Audrey lives in Jersey City, NJ. She has learned a lot from her experiences with the group. She also just wants to have fun and to make friends.
I came from a large family. Six girls and two boys. My brother and 5 of my sisters are all older than me. My oldest sister swears that I was a very fussy little boy who hated to get dirty. I also remember playing house a lot with my younger sister and a niece. My earliest crossdressing memory of sorts was when I was about 6. My mom painted my sister and my niece’s toenails. Well, I was feeling very left out and raised such a fuss that my mom finally relented and painted mine too. I was happy until my father came home and saw my painted nails. He didn’t like it and so the nail polish was removed.
My journey towards Audrey began in high school. One night, I was in the attic when I discovered a box filled with old clothes that belonged to my older sisters. All kinds of dresses, skirts, blouses and a few pairs of shoes. I remember I chose a form fitting purple long sleeved dress, I found some worn pantyhose in the garbage and quickly washed them out. After they dried I slipped them on. The shoes didn’t fit so I stayed stocking footed and checked myself out in a mirror. I really liked the way I looked and from that point on I was hooked.
I did date in high school. But they were not easy dates. I felt a lot of guilt over dressing like a girl and worse yet I couldn’t figure out why and I had nobody to confide in. This was pre-internet so I had nowhere to turn. I never felt like I was in the wrong body or anything like that. I fell in love with the clothing and it grew into an obsession. It was great changing from my guy clothes into a silky dress and pantyhose. I continued to dress in secret all through high school and college. Once I was on my own and working full time I discovered the JC Penny and Sears catalogs and went to town! I bought dozens of blouses, skirts, dresses of different lengths, hosiery, and lots of shoes. I was in heaven. I was living alone and I dressed often. I would clean my apartment dressed or just sit and draw or even paint a picture or two.
And yet, I kept that world very much in secret through the years until life took another drastic turn. While working in a warehouse I had what can best be described as a near nervous breakdown. Stress from working one low paying job after another, layoffs, being behind on my bills, my artistic career never really getting off the ground, etc, all took it’s toll on me. I ended up in the hospital and there I met the therapist whom I continue to see to this day. Her name is Mary and for the first few months I avoided talking about crossdressing. Slowly, I came to trust her and was soon discussing secrets I never dreamed I would share with another person. The guilt that had built up finally began to lose it’s grip on me. After a few years she suggested I go to Tri-Ess and express my femme side more since it made me happy.
But it took a couple more years before I reached out to Tri-Ess and took those first tentative high heeled steps out of secrecy. The first person I spoke to when I joined was Cynthia Majors who was president at the time. Chi Delta Mu met in a hotel in Hackensack in those days. By the time I joined I had discovered wigs, bras, breast forms, the works. I can’t believe I went all those years without a wig or a bra. What a difference they made! I still remember how scared I was at that first meeting. Walking down that corridor from the dressing room to the meeting room and getting that applause when I was introduced to everyone. I wasn’t scared anymore after that. And now I’m still with the group even though we are no longer a part of Tri-Ess. No matter. Pathways still give me the opportunity to be myself. To enjoy talking with others and to dress up in my favorite outfits in a social setting.
Well, that’s pretty much my story. I’m still an ongoing member of Pathways. I hope you all enjoyed my saga and that I didn’t bore you too much. I just wanted to point out that I developed a bit differently in how Audrey came to be. And to my friends at Pathways, thank you for accepting me and I really hope I can help make a difference for someone else just as you have for me.