My sleep was restless that night, I was still upset about the disastrous shopping trip; mixed with a combination of anxiety over my makeover at Sephora (which of course meant I had to be out in public for the first time as Crystal) and the mutual excitement of the party that was to follow. I woke up early the next morning, having to be at work by 7:15 AM meant that my alarm was set for the nice and early time of 6, and I am not a morning person. I ate breakfast, brushed my teeth and took some extra time to wash and moisturize my face since the afternoon’s shave had to be one of the best I've ever had. I then put on my suit and headed out the door for a long day at my office.

9 long hours later, I headed home and dove right into preparation mode, taking a long hot shower and having Kat assist me with Nair over my chest, back and legs. Then it was time for a careful shave before getting dressed and heading to the mall. I chose to dress down for the experience at Sephora and then change once we arrived at the party. I carefully packed a bag with the one dress that nicely fit me and a pair of knee high boots that I had found to go with them. Kat carefully held onto the wig and its stand as we drove to pick up our friend Andrew who was eager to accompany us and then off to our local mall.

A little over an hour later, I was staring at a complete stranger in the mirror; a stranger who had previously only appeared to me in my wildest dreams, yet who always seemed to be a work of my imagination rather than a real person. For the first time ever, I was truly staring at Crystal, and I tried my absolute best to make sure that I didn't shed any tears that might smear my makeup. I looked at Kat and Andrew and the look of utter joy and love on their faces was all I needed to know that making this appointment was one of the best things I had ever done.


We left the mall and headed towards the party; as soon as we arrived, I made a bee-line straight into the bathroom to get changed; eager to tug my jeans and t-shirt off and get into my real outfit. I slipped on a new bra that Kat had found for me that day, in Walmart of all places. Got my dress on, realized the boots were way too big (should have tried them on previously) and decided screw it, I'm going barefoot around the house. I looked myself over in the mirror one more time and smiled wider then I had since my wedding day and headed out the door.

I reached the main area of the house and literally felt the room fall quiet as all my friends saw the real me for the very first time. The hush only lasted a few quick seconds, quickly turning to a medley of excited voices as nearly everyone raced towards me to give me a hug and tell me how amazing I looked. Part of me felt like I could have only been inside a dream, that this experience was too good to be true, but as one by one, everyone congratulated me on finally making the appearance I had been aching to make.

Over the course of the evening, we ate and talked with everyone, and ate some more. Being a potluck event, there was no shortage of food, and to say that our wonderful hostess, Phoebe made the best meatballs in the world would be an understatement. There was music playing in one room, lively conversation in the next, and for the first time in my life, I didn't feel introverted, the part of me that would usually retreat to the corner of the emptiest room was nowhere to be found. Kat and I chatted with some members of our group who we hadn't had many conversations with previously, and ironically, in the months since, those members become some of our closest friends.


As the evening wound down, I had no desire for it to end. To head home meant that I would have to remove my wig and change my clothes. I felt like this was the first Halloween ever where I was free to ditch the costume, and now, suddenly I was Cinderella, watching the clock tick closer to the time where I would have to retreat as the magic that encompassed me wore off.

That night, I came to a realization and decided that I would not live my life in misery and let dysphoria control me forever. I would do everything in my power to take care of myself and get to a physical place where I would not be cursed to shop online only and never know if my purchases would fit. I was going to lose weight, one way or the other, and I would start feeling good about the way I looked.


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