I have been attracted to the feminine things in life since I was a child. When I was young, I learned to jump rope and play hopscotch with the girls on my block. I dreamed of being able to wear the clothes I saw women wearing in old movies on TV. Alas, this was denied to me simply because I was born a boy.
This urge to explore femininity did not go away at puberty. Although my body changed on the outside, the soul inside was unchanged. Yet, I was able to function as a male throughout adolescence, there was always a part of me that felt uncomfortable with masculinity. And I couldn't put a finger on what the problem was at the time.
Of course, there were many other problems in my life that I had to deal with. I had an emotionally abusive mother, and a father who could not defend me - as he lacked the skills to do so. As a result, my intellectual development up to adulthood took a very unusual path, and it allowed me to skip several grades of school, yet be seriously behind my peers in emotional development.
As I reached adulthood, I repressed my urges to explore femininity out of embarrassment. "What would people think of me?" was one of many questions that I worried about - even after I was living on my own. I was lucky to have married a wife that tolerated my wishes to wear silky things. Her one demand was not to wear this on our wedding night. Sadly, she passed away after 11+ years of marriage, and I was left to muddle through on my own. Luckily, I then had a well-paying career, and the resources to buy whatever I wanted from wherever I wanted.
Like many cross-dressers, I would buy things from catalogs, and from womens' stores, saying they are gifts for my girl friend. But I was always afraid to take the next step and go out on my own. Over the years, I collected way too much lingerie - more than I'd ever need, and not enough useful items to wear with a natal women's casual wardrobe.
Shortly before 9/11/01, my repressed anger reached a breaking point, and I was told to get help - or I would eventually be dismissed from my firm. I realized this was the right thing to do, and I was lucky to have had an unconventional therapist contact me when I needed his help. (I have not discussed gender issues with him, nor do I intend to. That's another story for another day.) And over the years, I was able to get this monster under control and keep it from hurting myself and others needlessly.
In 2011, I decided to take one of the trips of a lifetime, and flew out to San Francisco to return to New York via a transcontinental train ride across the Rockies. While in the Bay Area, I decided to wear only clothing that I got from the women's side of the aisle. No one would know me out there, so it was a low risk way of breaking the ice in wearing women's clothes out in the open. I decided to push the envelope even more, and went to a woman's clothing store saying I am buying the clothes for myself. The saleslady confirmed my belief that I could get away with wearing anything in San Francisco - and I did for the next 2 days. Although the return trip ended up being rerouted through LA, bypassing Denver due to a track outage, I was hooked. I had to go back to San Francisco and see how I'd react if I were out and about as a female, save for the first and last days there.
So, the next year, I returned to San Francisco, and toured the city as a female until the day I left. Even when I openly outed myself, no one gave much of a hoot. I was hooked! When I reached Chicago, it was off with the pants and on with the dresses for a couple of days. At this point, I knew I had to do more - so I scheduled half a week at Fantasia Fair and had a ball! I met like minded people, learned a lot on how to perfect my feminine presentation.
Then, in 2013, I took my first cruise en-femme, and sailed from New York to Canada (and back). For the entire 7 day cruise, I was Marian (save when I had to show formal paperwork identifying me as Mario) and had a blast. You should have seen the customs agent looking at me and my passport as I reentered the United States - and my masculine voice was the proof that I was the person associated with that passport. You can only imagine what was going on in his head after seeing me!
Since then, I've been out and about en-femme without much of a care. People in my co-op complex have seen me en-femme, and don't give a hoot. I socialize en-femme, and focus on perfecting my feminine presentation. Several friends who knew me in male mode now accept me in female mode, and even prefer me this way - it's easier for them to have a complete friendship when I'm seen as one of the gals.
In many ways, my life has gone full circle. I started off socializing mostly with females, and now I'm doing the same - as a member of their peer group. I love it! Who knows what the next chapters of my life will bring? But I know that my innate femininity will be a part of it....