Thanks, Mummy

Thanks, Mummy

After all, that's what girls call their mummies, isn't it?


In my case, my sister was four years younger and a lot tinier than me. It was at the age of 14 that I began my “experimenting” with my mother’s items. I would try my luck every chance I got when I was home alone. I began with panties and slips. Then a bra. Then a skirt – I loved the way it swirled around my bare legs. I tried on some dresses but only ones I could step into. After that first time when I bent myself double trying to pull up the back zip and then nearly dislocated every bone from my neck to my big toe trying to unzip and get it off – no, no, no, never again.

About a year later, I even began to try make up. I don’t have to tell anyone that those early attempts were what I would have called my “clown” time. After the first few times that there was a comment that sounded like 'is that makeup' or equivalent - I was a lot, a whole lot, more careful about cleaning off. As I got older and began to earn my own money I stopped using her things and bought my own. My collection was small, very small, but it was mine.

While in school, I did push the limit a bit. I would often wear panties to school. In the winter I would wear a cami under my sweat shirt. The heavy material would help to hide the straps. I loved the feeling of being dressed. I began to notice that I did better while taking tests when I did this. I calculated that this was because I was more relaxed. But the feeling of being dressed is really hard to explain and if you don’t understand I still can’t find the words to fully explain it. I dressed at home behind locked doors and closed curtains.

I spent a lot of time watching girls and women. It’s the most important way to begin to learn the necessary tasks. Then you begin to practise. Walking, posture, expression, gesture, and all the body language. Indoors, there is the need to practise makeup, body shape amendment (boobs and hips mostly), voice and working out what I wanted to wear and enjoy. I worked hard to develop and improve Evie. Evie was my name for myself, my alternate self – the person who had to hide under Edward Victor.

And I had to keep myself secret from the rest of the world. Hiding the clothes, and my increasing femininity. Hair – how to conceal the length and condition from family and friends. Making sure that my efforts at makeup were always perfectly removed. And it was so hard to avoid every error. Parents, siblings, friends all began to notice. And comment.

My family did eventually realize. They never actually caught me fully dressed but got close enough several times for me to know they knew and so soon I knew they knew I knew they knew etc. They told me that I’d ‘always been a bit girly’. So it wasn’t like my family encouraged this, quite the opposite. Over the next year or so, I was given the chance to speak with at least four different shrinks to be ‘fixed’ of my teenage
‘problems’. What ‘problems’ these were I was never quite clear about. It was apparently or allegedly some concerns the school had about my social skills. It was some time before I learned that the school had almost nothing to do with these visits. By hiding the truth from myself, I let myself not see the truth that others could already see. Duh.

Now it wasn’t all bad. I developed a skill that has done me well. I learned to read people and get an idea of what they were thinking before they said anything. I also got very good at controlling a conversation, only giving enough to keep the dialog and not letting them dig but never anything of real substance. It also drove me deeper into “hiding”. I made sure no one was going to learn about Evie (as I called her). This went on until I was about to go to college.

That was my first real escape. And at college I planned to dress more often. I wondered when and how I could get my wardrobe. It felt complicated either way. To get the stuff at home and hide it until I got to college and could ‘become my girl-self’ or to turn up at college as a boy and then as quickly as possible get my girl wardrobe and swap.

College was just far enough away that I didn’t plan to come home very often. Mum wasn’t too happy especially as she was now on her own.

But to my shock and amazement, a week or so into that first summer holiday before college, she asked “Are you going to be wearing dresses and skirts and nighties and everything at college? And what about undies? Would you like to come shopping with me? Get my feedback on colours, and so on that actually would suit you? If you’re going on with this dressing thing, then the safe way, if there is a safe way, is to do it right and be completely confident in how you present. And I don’t want you hurt in any way. And, sometimes, I think it would be kind of fun to see how pretty my daughter could be.”

My jaw dropped and dragged along the carpet. “Duh.”

