2017 04 17
Twice a month The Grand Illusions gals go OUT enfemme. Once a month after the IN Meeting and once a month for all of the OUTing. Sometimes we end up clubbing at an all inclusive bar, some people refer to this as a “Gay bar”. Most of the time we go to a General Population club. Every time is an experience, some better than others. Some just downright fantastic. We had another just downright fantastic day. It was as if the Grand Rapids GPs (general population) opened up their hearts and decided to vote with their smiles and hugs.
We met for lunch at a sorta fast food sub shop. The employees of the shop have always been accepting and even friendly. This day there was something in store beyond our wildest imaginations. Of course just being there, doing this, wearing this outfit, for me was beyond my wildest imagination. Because the first time I ever considered CDing was September 21 2012. Before that I didn’t even know that CDing to look real, not just a “plumber in a dress”, was something people actually did. Since then I have had some truly memorable experiences. I have been to places most guys can never even imagine. Experiences that have changed me. Yet the old me is still there, but smiling a lot more. Why? Because instead of being a guy by default I am a guy by choice. Except once a week I choose to experience the world looking like a woman. Which makes me all the happier that I am not.
But the experiences this day would be truly memorable. Like a once in a lifetime level. Since starting The Grand Illusions CDer Group a bit over four years ago I have had quite a few of these lifetime days.
We had just finished our lunch and having a chat. Well continuing our chat. We never seem to run out of things to gab about. All fun talk. And talk to support each other. Anyway a man came up to our table, complimenting us on being ourselves, and politely asked if he could take our photo. Telling us he was proud that we were being ourselves. That everyone should accept each other. It would have been impossible to say no to his wide grin, sincerity, and warmth of voice. After he took our picture with his phone, Amy, being closest to him, asked if he would take our picture with Amy’s phone. He agreed enthusiastically, spent some time getting it exactly right. Afterwards I told him that he was likely the coolest person in the restaurant. I asked him if he would mind posing with us. He agreed, a tiny bit less enthusiastically, but a yes no less. Much conversation from him about people all being the same, life, kindness. What an amazing find he is! I asked him to run for office so I could vote for him. Then his SO used my camera and took a few pictures of us for me. A beautiful couple making the world a better place. People tell me that The Grand Illusions is changing the world, their lives. Perhaps. But of this I am certain, I told that guy that HE is changing the world, making it a better place.People can be surprising.
Off to the Art Show………
We went back to The Network and changed in to strolling outfits. Or at least I did. And flats. Or at least I did. Now Amy was adamant that she was capable of walking all day in her Mary Janes but I wasn’t so sure that I would be walking downtown in their equivalent. I had on ballet flats, VERY comfy. We will see.
Off to the bus stop………
It was almost 70 degrees and sunny, a bit breezy but entirely satisfactory for me in my floaty skater skirt. I LOVE the warm breezes on my stockinged legs, that which you can see, and that which you can’t. As the breeze rustles my skirt. I could feel the warmth of the reflected sun off the pavement on my legs and the bare top of my feet. Bliss.
As we waited on the opposite side of the street, a couple passing by on the south side of Lake Street complimented us. As did the people passing by on our side of the street, with their warm smiles.
The bus driver was kind. The passengers board, too board for a second glance. We sat in the back of the bus. Doing the usual gabbing and giggling as the bus made it’s way downtown. How do we find so much to be happy about? To gab about? All the while adding and discharging passengers. All too bored to notice us much. Perfect.
Getting off the bus downtown, we were immediately complimented by passers by. And as we walked, ignored by others. But the complimentary ones will be rewarded when we win the Powerball.
Strolling the downtown in the warm sunshine. Bliss.
The art was good to great. Mostly pen and ink, engravings, water colors, mixed media. Looked like mostly school age artists. Not like child art, this was adult professional class level art.
I am OUT quite a bit in Grand Rapids, especially downtown. People come up to me and say they remember me form…… Always kind. Always happy. Other may remember me but choose to keep it a secret. Those that share their joy of life, we together revel in the moment. Separating thereafter with a warmth reserved only for the blessed. A beaming young lady came up to me and said she remembered me from an event in February. After hugs and a picture by her friend with her cell phone, she took this with my camera. So Sweet! I am SO blessed!
Grand Rapids is straddling the Grand River where there are some not especially grand rapids. Any lack of grandness in the rapids is made up by the grandness of it’s Grand Rapidians.
There is a river walk along the east side of the river behind the tall buildings for most of downtown and along the west side for a couple of long blocks. Bridges carrying traffic are outnumbered by bridges repurposed for walking and absorbing sunshine, on the odd days when it shines. This is after all West Michigan.
Today was a banner day. Sunshine from above, sunshine from our hearts. Posing on the river walk. Squinting because West Michigan natives are not used to the sunshine.
Note that Amy by now had given up on her Mary Janes after accumulating two lifetimes (for a normal person) worth of compliments on them. I was worried that her head would swell and her hair would somehow magically no longer fit.
A stroll up Monroe Center and more compliments……. Can this ever get old? NO WAY!
To the bus stop on Ionia. While waiting the two ladies also waiting for the bus engaged us in pleasant conversation. Until a car pulled up to the red light, front heavily tinted window rolls down. Frantically working the cell to get the camera going before the light went green, the woman in the right front street praised us. As the right rear window rolled down and the two ladies in the back complimented us. As Amy jumps in to the street to accept the lead role in the impending photoshoot. But alas the light turned green before anyone could get her cell to go to camera. Ain’t technology such a time saver!
The bus ride back was as much fun as the ride there. Except we were on a natural high from the positive interactions we experienced. How can we gab so much and never run out of things to gab about? I LOVE these gals!!!!!!!! They are SO much fun!
We drove to the Branns Restaurant on Leonard. Good food, good service, great prices, and the wait staff are beyond anything a CDer could hope for. Like hugs all around from your waitress. Or maybe we just added some fun to her shift?
When we walked in, there were some quick takes from the other patrons. Stares that are intense for the maximum time but ended before they could be thought of as impolite. Then we ate, with occasional cautious stares. Mostly ignored.
West Michigan at its best today.
Off to Rivertown Mall to show the gals the new Charlotte Russe Plus Size store. I had already purchased two dresses here. And my beloved SO picked out a third this day. Gawd I love that woman. But I did not buy it because, surprise SURPRISE, I already have pink lace dresses. Somehow I gotta be responsible. “I will not buy anything new that isn’t totally different and totally perfect!” Repeat. Repeat. Even through the dress was on sale and a bargain. But I did get to meet Ashley, the store manager. She is a terrific choice by the parent company to open ONE OF ONLY TWO Charlotte Russe Plus Size stores in the USA. This gal is the PERFECT choice to take a brand to the level of Destination. And everyone working this store has been totally welcoming since it opened about a month ago.
To make the east end Rivertown Mall in itself a CDer destination, across the hall is Torrid. Everyone working this store has been totally welcoming and very helpful since the mall opened years ago. If you want rings that will fit your fingers, not those elastic thingy rings, go to Torrid. Because the larger ring sizes are so scarce anywhere, Torrid can at times be out of them. Don’t be discouraged. You can call and ask if they recently got any in, before you come. You can get three or four in a “set” for about $15. Kayla found a perfect dress on sale.
Back to GR Pride to change in to Club Wear and off to dance!
Days like these leave me in a daze!
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