Tag Archive | Crossdresser

My new channel

20690050_1976279675940743_5806870085882549103_oHi everyone!

I posted my first video on my YouTube channel earlier in the week. Boy was I a nervous wreck! I think it shows in my mannerisms and the crazed look in my eyes. Do I always look like that? Now I’m self-conscious. I hope I’ll get better as I get used to being on camera.

So far all the feedback I’ve received has been positive, though I haven’t heard much. That’s okay. I wasn’t expecting anyone to take time out of their lives see the video, and I’ve almost amassed a whopping 100 views. I’m actually pleased!

I’m planning on continuing to put out videos on a regular basis. Maybe one a week, or every other week. I’m not sure if what I have to say will find an audience. After all, there are a ton of people out there who are more photogenic, who are well-spoken, and who are plain better than I am at connecting with people at large. I cannot compete.

Then again, they are not me. I’m on my own journey, and I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m partially doing it for me, to document this journey. It’s fun to do, and if I connect with anyone, then that’s a bonus. Maybe I can help someone whose own trajectory is similar to mine.

It’ll take me some time to create videos that are polished. I bought a tripod so I won’t have to try and balance my phone. I’m going to experiment with video editing software to clean up the video. I mean, I don’t have enough hobbies as it is! I’m already neglecting my writing and my painting, and my music. I really need to sit down and write. I miss creating my stories.

But this is an extension of my storytelling. Instead of creating fiction, I’m telling the story of Stefani, who am I and I came to be. I’ve written a lot of who I am, so I guess this is repackaging my narrative, but there’s also the path I’m about to walk down.

I would appreciate any support I can get. Like my videos, and if you can, please subscribe. If you are not already following me, please follow me here, too. I would love to hear from you as well. If you have any questions I can answer, please email me at tgstef@stefani.com or leave a comment on this post.

This is only the start of a new endeavor. I don’t know if I will succeed, but I am willing to try, and I’m excited about the challenge.

 

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Getting comfortable in my skin

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Downtown Amarillo, The Burger Bar. 2017 ~Stef~

Freedom is a funny thing. Since making my move a little over two months ago, I’ve been able to be me more often. I can come and go as I please, and largely I have done so. About a month ago, I got dressed, picked up my friend, and we drove two hours to Lubbock, solely because I wanted to buy art supplies as Stefani. I wasn’t confident enough to do it here, so close to everyone I know.

That experience was awesome, to say the least. I bought some paints, went to Kohl’s and Walmart, and ate at the Rib Shack. Then we drove the two hours home. I was fun, amazing, blah, blah, blah. The more I’ve gone out, the less of a novelty it has become. On the one hand, isn’t that what I want? On the other, the thrill is kind of gone. I miss the adrenaline rush!

Last Friday, on my day off, I dressed up, once again, went to my friend’s apartment to work on my painting. While there, I decided that we needed to go eat. Usually I just order a pizza, but I was feeling daring, so we went downtown and ate at The Burger Bar. The apprehension was there, but it wasn’t paralyzing. I do recognize that I need some work interacting with others. My confidence isn’t there.

That notwithstanding, it’s a great feeling to be out an about. I do elicit some looks, but most don’t give me a second glance. I’m just another person, and they couldn’t be bothered to have anything to do with me. They’re so wrapped up in themselves that everyone else registers only slightly. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, lol.

Which brings me to what’s going on now. The Panhandle Pride Festival is coming up later this month, and I’m considering whether or not to go. I’m leaning towards going, but that brings into question whether to go as myself or in boy mode. I had wanted to go as me, but my employer will have a booth set up, attended by my coworkers, most who are unaware of my identity.

So, do I out myself further and go as me, or do I go incognito or not at all? Of course, I have no illusions that you can give me the answer. The decision is ultimately mine, but it’s one that I can’t help but contemplate. Be me or not? Embrace my identity or continue to hide?

At the moment, I have no desire to transition, though it is on my mind at times. I will admit that I have so much respect for those who have crossed that threshold and decided to transition. It takes so much courage to accept who you are, but also to come out, knowing that there may be some relationships irreparably damaged. I’m not to that point.

