creative outlet, but she allows me to emotionally be someone who I am not. For years there was a mix of pent up aggression and curiosity from my inability to share Justine with the world. Only in the past few years have I am been able to release that tension, and even today I still believe I am filled with segregated feelings that have not found a way to coexist in one person. Being Justine allows me to bleed through with some of those feelings, but I know there is a fuller, more complete, version of myself that has not yet come to fruition.

Like many crossdressers, there is the sexual aspect of it as well. I don’t understand it. I don’t know if its genetic, or based in some deeply disturbing psychoanalysis hidden away within me. I don’t think I’ll ever know. Regardless, it is there and it makes me happy, and for that reason alone I should not question it.


 

Justine will return. Two summers ago when I started coming out, Pandora’s box was opened. I don’t think closing it is an option now. I don’t think it ever will be. Yes, I speculate there will be rough patches, difficult choices and mixed emotions, but I can’t go back now, nor do I want to. Justine may be on hiatus, but she is here to stay. More soon, perhaps.

J

Crossdress Mixtape

Here’s a playlist of transgender-themed songs that I enjoy.

The Magnetic Fields – Andrew in Drag (2012)

Good luck getting this one out of your head. Although the concept of drag is more about performance than anything on the transgender spectrum, I think it is still close enough to justify being on my list. The Magnetic Fields (who clearly own the world’s best rhyming dictionary) sing a happy-go-lucky pop tune about falling in love with your friend’s drag persona at first sight. While the song may appear lighthearted at first, I think anything that deals with the taboo of loving someone with nontraditional gender roles is in fact a quite serious one. It takes courage to discuss anything related to that nature, and while the song may be fictional, the idea certainly comes from somewhere and that should be respected. And like I said, it’s catchy as hell.

The Replacements – Androgynous (1991)

I have to admit, I’m not very familiar with The Replacements. When I first heard this song on the radio, it immediately jumped out at me. The opening lyrics are, “Here come Dick, he’s wearing a skirt / Here comes Jane, y’know she’s sporting a chain.” I love them because of how many different levels they work on. Obviously, you have the vaguely socially acceptable, pushing gender boundaries of the crosdressed pair, but what really stands out are there names. Not only are they wearing the wrong sexes clothing, but they’re the Dick and Jane from the very traditional children’s book series. There’s also the fact that the boy wearing the skirt is named Dick, but that’s just middle-school-me laughing at the sexual implication of the name. Tee hee.

The end of the song sends some mixed messages. “Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss?” sounds great in theory. Hooray! Social progress! Crossdressing, however minimum, is accepted! But then we hear that tomorrow Dick is back to wearing pants, and Jane, a dress. Where’s the change in that? I understand that the tone of the song has more to do with rebellious trends than it does crossdressing, but still – my crossdressing isn’t a trend. I guess I should write my own song.

David Bowie – Queen Bitch (1971)

There are a whole slew of genderqueer songs to choose from with David Bowie, but if I had to choose my favorite, Queen Bitch takes the crown. Yes, it’s true, the song is about Bowie’s friend being picked up by a crossdressing prostitute, a story I cannot relate to. I can’t help but ignore, though, the repeated phrase, “I can do better than that.” Bowie is tapping into something I’ve discussed in earlier posts, which is the competitive nature of crossdressing. The sport of it. Whenever I see a crossdresser impress me (be it with make up, wig, clothing, body, etc.) I always think to myself (in this order): A) How did she do it? and B) How can I do it better.

Admittedly, I’m almost never able to do it, and even fewer times can I do it better. Regardless, if you don’t try, you may also wind up like Bowie, who repeats later, “Why didn’t I say?” (That is, in reference to it not being he who goes home with his friend while en femme.)

Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed (1972)

Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” was supposedly a tribute to Lou Reed. A year later, Reed released the classic song “Walk on the Wild Side.” The song follows the travels of a number of crossdressers, who are all “followers” of Andy Warhol.  The song is mostly a series of  vignettes, with little in terms of relevance to my experience crossdressing. Even without my deep thoughts, though, it’s place in the pantheon of transgender songs is undeniable and I expect it will outlast all other songs on this list in terms of popularity and radio play.

