My First Dress!

Kandi’s Greatest Hits!

This post was initially run November 25, 2017.  I am rerunning it now because I think it’s a cute story and will help many see what they have done is not at all uncommon.

Before there was Kandi, there was a person who fought the urge to wear women’s clothing.  This battle raged on for almost 50 years.  This person never completely presented as a woman.  A wig and makeup were not part of the equation.  Shaving, body and face, was not a consideration.  It was just putting on the clothing and wearing them as long as possible (often not very long) until the guilt took over.

I did get a thrill out of shopping.  Obviously, this was always done in male mode.  In hindsight, I was absolutely ridiculous.  I would case a store like a jewel thief!  Where were the items I wanted?  How could I scoop them up and get checked out as quickly as possible.  Did the store have self-checkout?

I am not sure exactly when, but it had to be about 10 years ago I found myself home alone for about three days.  Opportunity!  I began assembling the necessary pieces.  I hit a Walmart, picking up some jewelry, a bra, panties, a slip and pantyhose.  Now I needed a dress.  I cased a Marshall’s, noting where the clearance dresses hung.  Made sure I knew the path to a quick checkout.  This was in June, so the Easter dresses that hadn’t sold were on clearance.  I estimated that I was a size 16 based on some sizing charts I had read in a catalog.  In I moved, progressing quickly to the clearance racks, finding the 16s and there it was.  A beautiful Maggie London floral dress.  It was yellow with pastel colored flowers.  A V neck with a zipper down the side.  Knee length.  The price looked good, so I slipped the dress off the hangar and went to check out.  I still remember the lovely young lady cashier complemented me on the dress.  I smiled and nodded, too embarrassed to engage her in conversation.  (Now I would effortless engage her, probably telling here where I planned on wearing it, the shoes and purse I had chosen to go along with it!).  I tucked the bag under my arm and headed home.

My first dress!  MY dress.  It was mine.  Now this wasn’t the first dress I ever wore (far from it), but it was the first dress I ever owned.  I put everything on and, as always, the guilt ruined my evening.  I immediately began planning how to dispose of everything, like it was toxic waste.  What a shame.  What a shame to toss such a pretty dress.  What a shame to be embarrassed of myself.  What a shame that this is even an issue.  What a shame.  There were many, many shopping trips like this one.  Many, many purges like this as well.  My very first purchase of any kind was on a business trip to San Diego.  A JC Penney store where I purchased a bra, panties, slip and hose, all black.  Now remember, I am clear across the country, no one knows me and I am in a hotel room, door closed and locked.  Put everything on for about 5 minutes and then packed it all up and disposed of everything in a dumpster on the campus of San Diego State University.  I felt stupid the entire remainder of the day.

Life is an ongoing lesson for us all.  I learn each and every time out what a truly wonderful world we live in.  I meet people and have experiences I never could have imagined.  I shake my head at how hard I fought this, how I allowed it to taint my world view, at some of the downright stupid things I did to try to counter balance these feelings.  Who am I, who was I, hurting?  No one but myself.  I urge you to find the best way to love yourself and everything else will open up for you.

Boy did I love that beautiful Maggie London dress!  I wish I still had it.

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Nothing Fancy

After a very difficult week, dealing with significant business expenses and possible compensation reductions (life has a way of balancing your life out, good and bad), I was happy to just have an afternoon out to simply do some household errands.  I have no real story here.  I shopped at Aldi and then Walmart, picking up a few much needed beauty items and doing the weekly grocery shopping.  I kept it basic, the every day, any day, woman.

I enjoyed my time out until I got home.  I live at the end of a cul de sac.  Since it was so early in the afternoon when I returned home, I did so in full Kandi mode (I often remove my wig, wipe off much of my makeup and drive down the street in a ball cap and sunglasses during daylight hours).  The street was quiet all the way down until…..  Damned if I didn’t get to the very end of the street, on the cul de sac itself, when my neighbor pulled down the driveway, seemingly out of nowhere.  I had no options, I drove in behind him around the cul de sac and turned into my driveway.  He pulled away and then stopped for seeming minutes (it was probably 30 seconds), looking back to see who I was.  He certainly knows my car and may or may not have been wondering who was at the wheel.

If my life only consisted of me, I could care less.  I would just live my life anyway I wish and let people think what they want to think.  But I am married.  My wife is unbelievably supportive, but I NEVER want to embarrass her, to put her in any position to answer any questions about me.  I love her dearly for these and hundreds of other reasons.  The truth of the matter is, my neighbor may forget the whole thing as we only cross paths every few months or so.  But he clearly stopped, almost certainly wondering who was that in the car.  Now it will just bug me for quite some time.  Just what I needed, one more thing to obsess about.

