2017 03 28

“I am not pretty enough.”
“I don’t look as good as (or in comparison to) the other gals.”
“I can’t compete with _______________ (insert name here).”

Every so often I get a comment like one of these from a gal wishing she could get out of her self imposed isolation.

I do a lot of things like fly, sail, ride motorcycle, travel.  (BTW I worked LONG hours to make a good living, have a stable marriage meaning financial stability, live in a small old house, and practice frugality on things like doing my own car maintenance and driving it a LONG time.) I hear a lot of people say:
“You are so lucky.”
“It must be nice.”
“I will someday.”
And I remember relatives, aunts and uncles, parents, and friends who have passed away.  Virtually all of them have said one or more of those statements, over and over for years, but never following through.  A clock run out of sand with every missed opportunity.  Did they close their eyes the last time with regrets on their minds?  I also hear “I wish I had _____________ (insert activity here) a lot from someone in their last days.

I have an instrument rating.  It allows me to fly an aircraft when I can’t see anything out the windows.  Flying by instruments.  This is something a pilot already with a license to fly in good weather may elect to earn to increase his/her capabilities.  It takes book learning and flying practice.  And $$$$$.  And time.  I told a local Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII) that I was thinking about getting my instrument rating.  His reaction?  He asked me “Are you going to really get it or just be one of the “I’m gonna group.””?  I went for it, getting my rating in TEN days, a rating that most people spread out over a year.  It wasn’t like I was anything special.  It wasn’t like I had any extra abilities.  It wasn’t anything except that I made the time commitment and followed through.  And my life was all the better because of that experience.  Not the flying alone, mind you.  The feeling of accomplishment, the knowledge, the camaraderie, places we went  and the pilot friends.

Life is like that.

We bought a sailboat, something I dreamed about since a kid.  It is a huge financial commitment.  Cost as much as our house, that simple, old, relatively inexpensive house we still live in.  Stupid financial reasoning yes.  But a dream is a dream while remembering those four quotes I heard so much.  We decided to race the boat.  Sailboat racing on the Great Lakes is very competitive.  Things weren’t progressing as fast as we wanted, the learning curve is always long, it can take years.  We were so bad that if anyone was behind us, they dropped out of the race, certain that their finishing position was shameful if it was behind us.  So off we went to a sailboat racing school.  For a week we had two hours of classroom, then four hours of match racing, and an hour of classroom review, Each Day for a Week.  We went for it.  Oh sure when we first started out we were laughed at.  We took a chance, starting each race in the midst of highly experienced racers, with the potential for failure or crash, finishing at the end, laughed at.  But after that school and practicing on our boat all summer, we won our division in the first major race we ever did at the end of that first summer.  By the third year we were the boat to beat.  And my life was all the better because of that experience.  The feeling of accomplishment, the camaraderie of the crew, the experiences.

Yes there are CDers and transpersons who look better than I do.  There are better sailboat racers than I, better pilots than I.  I put a lot of effort in to my CDing, flying, sailing.  But there will always be people better than I am, or people willing to expend more $$$$, more time, or take more risks which are not a good thing when flying or out on the water.  If I compare myself to them and let them be my standard then I will never be happy with what I can do as a pilot or sailor.  Oh definitely I keep practicing and improving my skills.  But there are limits.  Like trying to compete with the guy who devotes all his free time to sailboat racing.  Or the guy who devotes all his free time to flying.  I like to be good at what I do, but I also like variety in what I do.

I have put a lot of effort in to CDing.  It has been like an engineering development program.  Like a series of lab experiments.  Each time I get dolled up I change one tiny part of it.  To test for a possible improvement.  Billie is in continuous development.  Like my eye makeup.  Each time I do my eyes I make a tiny change.  If the change works out I incorporate it in to the next time, while changing something else a tiny bit.  Since it is spring and I have been wearing pinks, I am experimenting with purple for eyeliner and lighter shades of shadow.  The somewhat lighter eyes seem to work well for me with the lighter colors.  But we will see.  It is an ongoing experiment, a learning experience.

But OMG I looked terrible when I started!  I have LOTS of pictures of me from the beginning.  I have never let anyone see those pictures of me way back when, four and a half years ago, when I first started.  I am not ashamed of them.  They represent the foundation of what I built on.  But they didn’t represent where I hoped to get.

BUT I STILL WENT OUT!!!!!  Even though I knew I didn’t look the best, I still had the experiences, the fun.

