Not quite sure why I'm posting this. I guess I'm just trying to figure out what it means for me.
For a long time, I've wanted to wear women's clothing. When I was younger, I tried wearing my mom's clothes without permission - she caught me a few times, which was pretty humiliating. In recent years, for some reason, the drive towards ladies' wear has been even stronger. I've felt the desire to go out and buy my own clothes. In college I bought a few pairs of panties, but always ended up throwing them away out of shame. Within the last year or so, I've had an odd new desire crop up. My tastes moved more towards dresses, especially the really cute or juvenile ones. But along with that, I've wanted to go into stores and try them on.
Why would I want to do this? It's the kind of thing I should want to hide and not show to anyone. Yet a few times, I went into stores when it wasn't busy, picked out a dress or two, and took them to the changerooms. Most of the time, the lady working the changerooms (always a lady, incidentally) would give me a glare, a grimace, as if hating me for being a "pervert". So I'd slink into the changeroom, try on my dresses, feel pretty for a minute...and then shamefully walk out, trying not to meet the eyes of the saleslady.
Yet I kept trying. Why? I hated being made to feel like a freak. But I kept trying. Wanting, I slowly realized, to share this side of myself in a safe way, in which even if someone hated me for it, my real life wouldn't be affected. So I kept going, buying the occasional garment, but mostly just going in to try on a few cute dresses. To feel pretty for a minute, bracketed on either side by judgement and shame.
Just two days ago, I was out buying a gift for a friend. The mall was empty. I decided to try a few things on. I went to the big department store. Picked out a cute little number. Got the usual icy reception at the changeroom (at least she didn't yell about it to her co-workers after, as I've heard some do). I left, walked the length of the mall...and at the end of the hall, there was a little clothing store I'd never been into before. I took a look inside.
There was one lady working; she greeted me, and I replied in kind. The store was otherwise empty. Browsing around, there were a few nice dresses around. As usual, the anxiety hit me. Shakily, I took a couple off the rack and walked over to the saleslady. "Um...can I...use a changeroom, please?" I asked.
"Sure", she answered, smiling. I walked over to the changing stall, noticing the mirror on the outside of the door.
Inside, I changed out of my regular clothes, into each of the dresses. The last one fit really well, and felt nice as well. Then it hit me - there was no mirror in the stall. I heard the lady's voice outside: "How's everything in there?" Nervously, I asked if there was another stall with a mirror outside. "Sorry, they're only on the outside" came her answer. A bit dejected, I prepared to change, when I heard, "The store's empty, if you'd like to take a look".
Wow. You can imagine how much my heart was pounding. I felt sick. But for some reason, there was an odd feeling in my stomach. Like being nervous, but excited too. I decided to follow it. And bravely, I unlocked the door, pushed it back, and made my first public appearance in a dress.
The saleslady was about ten feet away. She smiled. "Sorry about that. They really need to get the mirrors on the inside. You look good, by the way". I glanced into the mirror. It was a pretty dress. And I couldn't help but smile as the words echoed in my head. "You look good, by the way".
"Thanks..." I said shyly, tiptoeing behind the door again. My heart racing, I took off the dress and got changed. What was I thinking? I let her see me in a dress! And she...said I looked good. The nervous feeling in my stomach intensified. But it felt good. What was going on?
I didn't end up buying the dress; it was a bit expensive. But I bought a top and a cute tropical skirt - not what I came for, but I had to support this saleslady after this! She let me try on both of them, and alerted me as to when the coast was clear to come out. She even helped me pick out a nice colour for the top!
As I was paying, we chatted casually about the need for mirrors in the stalls. Then, as she was bagging my clothes, I looked to her and said, "Thank you so much for all your help, and letting me try on clothes. This is the nicest service I've ever gotten".
She looked at me and smiled. Her response: "Not a problem. You know, I think it's cool that you like to wear ladies' clothes. It's just a special little part of you". She gave me a little touch on the arm as she said this, showing kindness.
She welcomed me to come into the store any time, which I'm sure I'll do. As I left, I realized what the odd, fluttery feeling in my stomach meant.
The desire to cross-dress has been part of me for a really long time. I've spent years at war with it. I thought it made me a freak. I thought it meant I was some kind of monster. And I thought God hated this part of me. No one could ever accept me like this. But someone did...that lady in a little store in the run-down mall in my hometown.
The last couple of days have led to some heavy reflection. I'm a screw-up, in a lot of people's eyes. I like to dress up like a girl. I like to wear diapers, wet myself, and act like a helpless baby. I've even married the two into being a sissy. And I've kept this part of myself under lock and key, not wanting to share it with anyone, even online. But that lady in the store showed me what being accepted looks like.
This did something else that was super-important: it showed me that God can embrace me, too. I believe in a God who is so perfect that no one can ever be good enough to please Him. But He loves us so much that He came down to our level and embraces us just as we are, gently making us into the people He wants us to be. And God didn't tear this desire out of me. Instead of making myself good enough, I simply needed to embrace the acceptance I have as His child.
This is what gives me the confidence to post all this. Finally, I have a rock-solid picture of what acceptance looks like. Even if it's someone I barely know, now I know how it feels to be seen in my most unusual state and still thought of as beautiful. And to all of you guys and girls: it's out there. Even if you don't know anyone who does embrace you, your saleslady is out there. Don't stop believing that you are loved and valuable...if by no one else, by the One who made this crazy world.
And, of course, by me too.