A path of life

I have seen myself "grow" in the mirror. From doubt to aversion to repression to acceptance. It doesn't hit me so hard, because it happened gradually and I went through it myself. But that didn't make the journey any less harder.
Often understanding just comes when they know what you have been through and how you felt with it. Somewhere you need to tell your story. And what stuff do you tell and what not? So you will not hear the full story and there will be parts which don't have anything to do with the subject at hand. But they did influence my life in one way or the other.

Where does it begin?

Do you know I can't say that myself anymore? I was too young to remember some stuff now. And the things I do remember, I'm looking at it from a different perspective than in the past. You were a little boy who didn't know the world very well. But you were aware enough to know this was something you couldn't just tell everyone. You saw it on television, but that was also so stereotypical.
So I didn't have much to go on. You only knew, boys this way, girls that way. And where was I? Outside myself? Where in my body was I? Or does everybody have that feeling living his/her life outside of their body. In kindergarten or elementary school, I can't quite put my finger on it. I was also confronted with it in my dreams. And I have always been someone with very lucid dreams. Having that kind of control of your dreams, makes it more real. Which was the dream and which was reality. Or better yet, which one did I want to be a dream and which did I want to be real?

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Elementary school

The earliest I can remember with 100% certainty, was somewhere around the 4th year of elementary school. In "love" with the beautiful girl of the class. Puppy love or something they call it on that age. We didn't live far from each other and we were classmates for centuries. We also went swimming together almost every week. So she was close to my heart. I didn't only wanted to be with her, somehow I wanted to be like her. And that confused me. I had feelings for her on more than 1 way. She was girl [thank god :)] and I was a boy [:/]. She was dressed very well most of the time, for her age. I always wore tracksuits :/.
I also did have a strong "jealous" moment. Although most thought I was mad because we weren't together anymore and did avoid each other a bit, it wasn't the stuff that went throug my mind. Ok, it wasn't fun at all, but when it is about puppy love, can you really be mad/jealous. It was more a kind of "jealous" on her, who she could be and what she could wear. And I couldn't. Didn't help either that she gotten more beautiful than before.

It didn't help either that most friends from the neighbourhood thought I was "weird". Was it because I wasn't that passionate about soccer as they did? Or was I really that much different. I did play soccer, because I liked being active and be with friends. Although the friendship with that group proved to be very destructive at a later time. My best friend became my worst enemy. He always let himself be persuaded to have a fight with me, why I don't now. Did people really think I was that weird.
After a while I was fed up with that kind of friendship [friends, no friends, friends, no friends, ... ]. Last time that happened I told myself I wouldn't make friends with him anymore. It was too much. The person who I used to call my best friend, was gossiping about me and turned almost everybody in the neighbourhood against me. Only 1 of my friends didn't let himself be influenced by him and till this day I still appreciate that guy for it. But going outside wasn't an option anymore. Even in school I wasn't safe from it. Because although that "friend" didn't go to my school anymore, his brother with his classmates made sure my life would be hell. Only in the last year of elementary, during school hours, I could have some peace and be with real friendships. Once home they still knew how to make my life a living hell. Couldn't even get peace and quiet in my own garden. I was looking for distractiong in computergames. That way I could lock out of my environment. And the biggest comfort in my life was my dog. He was always there. And you knew he knew when you were feeling bad. And that's also the beauty about a dog. The energy you put in them, you'll get back tenfold.
Luckily those harassments stopped after a while during first year of High School.

High school

Then was High school. Losing a good class like the last year of elementary wasn't fun. New environment, new people, new friends. The school also had a bad reputation because of the high number of foreigners [around 92% I guess]. Even my Turkish friends, who I met outside of my school [so from the neighbourhood], thought there were too many Turkisch people on that school. As a Belgian, you were basicly an outsider and could get into a fight for no reason. Especially in the 2nd year of High School you had to stand your ground or they would just walk over you. So it wasn't an easy time. The years after that we all became good classmates. The occassional "friend" from the past would end up in my class. So it was partially reliving the consequences of my worst enemy. I really didn't seem to get any break from that. One of them even took it so far we ended up in a physical fight. But he learned the hard way that you shouldn't underestimate anybody. Let say he remained very quiet for the remainder of the schoolyear and was gone after that.
You're also at an age where people start having girl-/boyfriends. And although I wasn't the only one without a girlfriend, there still always remained the suggestion that I would be gay. At school [although that could've been more for teasing] but also in the neighbourhood. And I knew who the one was spreading around that rumour.

With girls I was the shy type. But to brand me as gay for that?! And it was not if there were so many [beautiful] girls at our school. And I didn't really go out. With the little pocket-money I got, I rather saved up for a game than spending it going out. Consequence was that I wouldn't meet anybody. Not that it would matter, being the shy guy.

If it wasn't a rule at school, I would still be wearing tracksuits. I also tried shopping together with a classmate/friend [and our parents ofcourse], but that didn't work for me yet. Male clothing couldn't get my interest. Always watching for female clothing in the corner of my eyes. Good for practice tho :). Try sneaking anything past me, won't work, most of the time I've seen everything.
Sometimes I had a hard time keeping it to myself. Especially when it where things I really liked. Somewhere, rather fresh out of elementary school, I almost blurted it out. And then a couple of more times along the way. It was also harder because it were styles I would never wear as a boy [not really that hard, considering I only liked wearing tracksuits].