Recently I corresponded with a friend who was sad because she could never be what she perceived is the ideal.  Comparing herself as a newbee to the very experienced gals.  Unaware of the length of the journey and the failures to get to what she was observing.  Because she could only see the final product and not the beginning product, she declared that she would not be happy unless she could set out on the journey if she could start at the destination.  I had been corresponding with this person and using a metaphor of two drivers anticipating a joy ride on a winding country back lane.  The one in a Ferrari, the second unsure if he should even go because all he had was a pickup truck.  I wrote:  “No it isn’t the Ferrari I was destined for. But I get there with my trusty pickup truck and the experience is almost exactly the same. Maybe even better. Sometimes people think I am a Ferrari just because they don’t look past my bright red paint.”  I was comparing my very imperfect Billie against the CDers who were born with bodies, faces, fingers, legs, arms, everything at an unattainable level of femininity denied to me.  But if I used them as a yardstick, I would never have experienced the fun I COULD have.  The view out that Ferrari windshield isn’t that much different than the view out my pickup truck windshield.

If we don’t go for it in the best way we can, we will never get anywhere, always be an “I’m Gonna”.

I wrote to my friend:  “Competing with Amy or anyone is not necessary.  That Ferrari is going to be disappointed because there will always be some car that is faster or more exotic.  Might as well just enjoy what the builder incorporated and get on with the ride.  Besides the view out that windshield is the same for a Ferrari or my pickup truck.  It is the experience not the appearance that makes it fun.”  This also applies to CDing.

Four years ago I had a professional photoshoot.  It made a HUGE difference in my confidence and skill levels.  It showed me what could be, and then my experimentation to achieve the same results began.  It took me a couple of years because I dress only once a week, sometimes less.  But I never gave up.  You too can achieve something better than you fear is your limits.  Oh sure some of those limits can’t be changed.  I wish, FOR CDING ONLY, that my shoulders were smaller, my torso was smaller, that my face was more feminine, my legs thinner, I was thinner and a bit shorter.  But women come in all sizes so in reality it doesn’t reduce my enjoyment of the experience.

At that photoshoot I told the photographer that I thought maybe using the pictures as a way to promote The Group would make it easier to get more members.  He told me that in his experience looking really good had the opposite reaction.  Gals would stay away because they would think they weren’t looking good enough.

People, if I went with that there would never have been a Grand Illusions Group.  Never been the OUTings.  Never have helped so many transpersons find themselves.  I wouldn’t have had so much FUN.  The GPs at the venues we go to wouldn’t have had the “trans in the room” experience.  The peope who stop me in the mall, at the clubs, and grill me with polite but probing questions about the co-worker, guy next door, nephew, uncle, son, daughter, I would have never been of help to them!  You have probably seen my FB posts, my other blogs.  You may have seen the posts of other gals who have found fun from The Grand Illusions.  If I had stayed home because I don’t look as good as ____________________ (insert name here), then maybe none of this would have happened.  Certainly I would have missed out on FOUR years of FUN.  Beginning back when I didn’t look good.

GET OUT!  Join us!  Have Fun!

(Why no pictures this time?  I felt that posting only my later photos and not putting any of them from near my beginning would be ineffective.  And you are NOT going to see the pictures of me from when I began because they look terrible!  Even when I went OUT!  But I did and I learned and here I am.  And I had FUN getting here!)

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at:




2017 03 27

If you can’t find anything to wear in today’s fashion market then maybe you aren’t going to the right places.  I was just OUT at a couple of malls and found this dress at Charlotte Russe.  Regular price $23.00. On sale for 1/2 price.  In sizes 1X through 3X in black, white, pink(ish), and wine.

Also found 14-18 and 1-3X at Burlington in the $20-30 price range.

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at:





2017 03 17

Every day she takes a morning bath, she wets her hair,
Wraps a towel ’round her as she’s heading for the bedroom chair,
It’s just another day.

Slippin’ into stockings,
Steppin’ into shoes,
Dippin’ in the pocket of her raincoat,

Ah, It’s just another day,
Choo choo choo choo choo choo,
It’s just another day,
Choo choo choo choo choo choo,
It’s just another day.

From: It’s Another Day
By: Paul Mccartney

Click on the video and listen while you read my mush.

When you are a crossdresser there is no such thing as “Ah, It’s just another day,” because EVERY day OUT is exciting, an adventure, and exactly what we need!

I received a message from Randi that she would like to do some shopping.  Now THAT is the kind of message a gal likes to get!  I go OUT regularly and like to keep up on what is available and for what price, in the sizes that fit the gals in our Group, The Grand Illusions.  So I asked Randi what kind of price range she would consider a dress.  Randi is a newbee to this and I was able to steer her in a four or five for the budget instead of one.

