More Recent Comments From Different Voices

I do love feedback, especially from those I do not hear from that often. Recently, we’ve had some really good comments!

I have visited churches while dressed as a man in a skirt/dress (no make-up, etc.) on four occasions. Each time, it was to a different church. I was treated well in each experience. One of the churches was decidedly more conservative than the others. In every case, some people did not notice, some people were not very comfortable and kept their distance, and some people were more comfortable with me and engaged me in conversation and welcomed me. In that regard, church is like everywhere we crossdressers go. The difference is: I think we anticipate that [some] churches will have more people who disapprove of us and who will judge us. We encounter the same people everywhere we go, but in church, we are in their domain.

Each time I visited a church, I expected that I might be asked to leave. But, quite the opposite has occurred in every case, if I recall correctly. I have been invited back. The more conservative the church, the fewer people invite me back, perhaps.

I am an extrovert. I love to meet new people. Most of the outings that I have gone on, while crossdressed, were non-social. Eating out by myself, shopping by myself, etc. Those are not very good socializing opportunities, except with the employees. Book clubs, meetup.com events, and volunteering are examples of things where I was able to go out dressed, and actually interact with people. Going to church is a very interactive thing (at least for an extrovert). People come up and introduce themselves to you. Some churches have a time set aside for shaking hands with each other. Definitely, going to church pushes my “extrovert button” firmly. So, I enjoyed it.

jjjjohanne

I think you are missing one piece, potentially genuine piece, in your experiences. It sounds likely that in the moment your genuineness disarms and encourages others to open up to the fun, freedom and honesty that you live. Not a conscious thing…just a release, an opening up of a window of life lived fully.

Unfortunately, outside of the moment, routine and Marissa’s description of structures silently dominate. To overcome the inertia of routine and structure requires significant effort and one’s confidence, self esteem, potentially social standing, are challenged. Self doubt dominates even while their encounter with you may have left a lasting memory.

Perhaps what you describe is a lack of sincerity in the moment? Perhaps it is similar to “southern pleasantness” where the social rules dictate that not all “we should” requests are genuine, but that doesn’t seem to hold true in the midwest, certainly not to the same degree. No, I suspect the moment is real and weakness prevents the follow through. Keep being you!!

Love your blog, Kandi!

Brittany

Humans for the most part live their lives within a set of structures; societal structures (family, religion, marriage, gay, straight, et cetera) governmental structures (councilmen, mayors, senators, tax auditors et cetera) economic structures (corporate, non-profit, LLC, et cetera) and biological structures (tall, short, large, small, old, young, et cetera). Except for the biological portion humans have created, made up, the complex structures that are used to control, regulate, guide our collective lives and interactions.

There are some humans who are able, and do choose, to step outside of some, or many, of these structures. Living ‘off the grid’ for example. Living without being connected to the electric company’s power system, without using cable tv, or a cell phone. ‘Alternative’ lifestyles, ‘alternative’ people is how they are often described.

As a long time daily reader of your thoughtful observations I know that you have a grounded, realistic, understanding of the world around us, in particular as it exists here in mid-west America. The world around us, in Cleveland, in Ohio, is one that is embedded in a very conservative and self preserving set of structures. In terms of individuals who have cross dressing as a part of their life the structures around us are not easily mated, aligned, integrated, with our desired expressive mode, our desired presentation. We, of course, like any reasonable people, want to go about our lives in honest, comfortable, and enjoyable ways. The entirely harmless (to others) activity of cross dressing clearly sits in a misaligned condition with regard to generally accepted societal structures. We are oddities, without question. Even as more media attention is given to gender ideas and issues today and even when it seems perfectly obvious that these issues and ideas have always been a part of human life there is still broad misunderstanding and broad prejudice.

As a cross dresser I know that even though there are a many many people who share this activity, this enjoyment of an alternative existence and presentation, I am an oddity and I am marginalized because of that.

