Three days after I almost destroyed my entire feminine wardrobe, I set out with the plan of taking charge of my identity. I couldn't guarantee to myself that dysphoria would never show its ugly head, or that I would never have a breakdown like I did that terrible night, but a year after I had finally accepted Crystal into my life, I knew I could no longer keep her hidden within.
I was terrified as we walked into the wig salon, clutching the bag with my wig so tightly my knuckles turned white. As the girl at the counter greeted us with a smile and introduced herself as Danielle, I wasn't sure what to say; my brain was mush and I just wanted to run back out the door and never look back.
I began to stutter; something I had never done before, as I explained that I was hoping to try and have my wig trimmed and cleaned up. I pulled the bundle of hair out of the bag and handed it over to her, and her warming smile made me slowly feel at ease. She looked over the hair, analyzing the knots and the lopsided bangs that Kat had tried to trim earlier in the week.
Danielle told me that she did believe that she could get it back into a wearable condition, but she wasn't confident that I would love it after because she would have to take a lot off. She invited me to come further into the shop and take a look around. She asked me about the styles and colors that I was interested in as well as any budget that I might be hoping to stay within.
Over the next hour, we tried a few different wigs in various colors and styles. I liked a few, but there was one that had a similar style as my old one but was just a little lighter in color. When she put the wig on my head, my face lit up. Even with the 3 days of growth on my face, the hair felt so perfectly right on me. As soon as the smile appeared on my face, Kat's lit up with love and adoration. She was enjoying the look of excitement on my face, and more importantly, she was seeing the real me for the first time and loving her.
As we walked out of the store, just two blocks from a local mall, I had a sudden idea that filled me with glee. We headed over to the mall, and I walked proudly with my head high into Sephora. I had heard a lot about their Color IQ scan that is supposed to find you the perfect foundation. The girl was friendly, but not as welcoming as Danielle had been just a little while earlier. She scanned my cheek and neck and a few minutes later, she was brushing a small amount of foundation on my face. I watched astonished as a dime sized amount of my beard had disappeared before my very eyes. The girl packed me a small sample amount and wrote down the name of the foundation. After purchasing the new wig, we absolutely couldn’t afford anything else until I got paid in a few days.
'I WAS FINALLY KICKING DYSPHORIA IN THE ASS AND TAKING CHARGE OF MY LIFE."
We returned home that day, exhausted but feeling almost euphoric. I had a new wig, and I also had an idea about makeup. I started to believe that maybe things would start falling into place, and that I would finally be able to get out of the house as Crystal and feel like the real me. In a few days, I had a shopping trip planned with my friend Lisa, the leader of our support group. I knew that we would find some great clothes that would make me feel beautiful. I was finally kicking dysphoria in the ass and taking charge of my life.
I had never shopped for Crystal in person, instead choosing (mostly out of nerves) to do all of my shopping online. My biggest issue however, was my size. I had never been properly measured, so a lot of the sizes I chose were guesses; and standing at 6'2" with a weight of 325lbs, there was sadly a lot of room for error. Especially along my waist and hips, since the conversion from male sizes to female was not really an exact science.
I wasn't totally sure what types of clothing I had wanted to look for; my taste was pretty broad. I knew I absolutely needed a bra, as Kat had previously pointed out that the one I had purchased online didn’t fit my frame very well. So Thursday night came around, and we hopped in the car to drive to Lisa's, where the plan was for Kat to hang out with her wife Phoebe and chat about whatever it is that cisgender wives of transwomen talked about. They were also preparing for a big Halloween party that was being thrown for the group the following night.
Lisa and I drove out to the nearby outlet mall, figuring the broader set of stores might be a better option then a standard mall where most of the stores were aimed at younger and thinner girls. We hit the first store and I immediately saw a ton of things I liked, some gorgeous blouses, a few really cute skirts. I felt like I was in seventh heaven…until we started looking at sizes. Before we had left the house, Lisa and Phoebe took several measurements from me and we figured out exactly what sizes I should be looking for, however walking through this store, the biggest size we could find in anything that I liked, was one size below what I needed.
"AN HOUR LATER, AS WE FINALLY GAVE UP, I WAS FIGHTING THE TEARS AS DYSPHORIA REARED ITS UGLY HEAD STRONGER THAN EVER."
We left the first store feeling let down and headed right next door to a store that we felt more confident about having my size. However within five minutes, we were dejectedly walking right back out without a thing in hand. A few stores later, and we were no better off than when we started. An hour later, as we finally gave up, I was fighting the tears as dysphoria reared its ugly head stronger than ever. I texted Kat, letting her know we were on the way back, telling her that I'm never going to own something nice unless it comes from a store called "Fat Fucks R Us." I instantly got yelled at for being so hard on myself.
I felt like this had been one of the worst nights of my life, and I began to wonder if I were destined to only be able to buy clothes from online retailers, taking the risk that the size might be off, or the cut might not fit me properly. I would be forced have packages delivered and shipped back the next day, for the rest of my life. With the help of Kat and our friends, I cleared the tears from my eyes and looked forward to the positive event coming up. The following day was our Halloween party. I owned one dress that fit me nicely. I had a brand new wig that looked awesome on me, and best of all, I had an appointment before the party to get my makeup professionally done at Sephora. Despite the negative results of the day, tomorrow would be a day we would never forget.