“Oh, don’t be a silly billy, darling. Unless you actually believe your old mum to be blind, stupid, incompetent as a parent and generally illiterate – can you honestly think we haven’t noticed your love and enjoyment of femmy things. That I haven’t spent time on the interweb finding out about those like you who enjoy being a bit femmy, dressing up and all. In case YOU haven’t done the research, it’s called ‘being on the transgender spectrum’. That’s why we sent you to the shrinks and so on. But eventually we were told that you weren’t going to stop. We do watch you. And we do love you too. You look after your hair so nicely, and sometimes a fleck of makeup is left behind. And your gestures and so on when you relax – so different from when you’re tense. Darling, I may not understand. In fact, I don’t understand – but from since you were tiny, there have been times and places where you’ve been a girl. Not pretending, I won’t say that. But to all available views, you were a girl. And sometimes you still are. And, I guess, now you’re going to college, you’re already planning on being a girl more of the time. Am I right?”

She shrugged. “We’ve tried to discourage you, to dissuade you. To show you how difficult it will be being ‘different’. But you always do it again. So, your Dad and I had a talk. Like I say – we don’t like it. Not because we feel it’s wrong but because it puts you at risk. We don’t understand it – that’s for sure. But we do now accept that it’s part of you. You’re going to keep on doing it. So, I decided to make this offer to help you.”

There were tears in my eyes. I leant forward and hugged my mum.

“What’s your girl name, darling?”

“Evie.”

“Oh, that’s pretty. Using your initials, that’s clever. I wouldn’t have liked Edwina or Victoria nearly as much.”

She got another enormous hug. And this time, I felt her breasts against me and began to wonder what real breasts would feel like on me. A new thought. Until that moment, my plans had only ever focussed on the enjoyment of the clothes. But if my mum was so accepting – were there new opportunities?

Dad wasn’t a problem anymore as he had walked out with his new bimbo girlfriend a year before. He was genuine enough to be paying us well as he had a well paying job which was, even in these times, secure as he was one of three partners. And he was the creative guy of the three. He had a separate income from the patents he had accumulated over the years. Two of them were in mum’s name as she had contributed to the idea in the first place.

Though he had moved out, he kept in touch. We hadn’t moved house or changed our lives very much. But we did have evenings in by ourselves.

And I was to discover that some of these would now be ‘mother and daughter’ evenings. Where I would learn about clothes, being feminine, watching girly films, even going out to sit in the wine bar and watch the passers-by. And to comment and learn from what they wore well and what they wore badly. And towards the end of the summer, mum took me to her salon and they did my hair in a proper college-girl style.

So I had the wardrobe. I had the hairstyle. I had had some of the lessons in ‘instant girl-ness’. But I knew I wasn’t really ready for the big bad world. But I hoped. And being in a small college in a small country town, I would I thought be ‘quite safe’.

----------------

It was a month or so later. I was now well into college both for work and in my new much more social life. I was attending as E V Nicholson and expected everyone to call me Evie. How convenient were my true initials of Edward Victor.

I had found friends. People who talked with me, listened to me, heard me and helped me – and I was finding that I was doing the same back to them. And this had never happened to me before. We were in a winebar, sharing one bottle to last the whole evening – as students do. There was me, and Meijo and Rachel and Joanne and Fliss (Felicity) and Cari (Caroline) and Betsy. Just the six of us. I was talking about my life at school. And I made a mistake.

“St John’s in Dorking – that’s a boys school. What were you doing there, that’s not feasible” said Joanne.

I went beyond scarlet to white and purple – perhaps even with alternate stripes. I ran for the toilets.
Some minutes later, there was a knock on my cubicle door. “Evie, it’s quite safe. You can some back and we won’t bite you or tease you or anything. Promise.” It was the voice of Meijo, the Japanese girl in the group.

After a little more persuasion, I slunk out and repaired my smeared eyes. Meijo watched.

“You’re very good at that. You must have done a lot of practice.”

I nearly poked my eye out. “Whaaat, no.”

Meijo took my shaking hand and held my forearm as if to calm me. It worked. “Evie, Evie my friend. Relax. Take a deep breath and relax. You’re safe. You’re with friends. Come on back and we can sort this out.”

Back at the table, the other girls sat and waited.

Eventually, Meijo spoke. “Evie, honey. We’ve sort of worked out that you’ve not been a girl, or rather not been presenting as a girl until you came to college. The mistake about St Johns pretty much made it obvious – but there’s things you do that aren’t quite right. As if you’ve had lessons but not enough practice. Am I right?”

I nodded. “Yes. My name is really Edward, Edward Victor but I promise you – for years I’ve never felt like a boy. I never felt like other boys. The things I do, the things I enjoy are all girly. And with my mum’s help, I came to college and started life as Evie.”