There are a great many things about the human world that I do not like, that I reject as untrue or stupid. You do not have to look far to find examples. I believe that many societal structures and the ideas upon which they are based, are stupid and sometimes destructive. (I would give examples but that would drag this into politics and religion) I try to build a coherent and enjoyable life in which truth, honesty, generosity, dedication, and support for others play defining roles.

As a cross dressing person I am pained to acknowledge that I will not be able to move about in society as I wish I could. Yes, as you, Kandi fabulously demonstrate, you, we, can physically move about in relative safety, (if we are careful) but no, we are not fully able to be involved, integrated, in the world a it still does not accept so many alternative things.

We keep rolling on. Enjoy every day as much as possible.
Best to you,

Marissa in Ohio

My readers fuel me. Thanks!!

"My Favorite Customer"

By Dee

To follow up on last Sunday’s post about being out in Melbourne and meeting a lovely sales angel (Lily) at the downtown Dangerfield store, I have another story about another Dangerfield sales angel, Delyse, who I met last year. You will understand why I like shopping there.

Up until last year, my wife and I stayed with one of my sister-in-law’s who live here, so I didn’t have the opportunity to go out as Dee. However, I still would enjoy visiting various thrift stores around the city, seeing if I could find any cute clothes for Dee. I ride my bike (as a boy, of course) to a store (or stores) and poke through the women’s clothes.

There is an area north of the downtown that has a number of thrift stores, a Savers, and a Dangerfield store AND is near a major bike path, so this area became a frequent destination for my bike rides. As virtually no one knows me here, I had no reluctance to look through the women’s clothes and even take them to the fitting rooms to see if they fit, especially at the thrift stores.
I wasn’t quite as brave at the Dangerfield store; I would look through the clothes, but I was never brave enough to try them on, even though I wanted to.

Until one day last year.

I had dressed the day before and visited the Dangerfield store downtown. I had biked to the Dangerfield store north of downtown and was looking for a dress I had seen when I had been there a couple of weeks before. I asked the sales agent whether they had the dress, and told her I was shopping for myself, and showed her the pictures I had taken the day before. She told me I could try on clothes (so I did, even dressed in drab), and encouraged me to come back dressed sometime. And a week later I did. I wore a Princess Highway dress I had found at a Salvation Army store, hopped on the train, and made my way into town.

I visited some of the thrifts I had previously been to and then went to the Dangerfield store, determined to find something to buy. Fortunately, the same sales agent (a/k/a angel), Delyse, was working again, and she was happy to see me. 

I would try on clothes, step out of the changing area, and ask Delyse and the other friendly SA for their opinion. With their advice, plus the bonus input of a GG customer, I bought a colorful print dress with llamas on it (on their website, it’s called the “la llama dress”). Since then, I’ve worn it several times, and love the look and feel. 

Fast forward to 2020. Two days after going downtown and meeting Lily, I had the unexpected opportunity to dress again and go downtown. I visited the other Dangerfield/Princess Highway stores, tried on some clothes, and met another friendly and helpful sales angel. Before jumping on the train to return home, I stopped at the downtown store to see if Lily was in and say hi. I had to wait a bit until she started work, but it was worth the wait.

Lily and the other sales angel, Amelia, liked my yellow and black dress (so do I). They then picked out a dress each for me to try on. How was I supposed to say no? So I did. Amelia even said some women wear a mesh vest under the dress, so I should try that (I did and it still didn’t work, but I love trying things on, so that didn’t matter).

Then from upstairs comes Delyse, who had transferred to this store. She is excited to see me, and tells Lily and Amelia that I’m her favorite customer. I am surprised but extremely pleased to hear it (I was somewhat surprised she remembered me, but she did). She has to go, and I have to go, but she tells me again that I’m her favorite customer. 

You better believe I’ll be going back before I leave here to return to the US!

I have absolutely enjoyed my Sun-Dees off! Thank you Dee for all of your posts and we look forward to many more! I like that I am able to show that it’s “not just me”, that there are others who have experienced what I have.

