So, I’ve had a craptastic couple of weeks. Sure, the world is bloody awful, everything is getting so expensive and we’re one megolomaniac’s bad day away from living the Mad Max dream, but that wasn’t it. I have been at the company I work for for ten years, I love it to bits. It’s not a job, it’s a culture, and since I shifted roles at the start of the year I’ve been working my dream job. But the last couple of weeks I started to feel something wrong in the ether. Early last week they announced redundancies for the first time ever; I wasn’t effected but that’s not the point, I have a mortgage but more importantly I don’t really have anything else that defines me (other than the 60k odd pictures of other-me, of course). It was a shake-up, an unpleasant reminder that nothing is certain in this world.
And on top of that I had organised a session for this past Monday – it was a Bank Holiday, May the 1st, so I thought I’d take advantage of it, drive up to London after watching the Grand Prix on the Sunday, stay over in my favourite hotel, have a day of retro loveliness and then drive home, back to work on the Tuesday.
Pictured – yes, spoiler time, it was a brilliant session and 1940’s me got to strut her stuff in some beautiful dresses
Now stay with me on this because, in a weird shift of oddness I still can’t work out, I was so stressed, depressed, IBS’ed, Insomnia-ed, that when it came to Sunday I literally had no energy to be stressed about anything else.
So the usual worry about the drive, about getting the stuff together, about whether I’d have spots on the day, whether I’d be able to shave, drive home safely, would my pictures look good, it all, well, dissolved. I suddenly had no stress.
Granted, I may have just had so much stress that my brain went ‘pop’ and everything just was easy, but that’s the point. I had a session where all I did was smile and enjoy the experience. And in addition, because my usual angst, stress, worry, fear had just drifted away, I got to do something I have always wanted to but always been just too scared to do.
Pictured – hint, ‘not inside the safe studio’. Not at all. Squeeeeeeeeee.
Long story short, I had a perfect day’s dressing, every look was on point and just made me warm inside, and then, at the end, we swapped out the retro dresses and 1940’s shoes, put on a modern woman’s dress and cardigan, and went out.
I went out. Bank Holiday Monday in London, very busy, the sun high in the sky, 17:00. I walked, with Cindy and her partner, all the way to the river, in sight of the Tower of London. I felt the wind in my shoulder length hair, the mid-thigh length dress fluttering around my tights, the clip-clop of heels that every cross-dressing story emphasises (and it’s delightfully loud). I walked past families out enjoying the day, joggers, normal people. I was just a slightly tall middle-aged woman out enjoying the evening.
We took photos by the river, I took some selfies, and then I felt that slight urge to be back inside. But aside from that small urge there was no fear. I couldn’t stop smiling, no-one looked twice, or if they did I didn’t notice and didn’t care.
Pictured – Tower Bridge. Oh, and a happy girl out and about. And people. Other people.
Yeah, it might have been the brain being exhausted by days of high-level stress, but it was just delightful to not care, to not panic, to just be in the moment, albeit in a pretty floral dress and two inch heels. It was eye-opening.
No fear. No guilt. In fact a lot of the looks I did in the day felt oddly normal; I wore the glorious Vivien of Holloway checked Kitty dress I wore to Goodwood and it felt natural. It felt like my normal clothes because that 1940’s woman’s day dress *is* now my normal clothes.
Pictured – I am SO tempted to put this on Instagram and tag BrewDog. I love BrewDog beer and there’s something distinctly kinky about combining the two – ‘Drinking my man’s beer with a straw’. Giggle.
It was a mindshift. Even the drive back, which would normal terrify and stress me, was easy. There was traffic, there were idiots, but it didn’t matter.
And I realised that it should be like this all the time. Life is too short to get wound up in the minutiae, I spend too much time worrying about what could be and not just enjoy what *is*. Last Monday was just so beautifully eye-opening that I’m still warm inside.
But anyway, the session itself (before I went out a-strolling)….
I’d bought a new wig from the fantastic Wig in the City Etsy shop; this one was a darker red 1940’s style, very Agent Peggy Carter, and it just suited me.
Pictured – call me Peggy.
A couple of fun things though – I always pay for the session up front. I feel bad if I haven’t settled up, it bothers me, and because I was so happy on Monday (even though I had insomnia in the hotel) that it kinda slipped my mind until Cindy had finished the transformation. I have just bought a new iPhone (I loved my old one but it had the battery capacity of a wheezy old Casio watch ) and the new iPhones have dispensed with the fingerprint unlocks.
They now use facial recognition. And, err, when you have thick eyelashes, oodles of mascara and eyeshadow, it turns out your face changes. Sarah’s face wouldn’t work to unlock ‘his’ phone. Cue me trying desperately to unlock my phone with the passcode which is really easy to enter when you don’t have beautiful long red nails. And yes, this was after the nails had been applied. Then I forgot my passcode for the banking app because, again, my banking app uses my face to identify me and for some unknown reason the pretty face of Sarah doesn’t register as his face.
Pictured – this doesn’t look like normal me? Really?
There’s something delightful about that, if it wasn’t messing with my OCD about having not paid. Long story short, again, but I remembered my passcode and gently entered it with my delicate fingers and even more delicate finger-nails.