Inspiration?

On the few internet platforms I frequent and/or participate on, I have been told time after time that I inspired someone to get out there.  First off, that humbles me like you cannot imagine.  Then it pushes me forward.  Yes, I am vain like many of us are.  I want to be loved, admired.  We all do.  But I cannot properly articulate how I am a “mind my own business” person by nature.  Sharing my adventures is not natural for me.  But I think it is necessary, helpful, meaningful.  I hope it makes a difference.

As I get out each and every time, especially when I get into a very large crowd, I get tremendous feedback.  I get to talk to people that have either never really met someone like me or people that know way more about being out there than I could ever experience.  I learn each and every time I go out.  My experiences never cease to amaze me.  I learn about how it used to be and how it is changing now.

Am I an inspiration?  Of course not, I am a cranky old man who has been given a gift.  One I do not deserve, but am happy to have received.  I have been given an innate ability to know exactly how to present myself and find those places that will wrap their arms around me and welcome me.

Life is not perfect, it presents us with challenges each and every day.  Many of the challenges I face, in fact most of them, have zero to do with me in a dress.  That is the easy part!  Earning a living, with the challenges in the current work environment and issues I have created for myself, is always a challenge.  We all have to eat first, then everything goes forward from that point.

I guess I am rambling.  Just know, you are not alone.  We all have struggles, but understand, being who we are should not be difficult.  Can it be?  Certainly.  Is it? Frequently.  But do your best to be who you want to be.  Love yourself and let others love you as well!!

 

Back in the MIX!

The art museum did not have it’s monthly MIX! party during the Kusama exhibit, so this was the first once since June.  I had an absolute blast!  I wore this fun and playful dress, getting dressed around 2:00 and remaining dressed until I returned home just before midnight.  All day in a dress, never once thinking about being anything but happy.

The colors were very autumnal and I received complement after complement on my dress, my earrings, my overall look.  We probably had a good three thousand guests, all in a good mood.  I couldn’t walk through the crowd without someone telling me that I looked gorgeous or they loved my dress.  PLEASE understand, I get these complements because I fool no one, because I am who I am and that I do so proudly, openly.  That is where my so-called beauty comes from.  Yes, I am well put together, yes, I do look pretty good for what I have to work with, but the stream of complements I receive is because of my openness and joy.  It was another day with people who saw me elsewhere or at Kusama coming up, telling me they loved the dress I was wearing or about our prior encounter.  No lie, I smiled almost the entire time I was out (between yawns).

I hung around the party for a bit and then headed home.  But before I went home, I stopped at a local, old school, jazz club.  I perched myself on a bar stool (can I help you miss?), legs crossed and enjoyed a cocktail and about an hour simply being out, smiling and chatting with a few people.  What a great night!  What wonderful people I came across!  What a good world we live in!

Top 10 Favorite Outfits #4

February 2, 2018

I bought this dress (at a thrift store, of course), liked it but sort of threw it in the closet.  I was getting ready for an evening at the art museum, my outfit and accessories all ready to go.  I did my makeup and had to leave in a bit.  I went to put my dress on and discovered it’s hemline was coming apart (such is the life of a thrift store shopper).  This dress to the rescue as it worked well with everything else I had selected.  I cannot tell you how many complements I got that evening!  I was so happy, just floating on a cloud.  I absolutely love this necklace (I actually made it myself!).  I really like (on a cool day) dark hose with a black dress, the grey purse and silver jewelry all tied together so nicely.  There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better that wearing a dress all day!

Spinning, Shopping & Sherry

So this past Thursday hybrid Kandi took her first spinning class.  It is a pretty cool set up, much better than other spin classes I have taken at our local community center.  Very high tech, great sound system, lighting, performance metrics, just a great set up.  Most of the class was comprised of other woman, as was the instructor Jamie.  I again walked in somewhere that I knew no one and spent a good 20 minutes after class talking with both Jamie and Joe, the owner about myself, some of my exploits, showing a few pictures.  Both had been to the Kusama exhibit, so we also had that to talk about.  All-in-all, pretty cool, my half-dressing another complete nonissue.

Then later that afternoon, I ran some errands before meeting for dinner with my friend Sherry.  Due to some work frustrations, I was not in the mood and would have cancelled were it not Sherry.  Getting dressed perked me up a bit.

 

This outfit was originally planned for warmer weather with the sleeveless top, but is was cool, so the cardigan pulled everything together nicely.

The evening was fun.  We met for a glass of wine and headed over to a local thrift store where Sherry picked up a cute denim jacket and I, of course, ended up in a lengthy conversation with a woman who worked there.  Then we had a very nice dinner and just chatted most of the night.  A good night for me to pull me out of my funk.  Thanks Sherry!