A Peak Behind The Curtain

We saw this one before, so I updated it and rambled on too long. So let’s take another look!

I figured I’d give you a little look behind the scenes as to how this blog comes together. When I have some downtime, especially like I did over the holidays, I write a number of posts, usually essays on some aspect of our subject matter. Lately, now that I have a stockpile of essays, I rework them for your reconsideration as well as for new readers.

Whenever a thought or post idea hits me, I write it up as soon as possible. An essay (my non-outing posts) gets written and may spend months before it gets posted. During that time it gets read and reread, written and rewritten, added to with an additional thought or related idea. It is rare that a post gets written and goes to press without many rewrites. I enjoy the writing process very much, wish it could be my career, but I am too old and technologically challenged to make that a reality.

Outing posts are always enjoyable for me (obviously because I get to get dressed and go out!). The day after my outing I upload any photos and generally save one full body picture and one close up. If I am able to get some quality photos while out, those are kept as well. I generally take at least 6-8 photos every time I get dressed, at least two get saved and inventoried. Photos are cropped and the lighting adjusted as possible. No photo shopping, as you can tell, or I would look a whole lot better! Pictures are always taken with my outdated iPhone and a remote. You will almost never see me in one of those photos with me in a mirror standing there holding the camera/phone (phones have selfie modes with a timer, why even do it this way?). The principal photo is then loaded on my Flickr page and the post for the blog is written up and scheduled in the coming days.

It has been suggested that I don’t need to post daily, as many who do this know, daily posts can become a grind. But I do get help from guests (Dee, Marie, Sherry and many others). Before this blog came into existence, I still posted photos and a story on my Flickr page, so doing that here is no extra work. I seem to need to document whatever I am lucky enough to be able do. Many of these things I am amazed actually have happened.

The blog is about my experiences and observations in the real world. It is also about my readers and their experiences and observations. I try to stay in my lane. It is never about politics or fashion. Politics is too divisive, breeds contempt regardless of your political views and is never, ever an uplifting discussion. I have never had a political discussion that left me feeling good afterward, regardless of whom I am talking to and their political leanings. Beside, I can do nothing to change things on a global basis, I cannot impact the group think that permeates society.

What I can do is make a difference one person at a time. Whether that is something like the many e-mails I receive or giving a hug to someone who is supportive or a smile to a kind passer-by or pitch in to a worthwhile cause like The Prom to Remember, Transgender Job Fair or The Providence House, then I am indeed doing something good. Something worthwhile. Because for me, if there isn’t a reason I have had to go through what I went through to get here, then it simply isn’t worth it all. I simply cannot be the go-to-the-club girl. Do not get me wrong, I do spend time at bars (Lord knows, I drink enough…..), I do enjoy socializing, but as Kandi’s main activity, it simply leaves me empty. Understand no one knows better than I that “this” is so different for each and every one of us. Different ways to get dressed, different taste in clothes, different things that make us happy. We are all snowflakes, no two alike. My recent post with Sherry demonstrates this. To an internet reader, we may look similar in terms of “this” and yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Fashion is beyond my knowledge. I will only comment on something I have actually worn. I know what looks good on me, chosen from my massive wardrobe, but beyond that, I am clueless. The blog is 100% about being positive, uplifting, thoughtful, supportive, loving and mostly real. How I really feel, what I really experienced, how I was really treated.

One thing that I hope comes through very clearly here, this is all about being ladylike. There is never anything sexual or sensual written here. We all wear underwear, you don’t really need to know what’s under my outfit. How often do women talk about what they are wearing under their clothing? My blog is principally G rated, maybe PG13 at its most risque.

I may repeat myself with a thought or idea, okay I frequently do so. That generally is because I had that thought and wrote it into a post that wasn’t run for a while and then the thought hits me again and I include it somewhere else. Forgive that. I also know there are very few of you that have read every post. I know I have periodic readers and I want to make sure I drive certain points home to anyone who wants to get out there, those as you know: be smart, appropriate, confident and visible!