My bravery, coming from an over-stressed brain, allowed me to step out of the studio flat and take a lot of photos in the stairwell. In fact I was constantly getting the urge to step outside but when you look like you’ve just tottered out on heels from a 1940’s film you’re not exactly incognito in London on a Bank Holiday. But the urge was there and the fear that always stops me wasn’t just reduced. It was completely absent.
We did a lovely look with the 1950’s updo wig from last time, another dutiful 1950’s housewife tidying and working in her kitchen, waiting patiently for her loving husband to come home. I do that look too well. It’s a fantasy but a deliciously realistic one that would be too easy for me to slip into permanently.
Pictured – this is way too comfortable. Not just the dress, petticoat, pearls and copious amounts of Chanel No.5. The whole ‘wife in her kitchen’ feel.
We all do the ‘what would we do if we won the ridiculously large amount of money on the lottery’ fantasy in our heads from time to time. Me, I’d buy a house and make it a 1950’s play house. I’ve always been staunchly against plastic surgery, mostly because I spent too many days in my younger life in and out of anaesthesia to ever think about doing it without dire need, but if I won the lottery? I’d have to try hard not to get some extensive feminisation work. Very hard.
If I didn’t need to work (and present myself all the time as whatever passes for male in my screwed up mind) I’d do some things to permanently feminise some aspects of my appearance. Maybe shave the Adam’s apple. Permanent hair removal. The usual.
I’d also hire a makeup artist and a seamstress on a permanent basis. Maybe buy a husband as well.
Pictured – and I’d wait patiently for my loving husband to come home every night….
Come to think of it, probably a good thing if I don’t win the lottery.
So what did I learn from this experience? I’d love to think that this shift in attitude is permanent. Maybe it is. And if it is I can see myself doing what I love to do, because I love it again, more often. Or at least whenever the happy mood takes me.
Anyway, as per normal I’m basking in the warm afterglow of not only a wonderful session but also a wonderful experience; the sudden de-stressing and the brief but mind-blowing walk along the Thames. With that sweet memory in my head I’m going to enjoy it for what it was; quality time as the real me.
Stay beautiful and try if you can to find that sweet spot of stressless-ness. It’s a lovely place to visit. And stay if you can.
Pictured – just too much fun being the 1940’s girl. Happiness in a black and white portrait.
5 thoughts on “[Fashion] An Accidental Damsel in De-Stress”
You’re a beautiful lady,
I lament you’re too far
Best regards from Mexico
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Sarah darling, “.. it was just delightful to not care, to not panic, to just be in the moment, albeit in a pretty floral dress and two inch heels. It was eye-opening. No fear. No guilt.” is the most wonderful thing I have read in ages! I am so delightfully happy that you were able get out into the wider world to be yourself in such a relaxed way. I am sure everyone who observed a pretty and “.. slightly tall middle-aged woman …” was pleased that she was there making the world a prettier place for every observer! Much more quality time as the real you must surely be in your future.
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I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough time Sarah. ☹️ The world seems to be in a period of instability – on many fronts and even the good and successful companies are finding it difficult. I can’t imagine that the firm you work for had it easy making those decisions. XX
But I am so pleased that you had a wonderful time with Cindy! 😊 XXX
These new vintage looks are absolutely gorgeous! 😍 The wigs are perfect and really make you the glorious, retro gal you were meant to be! 😊 XXX
And as for Peggy Carter? Well, you do know that there are cosplay outfits for her don’t you…? 🤔😉😘 XXX
And you do have my sympathies when it comes to unlocking your phone sweetie. 🙂 I’ve always been a bit of a Ludite when it comes to this kind of thing. Which is why I’m more of a cold, hard cash girl. 😉 XXX
And I sooo understand your fantasy lottery win Sarah. 🙂 With money being no object, what wouldn’t we do to ourselves and our surroundings to give us the life we want. I know that I have a list, and it’s a long one. 😕 XX
However, I’m not going to dwell on that. No. I want to talk about your amazing bravery! 😮😊😘 XXX
I think it is absolutely wonderful and fantastic that you have stepped out into the daylight as Sarah properly. 😊 I think it is an amazing achievement and I am so proud of you! 😘💋 XXXX And I am glad that both Cindy and Vicki were there to hold your hand and support you. It’s a big step and I think it’s great that both of them were there to help. 🙂
Who know where this will lead? A gallery visit perhaps? Or even an escorted shopping trip up West for outfits and accessories? Or better yet, an en-femme visit to Vivian of Holloway? I’m sure that Sarah would be overjoyed! 😊😘💋💖 XXXX
Whatever feminine future you have Sarah, I know that you will have the most absolutely wonderful time. 🙂
Stay safe and stay well my beautiful, dear friend.
I read once an interesting aphorism, unattributed, as follows: “the more you dress, the less you stress” – it seems fitting here. Also, so glad you got a chance to be ‘out and about’ as you did, or worked up the courage to do so. Either way, it seems like it did you the world of good!
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‘Take the rough with the smooth’, was a saying I used to hear a lot, but it would be nice if we could have a nice bit of smooth for a longer time.
I’m sorry you have had this, I hope things improve for you, if only ‘cos I get to see your lovely photos and I am so happy for you that you are now going out and experiencing the best side of our need.
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