James – Laid (1993)

This is one of those songs that everyone is familiar with, but most don’t have a clue what it’s about.  While not totally clear, the lead singer is clearly singing about a relationship that involves some sort of nontraditional gender roles. Specifically in the lines, “Dressed me up in womens’ clothes / Messed around with gender roles /Line my eyes and call me pretty.” The singer seems to have mixed feelings about the relationship. For one, he’s seeing a therapist. The relationship continues, however, and when it appears he’s being stalked by his lover, he eventually succumbs. I have to wonder, though, is it Stockholm syndrome, or just someone accepting who they love?

Garbage – Cherry Lips (2001)

I’ll be honest. I’ve heard this song a million times, and didn’t realize it was about a crossdresser until I looked it up. Apparently, Cherry Lips was the name taken by a boy in the book Sarah by J.T. LeRoy. The boy’s mother is a truck-stop prostitute, and when she ignores him, he begins to wear her clothes and take on her role. I haven’t read the book, but probably will at some point.

The Kinks – Lola (1970)

Who didn’t see this one coming? A classic in it’s own right, Lola is probably one of the first songs you think of when you think of crossdressing songs. Which is probably all the time, if you’re like me. My favorite line in the song is, “Girls will be boys and boys will be girls / It’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world except for Lola.” I love the idea of the world being crazy, and transgendered people are the only one who have things straight. Can anyone really be 100% male or female in terms of their interests and the expectations set upon them by society? Lola accepts the world as it is, and is therefore enjoys being male and female, which is more than most people can say.

Matt Nathanson – Kinks Shirt (2013)

Thirty-three years after the release of Lola, here’s a song that references it that isn’t by Weird Al. And what a tribute it is. A modern day Ray Davies, Matt Nathanson has fallen in love with a crossdresser, and if you watch the music video, just goes for it. No question asked. I love the picture he paints in the lyrics of all of the things about the crossdresser than stand out as memorable to him. Her silhouette, red painted fingernails, party dress, the way she walks, talks and of course, her Kinks shirt. It’s these images, these microscopic moments of femininity, that stand out to him, but are also the ones that stand out to me. The only difference is how we respond to them. He’s attracted to them, beauty being genderless, while I try to emulate them.

The song itself is also catchy, and the music video manages to be funny, without mocking the topic.

If you have any other songs you think I should listen to, or add to the list, feel free to post in the comments. And please, no Aerosmith.

Casual Updates

So much tell everyone regarding the weeks following my transformation session, but it’s late, so I’m going to be quick.

Halloween – I was Little Red Riding Hood, while my fiancee was the Big Bad Wolf. Totally rocked it, and told a number of people (quite clearly) about the role crossdressing plays in my life. Felt good.

Casual – I’ve been doing a lot more casual/hidden-in-plain-sight dressing lately. Leggings beneath jeans, underwear, painted toe nails. It’s easy to do, and makes me happy.

New Wig – I couldn’t get over how much I liked the long-hair pictures from the transformation session, so I bought my own long hair wig. It arrived this week, but I didn’t get a chance to try it on until today. It’s a little bit browner than I thought I was getting, but after playing around with it, and wearing half the day, I think I have it under control. Here’s a pic of the wig, front and back.

longness!

front and back

Overall, I think the short wigs do a better job of shaping my face, but there’s nothing like having long hair to play with and style. The brown hue is also growing on me.

In case anyone was curious, there are about 40 pictures from the transformation on flickr. At some point I will edit a few to make my postable here, but they’re worth creating a flickr account for, because his make-up job is fantastic. I can’t wait to go back.

I want to update a bit more frequently going forward, but easier said than done. Until next time!

Transformation with GenderFun

On a normal day, when I take my make-up off, I am sad. The escaping euphoria as a exhale one final feminine breath. Just a few moments ago I took off my make-up, but this time the sadness was stronger.