I get to see continuous statistics on hits and reads. One thing I have noticed, whenever I get someone else involved, my readership usually spikes. Whether I turn the day’s post over to someone like Dee or Marie, or I engage in a give and take with someone like Linda or discuss an outing with a friend like Sherry, interest increases. And that makes me very happy! Parenthetically, I don’t know how one would know I am not posting without clicking on to see who posted, but I digress. I am not all that interesting (trust me on that) and want to continue to try and foster a sense of community here, with like-minded ladies. This is meant to be a community and if it is to sustain itself, I need help along the way. Even a simple question or comment may spark a post idea and generate some thought. I want this to be fun and joyful, never silly and childish.

Well, that’s how I roll. Thanks to all of you that visit, whether it be periodically or daily. It keeps me going and helps me continue to intellectualize my feelings and experiences, a necessary step in my continued comfort with who and what I am. It also has helped me evolve and seek new and different ways to get out there, to be visible. We’ll keep going here as long as there is interest and I’m not getting repetitious. The minute that happens, I’ll step aside. I don’t see that happening any time soon.

This ended up being a bit of a synopsis of my blog, what it is, who I am and how I view the world. I am in the process of rebuilding this blog. I have secured a good domain name and am even developing a way to monetize my efforts. I am extremely proud of all of this, but frankly disappointed in my ability to get real serious traction. I certainly know I am horribly biased, but I think this blog, in the universe of CD/TG related blogs, is very relatable, honest and can show you how you can go from staying closeted to getting out there, if that is what you want to do.

The truth is that I still have very few readers. That bothers me. I do believe that my keeping things “G” rated hurts me in terms of hits. I know it has significantly affected me on Flickr. And yes, I am embarrassed that this bothers me. But that’s me. I do get frequent feedback from all over the globe and that pleases me greatly. But I still seek more readers. I will readily admit, I am horribly biased. In the universe of blogs on this subject matter, I never mail it in. Many do. I put thought and effort into every daily post. Many blogs are written by those with significant resources, they can afford makeup artists and professional photographers. I cannot. Or they don’t real venture out all that frequently. I do so all of the time. Okay, Kandi shut up!

If you know anyone with a similar interest, please invite them to Kandi’s Land! Again, thank you one and all!!

Where Else On a Sunday?

February 16, 2020 – The Mrs. had to work on a Sunday so what else would I do? Off to services!

This outfit was a very nice powder blue sweater, sort of sparkly, with a cute, long multicolored skirt. A sweet, casual outfit, the kind I could envision myself wearing…..oh wait, I got to wear it! No lie, the whole shooting match ran me less that $3.

We’d been unexpectedly dog sitting, which complicated my entire weekend. I love that damn dog, but cannot stand to be responsible for him. I feel guilty leaving him alone. On this morning, I got dressed and headed out the door early to run some errands. First stop, Walmart for some necessary toiletries. Next stop, to restock the old liquor cabinet. It still thrills me to go out and run routine errands dressed and not one single person ever causes a problem for me and many times I am complemented. I frequently have conversations with folks about whatever with no issue. This day was no exception. At the liquor store a gentleman asked about one of the bottles I was buying. We talked a bit, just like anyone else would.

Over to services! It was an uplifting services as usual and I was surrounded by real friends. Love everywhere. Then my day went into hyper-drive. During services our daughter texted about getting the dog soon. I thought we were doing it in the evening. So I snuck out the back and hightailed it home, went through my tear down, walked and packed up the dog and headed out the door to make the drop off. The rest of the day was me rushing from here to there, making sure to get my daily run in there somewhere.

So last week it was a day on, day off and this past week was three days in a row. It just keeps on keeping on! Next week (actually while you are reading this), I am attending a volunteer management seminar, then working the chorus’ big fundraiser in my new role as Volunteer Coordinator and of course, ending my week at services.