But first lunch and an afternoon outfit, Outfit #1.
If I dressed in sneakers, sweat pants or jeans, a sweatshirt or sweater top, and a nylon jacket, all in various shades of bland, then I would definitely blend in better.  But what would be the point?  I do this for the color, fabrics, tailoring, heels, stockings, and all the rest.  Without the glam I would blend in better but lose the enjoyment.  So I go for it.  I know I look like an overdressed kept women but I don’t care.  I am not wearing a ball gown, sequined tea dress, or stripper wear, so maybe I just appear as a fashionista.  Or maybe a gal who just needs to glam up a bit.  Besides I bet one day the real women realize that either they better get glammed up SOON or they are going to run out of time that they will look good enough to make it worthwhile.

I bought the blazer at GWs for maybe five bucks knowing that one day I would find something to go with it.  The satin fabric, colors, deep V neckline, two big covered buttons and especially the short torso, all made this blazer a definite.  Since I bought it I have found skirts and dresses to complete the blazer as an outfit.

The shoes are a pair of the batch I bought from Shoe Carnival in either black or gray.  I stripped the finish off of the man made material and refinished them in all colors of the rainbow.  They are VERY comfortable, all day heels.  About twelve bucks each pair plus the paint, at $5, which I also used to paint a hat to match.

The skirt.
I am always on the lookout for leather skirts (I would faint over finding a leather dress).  This one is suede!  But it was mid calf length.  I want to enjoy my legs in stockings and heels while I can.  So I shortened the skirt to knee length.  The dress is nearly full circle, sort of a leather skater skirt.  It is made up of panels sewn together to form the circle.  And each panel is made up of two pieces of suede, one upper, one lower with a horizontal seam between them.  But that horizontal seam is really at an angle, 1 1/2″ higher at one end than at the other.  So I carried this angle to the hem.  The result is a zig zag hem.  For less than five bucks.

After lunch a quick shopping blitz at Burlington.  Randi successfully accomplished all the day’s goals by uniting with three dresses and a shrug for less than $80.  Next off to GWs and further enhancing the days take by uniting Randi with two dresses and a purse.  One of the dresses is one of a kind handmade that some lass toiled over and eventually parted ways with.  Beautifully made and styled red shift dress with a detailed neckline.  Lovely!

While at Sears, Randi photographed me as some of the Villagers (go see Beauty And The Beast to get this) passed by.  Because the store and mall and Fire Marshal have rules, I was safe.




  Oh and I almost forgot!  The delicious coat?  GWs for about six bucks.  The hat was $3.98 at regular price at WallyWorld painted with the same paint as the shoes!  SUCH FUN!

A change of outfit and dinner with The Group, oh and Bliss!
I recently found the mauve blazer with the black piping at GWs for their now inflated price of $5.99.  But it fit perfectly, had an easy to coordinate color scheme, and the torso is shorter than the arms.  Perfect!

I also found the skirt at GWs recently.  A slightly flared little number in dense shiny sequins!

The shoes are a pair of the very few pairs I have bought on line.  I haven’t had complete success buying shoes on line.  Mostly my problems have been with Ebay and the shoes from China.  The Chinese take a very liberal interpretation of the US equivalent of European sizes.  They list the shoes as US sizes when they are labeled European.  They list an 11 which has an European 39 size, definitely NOT a size 11.  If they had listed a size 39 I would know it wasn’t big enough.  So after buying two or three pairs at VERY cheap prices, that were really size 39, I gave up.  These too were on line but from a shoe website.  They fit perfectly and the style, color!  Swoon!!!!  And at about fifteen bucks, just right.  And they are suede!

BTW I this is not the pose I used to eat dinner as it is cold outside and in the restaurant.  Sitting like this would flash the waiter.

I am amortizing out this dress.  Bought it new at Charlotte Russe for fifteen bucks.  Divided in to once at Billy’s, once at Rumors, and (hopefully) once at H.O.M.E, Grand Woods Lounge, and Mojo’s.  Why?  Because I feel HOT in it!  At least I think I do and that is all that matters.

I found the shoes at DSW on sale for like $15.  Purple shiny patent platform Mary Janes.  OMG!  I was SOLD even without something to wear them with!!!!  I waited and watched for two years and THEN I found the dress ON Sale at Charlotte Russe and OMG I was a hankering for a place to strut my stuff!

