Still More Networking

After my recent networking event, I joined Plexus, our LGBT Chamber of Commerce.  This evening we had another networking event, this time in Akron (the previous one was a luncheon in Cleveland).  This was an after-work event.  Before the event, I had to do some Thanksgiving shopping and felt emboldened.  Hybrid Kandi made another appearance.  From the neck up (except my new glasses), I was myself, no makeup.  From the neck down, I wore the jewelry you’ll see in my outfit, a pink polo, women’s jeans, flats and my androgynous coat and went grocery shopping.  I had to pick up a few things for my Thanksgiving contributions.  I stopped at two different stores and got gas, all in hybrid mode and you know what?  No one cared.  In fact, a woman and I were both looking for things in the baking section when she had trouble finding the vanilla.  She initiated a conversation with me as we looked for and eventually found the vanilla.  It was one of those really cool encounters, two women interacting.

Here I am headed to Akron:

I felt so well put together!  The blazer, skirt, white blouse, my accessories were spot on!  Red does seem to be my color.  I received quite a few complements over the course of the evening.  We had almost 100 people at the event, which was held in a very nice restaurant, which was also filled with regular patrons.  Walking around looking as I did…….really special.

On top of everything, I met two world class human beings!  They both happened to be colleagues, but I met them separately.   I initially met Traci, but we’ll get back to her in a minute.  This is me and (hopefully) my new friend Ashley.

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Ashley is transitioning and a remarkable person.  I wish I had more time to talk with her, but the nature of the event precluded us from continuing to share.  I have such admiration for women like Ashley as it is so difficult to give up many of the things we cherish to achieve the level of happiness that we all need to keep moving forward in this world of ours.  Her attitude and grace touched me and I hope to see her again.

Traci was one of the first people I met when I got to the event and I again saw her as I was settling up before I left while she having her dinner.  Again, a simply wonderful human being and I was deeply touched by her kindness.  Even as I write this, I am misting up a bit at the connection we made.  I am truly blessed in so many ways.  Here we are before I called it a (special, wonderful) night!

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Allow me to editorialize a bit here, okay, it’s my blog, I get that!  It’s difficult for me to properly articulate the very special connections I have made with so many people.  many have been fleeting, brief encounters.  A handful have sustained.  But all, and there have been hundreds, have been because of the inherent goodness of people.  Good people.  Loving people.  My complete and utter inability to fool anyone has served me well.  Being who and what I am has allowed all of this to happen.  2019 is shaping up to be a great year!

The sh#t storm I have referenced looks to have run its course and it appears that I may in fact keep my job, which facilitates my ability to have Kandi time.  I also made a connection or two that may or may not lead to Kandi finally earning her keep.  There is still some clean up from the storm, but moving forward instead of reeling backward is a good thing.

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BARELY THERE (A Blue Dress)

By Marie Anne Greene

Last week received a Women’s Wear Clothing & Shoe catalog and was about to discard it but flipped through it as I was carrying it to the recycling bin, when an ad caught my eye and imagination.

I was hesitant about ordering the article because my previous experience with this company was disappointing. Had ordered a very expensive dress and what looked like a glorious choice, color and flair. Pictured it being perfect for this GAL.  Alas and alack had to return it as the cut was all wrong.  Must have been an accident in the pattern/cutting room.  Thus, was reluctant to venture another gamble, but the candidate looked so delicious and when I showed the ad to my surrogate “Sister”, my hair dresser (who else) and asked her opinion between this candidate and another she quickly nominated this number with an off-handed smiling, conspiratorial girl comment – “Marie, you would look soooo sexy in that”.  That clinched it and placed the order by phone while still in her chair.

It arrived last evening but resisted trying it on, just hung it in the bathroom next to the shower to allow any wrinkles to fall out overnight and went about my nightly beauty ritual.

Feeling particularly Marie, selected a pink-bra, matching panty and a skinny white camisole as the dreamland attire for the night.  The bed linens had just been washed that day and gave off a delightful aroma of freshness as Marie slid between the sheets.  Now at this moment in the story must readily admit Marie was contemplating composing a Vignette with the title “Barely There” and was planning on centering on the inclination of the female gender to expose “skin” whenever possible.

