I’m a poor role model for coping in some ways. I read the accounts of others and marvel at their audacity, sneaking into their sister’s or mother’s things, even acquiring a secret cache. Yet it wasn’t so much my bent in terms of feeling comfort, so perhaps that’s a major reason I never seriously pursued cross dressing at either an early age, nor later on. In fact, when I did try that along they way as suggest by my therapist I found it helped, but wasn’t really enough.
When I reached graduate school I started dancing. In that area Friday night contra and square dancing was an available and social thing for adults to do. The crowd wasn’t enormous but it was good fun and got me out. That led to classes in ballet and ballroom. When I moved down to where I am now I sought a dance school.
What I found was a modern dance school, so I did that and was thrilled to have an excuse to buy, own and wear leotards and tights. It was a nice outlet for my feminine side and I continue at it for awhile. I also continue to do contra dancing and square dancing as I had in grad school (which is where I met the woman I was to marry).
Yet I was always hyper aware of gender issues and so I reacted to taking modern by shifting to something much more macho – kung fu. Kung fu as I took it was a combination of karate and grappling and there was no mistaking it for dance. But that’s the part I liked in karate, the forms and movement, exactly what I got out of dance. Really sad in some ways, although having some ability at self defense really cannot be a bad thing.
Crafts were another coping mechanism for me. I did woodworking and jewelry in grad school and continue with woodworking some years later. I bought a sewing machine after grad school and actually made some clothing for myself. I even did some cross stitch embroidery.
After a while these outlets along with music needed other additions. I started buying men’s underwear that resembled women’s panties and buffing and manicuring my nails. It gave me something to do that was virtually invisible to the world around me but felt feminine.
All this stopped working very well about fifteen years ago, but that’s another story for another post.