This afternoon I went with my lovely fiancée to visit Adrian Acosta (A.K.A. Amnesia Sparkles) of GenderFun.com. Adrian provides high-quality, personalized transformation sessions out of his apartment in Brooklyn. My session included a full professional make-up transformation, and two photo shoots with a different outfit in each session. The too-long-didn’t-read of it all is that this in-depth experience is strongly recommended for crossdressers who are just beginning and need some help, experience crossdressers who may learn a few things, and those in between – like me. Keep reading, if you’d like to see it broken down a little further.

Before You Go

It’s important to note that your transformation session can be done by either Adrian Acosta, or en femme persona, Amnesia Sparkles. The Adrian-version, which I opted for this time, is a bit cheaper, but probably not the “full experience.” By no means do I regret going with Adrian for my first time (he’s awesome!) but retrospectively I think the session with Amnesia could have been even more fun.

Communicating with Adrian is simple and easy. To start, fill out a brief form on Transform Photos. I reached out to Adrian in August and he got back to me within 24 hours. He was extremely flexible to work with and made sure I was fully informed and prepared for the session. There is a short questionnaire that is essentially two-parts – one about your experience crossdressing, and the second, optional, portion that focuses more on psychological aspects. Overall, I think it allows Adrian to get a fairly clear picture of who you are before you begin your session.

I brought with me to the session my breast forms, two wigs, far too many shoes, and a few outfits. I should note that the transformation session does include full-use of Amnesia’s own lady-closet.

Meeting Adrian

When my fiancée and I arrived, Adrian greeted us both warmly. I should note, Adrian was completely okay with the fact that my fiancée came. If you plan on bringing someone special definitely make sure you give him a heads up.

The transformation studio is located on the lower-floor of Adrian’s apartment and takes up the entire level. Immediately you are greeted by walls covered in Adrian’s bright and passionate photography, amongst other artwork, inspirational magazine clippings and more.

Adrian’s make-up station and selection are impressive. Admittedly, I know very little about make-up, but I have a feeling my initial comments would hold up even amongst the most beauty-savvy. There’s a high set chair in front of a bulb-lined mirror. This really helps emphasize that the day is about you, and you are the star.

The Transformation

Once again, I would like to reiterate: I know nothing about make-up. Adrian does.

Between somehow covering up my eyebrows and making them look semi-convincing and layering my face in a multitudes of what appeared to be war paints, Adrian’s work is more of an art form than a simple transformation. Who knew that a glue-stick could be used in so many ways.

In addition to the wonderful skin contouring, Adrian did a great job of bringing out my eyes. A mix of false eyelashes, eyeliner (in liquid form!), eye shadow and mascara did a great job of making my eyes pop.

Finally, some lipstick was used (different colors for different dresses.) and some foundation and contouring was applied to my chest/cleavage.

Time spent in the make-up chair – probably a bit over two hours. That may seem lengthy, but it all went by in a blur, and Adrian’s charisma and fun nature make the experience extremely enjoyable.

Clothing

Adrian’s website has links to a Flickr page that documents clearly what clothing, shoes and wigs are available out of the lady-closet. Before coming, Adrian sends you links to these via e-mail and asks that you select a few things that might be interesting to you.

I had selected a few items from the lady-closet in advance, but I also bought a few of my own outfits. In the end, we decided to go with my selections from home – partially due to the fact that I am limited to long-sleeves. I did, however, use a pair of Adrian’s heels for the first shoot, as well as a belt.

Adrian has a great eye for fashion (which is pretty obvious if you know anything about Amnesia,) and he seemed to genuinely enjoy the strategizing involved in figuring out what outfit to wear.

Wigs

I brought two wigs from home, and Adrian also has a plethora to choose from. I tend to play it safe with my wigs and generally stick with black, shoulder length hair. Adrian encouraged me to be a little bit more experimental with my hair.

At first I tried on a few brunette wigs. The first one looked great on me, but also made me look like the spitting image of my mother. Too creepy. The second brown one was short had pretty curls. We went with that one for the first photoshoot.

Other wigs Adrian had me try on included a long black wig that Adrian and my fiancée agreed made me look like a total bitch. (Not that that’s a bad thing.) Adrian also encouraged me to try on a few blonde wigs, which were fun, but in the end I couldn’t pull them off. My eyebrows are just too thick and dark.

For the second photoshoot we did a mix of the evil bitch wig and one of my shorter black wigs.

Experimenting with the different wigs was one of my favorite parts of the experience. I always knew how different hairstyles could entirely change the way a person looks, but I had never seen the change in action as drastically as I did today.

Photoshoots

I have to give Adrian some more credit here. I don’t emote well, at least not when asked to. I was also ridiculously tense and nervous for a good portion of the afternoon, so relaxing for the photoshoot was not easy for me.

Adrian did not rush me, nor did he make me do anything I was uncomfortable with. He worked with what he had, and did the best with what I could offer in my tense state. Despite the fact that I probably made getting good photos difficult, Adrian somehow managed to get some. Quite a few, actually.

A great amount of photos were taken in a few different locations. The first batch of pictures were taken facing the make-up mirror, the next with the mirror at my back. Adrian then had me pose naturally standing in a few locations, most of which had his studio white screen as the back drop.

The studio was clean and decorated nicely so that no matter where I posed, the pictures came out crisply and were interesting to look at. He frequently took the time to show both myself and my fiancée how they were coming out.

On the small screen of the camera, the photos he showed me looked great. I haven’t seen them on the computer screen yet, but Adrian said he would send them to me shortly and I will certainly let everyone know how they turned out. (Probably very well.)

Final Thoughts

Before I drove over to Adrian’s I told myself that if I was happy with the experience I would leave his apartment en femme. At the end of the evening I went out en femme for the first time in a long time. It was just a short walk to and from the car, but the pleasure I get from being outside dressed up is almost as much as the fear. There used to be a lot more fear.

At the end of the second photoshoot Adrian encouraged my fiancée to join in a few photos, which was extremely kind of him and we definitely enjoyed taking them. Adrian suggested that next time I come (there will be a next time…) I bring my fiancee and we get dolled up together. She was totally on board with the idea – so it sounds like a date.

Adrian’s positivity and the fact that he is so easy to speak to makes him the perfect person for a crossdresser who lacks confidence to visit. Not only is he knowledgeable about the art of crossdressing, but he is well-versed on the topic of gender and sex. This makes for a formidable combination.

I cannot recommend the GenderFun transformation experience enough. Any crossdresser who lives in, or plans to visit the New York area owes it to themselves to pay Adrian a visit. My time in the studio was enjoyed in completeness on the emotional level, and the physical (appearance) level.

The next step, according to Adrian, is that he will send me all of the photos from the shoot. I will then select a few that he will also touch up for me. On one level, I can’t stand the idea of being “touched up,” and hate when they do that to girls in magazines. On another level, I can’t wait to see him work his magic.

I asked Adrian not to post my pictures on his website for the time being. In the springtime, provided this school year goes well and I have more job security, I will let Adrian post them. In the meantime, I hope to post a few to my flickr page once I have them.

When I took off my make-up this evening, it was sad. But it was worth it to feel how great I did while it was on, and now I have something to look forward to. I can’t wait to see how everything turns out the next time I visit the studio.

UPDATE:

Photos received. They look great. I need to lose some weight, and maybe a cup size. I will post a few blurry photos shortly, and put some clean ones up on Flickr.

Fall Into It & Reading

September’s here and with that comes Justine. Shaved legs and all. Definitely missed it.

Image

There are more pictures, unblurred and all, for friends on Flickr. Hooray!

In other exciting news, I am going to be transformed by Adrian/Amnesia of GenderFun in early October. I’m looking forward to the transformation and the photo session. With permission, I definitely want to do a write up about the experience.

I read some trans-fiction recently, including I am J by Cris Beam, and a short story called “Changes

Image

” by Neil Gaiman. I couldn’t really get into I am J, as it deals with a FTM pre-op teen, but I understand its importance in terms of YA transfiction and I think it was well written.

Gaiman’s story, which is part of his short story collection Smoke and Mirrors, is a short, but thought-provoking piece of science fiction that deals with the cure for cancer, which just also happens to rewrite your DNA as the opposite sex. The story follows the sex-changing implications more than the cancer-curing, because society seems to be more interested in it. I am curious to how true that would be in the real world. The story lends itself to a number of different discussions regarding how people present their gender that range from the abuses of first world, all the way down to the third. There’s also quite a bit of humor in the mentions of biopics regarding the drug’s creator.