I’ll go it one day at a time, and I’ll made the final decision nearer to the day, and probably on the day.  Some of my friends are all into me going to Pride, and I’m sure they’d love to accompany me as Stef. If I do, of course I’ll let you know, and yes, I’ll post pictures. I kind of hope I do it. I love going out!

 

Step one

20160916_194724.jpgTomorrow I have an appointment with two different apartment complexes, both in Amarillo. I’m super stoked about it. I’m also a little anxious, nervous, and terrified. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve lived by myself. Getting set up again is a little overwhelming. I have to completely rebuild.

Saying all of that, I’m ready to rebuild. I’m ready to get my life situated so that I can be independent again. I’ve relied on family longer than I had intended. I have a natural resistance to change. Complacency is one of my characteristics that I generally despise in myself. I settle for the status quo until something forces me to change.

That’s not entirely true in this case. For the most part, I enjoy the company of my family. It’s familiar, it’s cozy, and there’s a sense of family that I lacked for years, even during my marriage. All the same, there’s a sense of freedom that I’m lacking. That’s my primary motivation. The commute to and from work is secondary.

I’m looking forward to having my own sanctuary. I’m looking forward to having a place where I can be Stef whenever I want. I really want a place where I can have my things with me. At the moment, Stefani’s things are at a friend’s apartment, and I have to limit what I have. Living alone, I’ll be free to buy clothes, makeup, shoes, and other things to my heart’s content.

This is going a little faster than I had intended, but I’m fine with it. If I’m lucky, I’ll have a place by the end of the week. I’m not holding my breath, but I am hopeful. The the process of furnishing my own place will begin. That’ll be fun.

Growing out

fotor_148643598267887Growing my hair has been a royal pain in the ass, if you’ll allow me to be frank about it. I don’t know how I managed it the first couple of times I grew it out. It’s getting in my way, it’s hard to work, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s at the awkward length were I can’t really do anything with it. The front of my hair has grown down to my nose, while the back is almost down to my shoulders. It’s annoying.

Pretty soon, but not soon enough, it’ll be long enough for me to tie it back, which I’m sure is how I’ll wear it most days. For the moment, however, I need to find a way to get it cut, one that won’t give me away. A friend said I should get a pixie cut, but that may be a little too girly. Also, I don’t think it’s right for me or my face. This is going to be tougher than I thought.

This past Saturday, I decided to try styling my own hair. I gave up after a few feeble attempts. I was never shown how to fix hair. Growing up, I was given really short hair cuts, which I despised. In high school, my hair was usually shaggy, but never too long. It was only in college that I decided I wanted to grow my hair out, and yes, I kept in in a pony tail. Creative, I know!

What I want to do now is learn how to fix it up. On Saturday, I let my friend give it a go, and it turned out okay. She said some hair gel and/or hairspray would have helped. I don’t disagree. I think I need someone to give me some hair-styling tutorials. I think I may need a hair dresser. Yikes!

I’ve hated my wigs since I bought my first one back almost a year and a half ago. It’s not that I didn’t like the way they looked. I did. I didn’t say I hated the way it make me feel, I loved it. I that the way they feel. They’re hot, cumbersome, and itchy. I never spent the money to buy an expensive wig, but I suspect they would be just as big of a pain in the ass as the one I did buy.

The one thing I do have to say is that they hid my forehead nicely. Without it, all I see is my huge noggin. I know, I know! I need to stop focusing on things I don’t like about myself, but it’s difficult. Let’s say it’s a work in progress.

I’ll experiment with my hair the next few days, and maybe I can find someway to fix it, one that looks good, and is at least somewhat comfortable. I need to figure it out soon. I start my vacation next Thursday, and I plan on spending as much time as I can dressed up as I can manage. I don’t want a cumbersome wig to mess with.  I may buy some curlers, or a curling iron. I’ll have to practice some more. I doubt I’ll have anyone to come to my rescue on my roadtrip.

Where’s my phone?

20161223_182901My phone was stolen last Saturday. Gone, nowhere to be seen. There’s a moment of intense panic and dread when that happens. Partly it’s because of the cost of the damn device. Phones aren’t cheap, and I was actually leasing the phone from Sprint for a small monthly fee. In April, my lease would have been up, and I could have turned it in and gotten an upgrade. That was the plan. Alas, it was not meant to be.

So set aside that I had to pay $250 to buy the phone outright, and then an extra $90 to activate a new phone on a new lease, there’s the real issue. That was my phone! It was my property – though we all know it really wasn’t – and then there’s the reality of what I had on that phone. My music, books, and more importantly, my pictures.

Shit!

I made a habit of moving my pictures off the phone. It didn’t have enough memory to hold everything, so I moved it to my computer, but I still have photos I needed to move and then delete. Also, there were photos of me as Stefani. There were no risque pictures on my phone. The issue is that there are photos of my true self. Most people don’t know my true self. I’m afraid of being outed. Afraid but not as terrified as I once was.

So now I have a new phone, which is nice, but I was trying to save up a little bit of money for my upcoming trip to Georgia. I was hoping to buy a few outfits, maybe some shoes or some makeup. I wanted to look my best for my trip. Now I’ll be struggling just to afford to go. Damn my luck!

But my trip is still a go. My friend, who was planning on making the trip without me, is paying for all the gas, so it’s not like I’ll go broke on the trip. I just wanted to save some spending money. Also I’ll be helping with gas, regardless of what she says.

I’m sure I’ll post plenty of pictures during my trip on my Instagram and on Facebook. I know I’ll have a blast in Georgia, and a blast in New Orleans. My vacation starts on the 16th of February. I can’t wait.

Still about my hair.

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Sans wig. Looking rather blah.

I bought a new wig. Two of them, as a matter of fact. Should come in on Wednesday. I can’t wait! I want to wear them now! Chop chop!

My current wig has had it. It looks great in photos, but up close, it’s pretty ratty looking, especially in the back. No amount of conditioner or brushing is fixing the issue. I’m growing my hair out, but it’s not where I want it, yet. It’s getting there, but not yet. It’s so effing frustrating.

Gyahhh!

So for the time being, I bought a couple of wigs that should last me until my hair grows in. I’ve considering it for a few weeks now, but I had been hoping to last, but my last excursion into the world without made me change my mind.

As I’ve stated a few times before, I’m considering extensions as well, but I’m not there yet, either. Maybe I’m not ready to venture there quite yet. I don’t know, really. I should probably start to at least go looking at them, see how much they’re selling for, see if I want to pay that amount.

Thus far, I haven’t paid all that much for my wigs, which I’m sure has been part of my problem. If you go cheap, you’ll regret it, and I have. I’m going cheap once more, but I’m hoping for the last time. I’ll pony up a little more for extensions. Maybe. I’m such a tightwad when it comes to stuff. Then I’ll spend an ungodly amount buying something here and there, and end up spending more money that I had intended. Silly me.

So what advice do you have for me? Are extensions the way to go? Does anyone have any experience with them? My hair is getting pretty long, so maybe it isn’t a stretch to think about it. Let me know what you think!

Also, email me at tgstef@stefanilara.com

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Isn’t this better? ~Stef~

Company Christmas Party

20161208_175554The company Christmas party was held this past Sunday. I wasn’t interested in going the past few years, but seeing that I’m in a supervisory role, and I seem to be in good standings, I thought it prudent to go, so I did.

I didn’t know what to expect. I knew there would be food, but other than that, I had no clue. It wasn’t anything special. It was held in the banquet area of a local Mexican restaurant. The food was good, but nothing special. They had a bar, but I didn’t order anything.

My friend V found me sitting at a table, feeling uncomfortable, because I’m not one to socialize. She was dressed nice, casual but nice. For once, she had her hair down. She usual wears a cap and has her hair tied back, but on Sunday her hair was down, no cap. I thought she looked beautiful.

She whispered into my ear that I should have shown up as Stefani so that we could be twins. I laughed at that. She wasn’t the first one to say that. Another coworker hinted that I should back when we were setting up for Black Friday. A third coworker concurred, saying that I should just get it over with.

But I’m not ready for that. Part of me would like to be out, but I’m still holding fast to what’s quickly becoming an open secret, and growing wider all the time. It’s a curious thing, to be sure, to be able to talk about it freely  to people I know. I kept it hidden for decades, so to have my secret broadcast is frightening and exhilarating.

After the party, I took V for drinks in downtown, The 212 Club. I’ve gone there several times as Stefani. This was the first time I went in boy mode. We sat at the bar, griped about work, and enjoyed each other’s company. We shared a few drinks, and then enjoyed the drag show that we didn’t know was going on. I think V noticed I enjoyed watching a few of the girls a little too much. I think she enjoyed me watching them, lol.

I took her home a little later than I had wanted. I had to be at work at 9 on Monday. I drove her home, and we talked a little more. It was a fun night, and I wouldn’t mind repeating it soon. I just can’t help but wonder how much more fun it would have been had I taken the plunge and showed up as Stefani.

Just a thought.

Almost nightmare

20160918_1610191I accidentally sent all my pictures to everyone in my contact list. I was a virus I downloaded, I suppose, something that outed me to everyone I knew. It was a horrifying moment in my life, which thankfully, was nothing more than a bad dream. I very, very bad dream. Can you imagine? All my secrets, out for the world to see? Well, I suppose they are out here on this blog, and on my Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook, but who’s watching, right?

A lot of people, apparently, not that I’m all too concerned with it. I’m moving slowly towards full disclosure, but not quite yet. I’m not ready to let those I care about know about it, and while I care about most of my coworkers, ultimately they aren’t who I’m worried about, at least as far as Stefani is concerned. It’s my family whom I’m referring about.

I told my HR director about the dream, and she said it was probably telling me that it was time to tell my family. I looked at her, and with all due respect, I said, “Uh, no!” Very profound of me, I know, but really? My family?

I know, however, that she’s right. Don’t tell her I said that. It’s been growing on my mind lately, that soon I’ll have to fess up, tell them about Stefani. I may not introduce them to her for some time, if ever, but with the secret out, maybe I can find a little more peace in my soul. The duality of my existence is sometimes too much to bear.

 

Losing my secret piecemeal

20161014_144317I went and sat down in the HR manager’s office at the end of my shift just to talk before heading out for the day. We were talking and I brought up that I wanted to find a therapist because I felt that I had some issues to work through. She said I didn’t but I disagreed. That’s when she brought up my Facebook page, and asked if this was the issue I was needing to talk about.

The fact that someone else knew about this part of my identity would have sent me into a panic a few months ago, but the idea that I’m not a secret no longer terrifies me. The more people know, the freer I feel. It’s like I expected the world to end because people were finding out about my gender identity. What I’m discovering is that, at least within my small circle of friends and acquaintances, it’s really a non-issue. They accept it.

I still feel a need for therapy, partly because of my gender identity, but also for my feelings of repressed rage and self-loathing. I’ve become somewhat adept at keeping my anger at bay, but when I’m exhausted, as I was last week, all my angers, resentments, fears, and feelings of rejection, came bubbling up to the surface, damaging a friendship in the process. Maybe irrevocably.

A think a large part of my problem stems from keeping myself a secret for so long. It took a lot of energy to conceal my true identity that I didn’t have much to spare on socializing. I never learned how to date, not really, and making friends has always been a problem. I’ve always felt like an outsider, alone, rejected, unworthy of love and affection, that I latch on to any scrape of hope whenever there’s even the remotest glimpse of it, and I fall apart when it turns out to be an illusion. Worst still, I don’t recognize genuine affection when it slaps me in the face

It’s a lot to process, and accepting that I really need help has been hard for me. The macho, I-don’t-need-no-help part of my personality is still trying to keep a firm grasp on this secret that has become an open secret, and soon a widely known truth. I’m not strong enough to muscle my way through this, nor wise enough to deal with the process of coming out. I need guidance, first on a purely therapeutic level, then on a spiritual level.