And now a message from our sponsor:

Dress Extravaganza!

February 15, 2020 – As I have done now twice before, I am involved with The Prom to Remember, our prom for teens with cancer. The attendees get free tuxes and dresses and on this day, the girls come in and pick their dresses and get their accessories. I have had huge memorable experiences at the prior two Extravaganzas. This event happens to be held literally within less than two miles from my home, so it does have a bit of peril for me.

My attire for the morning was a simple off-white sweater, yellow top and jeans. Nothing fancy, nothing exciting, just an every day woman’s outfit. I kinda liked it.

After all of the car problems the previous day, I had decided not to go to this event. I figured I’d have my hands full with figuring out what to do with my car and how to get to work on Monday. Well, the problem wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, just a broken drive axle. Still cost me a pretty penny, but not as bad as a new transmission. I am back in my aged (just like me) car, old, broken down but still working.

So I woke up and did a bit if an accelerated Kandi prep. Knowing I would only be there for two hours with essentially no commute, I did a quick electric razor shave. Not that close, but good enough for the time out.

Here I am working the jewelry table, my job for the day. Almost every single moment of my time there was an affirmation of me being me. My cohorts working for the Prom were so happy to see me. The folks working this event from the church hosting our Dress Extravaganza, many of which remembered me from last year, greeted me enthusiastically.

I helped a few young ladies pick just the right accessories for the dress they selected. I milled about, greeting many of the families there, making sure they took advantage not only the dresses and accessories, but of the salon we had on site, doing nails and providing massages and the lunch supplied by the church. You really don’t know, unless you have gone through such a trauma, how difficult cancer is not only for the patient, but for the families as well. You can understand it, but until you meet someone going through it, it just doesn’t resonate.

Here are some pictures that may give you a sense of our set up.

The photo directly above to the left is a local TV station filming their report on our event.

Okay, so as always, there was the tear-jerker moment. I’m standing there when I hear “Kandi! We were hoping you would be here!”. I walk over to greet a lovely young lady and her mother. Mom said they were talking about wanting to see me on their drive to the event (at least an hour). Tears! I was so taken, I asked her if they really talked about seeing me and she swore that was true. Wow! I was humbled both by the love and the strength of this angel, going through what she goes through, with a good hour commute from their home to the hospital. I HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT, once you realize what these people go through. They are truly gifts from God. Perspective. If nothing else, Kandi has granted me this gift, perspective. We took a picture that means so much to me, but for privacy purposes, I am not able to post it here. I hope you understand.

Go ahead, offer me this moment or a million dollars and I am pretty sure, I’d take this moment.

I wish I could explain this, my life, ups and downs, all at the same time. Love each other (at the risk of sounding somewhat like Ellen). No, really!

A quick follow up from yesterday’s post. I do, and always have, carried a change of clothing in my trunk. Hat, long sleeve t-shirt, sweat pants, socks, shoes, makeup remover, sunglasses (to cover any eye makeup) and a jacket. I am always well prepared and every possibility thought out. But it was brutally cold that day. Also you cannot pick where you car breaks down. Changing in my back seat where I broke down would have been worse than what I had to deal with. I was in a very public, illuminated, high-trafficked area. Sherry was Plan A, which fortunately worked. My wife was Plan B and my change of clothing was Plan C. Less than 24 hours later I was slightly poorer and had my car back in our garage. A crappy day, but we all have those on occasion.

Sherry to The Rescue!

February 14, 2020, Part 2 – I’m headed home to take care of the dog. I am on the exit ramp, middle of three lanes waiting to turn right. Buzzing from the high of the day. About five miles from home. The light turns green, I accelerate and then….nothing. I am somehow able to move over to the right turn lane, coast into the turn and pull into a near-by parking lot. Now a little backstory, remember I am dressed. I frankly could not care less. BUT, knowing I had to tend to the dog almost immediately when I got home, I had already started removing my makeup, so I was, shall we shall, hideous.