It was in the single digits and COLD!!!! when we went to the club that night.  I had to park a block away and trudge through the COLD and WIND to get there.  And back to my car. My ICE BOX car.  In a dress that is really air holding sequins.  No insulation value there.  But with this little (fake) fur bolero, at least my shoulders were warm.  I can vouch that absolutely nothing else was.
BTW I entered the Glamour Boutique Glamour Girl Contest in a photo wearing this dress.  Please vote for me.

I got home at 1:00am with my feet complaining, mostly my toes.  I couldn’t WAIT to get out of those shoes.  I changed in to some kittens and in that dress and bolero I emptied my car of the dresses, coat, shoes, and spare parts from that day.  Just to prolong the bliss.  The COLD bliss.


Such Fun!

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at:



2017 03 14

Every woman should have a first class photoshoot early in her life.  She needs to be professionally done up.  Professional makeup, hair styled and/or a wig, perfect dress, bling, lighting.  Everything perfect so she can see herself as the best she can be.  A time for her to be at her best.  Even better would be if the camera could also bring out the qualities inside, but unfortunately that isn’t possible yet.  So we can only focus on the exterior, unfortunately just like today’s culture.  Today’s appearance obsessed culture can be cruel when the girl next door compares herself to the model that has been all professionally done up.  Maybe we could just once reduce the gap, just for the girl next door’s satisfaction.  Maybe a little glow inside from providing the same benefits, just once, that a supermodel gets for the photos.

As a Crossdresser I go through a lot of work getting ready to go out, just like a photoshoot, because I need to look the best I can.  It is part of my safety system, like not walking down dark streets, avoiding men, avoiding deserted areas.  Looking as convincing as I can makes it easier to cause some doubt.  If they aren’t sure either way, then they are less likely to confront or upset what may be a real woman because upsetting or insulting a woman is still not culturally acceptable.  The emotional outburst can summon help.

Photos of me when fully done up are like a report card, a validation of my act or craft.  They are a reward for a job well done or a tool for improving the result.  When they are really good, they validate the whole crossdressing thing.  Snapshots are great and can be quite lovely but a professional photoshoot can be another dimension beyond.  Every Crossdresser should have a professional photoshoot with makeup, wig, outfit, and bling along with the lighting, posing, and high res camera.

I am fortunate to have had a “transformation” at a studio that skillfully and tenderly took me through my first ever “change”, my first ever time “dressed”.  It I hard to imagine but I had never considered it before then.  The session was about the “transformation” and not about the photographs.  The resulting snapshots were less than I could have hoped for of me transformed to a look that was better than I could have ever imagined.  Everyone has a focus or specialty.  That artist took me through my first time “dressed” and my first time OUT “enfemme”.  She was skilled and compassionate and I will be forever grateful to her.  This is in my opinion, the way to do it.  One day a CDing virgin, two days later I was experienced and OUT “Enfemme” in public.  With so so snapshot quality photos to prove it.  Photos I am not comfortable showing anyone.

Even after that transformation, perhaps just because of it, I was still comparing myself to what culture shows me as the beautiful woman.  I did not know where I fit in.  I did not feel completely validated.  There IS a beauty advantage even in CDing.  I hear it all the time from people contacting me about coming to The Group Meetings.  “I don’t look good enough to come.”  or “The other gals look so much better than I do.” or “I don’t look enough like a (as in their ideal) woman.”  A reverse penalty.  Because someone looks great, others deny themselves the fun.

I felt just like that until I had the photoshoot to die for.  Imagine a place with nearly a thousand dresses,a room just for wigs, all kinds of bling, and makeup that takes every bit of guy appearance away and replaces it with femininity.  I had that.

The makeup took THREE hours.  Even a temporary facelift!  And airbrushing.  Face, neck, arms, chest, all airbrushed to perfection.  I had eight shades of eye shadow!  The look was beyond anything I could have hoped for. Then the wig and the first outfit, to the stage and camera I went.

It took me to a place I never knew existed.  I was in total bliss.  I let myself be swept up in it, forgot all my male life pressures and was taken over by Billie.  The poses started coming out of me automatically.  I no longer needed coaching on how to pose.  I WAS Billie and knew instinctively how to get that girly, flirty, sexy, intelligent, or innocent pose.  I HAD A GREAT TIME!

And, OMG, what pictures.  The camera took an image every six seconds so for every minute there are ten shots, after ten minutes or so you can see what the photographer suggests are the best, go back and expand on those.  After an hour in that outfit, you get a few hundred to choose from, of which, if you are really in to it, maybe twenty five are drop dead “blow it up for my living room” fantastic.  Then a new outfit, some more coaching and the process repeats.