Woke up the next morning and took a shower with a fragrant body wash.  Dried off with my oversized Pink-Body-Wrap.  Styled my favorite yellow shoulder length mane followed by a slipping on a Blue-black lace halter style bra and naturally, a matching black lace panty.  A body talc called “Delirium” came next came. Then sat on the edge of the bed and carefully rolled on a silky pair of “Barely There” thigh-highs.  A quick look in the mirror was pleasing even with only the barest of make-up, lipstick, blusher and light dusting of powder blended in with a “Mink’ brush.  Enough to test the form and fit of the recent acquisition.

Well! The expectant treasure did not disappoint. The ad had described it as a Dazzling, Elegant, Flirty, Midnight Blue Fantasy with an enticing halter neckline and soft fold convertible cowl that could be draped to the side or forward for distinctive personalized allure.  The skirt was a multi-tiered silky crepe that flowed with every step or dance move.  The hem was the trendy uneven tiered hemline which accentuated the shimmer of the Barely There thigh highs and the accompanying lace scalloped 2 ½ Fioni black heels Marie had slid on.

The image was almost over the top as Marie applied the finishing touches on the facial aspects of this portrait, Black-Blue mascara and Eye-liner, Merle Norman Purple Taupe eye shadow, a blusher touch-up of Patent-Pink Cheek Color, a light-delicate dusting of MN Barely Their loose power applied with a Mink Brush, topped off with MN Expert Touch Finishing Spray.

The near final act of this delightful heady Girl Extravaganza were Drop-Style Pearl Earrings, a graduated multi-strand silver and blue necklace, and blue & silver charm bracelet with miniatures of the earth, moon, a star and Tinker-bell figurine.

The finale was a moderate sized Cream-White shoulder strap purse, trimmed with a dainty infinity symbol.  Now this Girl was ready to dance those 2/12 heels into the ground.

Now you may look at the photos!

What do you think?

Marie is anxious to know your opinion.

The Fragility of Connections (With Others Like Me)

I interact with many.  Comments here on the blog.  Direct e-mails.  And of course, relationships in real life.  I have been blessed to be able to spend time with a few wonderful ladies I met online.  Now four years into being out and about, one thing I have found (at least with me).  Relationships I foster as Kandi don’t last long.  There are many reasons for that, principally the inherent life of a crossdresser.  While I am out and about, proudly and frequently, there are many, many in my life that have no idea and I want to keep it that way for various reasons.

I have friends that I did many things with, both other CD/TGs and GGs.  For one reason or another, we drift apart.  Such is the life of someone like myself with two personas.  Many I connected with simply have disappeared.  Gone, never to be heard from again.  That could be for many reasons.  Illness, God forbid death or more likely their non-CD life has taken over.  Maybe they are trying to break or manage these urges or needs (been there).  Also, as many of us move down this road, what it means to us changes dramatically.  Some transition.  Some mature or have different interest when dressed.  We literally go through the stages any girl/woman goes through, just on an accelerated pace.  I can see my “puberty”, my being a “young lady” and me now being and acting as a mature woman.  Who knows?  But that is all a part of it.

Now because of the time I spend on this blog, my means of being of some service to our community and my desire to not overdo my time online, I generally do not initiate communication.  But I always respond, thoughtfully and with compassion.  I do whatever I can to help and support.  But sometimes, it’s not perceived to be enough.

Recently I was contacted by someone (I’ll leave the details out in respect to her) and I always responded, answered questions and offered whatever support I could.  I was responsive, kind and understanding in my responses.  Then one day, she sent me an e-mail telling me she didn’t want me to think she had forgotten about me.  In an attempt to be very honest, knowing that many, many relationships that I have fostered simply vanished, I responded to her as follows:

“Please don’t take this the wrong way.  Whether you keep in touch or not has no impact on me.  Because of who and what we are, because we do not know each other in the real world and because I am busy with my life and my blog, I never keep in touch with anyone.  There are girls I have interacted with that just disappear, it is a way of life in this virtual world.  People that I have gone back and forth with just like you and I and then I never hear from them again.  That is why the frequency of your messages never even crosses my mind.

