flaunt those legs girl!

Transgender women typically sport great legs, due to pre-HRT (hormone replacement therapy) muscle development combined with post-HRT muscle shaping. The result stands out!

So flaunt those legs girl!

I never wear pants.

And remember that high heels will further accentuate your legs! For tips and video on successfully living in heels see my post “the trick to walking in heels…”. Confidence forms the key ingredient—you must emit badass!

Setting an Example

To encourage you, let me now walk the walk (pun intended):

weekly transwoman-friendly fashion roundup (#2 – body shape)

Welcome back ladies!

Last week I introduced this series and proposed some garments that I believe address the specific needs of many transgender women’s bodies. But then I realized we need to step back to basics; that I need to educate readers a bit.

So before we continue with fashion and style recommendations, I thought it best to discuss body shape. Your body shape influences whether an article will look great or blah (or even absurd) on you, so it’s best to know your body shape as you develop your personal style and wardrobe. So today I make no clothing referrals; we’ll only discuss how to derive your body shape, and what to do with the information.

In the last week, I wrote the following web-based Body Shape Calculator. I highly encourage you to use it to determine your body shape, and to share it with your friends. Not only will it serve the needs of transwomen, but cisgender woman will benefit from its use as well.

Once the app returns your body shape based on the measurements you enter, it provides a link to guidance on how best to dress for that body type. I will enrich this guidance toward the needs of taller women in the future.

A picture of the web-app follows. Click on the image to use the app. Instructions follow this picture:

Here I provide brief instructions on how to use the app:

Other Editions of Weekly Transwoman-Friendly Fashion Roundup

Click here for other editions of this series!

Grrl on Grrl Podcast interviewed me!

Today my interview with Grrl on Grrl Podcast came out!  We discuss, among other things,

  • The science of gender identity
  • The music of Axis Evil
  • “Ladylike” behavior as a source of personal empowerment
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Psychosexuality
  • Model minorities

Big thanks to June Owatari of Grrl on Grrl Podcast for working so hard to put this together! The music presented during the interviews may be downloaded here.

 

make an intent board

Optimism is a skill.

A simple exercise that strengthens your focus and direction involves creating an “intent board”, also called a “dream board” or a “vision board”. These serve me well in life!

Basically, you make a poster, or in my case a Pinterest board, called “Intent” and fill it with images that speak to your goals, values, and dreams. Then you review it every day for inspiration! The images you select may include photos, clippings from magazines, drawings, or anything else you can imagine.

For example, my intent board (below) shows everything from vaginas to fiber optic dresses to cyberfeminist propaganda to geodesic domes.

What you believe and what you focus on creates your reality. (I won’t back this statement up with psychological or spiritual arguments today, just run with me here…). Intent boards clarify goal-oriented beliefs, convincing you of possibilities. They help focus you.

While I don’t expect to—or want to because it would be too much to healthily manage—gain everything I put on my intent board, it helps to review the full scope of what I like as I work to target my actions. An intent board not only helps you enact conscious goal-seeking activities, but it teaches and pilots your subconscious such that you diminish the likelihood of sabotaging yourself in the process.

If you create your intent board using poster paper, I recommend updating it at least yearly as your values and goals evolve. Pinterest provides the advantage of unlimited space and an easy way to search for images. If you use Pinterest, I recommend altering the descriptions of any pins you add to describe your intent, rather than keep the expressed intent of the original image source. In other words, make the image “yours”. (Note that some Pinterest pins do not seem to let you alter the description).

And remember there exists no wrong or right way to do this!

Setting An Example

To demonstrate, feel free to check out my personal intent board below. You’ll identify many concepts (e.g. spirituality and music) expressed among the images that I touch upon with this blog. (Only a portion is shown below; click here to see the full board):

corset hazard

I wear corsets regularly, such as the one pictured below:

For reasons explained in my post “corset training”, I’m going nearly full-time with these. What makes the one above suitable for daily waist training is that it is heavy duty—steel boned. Particular to the needs of transwomen, it’s made for long torsos and comes from Amazon in sizes up to 6XL.

But There’s a Hazard

Consider the following close-up:

I sliced my hand badly on the blade of a clip when pushing hard to unclip the corset.

Don’t do this!

go to a damn tailor!

Let’s face it, transgender women often experience a difficult time finding clothes that fit perfectly. (But then, doesn’t every woman?!?). For example, my particular problems are:

  • I usually need plus-sized blouses to enable fit around my chest and shoulders, but then the blouses generally appear unflatteringly wide around my waist.
  • While I usually buy dresses that flair to diminish my lack of hips, I’ve at least one dress with too much “definition” in the fabric such that actual hips need to fill the space for it to look right.
  • At least one of my dresses expected a larger breast size than I possess.

