I would then check round the house to see if anyone was still up, and if it seemed safe, I would go back to my room and choose among my few treasures: a bra, panties, a corduroy skirt, white blouse, pearls, a pair of black mules, earrings, lipstick.
Then I would slip out the back door and walk around in the moonlight, or even the soft, inky rain, and lean on the fence and watch late-night cars go round the country curves in the distance.
I would cup my hands round my foam-pad breasts and wish they were real.
This is the part that is supposed to be sexual.
But I had heard the old joke:
"A crossdresser can't wait to get home and put on his bra; a tranny can't wait to go home and take the damn thing off."
I knew I wanted that second feeling. And I wanted it badly enough that I was now wearing a bra to work under my shirt, and taking it off with a sigh of relief when I got home.
Something was going to have to be done.
I went to a counselor. After eight sessions, he was still cagey with me about where this was going; I pressed him; he opined that I was a crossdresser, nothing more.
I went away feeling mierably mis-read. But if that were so, I was heading in a scary direction. Would it cost me my family, my friends, my job?
Wondering if I could not divine my proper course with a bit of self-study, I bring home a digital camera and set it up facing my bureau mirror. It's the evening of August 7, 2003.
I have shaved a beard that has occupied my face for most of the preceding thirty years. I find it easier to cross-dress without the beard. I've begun growing my hair, too.
It's time to see where all this is going.
I don't doll up much. I tie a bandana round my head, put on earrings and pearls, sit in front of the mirror, and fire the camera.
I download the image from the camera, look at it on my computer, and look again.
I sit in front of the screen for about half an hour.
"Whom do you see here?" I ask myself. "What do you really want to do with the rest of your life?"
Something ticks over from A to B.
I log on and place an order at a pharaceutical website I've heard of.
-- risa b
[ed. note: this post began several years of an interruption to the primarily homesteading emphasis of this blog -- all the posts about Risa's transition have since been assembled into book form for easier reading -- see column at right]