I respond always to messages, comments and e-mails.  I want to support as much as I can, but beyond that, I have things that occupy my time and mind.  That said, I enjoy our interactions and am happy to respond.”

My point was that I am frankly numb now to friends disappearing.  I was being honest, something that I hope comes though here and wherever I post or write something.  One thing that is important to managing our feelings is to be self-aware, honest with ourselves and others.

I haven’t heard from her since.  I feel bad, but would feel worse if I wasn’t honest.  I don’t sit around and hope so and so e-mails me.  I have responsibilities, obligations, worries, bills to pay, a wife and children, other interests, non-CD friends, on and on.  Wonderful CD/TG relationships in the real world, that I cherished and remember fondly are now gone, all for good reason.  I had a GG friend with whom I attended many concerts and weddings, gone.  I have talked about my church frequently, friends and relationships, gone.  I have had quite a few ladies I had e-mail back-and-forths with, gone.  I could probably list at least 30 people with whom I have had friendships and/or relationships with, all gone or greatly diminished.  I have had long, very nice telephone conversations with many, agreeing to get together at some time.  It simply never happens and I often never hear from them again.  It is who we are, I guess.  Maybe it’s me, which is certainly possible.

I am who I am, I am what I am, but if nothing else, I am up-front and honest.  I hope that comes though here.

PS, this post was written a few weeks ago.  My friend since e-mailed me.  Made me happy.  But the frequency of contact has fallen off significantly.

Last Weekend

Friday was a bit of a girl day for me.  I started the day, snowy and slushy outside, with a spin class, my warm up for a five mile race the next day.  I found this cute top quite some time ago at a thrift (where else?) and have always been looking for a place to wear it.  This was that day.  There were only six ladies in the class, including me and I continue to enjoy the full and complete acceptance I receive there.  Joseph, the owner, always greets me as Kandi and I like that.  It was fun as I was able to see myself the entire time in the mirror in the spin room, watching this woman looking back at me, pretty pleased with myself.

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I then spent a few hours putting outfits together for a number of post-Thanksgiving events I have coming up.  I have stopped putting multiple outfits together in advance, instead now assembling them for a specific purpose or event.  This run of events will be so much fun, Christmas parties and Christmas concerts, including my yearly weekend spent on Playhouse Square.

My wife’s work schedule has changed a bit recently, having her work on Sunday of late.  On these days, I take advantage and attend Sunday services.  This time, I selected another historic Cleveland church, The Church of the Covenant.  Since I was only going to services and then back home to get cleaned up to attend to some chores, I kept if fairly simple.  I love this top and went with slacks.  This was a case where I believe I looked better in reality than in these photos.

I got there early, again not knowing a soul.  I had never been to this church before.  People filled in around me, all were welcoming during greetings and afterward.  No real great story to tell, just a peaceful Sunday morning.  I don’t think I am being hyperbolic, I have never, ever heard a church choir so impressive.  One woman did a solo and she had an operatic voice, it gave me chills it was so good!  A nice way to begin my Sunday.

Be Appropriate

Appropriate, so very, very important.  Please don’t complain about not being accepted if you are not dressed in an appropriate fashion for your age, for your body type, for your surroundings.  If in fact you are not, that is completely your prerogative, but you cannot expect to be accepted or treated as any other woman by society in general.  Let’s talk about this further.

If your goal is to blend or assimilate, which is mine, then you must dress like any other woman your age. I am 57 years old, so I want to dress like any other lady my age.  That doesn’t mean I don’t wear a short skirt on occasion (I like to feature my best asset, my legs).  I pick my spots, take a bit of a fashion risk when in the right circumstance.  For example, you can refer to my Pandemonium post, a huge gala held by Cleveland Public Theater.  I wore a very short, tight fitting dress.  But that was what the event called for and so I was completely accepted and at ease in my surroundings.  When I attend Sunday services, I dress accordingly, in a modest dress or knee length skirt and blazer.  Think about how a woman your age would present herself for the circumstance.  I have seen too many wearing clothing designed for a teenage hooker.  Backless dresses and giant heels.  Most women simply don’t dress that way.  But if that is what you like, go for it, just don’t expect to blend.

Please dress for your body type.  I am fortunate, I worked my behind off (this was NOT God given) to get thin.  I sacrificed, ran, worked out and ate well to attain my figure.  Dropped a ton of weight.  It’s now a way of life for me.  Therefore I am able to reap the benefits in the type of outfits I can wear.  If you are thicker, heavier, then make the adjustment.  We all want to be that rail-thin model, but if your body doesn’t allow for it, then make the necessary adjustments in your wardrobe.

Dress for the occasion.  As the saying goes, don’t wear a ball gown to the bowling alley.  That doesn’t mean you can’t stretch the boundaries.  I’ll often wear a dress shopping or for dinner.  While many women no longer wear dresses, some do.  But I may go casual with a cute denim jacket to blend better.  Now when I attend a play on Playhouse Square, then I can get dressed to the nines if that is what I want.  Watch other women.  Notice how they dress, what types of shoes they wear, what they wear and where they wear it.  Don’t overdo it.  I’ve seen “sisters” out in the wild and some try too hard to wear every single possible article of women’s clothing all at once.  Be feminine but stylish.

Act like a woman.  Comport yourself as a woman does.  I fool no one.  Yet in hundreds of outings, nearly thousands of situations, I have had not one single negative experience.  I have received thousands of complements, every single one was because they knew who and what I am.  There is tremendous kindness out there.

Being appropriate is so very important to blending.  Please note I will never discuss “passing” as I know nothing about that.  I never have “passed” and I never will.  Confidence, next Monday!

Networking

This is going to be a boring post, but a cute outfit, so hang in there with me.

I attended my first event with Plexus, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce here in Cleveland.  It was a luncheon.  There were probably 35 people there, we had lunch and had to introduce ourselves, talk about our business, tell how we found out about Plexus, say a few words about ourselves and our favorite part of the holidays.  Since I don’t really have an applicable business, I talked about my search for meaningful work, hopefully as Kandi.  We shall see.  I met quite a few nice people and enjoyed myself.  I will be attending an after work event in Akron next week (what an outfit for that!), so we’ll see where this all takes me.

My outfit, I thought it was very well put together.  Well, was it?

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Zero Negative Experiences (So Far)

Another one of Kandi’s Greatest Hits!  And yes, still no negative experiences.

I have been going out in public frequently since January 2015, usually about three times a week.  When I do go out, I rarely just go to one place and call it a day.  Outings generally consist of probably three stops.  Maybe picking up some makeup somewhere, getting a bite or glass of wine and then wherever I am headed.  I would conservatively estimate I’ve been out almost 400 times, been in well over 1,000 different situations and/or places.  I think I present myself very well now, but that wasn’t always the case. I have sought to place myself in very feminine situations, like bra fittings, bridal fittings, shopping for dresses, makeup classes, involvement with women’s social groups and/or female volunteer situations.  I have been fearless about just being a woman in public.  While making sure many of the world class organizations I work for (The Cleveland Art Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, etc.) know my real identity for necessary legal/liability purposes, I am 100% Kandi to them, in name, in their records, etc.

Not once have I been insulted, called a name, been denied the treatment any other woman would receive.  I am certain eyes have rolled behind my back.  While I have been called “he” or “him”, it has never been done derisively, it has mostly been done out of ignorance.  I have been accepted in many female social circles, been “ma’am’d”, had doors held open for me, been given the cherished “hello ladies”, had my meal paid for, shared drinks and conversation with “normal” people, and I could go on and on.

I follow my Three Be’s religiously and will reiterate them here: Be smart, be appropriate and be confident.  That confidence is the absolute key to moving about freely.  A smile is the single most valuable “accessory” we girls have.  Being smart generally keeps me out of places where prejudiced people would congregate or at least feel free to express themselves publicly.  Being appropriate keeps me from standing out for negative reasons.  And that confidence……nothing like it!  The lack of confidence throws off a negative vibe, puts others on edge immediately.  But a smile immediately puts others at ease and generally puts them in a positive frame of mind in their approach to you.

So what my point?  If you do it right, you can go out.  You can be the woman you really want to be, you can be accepted in public.  Get out there!!