I had so much fun, I was so transported to another place, so removed from all the pressures that my guy life was putting on me.  I also learned a LOT about makeup, clothes, hair, and bling.  This was like getting years of experience in one photoshoot.  So I have been validated.  I have been to paradise.  This was the most fun I ever had in women’s clothes.  From what I learned at that photoshoot, I have since been able to get fabulous snapshots that are far better than I could have ever imagined.

This is something every real woman should be able to do.  Every woman is beautiful.  Well maybe not supermodel beautiful, but who would want to be?  No one would take you seriously.  And you wouldn’t even use your IQ if you had one.  Every woman needs to see how good she can look because the popular culture provides way too many opportunities for women to gauge themselves against the professionally prepped models in the adds.  It would be evening the odds just a little bit.

BTW I am still 100% guy about 95% of the time.  The other 5% of the time I am an actor having fun, causing no one any harm, asking to just be part of the fabric, providing some additional contrast to this beautiful world.  Like a surprising number of otherwise everyday kind of guys.

You can email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at:








2017 03 07





The other day I ran in to a guy, NOT of John Q Public “common man” variety, that I have known for a few years.  He is a very nice person who has devoted his life to helping others.  Although I am not, nor ever will be, attracted to a guy, I must describe him as a male model type like you see in the Armani adds, on the cover of a women’s romance novel, and the like.  Physically rather slender, about six feet tall, a narrow face, and long, for a man, blonde hair.  But unusually for a man, the long hair is neatly kept.  It seems that most guys with hair as long as a woman’s look like they just got out of a wind tunnel.  With  a neatly trimmed full beard, he projects a cerebral as well as a physical aura.  And intelligence too.

He knows me only as Billie and for how I help people, although in no way to the magnitude as he.  As I was enfemme, he felt he could talk to me frankly.  And what he had to say shocked me.  Yet he had not intended to shock me, probably never guessed that he would.  But my mind raced with the possible outcomes.

Trans people are under fire now.  John Q Public does not understand the trans concept.  They don’t have to as they are part of the majority.  The majority is in a mass of homogeneous humanity and can’t see the need to know about the minority and their cares.  The majority isn’t going to devote any time to studying the trans issues.  The majority is just going to go about their lives picking up bits and pieces of drivel about the trans.  Some accurate, some inaccurate.

Our Group, The Grand Illusions is very visible in Grand Rapids.  We are very careful to present as female without shocking.  This means that we look the part.  Visable yet invisible.  And I am aware that the typical woman favors comfortable everywhere but clubbing.  Yes I am aware that we ten to be a bit more stylsh than thoe we attempt to imitate.  Yet we are not wearing stripper wear at a club nor are we wearing ball gowns at the mall. Appropriate but somewhat dressy.  Just like a woman who has an interest in fashion.  A fashionista?

We are ambassatrix for the trans community in that for most of the general population (GPs), John Q Public, we ARE the only trans people they notice.  That is IF they notice.  But if they do notice us, we want to leave them with an impression that says classy, sophisticated, appropriate, and non sexual.  AND non fetish.  That we are seen as natural.  Maybe trans to the GPs but acceptable to the GPs because we aren’t that much different in appearance than what they typically see.

But this guy is going to dress, in a dress, every day.  As a man in a dress.  Out there.  Midst the GPs, the General Population.  With no placard that says “I am a guy in a dress trying to make a statement that a guy in a dress should be OK” or “I am NOT trans.  I am just wearing a dress”.

A guy, in a dress, with a beard, long hair.  Not a good way to represent the trans community to the GPs.  Even if it is just in their (the GPs) minds.  Because they aren’t going to do any research.  It will be just part of the bits and pieces they pick up.  They aren’t in the LGBTQ community.  They will only take this the wrong way.

Ultimately his effort to make it OK for transpersons may do just the opposite.  And who will know?  Just that trans person who is trying to go about their life without shocking, without drawing attention.  Someone who can’t escape the outer turmoil by dressing  in clothing appropriate to his physical appearance.  Someone who can escape the inner turmoil by dressing in clothing that may not be appropriate to his physical appearance.

Feel free to leave comments on this blog.  You may also tell me if you prefer that your comments be private.  As the all powerful blogger I get to decide what shows up on the blog.  Compliments are appreciated.  Suggestions are encouraged.  Criticism will result in an army of minions beating down your door.  (Just kidding!)

You can also email me at

The Grand Illusions website is at: