The Nice ‘n’ Naughty blog has the great honour of introducing Debbie; our new guest blogger. Debbie will be giving us an insight into her life as a cross dresser in her special blog posts.
In her first post Debbie tells us about her life so far and shares her feelings on aspects of cross dressing and society’s perspective.
Please read, enjoy and comment.
This is my story, and mine alone. How I arrived at where I am, which, incidentally, is a state of huge contentment and satisfaction, is a route partly decided by myself and partly dictated by fate. It is not necessarily a ‘route map’ for others to follow. So, and with that important disclaimer clearly stated, let me start by telling you where I am.
My name is Debbie Smith, and I am hardly in the first flush of youth (70 approaches with a frightening speed) but, and very happily for me, neither feel, nor conduct myself as most of such advanced years would normally do, but in that respect I recognise I have been fortunate health-wise. I live mostly, but by no means all the time, as a woman. For those who set such standards I might be classed as 24/6 rather than 24/7. For all my confidence I retain also a realisation that there are some lingering areas of my former life where Debbie would be an inappropriate presence. This is not in any way to betray my adopted life-style and I must confess, by way of a footnote, to being extraordinarily irritated by those who suggest that I am not being honest with myself. There are no such rules for those who share this community. We can only be guided by our own feelings and judgements, that is of course how we find ourselves in our various current situations anyway.
I live in splendid isolation in the north of England and have done so for some 7 years now following my divorce after a 36-year long marriage. I have no plans to embark on any form of long-term relationship and I am committed to living out my life without the undoubted benefits of such an association. This is not to suggest that I am in any way lonely or isolated: I am neither, and enjoy a circle of dear friends with whom I can share so much. As for other matters, I am not on hormones and would not at my age consider surgery; were I younger my view might different. But this troubles me not and I remain happy (an understatement by the way) with my situation.
So, when did it all begin? The point is peculiarly clear in my mind, and has never left me. I was 9 and in my final year at infant school. I had always enjoyed reading and was, not to sound precocious (because I wasn’t), working through a book about Hercules and his labours and atonements for his various misdemeanours. Apart from his twelve labours he had also serve as a maid, dressed in women’s clothes, for a year to one of the goddesses. Now at such a tender age one is not aware of sexual feelings or emotions – at least I wasn’t – but this struck me like a thunderbolt and although I did not know why (actually I still don’t over 60 years later!) could not get it out of my mind, or rid myself of the strange but lovely feeling that overtook me at that moment. I remained haunted by that image for years following, right through puberty and beyond.
Of course at 9 one does not know how to respond to such tumultuous feelings and it was another year or so before I experimented in ‘dressing’. Having no sisters, it was inevitably my mother’s wardrobe that attracted my attention. Fortunately my mother worked so I could sneak home at lunch time from school and try her things on. I shudder to think how I must have looked, but it met an important need for me and, interestingly, one that never caused me any sense of guilt or anxiety; a happy state of affairs that persists.
The following years can be dealt with briefly and were, in retrospect, less satisfactory. As a university student living away from home, I had opportunities that had been previously denied me, and I took such advantages of the situation as I could. It was however, in that pre World-wide Web age, a solitary existence. I was sure I was not the only person who felt as I did, but had no means of making contact with others. After leaving university I then got married to a girl I met as a student, and embarked on a period of self-imposed quiescence in terms of dressing. Occasional and snatched forays into my wife’s wardrobe were so unsatisfying that I all but buried my desires, needs, ambitions – call them what you will – and occupied myself in what I thought was living. But our capacity for self-delusion knows no bounds, as I realised following my divorce. At the time I thought, if indeed I reflected upon it all, that the breakdown of my marriage had nothing to do with my suppressed ambitions. It is only, looking back over a few years that I recognise that it probably had a great deal to do with it. Psychologists often suggest that most of our decisions are based on sub-conscious activities of which we recognise so little: I would not, in the light of my own retrospective view, refute that argument. I now see that there was a turmoil in my heart that I refused to express or even acknowledge. I had anaethestised myself to all such deeper feelings.