I paused. “Are you going to drop me? I expect you probably loathe the idea of a boy dressing up as a pretend girl? I will understand if you leave.” I was nearly in tears again.

Meijo interrupted me. ”Evie. We do understand. Perhaps better than you. What we understand is that the BOY was the pretence. That Evie was always hiding. It may amaze you but we actually like Evie. We’ve never met Edward – but who wants to have anything to do with a pretender?”

“Is this the traditional bit of the plot where the girl friends offer a makeover, or lots of how-to-be-a-girl lessons?”

I suddenly realised I had five blank stares to choose from. (Rachel, Joanne, Meijo, Fliss and Cari – to remind you.)

“Sorry. Look, I read a lot of fiction, like, about people like me, and there’s a sort of tradition in some of them, yes? Where the plot goes, like fairy tales, where you have the wicked stepmother, the frog prince, sort of thing. There’s always one or two good female friends, and the new girl always looks terrible and needs help, and the friends give lessons in walking, and make-up, and they spend hours shopping for clothes, all that sort of shit. Then, suddenly, whoosh – the new girl is cleverer, prettier, and a ‘better’ girl than anyone else. It’s like, I don’t know, like the authors seem to think that it’s like learning a part in a play. Sure ain’t like any real story I’ve ever read about. In the real world, mostly, it’s how people can get nasty and abusive and hurtful. How they’re unkind and then there’s all the stories about hate crimes and how many t-girls commit suicide or get thrown out of their homes. I’d just like my life to be kind of nice. Like too few of the stories. A life with nice friends, who’d be kind and help me be more of a typical girl.”

Rachel was totally absorbed. “And you’re hoping life isn’t as crap as you’ve read about in the media – the true stories they tell? You think you can step out one day, knowing how to be female, all that jazz, just like that? You think being a girl is easy. You think you can stop being a boy – just like that.”

“That’s the point, Rach! I’m not interested in ‘stopping being a boy’. I know who and what is inside me. I AM female! I’ve never been a boy. I’ve had to PRETEND to be a boy, to dress like a boy, to behave like a boy. Because everybody told me that was what and who I was. But I always knew there was something wrong in that, erm how do I say it, in the whole basis of my life. It just didn’t feel right. That’s the whole shitty bit about my life, aye? I read stories of sex-changes, about men who become women, and it’s all bollocks. Men don’t become women. Some of them enjoy looking like women, even pretending to be women. But there’s some – like me – who never were men. Whatever the rest of the world told us, whatever was between our legs – we were, are and will be women. Inside, where it matters. In our hearts, souls, in everything but that tiny bit between our legs – we’re women.” I took a breath.

“I mean, I could go on about what sex is, and gender, but sod that. Look, the whole point is that there is no bloody change. I am what I am, always have been, always will be. I’ve said it before, it’s not about clothes, and earrings, crap like that, it’s about ease in my body, being in a state where those things are available if I want them, aye? You know what? I think the doctors agree with me on this. They’ve called it a lot of things, like ‘change’ or ‘reassignment’ surgery, aye? But now, I keep reading the word ‘confirmation’…that’s what it is. Girl lessons? Like teaching me to breathe…sorry, I’m ranting, aren’t I?”

“Take a chill pill, girl. Yes, we probably do want to give you girl-lessons. Because that’s what girls do. They share their knowledge. They co-operate. None of that testosterone competition.” Meijo looked at the others. “Okay, so Evie’s a girl, right. Two – Evie needs girl-lessons, right. Three, we’s girls and we like Evie so we’ll give her our lessons, right? Let’s have a big hug, and a big girly ‘yes’.”

So that’s what happened. During the term-time I had lessons in being a typical college girl and at home I got more lessons in being a daughter.

Then Dad came to stay for a weekend. He had a job to do just a mile down the road and asked if he could stay. Mum couldn’t think of a reason to say no apart from ‘By the way, your daughter’s staying too’ – but she didn’t say that. When he asked about whether I would be there, mum wasn’t sure that I was coming. And when I tried to ring, the phone was busy. How could I know – no warning, as mum didn’t do texts or emails let alone anything more modern.

And the likely result ……. I turned up at home – two cars on the drive. Opened the door, walked in and saw !!! Dad.

I nearly ran. Then I decided to try to be the confident young girl I was aiming to become. “Hi, Daddy. I’ll be back down in a moment.” And I ran upstairs to have a wee. And to freshen up after the journey, new lippy and so on.