In the meantime, I kept pictures of clothing items I liked from catalogues and such. Maybe they could serve as inspiration down the line [and could make them myself].
High school was also the time I start putting things in practice. My youngest sister did clothing at school and so there was always clothing in sight. At first is just remained with wondering how it would be, how it would fit. After a while I dared to try it on [and hoping my sister doesn't blame me]. But for the record, I never ever tried on underwear and such. I always thought [and still do] it was disgusting to wear someone elses underwear [and then just put it back without washing]. And for me it was about the outer wear.
But the first time I tried something on, was also the time I nearly got caught. Can't say you can't feel your heartbeat then. And at that time the clothing won't work with you either. But I managed to get away with it. Although that didn't stop me from doing it again. After a while of wearing an item, I became curious how it would be with a complete outfit. Looking in the mirror often had it's moments of "What the hell are you doing?!". But it felt good. Outside the chance of being caught. Although at times I wished I did get caught so I didn't need to hide anymore.

College of higher education

After High school I went straigth to work. But it was mostly factory work. Which didn't work for me. I was able to do more. So I decided to go back to school after that one year past. So in preperation I went to nightschool. And if I wanted to get a girlfriend, I needed to get rid of those feelings. So I started working out, a lot. I focused on fitness and threw away all the pictures I collected. I didn't want to bulk up, so I kept the weights low and the repetitions high. Ik kept these things in the back of my mind. It was also the time profile-websites began to appear and people also came out with their homosexual orientation. Too bad the first messages on my profile came from guys. Not that in itself was bad, but it did when a couple of friends made remarks like: "It's an option for you, right?!". Although this was told with a smile, it seemed they rather liked me to take that option. This has always pissed me off and was one of the reasons why I felt that some friends really weren't friends. With female friends it felt like they just wanted me to be homosexual, so I wouldn't fall in love with them.

College was also very different than High school for me. In a way that in High school I was more classed as "the nerd", while in college, I was classed as "a nutcase" or "a womanizer" or "a troublemaker" or... well, you catch my drift. I started college with good intend, but soon noticed all the prejudice and gossip. Even from teachers. I got fed up with that quite quickly. College did make me a whole other person. But not the one I wanted to be. In part I turned into the person they gossiped about. They wanted a troublemaker, I would be that troublemaker. They wanted a nutcase... well you got 'm.
One good thing came out of it. People were afraid of me. Nobody would pick a fight with me. At least not when they were close to me. When they were 2 stories high they grew balls and made remarks. Not so much when they were closer. I had this one moment, I passed a group of around 7 to 12 guys. As soon as I passed them by, they were trying to whisper to each other, making fun of me. What they probably didn't count on was that I heard them. And with my reputation over there, I turned around, went over there and asked them if they would try that again, but this time in my face. Those smiles were dropped in an instant! So this was very different from High school. Had I've done this in High school I would be the one running away.
But yeah, college didn't go well for me on a social level. I also ended up doing most of the groupworks alone. So I had to do work which normally was taken on by 3 or 4 people. Didn't hold me back getting into the top 3 tho. Some teachers were sincerely impressed with what I pulled of.

A year into college I did find a girlfriend. But after a little bit over half a year into the relationship and after a heavy blow in the relationship, we decided to tell our deepest and shameful secret to each other. This was all through a cellphone. We were in a relationship where we weren't able to see each other a lot because her parents were against a relationship with certain type of guys [I wasn't particularly a Belgian, super catholic boy]. She told her secret first. This wasn't as shocking as she said, but apparantly she experienced it that way. So I had to convince her she wasn't to blame.
Then it was time for my secret. But how to you tell something like that? En through a cellphone! It was mostly beating around the bush, but she knew what I meant. But she wanted to hear it in a clear sentence. As soon as I gave her that sentence, she broke the connection. I can't say that felt good. It took me around half an hour to get her back on the phone. And then she even was as cool as a cucumber, like she was my enemy. That cool as a cucumber was there for several days. And I had to convince her it was a thing of the past. What it was at the time. But that closed door started to open again and curiosity came back. It was obvious that I was wondering. After a while she also lived with me [and my parents]. In the end I was pondering so much and she was also having more and more questions in her head, we tried dressing me. Not a pretty sight. I felt uneasy because she was confronted with it for real now and I wasn't looking that great. And for her it wasn't exactly a picture she ever wanted to imagine. Attempts to stop didn't work anymore. And I didn't want to do it behind her back, but I couldn't pretend it wasn't there either.

First relationship

Cross-dressing [or whatever I have to call it these days] was the thougest in my first relationship. Especially because I then "really" started with cross-dressing. Purchasing through mail-order. Changing into it didn't happen a lot. We still lived with my parents. When we really lived on our own, it happened more. Escpecially in the beginning. You're so happy you can express yourself that way without having to look over your shoulder. A lot later into the relationship clothing was also bought in stores. At sight. We also had a difference in taste. And I had the same issue as any T-girl has in the beginning. Choosing the wrong clothes. And a bit more "over the top".

