Not quite the immediate afterglow this time – when we finished the third of the long sessions I had to jump in a taxi, cross London during Halloween, jump on a train for a couple of hours then drive a couple more hours before collapsing, shattered but indescribably happy, into a cold bed. Fast forward twelve hours and meant to be working but still revelling in the after-rush of twenty-two hours of being Sarah and waiting for that inevitable click when reality and normalcy drops back in and the fabulousness starts to fade to a warm and poignant memory.
But for now? I’m happy. The last session was something special. Cindy was beyond on-form, working her magic to squeeze every last ounce of unbridled femininity from a tired and middle-aged body, forcing the drab into the back of my mind and bringing out the genuinely happy, smiling woman.
It’s a genuine rollercoaster ride. I talk to a lot of similar girls online, some of whom can dress whenever and wherever they want, some who barely get to see a dress, but all of whom have the same inner desires. when you realise them, like I am unbelievably fortunate to be able to, it’s like a release that matches no other. I look at the pictures from the last three days of sessions, my body aching, my legs, arms and face itching as the stubble inexorably makes it’s dark way to the surface, and I’m happy. It’s a nice feeling.
Being Sarah brings out a side of me I never thought I had. I feel feminine, I feel cute, I feel sexy. It makes me want to bend my body in alluring ways, to smile so hard my jaw hurts and enjoy that pain. It is the utter rejection of the cold, hard and unfriendly world of the male and an all to brief dive into the silky, pink, warm and loving world of a happy girl.
I know it’s rose-tinted spectacles. I know the life of a woman isn’t all roses and taffeta. But for me it is and the brief moments that I am completely her are a joy, and also a drug that I can’t get enough of.
So, if I won a million pounds or so on the lottery, would I throw myself completely into the lifestyle?
I love how restrictive the corset feels, how the impression of a face-full of makeup makes you feel different, how tottering around on heels makes you feel dainty and vulnerable. But I love these because they are *different* to me. My drab life, as much as I moan about it, the black dog of depression, the long hours, the failing body, is the frame by which I see how wonderful the scant time as Sarah is. It’s the counterpoint – without the hassles of being a man I wouldn’t appreciate the joys of being a woman. They are perfectly balanced counterpoints.
I often get asked how often I dress, do I go out, will I transition. And I always answer honestly, ‘too infrequently, not unless I’m three bottles of wine on the bad side of sober and absolutely not, I like the external genitalia and privileges’. But that doesn’t tell the truth. I love Sarah, I love what she stands for, I love her sassy attitudes and her quirky yet surprisingly wonderfully taste in fashion. But I love them from the perspective of the person I actually am. Sarah is an ideal, something to look forward to, a sip of wine after a long day of work. All the time? It would get tiresome and a chore very quickly.
These mega-sessions are pretty much perfect for me – an intense period that is just long enough without being too long and becoming staid and ‘the norm’. But still long enough that I can wake up on the second day and think ‘f*ck me, I’ve already had a tonne of Sarah time and I still get to come back to the hotel tonight, chill, and know that when I wake up in the morning she’ll be back for the day.
As for the frequency of the sessions, this year I’ve tried lengthening the period between the session (bad move, ended up depressed and literally craving the tight embrace of a corset, and not in a ‘looking forward to it way’) and also shortening, which also doesn’t work as well. I need that period of looking forward, of planning, of acquisition of fashion. It just needs to be less than three months.
So, I digressed somewhat. Yesterday’s session was sublime. Loads of fun looks, and because we’d spent so much time together the conversations between myself and the lovely Cindy had become bizarrely humorous. I was saying everything with broadest Bristol accent I could and talking about Sarah in the third person – standing there in a frankly jaw-droppingly sexy bodycon dress and saying things like ‘Oi bet she’s a bit of goer, this one, oi bet she crosses a lot of loins, my luvver’. The banter was amusingly mad, the back and forth talk of two people who have spent way too much time in close proximity with the other person and are starting to go a bit loopy in a wonderfully fun way.
We tried new styles, we did a period of Vivien of Holloway looks which were beautiful and made me feel weak at the knees because every time I looked in the mirror I saw a different, happy girl. We did what I amusingly call a ‘warm-up’ outfit – the first outfit of the day is always a little tough because you haven’t got into the feminine mindset yet, so the posing is awkward until Sarah clicks in place. However, when doing a mega-session the second and third days just feel like a blissful continuation and on both of them I picked warmup outfits that turned out to be stunning, which is a lovely way to start the day.
We did a wig that we hadn’t used before, that Cindy doesn’t use that often because it was seen as being a bit ‘drag queen’ and 80s style, but I utterly *loved* it. Because of my height it worked and it was a genuine rush to see the kind of 1980s girl I obsessed about as a post-pubescent boy staring back at me with my own blue eyes. All a bit metaphysical but it’s nice to love oneself in a non-egocentric way. I find myself genuinely sexually attracted to the woman I become. And in the scale of things in the world right now, that’s not that bad a position to find yourself in.
But anyway, the endorphins are starting to fade, the itch is appearing slowly and almost imperceptibly in my soul. That need to at least have a date in the diary, a point to target at, where I will look in the mirror and see her happy face staring back at me over an ample bosom, the collar of a fashionable blouse, framed by earrings and beautiful hair.
When I can be Sarah again, and truly happy for a time.
Stay beautiful and let that inner beauty shine through, you wonderful people.