Over the summer I also purchased The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, a piece of science fiction that, from what I can gather through a bit of prior searching, follows closely a planet where gender is not a thing. I’ll hopefully get to that soon and write about it.

I enjoy reading gender-related fiction, as its a topic I never really explored up until last year and there’s obviously a lot more to it than the cross-closeted me ever realized. If anyone has any other suggestions for gender-fiction, feel free to pass them along. Fiction or non-fiction.

Erm….

Well.

This is awkward.

I’m still here. I think. I said that in my last post, and look where that found me. Or didn’t find me.

I want to talk about two things in this post, and then kind of weave them together fancifully. Me, and crossdressing. And we’re we’ve found our respective selves over the past few months. I suppose I didn’t need that introduction, seeing that those two things have always been the center of this blog, but seeing as I’ve typed all this already, I’m leaving it all. This included.

Me

In April I got engaged to my wonderful girlfriend of six years. Yay! We’re getting married next summer, and it will be a wonderful affair, despite all the crazy it brings out in just about everyone. (Ourselves excluded.)

Crossdressing

I haven’t crossdressed in full since probably December or January. I’d have to go back and open the blog in a new window to check the last date, but needless to say, it’s been awhile. Yeah, I’ve slept in panties a few times here and there, and even put on my padding and breast forms on a few occasions. Nothing full, though.

Me & Crossdressing (Or is it Crossdressing & I?)

I certainly haven’t dressed for lack of want. The last time I fully dressed, whenever that was, I could sense the unpleasantness in the girlfriend (from this point on, fiancee.) It was too long ago for me to remember the exact details, but the conversation that entailed involved me questioning why she seemed so distant when I dressed.

She pointed out, rightfully so, that when I dress I go into my own world. The process itself takes about an hour, or more if I have to shave my legs. Then, once I’ve dressed, I become Queen of Vain and just take pictures of myself. It’s pathetic, I know.

I didn’t know how to respond, but I didn’t like the distance between us, and at the time didn’t want to acknowledge that it was my fault. I still kind of don’t, but really know it is.

Regardless, I decided then to take some time off from crossdressing. I wasn’t sure how long, but knew I didn’t to take a break for a bit. I probably should have told you guys. Sorry. My bad?

The question is, now… where do I go from here?

I told the fiancee that in the fall I was going to start dressing again with some more frequency. She said she expected I would eventually, and she has no problem with that. I want to make sure, though, that when I dress this time, I try to find some way of bridging the distance between us it creates.

I realize, that in a way, this is kind of a non-problem. For example, right now. I’m blogging, she’s reading. We’re each doing our own thing, and the distance between us is normal. But why isn’t the distance between us normal when I dress up?

I don’t know for sure, but I want to say it has something to do with my need for reassurance and acceptance when dressed. I’m very self-conscious about both the fact that I dress, and how I look when I do it. I don’t expect the fiancee to just inundate me with complements, acceptance and praise when I dress, because I think I need it.

Instead, I think, I will look to do things for the two of us when I dress. Video games, board games, puzzles, cooking, or – dare I say it? – going out. Yes, I’ve still yet to take the plunge outside of going to a friend’s house, but that’s something I hope to rectify — eventually.

So, come late September/early-October, Justine, in full, will commence again. The euphoria is over, but the desire is still very much there. Year two. I’m interested in how things will go this year. Most of my friends now know, and are accepting. I have a better idea of what I want and expect. This should all be fun and interesting.

I have to add, again, that my fiancee has been amazing, patient, accepting and helpful through this whole life experience. It takes a very special person to be able to deal with me, and what some might call my idiosyncrasies.

I don’t know when I’ll update again. I will, most definitely. Until then, though – I very much look forward to the fall.

Justine

 

Still Here….

Still here…. this is just a placeholder until I have time for a real update. Hopefully soon. It’s been too long. Hopefully this weekend I’ll find some time to relax…. Be back soon!