After a while it again began to get harder for her to accept it. So we discussed it again. We finally came to an agreement that she would wear skirts, dresses and try to generally dress more like an adult woman. And I would try stop with cross-dressing. And as she wanted to be a photo-model, it seemed like a good solution. As a model you also have to dress in stuff you don't always like. Too bad excuses like "I don't like to wear that!", "I'm not used to that!",... were soon there. So I didn't feel obliged to surpress the cross-dressing.
When we lived in our second home, everything seemed to get much better. She seemed to accept it more, but still had questions in her head. But I didn't make any trouble about answering them. But after a while the same questions kept being asked. This gave me the feeling she didn't believe me. But it also made me uncertain of what I wanted. The question if I wanted to become a woman was asked so many times, I began to doubt myself. Then came the puzzled moments about my sexuality and possible gender change.
As for the rest, everything stayed the same. We also had a day where I got to pick out an outfit for her to go to school. She didn't seem to like what I picked out, but she wore it anyway. When she got back from school, she seemed to have mixed feelings. She was very happy, because she received a lot of compliments about her outfit from her classmates. But it seemed that she didn't like that it was because of the outfit I chose. And when the next day 2 girls from her class had "copied" her, those mixed feelings seemed a lot stronger. Also around Christmas time, we went shopping to get her some festive outfits and was also allowed to decide. Again I picked an outfit she didn't like. But she went in the booth with it anyway. When she came out of the booth, she had a crooked face and said she didn't like it. At least untill a friend of her seemed to be in the store as well and passed by the booths. She gave her compliments about the outfit she was wearing and that it looked great on her. All of a sudden she liked the outfit and we were at the register before we knew it.

At the last Valentine of our relationship, she surprised me. As a Valentines gift she bought me a lingerie-set [although I wasn't much into undergarments]. I hadn't asked for this at all or didn't give any hints. So I asked her if this was her way of saying she accepted what I did. Where she answerd yes. But soon after she began to be agressive again. When I wanted to give her a clothing tip, she answered very rude with an insult on top. A few months later I found out why.
In the morning I left for work. A colleague of mine came to pick me up, so I didn't need my own keys and she would be home aswell. But she insisted that I took the keys with me. I was finding this a bit odd and my colleague and I were joking about it, that she seemed to be ready to leave. Once back from work, those jokes became harsh reality. I entered the house, it was suspiciously silent and all of a sudden I see a white envelope. I didn't have to bother opening it, I knew what was happening. The letter said she tried to accept the cross-dressing but she didn't succeed in it and that is why she left me. Also because she couldn't live with less luxury than she was used to. Then I had to see the harsh reality. So I went to the rooms to see if her stuff were really gone. Striking where the clothing that was gone and that stayed. Every piece of clothing she liked, she took. Funny enough a part of those things were items she said she didn't like wearing. Also women-clothing that belonged to me that fitted her. And we had 2 to 4 pieces of some clothing, but in different colors. Instead of dividing it honestly, she just took them all. Her "hand-offs" stayed behind, together with my stuff she didn't like.
Funny enough I tried to convince her to come back. But she quickly threatend to reveal my "secret" to others if I wouldn't back off. Because I didn't believe that the cross-dressing was the only reason she left me [especially because it wasn't the first time she had done something like that in previous relationships], I made a fake-profile and contacted her through msn. This way I found out more than I wanted to know. All of a sudden 3,5 years of the 4 years relationship were wiped out. The whole relationship seemed to have been a play for her.

There were other reasons aswell, but I'm not in the mood to relive them. It basicly boils down to that she left me for reasons she always accused me of during the relationship. Self-projecting much?!
This relationship, together with the crap on college destroyed almost everything that was good in me.

Back home [with parents]

When my girlfriend left, my parents saw the opportunity to get in touch again. We hadn't spoken in about a year. Well, you wouldn't either if they kicked you on to the street. And my ex and I had a hard time finding a place to live. She still went to college, I didn't have a steady job and I had 2 dogs I wouldn't leave behind for all the gold in the world.
But anyway, when they heard the news, they wanted me to come live back at home. And since the house was too big for me anyway [wasn't exactly something to write home about either] and that way I was also able to save money so one day I could own something of myself, why not. And it gave me the oppurtunity to be able to afford some things.

Living back home wasn't easy. You're back to being treated like a child, while you see your parents becoming the child again. So those who think "Oh, hotel mama", think again. Or do you want to switch?!
But I still had all these clothes. And since my mother does all the cleaning, I knew she would end up in my closet one of these days. But how to tell her. So I couldn't find anything better than to hand her over the letter my ex-girlfriend wrote. First moments, the news wasn't received well at all. I was ready for ready for psychiatric institution and all that crap. But I explained it to her as just another clothing style. But that I didn't care if the signs in the store said "Women department" or "Men departement". That I wouldn't let society dictate what I should wear and what I shouldn't. That apparantly did it.
She has seen me dressed a few times, but never when I go the full mile. So she has no idea how good or bad I look like woman.
I don't know, but it was also kind of awkward. Maybe because I didn't go fully like that. We also tried going to the store. But when we went to the booths, some store-clerk rudely opened the curtain while I was trying some stuff. She got the shock of her life I guess, but not as much as I did. Who the hell just opens a curtain like that! As a consequence, I didn't dress for a long while anymore.

Recently I was doubting if my mother still knows that I dress that way. Because she still made those bad jokes about my breasts and having to wear a bra as she had always done. I'm not very flat chested, I could fill an A-cup, I know. Believe it or not but most of it is muscle, it's not because I'm fat or something. And still, why make jokes about it. They do hurt and they do annoy me!
I think she still knows as I have been very sloppy for a while now, because I'm tired of hiding it. So when she cleaned the floor of my room, all the female-clothing that were in that room, were stacked and folded in a corner by her. So she still should know, right?
But what will she think when she's becomes aware that it doesn't stop at just dressing like this anymore. That it goes beyond that.

Second relationship

So after the store incident I stopped dressing as a woman. I was attempting to surpress it again. With my second relationship not much happened on that part either. Because of how the last relationship ended, I was scared of losing her as well because of it. We had a relationship based on honesty. We weren't afraid to blurt stuff out. But the guilt of not telling her was eating me. And she also a rather "tough chick". So I wondered how she would take the news. She herself surpressed her femininity. She would never wear a skirt or something like that. So in that regard she wasn't very feminine. But you couldn't do anything but love her anyway.

So after 3 months into our relationship, she started noticing I was wondering a lot. And as she also was studying for psyhochology/psychiatry, you couldn't really hide it from her. So I told her I was scared to tell her for fear that she would leave me. So she did some wordplay and began saying words what it could. So when she said the word "travestism" [although I hate that word], my eyes betrayed me. It was obvious to her what is was. She took it immediately to herself to start a conversation about it and pose questions. She told me she didn't know what to think of it. She had the subject in college, but more as a fetish or psychiatric condition. So she comforted me that she didn't think that of me and that she wanted to know my reasons for doing so.
The conversation went very wel and I was glad with her reaction. We also discussed what we were going to do with it. We agreed she wouldn't see me like that for a while. Because we both knew she would just be laughing [she was that kind of girl that likes to laugh :), what really does make me miss her], what wouldn't be appropriate at the moment. But she did want to see what I had in my wardrobe. She even borrowed stuf, but returned it washed and ironed.

I still didn't know if I liked wearing myself or that I just liked it so much on women. She never liked wearing such things because of bad experiences. But we agreed we would try it. So we went on a shoppingtrip for her and of course some skirts and the like. I was also proud of her taking it on, because with her there was a deeper reason for not liking to wear them. And to her own surprise, she really got into it. That "though chick" disappeared a bit and her softer side came popping up. At home I didn't do much of cross-dressing, even if she wasn't there. That was also part of our agreement. Else I would have to tell her.
During a weddingparty she herself was sold to a dress someone was wearing. I told her I didn't mind buying it for her and then we could also do a photoshoot with it, as I was following courses of photography.

Goodbye Benji

This was also around the time one of my dogs passed away. The one that had always been there with me. Worst part was that I had to make the decision to let him go. He was over 15 years old. But you didn't see it [or I didn't]. He still was that energenic "puppy" he always had been. He did hide in the strangest places near the end and he had a hard time with the heat. 'Till one day I woke him up before I would head of to work. He had a hard time waking up and lifting his head. As soon as he noticed it was me, he pretended to be healthy. And then it hit me. He really was tired. He wanted the "rest". He only pretended to be okay for me. That's why he was trying to hide all the time. I heard it a lot that dogs are tending to hide from their "boss" when they feel their end is coming. So I had to make a decision. Keep him alive so he would still be in my life or give him the rest he deserved. Most painful decision I had ever have to make.

But as sudden as this story ends, that's the same way the relationship with my girlfriend ended. For a very stupid and retarded reason, if I do say so myself. But it didn't have anything to do with the matter of the subject. You'll actually laugh when I would tell the reason. I have to laugh with it these days, honestly.

New Years Eve party

So after the break of my second relationship settled down, I began cross-dressing again. I didn't have to consider anyone anyway. After a while the opportunity presented itself to go out like this. A group of friends of my would go to a New Years Eve party where you had to go dressed disco-style. Not that dressing up as a woman had anything to do with it, but it was an opportunity I had to make the most of. And I had soms female clothing with flashy colors anyway.
I made sure my parents wouldn't be home that evening, so I could make myself ready at ease. Imagine how much time it takes for a woman. For a male to female it takes a lot longer ;). A friend of mine was already informed in what I was going to do. She had known for years about me being a T-girl, but hadn't seen it herself. And the rest of the group new I would be doing something "intense". We would meet at a certain place. And there I was. I think it even was kind of a shock for that friend of mine. But it was received well. Even when we drove to the location where we would celebrate New Year and would meet up with the rest of the group, I still got compliments. There were 2 of them who clearly felt uncomfortable with it. The majority didn't believe it was my first time I did this tho. It was too convincing for a first time. One person did let me know he had done such a thing in the past aswell and asked me how I approached stuff with it.

When we entered the party, there were some people calling out "Breezer-slut", but I think it was rather meant in an funny way. During the party, there were some attempts by some guys, to lift my skirt. They apparantly needed some proof that I really was a guy. There were a lot that wanted to have their picture taken with me. So it certainly was a successful evening.

After the party they took me home, but not without a pitstop to change clothes. I didn't have anything with me to remove the make-up. So once back home I had to rush to the bathroom to get it all off. But it appeared my parents were still awake or just woken up. My father just entered the bathroom when I was cleaning my face, so he asked what I had on my face. Good thing I could talk my way out of it.

Third relationship

Even before the New Years Eve party I was in contact with a woman and met her a few times. She asked what I would do with New Years Eve. So I told her and she liked the idea of it. So after the party she was curious about the pictures. Close after New Years Eve we started a relationship. But from day 1 I got cramped feelings about how I would tell her that New Years Eve wasn't just for fun, but that it was something I actually did. That there was "something" was easy to tell. But the rest a lot more difficult. That had to be dragged out again. My heart was already packed to leave. I didn't see this go well. I closed my eyes for a second. When I opened them again, I was a bit surprised. I saw a smiling face before me. With an answer that she didn't mind at all, an answer you make any T-girl happy with. It could've been because she had a lot of friends who were gay/lesbian, but that wasn't the reason. A close related family member of her did the same thing as me, so she had looked up a lot of information about it in the past to understand it. What was in my advantage.
Not that I would immediately set up a show for her. I first showed her some pictures. They were pictures I took with the webcam to test the make-up for New Years Eve. I never applied make-up, so I had to check if I was able to get it on :). She liked the results. I think it could've been done better. She said I should put the pictures on a profile-site then and look if people would be aware. But that's for later.

Clothing I did have, she had already seen. And borrowed. After a while she became very curious at how I would look. Maybe I had kept her waiting too long for it. But I wanted to make a good impression on her. So I didn't want to do it half-assed. It had to look good, because that would also determine her feelings about it. She lived alone, so it was pretty easy to take the time for it. I started with something posh. To my relieve she really liked it and to try a few other combinations. For the most part we seemed to have the same taste. So she liked most of it. There were a few things she thought was a bit "over the top". I couldn't actually blame her. But that didn't necessarily needed to be a bad thing. The general impression was good.

Because I just had 1 wig, I wanted others in different models and colors. I got my wigs from Germany because they were a lot cheaper than here and of better quality. We had let the store know we would be coming and I would be there as woman. Which he actually advised to do, to get a better picture of the wigs and how they would fit me. That was our first time going out together while I was a women.

Sensation White

The next time would be at Sensation White in Antwerp. On the last moment I wanted drop out. But she convinced me to go on with it. And I am glad that we went through with it. There only seemed to be a few people to notice that I was actually a man, but they were friendly about it. On the other end we did had a few moments where we had to feel bad about. Some guy was hitting on my girlfriend in front of my eyes and couldn't do anything without giving away myself. Good thing she got rid of him quickly :). Some people thought we were lesbians, where some wanted to see us kiss each other.
Then her awkward moment came. Suddenly she grabbed my hand and pulled me to anotherplace. I didn't know what was going on, but apparantly al this time there was staring at my ass. Then I felt rather uncomfortable. So was my girlfriend. And this was a big guy too. I'm rather muscular, but I was tiny compared to him.
On another certain moment I ended up alone for a while. Out of nowhere this guy approached me and offered me something to drink. And it was in French. "No, thank you" and I was gone. I was prepared for a lot of stuff, but not something like that!
The moment to go to the toilets was also a bit awkward. I didn't know to which one I had to go. My girlfriend just dragged me with her into the womens toilet. And it wasn't if there were just a few girls. There were a lot of girls! But nobody seemed to notice I was actually a guy.

The End

After a while our relationship was over, but not because of the cross-dressing. I ended up in the deepest pit I had ever been in. I lost someone who didn't mind that part of me at all. But when she try to use it to blackmail me, my love-sorrow was over in an instant [though I still wasn't out of that deep pit]. She showed a lack of respect that way and to me, people like that can just f*** themselves. Those people aren't alive to me.
After it there was a so called friend of mine [another "blast from the past"], who apparantly contacted her behind my back. So when I stopped doing what he wanted from me, he would let me now my ex-girlfriend told on me. It was a subtle blackmail from him. But as I said, these things don't work with me. If any, it gave me more reason not to hide it anymore.

Shopping in Antwerp for a day

Let me talk about a fun day. On a certain moment I had asked a female friend of mine if she wouldn't go shopping with me when I was a T-girl. This was the same friend from the New Years Eve party. I didn't want to come across familiar people, so we went to Antwerp. She lived together with her partner, so I was able to change myself at her place. Because I didn't go out like that on a regular basis, I was still nervous about it. But I was glad she was with me. A lot of people were staring or let there eyes to the following. Here and there were some people chuckling and whispering remarks to each other, which they probably thought I didn't hear. Actually, a lot of store-clerks also looked at me in a strange way.
In a certain store there was also a family that kept following us, especially the girl. We came across them like 7 times. The first 4 times or so she had a stupid smile on her face. After that I played her game. Didn't take her that long to feel awkward herself.
A while later I come across a woman a bit older than me, together with her mother probably. Once they passed me, she said to her mother rather loud "That's a guy!" but in a somewhat laughing matter. Don't know what got into me, but I just turned around and smiled to her. Her smile was gone in an instant and she didn't know what to do either. In panic she literally ran away. Like in cartoons :), with a cloud of dust and all. I had found the "switch" and my friend and I soon had fun with how people behaved.

There were also people who could behave normal, even I they noticed that I was a man. In a sandwichbar we order a sandwich [duh :p]. As I placed the order, I had to use my voice which gave me away a 100% that I was a guy. There was an older guy behind the counter and also 2 studente around 16 years old I guess. They did smile, but it wasn't mockingly. More like "Hei, look at that! Nice!".
It began to get late and the staring faces were beginning to annoy me. So we headed back home. Her partner was also home when we arrived. I thought I would feel uncomfortable, because he had only seen me like that on the New Years Eve party. But he acter like he always did to me so I was at ease. I liked that it seemed to be just a normal thing in the world.

This was actually one of my most fun days as a T-girl. It was a day where somebody made me feel that they were with me because of who I was and that the opinions of others didn't have any effect on them. A day where my opinion mattered and I felt it. Where time was taken for me and I felt it. It was a day I won't ever forget. And I'll always appreciate what that friend did that day.

Several years later I tried it again with another friend. I didn't know what my problem was back then, but after half an hour I wanted to go. Was it in my mind or what, but I felt like everybody was staring and I wasn't able to cope with it that time. It was obvious that it wasn't because the first time went well, the second time would work.

Travelling Australia

After all I had been through and also crawld out of that "dark pit" by myself, I needed a break. I needed to be able to disconnect myself from everything I knew. What better way to leave everything. And not many people will like what I will say, but I also went there to be selfish. This time I had to make sure I would think of me first and foremost. And living back to basics, to enjoy the simple things in life.
I also saw it as an opportunity to follow my gut feeling. I've always had this feeling since I was a small child, that surfing would be my kind of thing. I always liked the water. And for some reason I had always been drawn to Australia.
As I had never had travelled before, many thought I wouldn't last long. They gave me a week and a half, tops. I ended up staying nearly 6 months.

Arriving in Australia didn't feel strange to me. In fact, although I hadn't been there before, it felt like home in almost an instant. A few days later I bought a car to travel and live in. At start I had 2 people travelling with me. But I began to notice I wasn't used to constantly have people around. I needed the time and space to be on my own. So we went our own way. We came across each other several times anyway.
I travelled around a lot, but not as much as I had thought. Some places were boring to me and so I didn't stay long. Other places I liked a lot and ended up staying there quite a while. "Home basis" for me became Sydney City/Bondi Beach and Byron Bay. I also bought a surfboard quite soon. I couldn't at all surf, but I didn't care. I was there to discover it. And although at that time I didn't manage to get great results, I still loved it. The water was definitly second nature to me.
I also tried surfing in the dark [had seen it in the movie Point Break ;)]. Not that it was advised as apparantly sharks are more active in the morning and evening. But I always wanted to know if it was like I imagened it to be. Because it was really surfing with your gut feeling. You could hardly see anything. Just at the last moment you could see the wave coming. Advantage was you had the whole ocean to yourself. So you didn't have to look left or right to see if someone else was around. You just could focus on the wave. Thus it was also the first time I was able to actually surf. You know, standing up on the board and actually manage to ride the wave for a while. Damn, what a rush!

Outside of the fact that there is a ton to do in Australie without having to spend money, Australia was also nice because of the people. Nobody looking strange at me like they do here. Over here, a lot of people look at me as if I was going to rob them or something. Not in Aussie. Some people actually just came towards me because of my tattoo's and wanted to know what they meant. In this country, they are basicly scared of me because of my tattoo's.
After work I always went to Bondi Beach to eat my pizza, that I got from work, under the stars. And at one of my final days in Aussie, a man just came sitting by me and offered me a drink. We talked and when he knew it was one of my last days, he offered me a BBQ. I didn't know what to think about it, I wasn't used to all this kindness. But I went in on his offer. 'Till this day we are still good friends.
I also had an aunt there helping me out quite a bit. Well, she was family by marriage, but she felt more family to me than family over here. So it was quite natural to call her aunt [also much simpler]. I ended up giving my car to her at the end of the journey. I would rather give the car away for free to someone who helped me out a lot then to sell it to someone below asking price so they could just sell it for a big profit to the next traveller.

T-girl side

But I'm rambling on too much about Aussie itself, and this isn't about this :). I didn't actually do much on the T-girl part over there. I did make contact with a group, same as you have those "clubs" over here or in any other country. The man [or woman for that matter] was very friendly and also invited me to go to "Mardi Grass" and introduce me to some friends of him/her. I also came across some T-girls who really looked the part. I had to remind myself every 5 seconds that they weren't actually women. They were also very friendly.

I mostly did window-shopping over there. But one of my final days I was set to buy some stuff. The prices were pretty decent for a city like Sydney [makes you think how expensive it is in our country]. And there were also some sales going on. So I was able to get some decent stuff for low prices.
In a certain store there was a clerck who wanted to help me with the sizes. As I always do/did, I'm always shopping for my girlfriend [I don't have]. And when it appeared that "my girlfriend" had the same sizes as me [what are the odds, right :)], with a friendly smile she said I was allowed to go to a booth and try them on myself. Even when I said I better shouldn't do that, she said I could always try. She was very spontaneous about it. But Sydney is quite tolerant that way. There is even a whole street where transgendered and gay-people go out. And it's not a street somewhere in the back. It's one of the main roads. It did took me a while before I figured out why the hell guys were checking me out when I passed those streets every time :).

Near death

What not everybody knows [or realises] is that I almost died with surfing. It was kind of my own fault. But it showed that just because it makes sense in your head and it works out in your head, it actually will work.
It was at Seals Rock. There were very big waves I even shouldn't have attempted. But I saw rocks at the side and other surfers taking them. It was a good way to get behind the waves without having to paddle. But before me one surfer jumped in just when a wave was coming. It nearly smashed him back to the rocks he jumped of. So I wasn't going to do that! I saw a gap in the rocks which I could walk through and just lay myself on the water instead of jumping of the rocks. I just had to time it right with the waves.
But it was soon theory versus practice. I wasn't fast enough and didn't manage to get to the point I needed to be before the wave hit. So the wave hit me while I was still in that gap. And I had my board with me, parallel to the waves. I did manage to stand up again, only to be hit be hit by te next one... and the next one... and the next one. After a few seconds I didn't know where I was and how I actually got there. The people who travelled with me at that time were filming it, that way I knew what actually happened.

It was also when looking at the video I realized how lucky I was. I rolled over quite a few rocks only to end up between rocks. In front of me were razorsharp rock. Behind me the waves kept bashing in on me, pushing me down into the rocks. That also created some suction which tried to get me under the rock. Meanwhile my surfboard was also smashing my head, because it had nowhere else to go.
All the while I was thinking why nobody was helping and just standing there! But then I realised that nobody could help me. And put themselves in danger? I had to get out on my own or I would die, simple as that! So I focused. I focused a lot. I tried forgetting about the sharp rocks, the waves hitting me, the board hitting me, being pulled down, ... all I focused on was breathing when I could, remembering which way was up and which way I had to go. Thinking about every step I took while grabbing the rock to climb up.
And of course I managed to get out. Strangely enough I only had a few small scratches. My swimshorts were ripped and my board was smashed [I had that fixed and is now hanging on my wall]. But I was okay. A bit drained and amazed, but okay :). And that's a good way to get a confidence boost. Not that it was the first time I faced near death tho.

Back "home"

You know how they say when you travel around, you have to be prepared for a culture-shock? I didn't had that when in Australia. I did however got my culture-shock when I got back into Belgium. I had trouble adjusting. Australia opened my eyes in a lot of ways. It gave me a lot of confidence and made me aware that I'm not always the black sheep.
Such a behavior change doesn't go unnoticed I guess. A lot of people disappeared from my life and I actually didn't care anymore. If they didn't like it, it was their problem, not mine.

First time "coming out"

Believe it or not. This isn't the first time I made people aware of what I did. Which some may know, being them. It was also because of what Aussie did to me. But also because a friend passed away. It made me aware that life could be over before you know it, in an instant.
And I needed to know who I could count on and who didn't need to be in the picture anymore. It was also not only about letting to know this part of me, but also to vent some other problems. I was tired of the one way street friendships. So many friendships died down and some were relit and grew stronger. Some even surprised me. And some new friendships aswell.
Some of those "friendships" came popping back up after a while. But I noticed quickly they didn't change on that area. Because that was the problem. Tehy abandoned you when you needed them. And they came back once the "storm" was settled.

I did the same as now actually. Made a website and hoping people would read it. Because I didn't want to have people think it was something it was not. It was also discussed with some friends. Not that much, but atleast it wasn't ignored. And out of one of the discussion something came up I never thought of. Religion. A lot of people have them and follow them. Not every letter of it, but in most part. And although they didn't have anything against what I did themselves, some in their religion might have [you know, those strict people every religion have :/]. And if it would had to come to a decision between Faith and me, well... . You can't expect anyone to give up their religion. But that's about the only reason I can understand. I don't like it, because it has been tearing me apart for quite a while now as it is a very good friendship I don't like to lose. But I can understand it.
I also targeted the site at "regular" people, so they would have an idea from our point of view [or one point of view]. It was mostly visited by other T-girls, which wasn't bad, but wasn't so much my intend. But hey, if it helped someone out that they weren't the only one, I atleast achieved something, right?

A first real [creative] job

Finally there was a time in my life I had luck on my side! Damn that took forever :)! I applied for a job and the employer called quite quickly. He wanted me to come over for a meeting. It was a hot summer and I was in my shorts and T-shirt with no sleeves. And as you know, quite a lot of tattoo's. So I told him that on the phone that I wasn't "presentable" yet. But he didn't mind and asked me anyway. This was very odd, because most of the times they are very critical at how you look. Dress the wrong way and you may not get the job. But I went over and was just hoping they would look past that.
And luckily for me they did :).

It was an awkward start for everybody I guess. After a while he did mention to me that he didn't know if he did a good job being an employer. But he did it very well. In the beginning there were some hiccups, but nothing that bad. After a while it began to be a family vibe. It was a very nice place to work at. I didn't even have to check my banc account anymore. Everything was payed on time and the correct amount. If there were some irregularities, he'd let me know on his own. What was a good way to get somebody's trust. So I didn't hold back either to show my dedication.

Then one time there was this conversation going on between his wife [she also worked there], the administrative employee and me. She was mention that they had done a meeting and there was a transgendered person present. Not that they had anything against that person, not at all. People just still don't seem to know how to react to it? She wondered why somebody would go through something like that. I had my two cents ready to jump into the conversation. But I didn't. What would they think if I knew so much about it.
Yet, on several occassions I wanted to tell them. I was so at ease at that company I felt I could trust them with part of me. But later on, it proved to be a good thing I didn't tell anything. Not because of the boss or anything, but a colleague. When his friend started working with us, he started to change. And then something happened and he showed an ugly side of him.

Goodbye Spike

It was around the same time my other dog died. Which happened out of the blue. He had a cold [or so I thought]. It was a weekend and by Sunday he was still coughing. So I thought to go to the vet the next day. The next day was too late. I wanted to wake him up before I went to work, but he was lying down quite still. I didn't see him breathing. I was calling out his name and looking at his chest if it went up and down. I was afraid to touch him. This was not happening?! I expected him to be around for at least another 3 years. And I felt guilty, because normally he would sleep beside me. But this time he couldn't get in because my door was already closed.
I had a hard time going to work. I just couldn't believe he was gone. I never liked small dogs before him. But I loved that dog. He was such a crazy dog and I loved it!

My parents brought him to a kennel for cremation. I had some time to go and pay some last respects. At first I didn't want to see him like that. But I promised myself with my other dog that wouldn't happen anymore so I had to go. At work they noticed I was very silent. So I told them about my dog passing away. My boss actually understood and allowed me to go visit my dog before he was being cremated. I appreciated that a lot!
It was "scary" at the crematorium. There was tranquil music being played. Some candles were lit and there he was lying on a blanket. Ice cold... . I still didn't want to believe he was gone. That he would just jump right back up. I had a hard time in there, but I wouldn't come out 'till I appeared to be alright. Which actually took quite a while.

But some time later, when my bosses were away, my colleague [and his friend who was now working with us] thought it would be alright to ridicule me about how sad I was losing "just a dog". Oh man, I really had to bundle all my energy not to knock him out. Because they were making low stabs at me all day. I had to constantly tell myself it wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth it! I was fed up with it. And he knew he was in a good position. He was the only and lead programmer of the company. And I was just a graphics designer. I didn't have to add up. So at the end of the day I put the key of the house and the smartphone on the desk of one of my bosses and mailed them about what happened and that I wasn't going to work with such people. What happened afterwards I didn't expect at all.
My bosses were actually upset at what happened and they really didn't want me to leave. So we met at their place and discussed the situation. They had noticed it too that that guy's behavior changed since the other person was hired. They felt a bit guilty themselves for it. And they also suspected why he could have done that what he did that day. Apparantly, if the crisis in the country held on, the last one hired had to go. And that was that colleagues friend. So they probably tried to get rid of me that way. Which almost worked.