 

To solve all three cases I’ll regularly hire a tailor rather than waste my time looking for perfection at the item’s point of initial sale.



This of course requires some experience (and common sense) to know what can be altered to suit your needs. I can’t tell you how to gain this experience except through taking risks and making mistakes (I generally buy at Goodwill so I’m only out a few bucks if the item can’t be altered to meet my requirements). Your tailor will describe to you why a request will or will not be achievable and you will learn from those discussions.

You may not even know what needs to be accomplished to improve a (mostly fitting) outfit. But your tailor will employ their experience to gain the best result for your body.

Here is the most important thing a transwoman must look for when seeking a tailor:

Are they trans-friendly? If you have a penile bulge under your panties it might show while they are working with you to specify the correct fit. They must be cool with that possibility!

But money talks—and therefore I’ve experienced no problems.

I also recommend tipping your tailor. Not sure if that’s customary, but I do it anyway.

The most important thing I want to impress upon you:  A good tailor will make a mediocre outfit stunning on you! Found this vital in my business life.

I interviewed my tailor, Karla Vega of Vista, California, for tips on how to find a good one. Here is what she told me:

Know the difference between a “seamstress” and “tailor”. Seamstresses make dresses from scratch, tailors alter and repair clothes.

Tailoring works successfully when you begin with clothes that are too big rather than too small, for obvious reasons. So buy one size up if you anticipate the need for tailoring of an item. I asked if certain parts of an item, such as a dress, proved more challenging then others to alter, and she said no. My experience confirms this as she has successfully altered the bust areas, hips, or the waist of the items I bring her as required.

Learn your body type, e.g. “pear”, so you increase your shopping prowess.

Understand that knowing how to sew does not make you a tailor. The warned of clothing swap meets where an amateur sets up an alteration table for the event and sells “tailoring” services. Her advice is too look for someone who makes tailoring their business. I asked about places like Nordstrom that offer tailoring services and she said they are just fine.

at a wedding in Delhi

One of the most amazing experiences of my journey into womanhood occurred when I attended a wedding in Delhi.

The bride knew me before I transitioned, but immediately embraced my identity as Emily when I announced it. We quickly became extremely good friends, and I therefore eagerly attended her wedding when the time came. I was so happy for her that I even wrote a string quartet for the couple to celebrate their union:

The wedding rituals we performed during the two-day ceremony appeared more gendered to me than those of the American weddings I’ve attended. The women did many activities together with the bride, such as application of henna (see my hands on the photo below) and the anointing of saffron, while (presumably—I wasn’t there so I can’t confirm) the groom participated in activities with the men.

What stands out for me is that the women fully embraced me as one of their own, allowing me full participation in their rituals, knowing full well that I was biologically male. Result: An extremely happy moment in my life. Core validation!



After the anointing of saffron, still among women only, we danced to Bollywood songs for about half an hour. Felt very spontaneous.

Today I watched Kaouthar Darmoni’s TEDx talk “Dare to be feminine for guts sake!” (below). She begins by telling a story about growing up in Tunisia where women would gather together, away from men, and simply dance. She then describes how this practice traces back to Mesopotamia 4,000 years ago. Perhaps the dance ritual I participated at the Delhi wedding described above traces back that far; perhaps it inspired the Mesopotamians, or perhaps the Mesopotamians inspired it.

But I realized immediately upon starting this video that I participated in something ancient and profound.

feminine Chakras

I’m a bit of a mystic, and draw my practices and insight from multiple mystical traditions. My experiences mostly relate to Christian mysticism, which is largely ignored in the West, but I get around: I’ve prayed in Hindu ceremonies, dropped LSD to vision quest, and experienced healing through Sufi faith-healing rituals; to name a few.

So I think often about “energy” in a spiritual context. Nothing measurable in Joules (I used to be a mechanical engineer)–we are talking about something transcendent. Good vibes, bad vibes. Adding an engineering equation to the discussion, we can talk about “power” as “energy flow per second”. In mystical terms we can say “power” is “energy flow”: Then we can speak of optimism as power source and pessimism as power sink. Depression as power blackhole.

A few writers and lecturers talk about feminine energy versus masculine energy. (We are ignoring the complication of the non-binary here). At first I did not know what to do with this information. I certainly noticed my spirituality become more feminine over the last three years. So much that when I was once denied entrance to a male-only section of a mosque I visited, I felt “right with the universe”. (I accidentally tried to enter the male-only section, would never do that on purpose).