As I departed I heard a sudden outburst of quite intense conversation. I didn’t detect anger or dismay – but the voices did get louder and perhaps even a little heated. I decided to take a good few minutes to come down. I put my girl-brain to work on the calculation. Four minutes felt about right.

I came down the stairs, my heels clip-clopping on the wooden treads. I was a little nervous. Don’t tell lies, I told myself, you’re quivering like a jelly. The internal conversation went on ‘well in that case, you have to be even more the competent and confident girl that you know you can be’; voice 2 offered ‘but, bbbbut, daddy might be angry’; ‘Did it sound like anybody was actually angry’; ‘bbut I’m scared’; ‘cool down, three deep breaths and say ‘hello daddy’;

“Hello, daddy.”

“Mmm, so it’s ‘daddy’ now, is it?”

I blushed …. And stammered ‘Err, it seemed more, er, suitable. Somehow.”

“What. You mean, it’s the sort of way a daughter addresses her dad, mmmm?”

“Errm, ur, …. Yes. Exactly so. And since I am now identifying and presenting as your daughter – that is exactly how it it. Yes. Hello, daddy.” And I ran to him and hugged him – all girly-like.

There was a muffled snigger from the kitchen doorway – even though it was only autumn and Mum wasn’t wearing a scarf at all. She grinned at me. “Exactly so – that’s what I told him. But he’s a man and had to see for himself.”

I smiled.

Daddy saw it and said ‘If a comment like that makes you smile then sure as eggs are eggs, you ain’t no guy.”

“But, Daddy. I already said I’m your daughter. And in case you didn’t know, the name is Evie. Evie Frances Grania – the extra two I’ve borrowed from my two grannies.”

“So it’s not just clothes you’re borrowing now.” He did smile slightly when he said that.

“Certainly not. I work hard at my studies and I work hard at my job – so I can afford to buy most of my clothes for myself. But Mummy is very generous and the girls share like always.”

“And you are one of the girls, are you?”

“Absolutely. They treat me like a girl, teach me like a girl if I need it and we just do girl things together. It’s quite simple, daddy. I’m a girl so I do girl things, I think like a girl, I behave like a girl. I am a girl.”

“Yes. But ….”

I pretended to be cross. ”Daddy, are you making comments about my butt. I’ll have you know that it is well appreciated at college. Especially if I wear my 3 inch heels.” I did rather know that he wasn't talking about my figure, or lack of it.

“No, honey, I wasn’t talking about your rear. Although in that outfit it does bear comparison with, let’s say, other rears that I may or may not have noticed.”

“Good save, darling. Just keep digging,” came the voice from the kitchen. Followed by a younger voice saying "Daddy, that was just gross." My sister Cathie had emerged from her room.

“No cryptic comments from offstage please.” Dad murmured. “No, honey, I was wondering about the bit you’d prefer to avoid. The ‘ugly little dangler’ is what your mum said you called it recently. What are your plans? I have investigated our medical insurance options and how we could help you. I don’t like it. I really don’t like it. But if you can call what the typical man believes is one of his favourite toys ‘an ugly little dangler’ – then, darling, you aren’t a typical man in any way.”

The voice from the kitchen murmured “one of his favourite toys’ …… that might have been a mistake, ‘darling’.”

"Of course my sister isn't a typical man, yuk, she's my beautiful sister!" Just that one comment made me forget any of the difficulties I had had with Cathie over the years. Most of the time, I had loved my little sister - and now I loved her more than ever.

Daddy ignored it and continued to me, “When you’re ready – come and talk to me. I want a proper presentation, the pros and cons, the arguments for each for and against. Data rather than anecdote or anecdata. Can you be the woman you say you are without surgery? Can you accept the lot of many women of being barren? Can you accept the lot of too many trans folk of being despised, loathed, hated for who you want to be? Do you know the medical issues especially of the surgery – and the possible costs and risks? Have you thought about the potential damage that may be caused by decades of chemicals, and the cost of that? I don’t want an immediate emotional outburst that ‘of course you’ve thought about all of that’. I want a clearly thought out presentation with proper planning to prevent …….” and we all joined in to complete the line “piss-poor performance.”

That brought back the smiles. Then Daddy said, “I’m taking my three girls out to dinner. Ready in twenty minutes please. Go, Scoot, Action.”



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