Okay, now I cannot go anywhere and I have peeled Kandi back. Me in a dress, no makeup is frightening. Only one person (my wife was working or I would have called her) could help. Sherry! Fortunately she (okay it was he this day) was kind enough to drive up and help me move my car out of the way (including me in my running shoes, which I thankfully brought, and dress) pushing the car a short distance. Sher dropped me in my garage and I began the clean up. Saved my life!

But the adventure doesn’t end there. I arrange a tow on the ten degree day (it was f’n cold!). I now need to get back into male mode and get back to my car. Fortunately my wife was just starting lunch. She picks me up (with me leaving the dog unattended) and drops me back at the car. Long story short, four hours after I broke down, I get towed. In the meantime, I rented a car, picked up the rental (running about a mile and a half in this cold, with numbing useless fingers, to get it), got the car into the shop (looks like a drive axle and not a way too expensive transmission problem) and back to an anxious dog.

An interesting afternoon and evening. Fed the dog, walked him twice, got my feet back under me, unfortunately had to cancel my commitment the following day for the Dress Extravaganza (that hurt), shopped for a new car, thought I wouldn’t be able to work next week due to lack of transportation, got the car in, think it may be better than originally thought, got a free tow (40 years of AAA dues FINALLY paid off), poured a stiff one and am thankful for everything I have. There is nothing more vulnerable than being in between. Me, not a problem. Kandi, she can get things done. That in between creature…scary. But life moves on and without Sherry, not sure where this all would have taken me. Not life or death, but possible embarrassing situations.

THANK YOU my friend!

And to those of you too frightened to go out (but want to), really? I’ve gotten two speeding tickets en femme, had my car broken down en femme, gone to court twice en femme and so many more…..and you know what, I am still here! No one cares! Live your life. Okay, off the soapbox.

2020 Cleveland Go Red For Women Experience

February 14, 2020 – Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the No. 1 killer of women. It kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds and claims more women’s lives than all forms of cancer combined. The good news is that 80% of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.  

But CVD is not just a problem for “older” women. Heart disease and stroke can affect a woman at any age, and new research shows heart attacks are on the rise in younger women. That’s why it’s important for all women to take charge of their heart health and encourage others to do the same.

Go Red for Women® (Go Red)  is the American Heart Association’s movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. We are working throughout Cleveland to help women of all ages understand that CVD is their greatest health threat and empower them to take action to lower their risk.

It’s no longer just about wearing red. It’s no longer just about sharing heart-healthy facts. It’s about women of all ages standing together with Go Red to change the world. Because together, there is nothing we can’t achieve!

The opportunity to do something good. The opportunity to attend a predominantly women’s event. The opportunity to wear a red dress. What more could I ask for! I went out and bought a new (not pre-owned) dress for the occasion and I could not have been more pleased with my look!

I had not previously volunteered for this organization. I reached out without “explaining myself”. I showed up and was treated like a lady by EVERYONE. This was a great event, typical in many ways. I was assigned to the silent auction, basically as I say “smiling and looking pretty”. You may recall my work with The Providence House, where a life long friend was there. Well, she was here again. I thought she might be there (she works in a senior position for a principal sponsor of the event, in women’s business on top of it). I saw her, walked my post away from her, made sure she was seated and continued about my day. I was close to saying the heck with it and saying hello, but didn’t want to drag my wife into it, if in fact that would have even happened. Oh, well.

I talked with folks, smiled from ear to ear, made friends, saw old friends from other places and thoroughly enjoyed my Valentine’s Day morning/early afternoon.

A lovely OB/GYN bought three auction baskets, one of which was difficult to manage (she told me I looked lovely), so I helped her get her car loaded and headed home a bit early to take care of our daughter’s dog, who we unexpectedly ended up watching.

What a great day, until…………