Following my divorce I found myself with the opportunity of exploring my need to dress. I embarked upon this, what turned out to an adventure, with little suspicion of where it would lead me. Indeed, following such a long period of inactivity I had only limited ambitions and fewer expectations. But it was an already open emotional door that needed only to be pushed; and pushed it was to lead me into what I can only describe as a ‘garden of lights’. Now let me be clear, I refer not to sexual delights, but to intensely personal and wondrously fulfilling emotions of a different nature. Unfettered any longer by the social conventions of marriage and ‘normal’ behaviour (will someone tell me exactly what that is?) I found myself; and I mean that quite literally.
As time passed and my skills in dressing, making up and generally conducting myself on my new feminine role I realised that this was no imagined passion, no fanciful or ultimately ill-founded or self-deluding fantasy: this really was me! I can express it no more simply nor honestly. I had always, since that first awakening of my needs so many years ago, been dimly aware, though hardly recognised, that I had a strong feminine side to my nature, and now it could flower into something of genuine – dare I say it? – beauty, but beautiful in the sense of it being something to celebrate and no longer bury, shy away from or ignore.
In this respect I fully recognise the huge good fortune I enjoy. It has been, I do not deny, a long and sometimes painful journey to reach where I am today, but I am lucky that opportunity has granted me this accomplishment. For so many it is not so. But why, I have to ask myself, did I not realise sooner my true self? In my view, for what it’s worth, we are all, in part at least, products of the societies in which we live and are brought up. We absorb, like it or not, realise it or not, the values, conventions, hopes, fears, and anxieties of our social environment, from our families, schools, media and everyday experiences. Hence, I got married when I should not have done. I did it because it was expected of me. I neglected my feminine side because it was not, especially in my youth of 50s and 60s, in any way acceptable. I assumed a persona that was not mine, but was what was expected of me. So many do that, and so many must lead lives of unrealised frustration and stress; and I hope I do not sound condescending when I write that. I recall the oft-quoted line from the feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir that women are not born but made [by society]. How right she was, but it applies also, to some extent, to men. In this respect, despite the ills that beset western Europe in the early 21st century, we must all embrace the degree to which alternative life styles and views are not only tolerated but also welcomed., at least in some quarters. The deeper question of why I am as I am takes us into the murkier waters of Freudian psychology, and I have no need to go there. I accept and celebrate my true being, and need no more.
So, where do I see myself fitting into this new social order? In so many respects I find myself very well-grounded in my society. I have a degree of self-belief and confidence – but not arrogance I hasten to add – that I have never enjoyed previously. This has brought out the best of characteristics in me, and Debbie is a more thoughtful, sociable, charitable and tolerant person than her male counter-part ever was. On the other hand I never allow my confidence to overtake my better judgements. When out as Debs most certainly I want always to look smart and presentable and never OTT, and I do not set out to shock or offend. I recognise however that my very being will unavoidably offend some people, but I cannot legislate for that and it is, as they say, collateral damage. In some respects, and forgive the seeming arrogance, I feel myself to be a woman on a mission, and my mission is to demonstrate that my chosen life-style is neither threatening nor dangerous, neither does it unravel the fabric of society; merely add a thread of another colour and lustre.
Whilst I realise that prejudice yet exists, I have to say that the response I get to my public being is heart-warmingly lovely; odd furtive condemnatory glances or sniggers I can deal with. Everyone from restaurant staff to security officers at the airport treat me with respect and curious, but polite, interest. I’ve had some quite charming conversations with various people that gives me real hope for our futures. I am only too well aware that I do not pass close inspection, but I do my best, and I’m proud of what I do and of my modest achievements. I’ve even had complete strangers stop me in the street and compliment on my dress. In some respects my life has become something a ‘road movie’; I go through it with a series of delightful and unpredictable encounters and experiences. My neighbours all know about me and could not be more accommodating, some insisting on going out with Debs for dinner, cinema, inviting me in for tea etc. My new life has, in happy conclusion, restored my faith in human-kind and there can be no better confirmation that I have made, either by design or by default, the right decision and to live as I do.