I was allowed to work from home for a while, because I really couldn't see that guy's face anymore. But as it worked quite well working from home I was allowed to stay working from home. I also went back to Aussie for a second time. After that, everybody worked from home because it worked so well :). Everybody could trust each other that they would do their jobs.
For me it worked out great. I could go working out when I wanted, could plan the hours I wanted. I just had to achieve the deadlines. So sometimes I could stop early, other times I worked into the middle of the night.
Even working from home, sometimes I felt that I needed to tell them about this side of me. They were so supportive with the death of my dog and the trouble with the colleague I think they wouldn't mind at all. Right?

It was a joy to work for them. They even payed me enough so I actually could start a life of my own. It has been the only employer who understood I had to live too and helped me with my future. For the first time in my life I was able to go househunting for myself!
Too bad it didn't last. It was a tactical bluf where we ended up on the losing side.

2nd time Aussie

I was able to go to Aussie for a second time when I worked at that company as a graphics designer. I needed do recharge batteries. And it was also an opportunity to visit the places I missed the last time. Since I wasn't going as long as last time [2 months this time], my budget wasn't that tight anymore either. So I did more stuff. I went scuba-diving in The Great Barrier Reef. I went cycling on Rottnest Island in Perth. And I went sky-diving in Byron Bay, while I was afraid of heights. But I needed to try it. Facing that fear. I was scared 'till the moment of the jump itself. Once out of that plane I had a blast [and a good view :)].

This time I also took the chance to go to surf camp. To actually learn how to surf. I liked surf camp so much I went for a second time. The vibe was so good. But the second time I stayed at their more "quiet"/relaxing place for the whole week. After the surf camp I managed to actually surf quite a bit.
Surf camp was also a good way to meet some great people. And I met quite a few. The surf camp always ended in Byron Bay, my "home"town. So it was a win/win for me :).
I was also a vegetarian for quite a while now. That raised some eyebrows at surf camp :). Especially since I seemed to be the only one [and maybe because I was a muscular tattoo'd guy who had hobby's like kick-boksing :)].

Had a very good New Years Eve aswell. Which was cared for by the guy I met the first time in Aussie, who had invited me for a BBQ. Great New Years Eve picnic and in great company.
I actually don't know why I keep putting Aussie on this site. I think I just like talking about it. Always makes me happy.

What now?

I've been drifting a lot the last few years. Many things have been a blur to me. And didn't have much luck with work either. I still had to battle stereotyping. It seems to just get worse.
Through an unemployement course I was able to get my driver-licence C/CE. It was quite hard, especially since I never had driven anything bigger than a Renault Clio [not counting Aussie]. And I had never driven with a trailer before either. Made some stupid mistakes [I don't like it when they're looking at me], but in the end I got it. And finally the problems of being unemployed seemed to disappear. Too bad it is such a cheating sector to work in. The liked messing with the hours you worked. Working around 75hours/week only to get payed aroun 50hours/week. No thank you!

After that I got another job in the transport sector. They did pay what they had to, so no problems there. It was also a fun job to do, transporting cars. I liked doing it. But the hours were ridicolous. The full 15 hours were used. I was lucky I lived with my parents and my dinner just needed to be heated. But there were quite a few times were I ended up sleeping in my seat with my dinner still on my lap. Sometimes I even needed to pull the card and load the truck that way. So sometimes it was 16 to 17 hours.
The other truck-drivers were very helpfull there, I must say. They are the best colleagues you can have. They also told me that they were giving me to much for a beginner. And that was also the problem with it. The planning. Those people just do not care! They don't have any idea how it is on the roads for a truck-driver. But I wasn't going to let my life be dictated by some people on the planning.

I had to make a decision. What good was all that money if I didn't have the time to spend it anyway. What good would it do for me to buy a home if I couldn't live in it. And most of all, if my life only existed out of work and sleep, who was I to become? I never signed up for giving up my personality. And I didn't want to loose this side of me [T-girl] either. I was quite fond of this part of me. If anything, I wanted to expand on it. But it wasn't going to be possible doing this job. So as tempting as the money was, I had to quit.

T-girl boost

I also started looking up things again. This feeling was growing every time I tried to hold back. And I felt the more I tried to deny it, the more it was ripping me apart. The "voices" in the head... the pain in the heart... the fear or butterflies in the stomach... where did it not hurt. I had to go forward... .
For some reason I ended up on a chat for T-girls. Most of them there we only there for one thing and one thing only, sex. Not so much what I was looking for then. But it proved that even shit can contain diamonds. I met a few people there who mostly thought the same way about it and were at similar points in live. Some are were they need to be, others still on their way were they want to go. But all with a similar view on respect and life. And I think that's the thing that gave me a "boost". I needed people who didn't make a feel like a "club" or something. But people who gave it a human touch. Because that is something we still are, no matter what some people may think.
The similarities and the differences between us made/makes everything clearer. Feelings of the past [or lack of them], battles against others and ourselves, ... . This really has been a group to draw strength from.

Where it all goes from now on? I don't have a crystal ball. I'm currently with a psychiatrist for evaluation if I'm really transgendered and if I'm allowed to take further steps. So in the future I may look a bit different, but I'll still be me... maybe more me.

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