Now all this time I was incredibly conflicted. I wanted to have HRT and transition, but I wanted my family and the two weren’t so compatible. In addition, as a couple we went through some awful times as she struggled.
I remember when I first realized I was playing with fire by trying to contain things. I was standing at the stove making dinner and I was suddenly overwhelmed with depression and with an internal voice yelling at me to go dress and that everything was wrong. It was truly awful and I’m really not able to adequately describe the feeling.
By this time I realized that I wasn’t a cross dresser. I didn’t need to sit around for a few hours once or twice a week wearing a bra and breast forms with a little makeup and a top and skirt. I needed to live and not to just exist. I needed to be in the world as a woman and interacting with the world as a woman.
I put together my courage and made my first foray out of the house as Rachel. I went to the outlet mall, about 25 minutes away, changed in the car and started shopping. It was terrifying, it was exhilarating. It was less of an issue than I could imagine. I definitely thought I passed better than I did, but nobody bothered me and I was able to shop for real clothing and not the fetishware that cross dressers end up wearing. I needed clothing that, as my therapist C would say, let me fly under the radar.
A week or two later I made another foray into Concord and wandered about and shopped a little. Mostly it felt good to exist as Rachel rather than as my male self. It was a relief. Over the next few months I managed to get out some more. I was always in tension with my spouse, who couldn’t believe I in any way manage to pass as female. By this time she could see me dressed without too much trouble. It definitely didn’t make her happy but it was tolerable.
I proposed a trip to a local big shopping mall. She could follow me at a distance and watch for reactions without being really embarrassed to be part of the show. We went and of course nothing happened. I was getting better at my makeup and beard cover and I was dressing to slide under the radar.
After awhile I would dress whenever I worked from home and I usually managed at least part of a day on the weekends. As I talked to friends my story kept shifting about whether I was going to go full time or somehow hold off on a transition. My internal feelings din’t change in that I wanted to transition, but the externals changed and I was still trying to do the impossible. The train kept moving.