I’m thinking about telling a priest friend of mine. We started college together, over twenty years ago. We both started out as music majors, and both served as musicians at the Catholic Student Center, I on the guitar, and he as a singer. I changed majors and eventually dropped out. He accepted the calling to serve the Lord, which I didn’t find at all surprising. He is a good man, and a good priest.

At some point, I recognize that my family will have to be told, but that’s still some time away. I still don’t know if I want to transition completely, or if I’ll be content to be a part-time woman, which is an odd thing to say. I hope you understand what I’m saying. I present myself as male because that’s what’s expected of me. It’s as natural as breathing. But I long for more. I wish to no longer put up pretenses. Maybe then, I’ll find someone to love, someone to love me, too.

Updating my blog

20160723_220725I’m starting to make a few changes here on my blog. I bought my domain name for starters. Now it’s simply StefaniLara.com. I think it has a nice ring to it. I also updated my tagline to The Girl Within from A girl in Disguise. I never liked the latter much, and I think the new tagline captures my current experience.

Here’s what’s going on. I feel this transformation is starting to take over. I’m compelled to come out. I’ve grown tired of all this secrecy. I know that I’m the one keeping the secret, and it’s one that’s not easy to discard. I’ve lived this lie for almost all of my forty years. I’ve grown accustomed to the mask I wear on a daily basis. Sometimes I’ve forgotten which mask I’m wearing, my true face, or that of my daily persona, Joe.

That’s right, kids! My name is Joe. Legally it’s Jose, but Let’s not quibble over technicalities. It’s a moniker that I wear daily, one that fits because I’ve worn it since the day I was born. Stefani came about when I first revealed this part of me to my then girlfriend, now my best friend, back in college. She asked me what my girl name was. I didn’t have an answer. I thought about it, and the name Stefani came to mind because there was a Tejano singer named Stefani Montiel. I have no idea where my adopted surname came in.

Were I to undergo a transition, I may keep my surname, which I’ll continue to keep secret for the time being, and use Lara as a middle name. It also feels right to me. It fits because I have had it for nearly twenty years.

This isn’t my first attempt at an online presence, either. Long ago, way before social media was really a thing, a website call GeoCities existed, where one could create webpages for free, so I did. I had to actually write the HTML code for the webpage, and I had a blast doing it. I also had to create all the images such as the title banner, which was the very original Stefani Lara. I’m nothing if not inventive.

Which brings me to today. I’m sitting here, in my drab wear, wishing I could dress up and be free. My spending on clothes has gotten out of control. I bought a pair of boots on Saturday when I should have been buying Joe some shoes. I then spent nearly $50 on panties alone! It’s not like I really need them. I dress up maybe once a week, if I’m lucky.

And that leads me to this conclusion. I’m wanting to out myself. I’m slowly telling people, and I’m setting myself up to be discovered by others. I want to open that dialogue, but it’s not easy. I want to be true to myself, but Joe is a very real person to them. While those I have told have been great about it, a time will come when someone will reject me, and that’s okay.

The truth is not easy. I have spent years, decades, trying to deny it of myself. Acceptance of ones self is the hardest acceptance to earn. I struggled and fought against it for years, though I knew in my heart who and what I was. Only recently have I begun to work out that who I am is not the man in the mirror I wake up to every morning. It’s the woman I transform into when I have a chance.

I no longer consider myself a crossdresser. When I have the conversation, I tell them that I identify as transgender. I’m a woman pretending to be a man, not vice versa. I know the arguments of gender and biology, that biologically I was born a man, but in my mind I’m not. In heart I’m not. In my soul I’m not. I’m not in unity with myself, and that’s a hard thing to deal with for so long. I lost a lot of years being depressed, though not clinically, because I wouldn’t deal with the truth.

So I’m making changes with my online presence. It’s not much, but changes sometimes comes slowly, building until there’s a build up and then a sudden release. I know I’m building up to something. I pray that it’s a good thing, scared that it may be a bad experience, but ever hopeful that I will come out stronger and happier than I have ever been.