A lecturer I really like stated that feminine energy emits from the womb-space [4]. I discovered her while searching for resources to help me increase my feminine presence and decrease my masculine one.

Then a friend of mine told me about Chakras from the tantric traditions. These are (mystical) energetic focal points of the body meant to be awakened and mastered [1], presumably through spiritual practice like some forms of yoga.

Combining these two ideas I considered the possible intersection of Chakra practice with developing feminine energy. Immediately turned to Google…

Indeed the Chakras themselves are divided into feminine and masculine ones. The first resource I found, [2], stated that the goal is to bring the masculine and feminine energy into alignment.

I’ll have no part of that! This girl will have nothing to do with a masculine psyche and spirit.

But [3] had something really great to say about the “lower three” Chakras, the “feminine” Chakras.

These are the first three rungs on the energetic ladder that lift us up to achieve loftier goals while giving us a stable base on which to stand.

I like this! A lot. Read this as a spiritual mandate to get my feminine energy in tune with the universe. Expect I’ll experience significantly better mental health if I do.

References

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chakra

2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16169/5-ways-to-access-your-divine-feminine-through-your-sacral-chakra.html

3. https://www.lightworkersworld.com/2013/04/the-feminine-chakras-wellbeing-worthiness-and-weight/

4.

feedback from my mentor

My primary mentor offered the following advice by e-mail to help me on my quest to deliver a more feminine presentation. I publish it here without explanation:

Walk slowly, speak slowly, listen ‘what is stated’, being open to others as you enter… ‘open hand represent Open Heart’…

big time

I’ve noticed that the Universe consistently validates my femininity, and (it feels like) little else right now. Best to run with what’s going well…

Update 13 November 2017

What this is about:  The femininity expressed up to the point of my public transition was instinctive. Now I am learning the strategic and the tactical expressions, i.e., how to fabulously make my way in the world as a woman. It is working. I feel the Universe opens this door wide for me.

delivering sex appeal to a job interview

About a week ago I attended my first job interview as a woman. There was so much more to think about than before:

  • Fear of discrimination as a woman interviewing for a technical and scientific position
  • Fear of discrimination as a transgender person
  • Keeping my voice in a feminine pitch range for the duration of the interview
  • What to wear

I dealt with the first two concerns by just giving my best absolute possible performance. Nothing else I can do. Similarly, I held the voice up as best I could—really can’t sustain a feminine voice beyond an hour. In other words, nothing much I could do about that than the constant practicing I’ve been doing.

The only real leverage I felt was in choosing what to wear. I originally was going to wear a suit. However, I bluntly decided to favor showing sex appeal instead, choosing an outfit that shows legs and curves (but still wholly appropriate). The company is made solely of men at this point, and I wanted to get into their heads in more ways than just intellectually.

We’ll see how this worked shortly. Here is what I wore:

enjoying a man’s patronization

Today at the bar a man I’d never seen before glanced at my highly scarred arm and said:

“Oh sweetie, looks like you got an owie.”

He appeared roughly ten years older than me and quite attractive. Nice voice. Nice pheromones. I liked him immediately.

Yes the words patronized me—treated me like a child. (He would never have said it this way to a man–to an equal). But I chose to enjoy the patronization as evidence of my successful transition. Figuring this will be the norm from now on, I responded by telling him, in my sultriest feminine voice, how I got the scar.

I’m a badass.

But get really turned on when a man “puts me in my place” through (kindly expressed) sexism.

perhaps my stage presence is too masculine… (part 2)

In my recent post “perhaps my stage presence is too masculine… (part 1)”, I ask whether I move too much like a guy while performing, and ask whether I care.

I worked out my answers to both questions: Yes, and yes.

The video posted below shows the problem: My movement to the music flows from my chest on up (masculine), rather than from my hips (feminine). I want to drive my motion from the hips to produce more feminine fluidity and curve.

And now that I’ve observed this, I feel deeply uncomfortable that I’m not achieving the more feminine display. It just doesn’t “feel right”.

What I really need to do is watch other female musicians play guitar while simultaneously singing, to see what they do with their bodies.

Also, in all the music videos I’ve posted on this blog so far, I wear flats. This was so I could jump around for the performance of “Voice in the Distance”. I should see what I can do wearing platform heels (I won’t jump around, that’s for sure).

Here is a video featuring my arrangements of “Enjoy the Silence” and “La Isla Bonita”. The second song is a samba, so the call for significant hip motion proves especially pronounced: