(Disclaimer: This is based on experiences I had, though I am adding a bit to cover what my mother's side of the story was, that is based on what I was told happened. It's a long enough story that it will likely cover several posts.)
After stopping by the pharmacy to fill the prescription, we headed home. That evening at dinner, my mother felt it was important to bring up my doctor's appointment.
"So, Richard had a doctor's appointment today," she announced. "We figured it needed to be discussed whether or not he actually wants to be a girl."
"What did they have to say?" my stepfather asked.
"Well, there's definitely something that Richard needs to decide here," my mother answered. "Based on how he looks and what he likes to wear, there's a real question of him looking into being a girl instead of a boy. Until he makes that decision, they've given him some medication to keep puberty from hitting hard and turning his body into a man's body."
"How does that work?" my younger stepsister asked.
My mother launched into an explanation behind secondary sex characteristics for men and women, and how puberty brings on those changes. From there, she explained that blocking the testosterone in my body would keep me from having my body change into that of a man, especially if I really wanted to be a woman instead. "After all," my mother went on, "can you imagine your father deciding he wanted to be a woman and how he would look in a dress?"
There was a significant amount of giggling at the table over this mental imagery. "Now, if Richard instead decides he really wants to grow up as a woman," the discussion continued, "he can go on hormones that will make his body develop much more along the lines of us girls, he'll get breasts, and the fat distribution like a woman has that gives her the curvy shape.
"From there," she went on, "eventually they can do things like surgically remove his testicles so he won't need the testosterone blockers, and once he's old enough, he can have a sex change operation."
The discussion quieted down after this. "One last thing," my mother remembered, "we should probably start using a girl's name for Richard when he decides to dress and look like a girl. It won't seem so out of place as calling him a boy's name when he looks so much like a girl."
"Should probably start using 'she' and 'her' as well," my stepfather added.
"I hadn't even thought about that, that's a good idea" my mother remarked. "Anyhow, we discussed it on the way home and decided that we're going to use the name that he would have had if he had been a girl when he was born instead of a boy, which is Tina. So everyone, this is Tina." My mom gestured over to me.
I heard my stepsisters do the obligatory, "Hi, Tina," and my stepfather and sister just nodded their heads. I was still a bit embarrassed by it all, but decided not to push it. At least while out and about now it wouldn't be so awkward to have to respond to my boy's name while dressed as a girl.
When the weekend came around, I had gone down to get breakfast to find my mother in the kitchen again sipping her coffee. She looked at me and asked if I had anything planned for the day.
"Not really," I admitted.
"Well," she said, "Kristen and Julie both have their jobs today, and Mindy is off with her dad running an errand, so for now it's just you and I." Kristen and Julie were my sister and older stepsister, with Mindy being the younger of my two stepsisters. "I was thinking," she continued, "I've got some errands to run and it's a really nice day, you might want to put on a dress or skirt and we'll go out together. Maybe your blue skirt and white blouse, or that green dress you seem to fancy?"
"I don't know," I answered. After having to go to the doctor a couple days prior wearing the dress and everything that went along with it, I hadn't dressed up and was hoping to spend the day as a boy. I finished my breakfast and went upstairs to shower and change. Getting my clothes out, I looked at the panties and bras in my dresser, and then at the clothes hanging in my closet. I really didn't feel like wearing them today, so I grabbed a pair of my boy's briefs, some shorts and a T-shirt to wear for the day.
After showering, I went downstairs to find my mother ready to go out running errands. "Why didn't you wear a dress or skirt like I suggested?" she frowned at me.
"I really didn't want to today, Mom," I told her.
"Fine," she said curtly. I began to re-think my decision on whether or not I should dress up for the day.
"I can go change," I stammered.
"I want to go get these errands done before lunch," she said flatly. "So, let's go."
I wasn't looking forward to the day. My mother had a habit of getting her way in our house or else she would make everyone else's lives miserable. She would never come out and say that she was upset with not getting her way, instead just acting like nobody really cared about her opinion and then getting smug when we finally caved in. We usually found it easier to just go along with what she wanted in the first place.
As we got in the car, I thought more about it. She hadn't said she wanted me to wear a dress, she had said it was something I might want to do. I hadn't interpreted it to mean I was supposed to wear those clothes, so now I was going to be in the hot seat. We headed downtown to the department store again, with her not saying anything to me the whole trip. That was when I knew she really wasn't happy with me, when she wouldn't make small talk.
Once we were in the department store, she immediately headed to the "Young Miss" section with me in tow. "I was thinking," she began, "your birthday is coming up in about a month, I wanted to see if there was anything in particular you had your eye on?"
She immediately started looking over the racks of dresses and skirts, occasionally pulling one or another out to get my opinion on. "You'd look nice in this," she would say, or, "This would look so cute on you." I kept my agreements quick, and tried to help look over the clothes as quickly as I could, hoping to appease her.
"I know you had said something about getting some new panties for school," she went on, "should I get you a couple new bras as well?"
"I think I have enough bras for now," I replied quickly and quietly. Fortunately, it was fairly early in the day and there weren't too many people who had started shopping yet, but I did notice a couple ladies with their daughters who cast glances over at me and my mother.
I was dragged into the 'Intimates' section where she proceeded to thumb through the bras in my size. "Oh, I think this one's a little too racy for school for you," she said, holding up one that was mostly lace. All I could do was quietly listen to her as she again went through ideas on what she thought would look nice on me, or answer quietly and quickly when she asked which ones I liked or would want.
As she went over to the section with panties, she just looked them over. "I think you're still a bit young for some of these," she pointed out. "Maybe once you're a bit older you can go for some of these, we'll keep them basic for now."
It seemed like the shopping in the department store lasted for hours, while in truth it probably was only a half-hour to forty-five minutes before we finally left. There were plenty of times I was beet red through the whole encounter, feeling my face burn as she held a skirt or blouse up to me, or holding out a pair of dresses to ask which one I wanted.
Next, we headed past the drugstore. Again, she proceeded to embarrass me as she walked down the makeup aisle, holding up certain shades of eyeshadow to see how they looked against my eyes, or asking if I wanted to try on a particular shade of lipstick. She grabbed a couple bits of makeup for herself that she wanted, and continued to walk around the store.
I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide when she started down the infant aisle, knowing she was going to bring that up to embarrass me next. Sure enough, she stopped directly in front of all of the packages of diapers and looked at them before looking over at me. "How many times this week did you wake up wet?" she asked. "Was it three or four?"
"Three," I admitted.
"If it starts getting to be more often we're going to need to get you diapers," she commented. She stepped forward to look over the packages. "We'll probably have to do some searching for bigger diapers and plastic panties, you're way too big for any of these. Maybe we should get you a bottle for bedtime if we have to put you back in diapers?"
I didn't answer that, just hoping that she would finally get her fill. She walked around the store a bit more, looking for something that she couldn't seem to find. Finally, she found a store employee and stopped them to ask for help. "Excuse me," she said, "I was wondering if you sold diapers."
The lady looked over at her, and answered, "Yes, ma'am, diapers are on aisle four."
"Those are too small for this one," she stopped and pointed to me, "this one has been waking up wet a lot lately and so I'm trying to see what there is out there to help deal with it."
Now I truly knew the full force of my mother's wrath, feeling it couldn't get any worse. Of course, she would never admit that she was doing anything just to get at me for not following her wishes, it was completely up to me to decide to not dress up. I knew she always wanted to get her way, and it was times like this that we understood that she would be vicious when she didn't.
The lady my mother had talked to just looked at me, understanding now what my mother meant. "Ugh," she replied, "it's always the boys that have that problem. We have diapers that can be used for older children or adults over here." She walked a few aisles down to another section. "These will fit, you can choose something from here that will take care of your needs. If you want something reusable instead of disposable, your best bet is a medical supply store."
"OK, great," my mother answered, "it sounds like this is more common than I thought."
"We get once or twice a week where a parent comes in to get diapers for their older child," the woman said. "It's almost always for boys, I think I've only seen one or two girls that had issues, and they're usually younger. If you need anything else, like powder or diaper rash products, I recommend most of the products in the baby section. Is there anything else you need?"
"No, thank you so much," my mother responded. The woman walked away, leaving my mother and I to peruse the packages on the shelves in front of us. "Well," my mother finally said, "it looks as if we've got a way of dealing with this right in front of us. Should we get you some diapers here then?"
"No, mom, I'm OK," I answered quietly.
"Well, we know where to get things now if things get worse," she answered. She turned around and headed to the cash register to pay for the things she had in the basket, leaving me with the distinct hope that she was finished making her disappointment in me known.
The last stop we had before heading home for lunch was the grocery store. I brightened with the thought that there really shouldn't be any way for her to embarrass me any more while out and about, but my hopes would soon be dashed.
We wound our way up and down the aisles, gathering food for the next few days. I was happier as we did, thinking the ordeal of the day pretty much over with. But my mother soon turned down the aisle with all the feminine hygiene products and came to a stop in front of them.
"How are you doing on panty liners?" she asked. "Are you going to need more soon? Not to mention you period should be starting next week, are you going to have enough tampons to make it through?"
There was one other woman in the aisle with us, she simply looked at me strangely while I wanted to just disappear. I almost felt like crying at this point, but I knew that would only make things worse with my mother. "I'll probably need both," I admitted to her as quietly as I could.
"Well, grab some and put them in the cart then," my mother replied. All I could do was shuffle over, grab a package of each of the ones I had been using, and drop them in the cart. I felt utterly defeated, that there would always be a way that my mother could find to use against me.
It was that point that I understood just how much control she had over me.
Things seemed to improve a bit after that. I knew now that if my mother 'suggested' for me to wear a skirt or dress, it was something I should do. Things were calmer with my dressing up for me, I started finding it less of an odd feeling to put on girl's clothes for the day as opposed to shorts or pants, and I got much more comfortable being out and about with regular times where we went to dinner as a family with all the 'girls' in tow.
My birthday came a few weeks later, and of course it fell during the time I was on my 'period', so my mother expected me to dress fully that week. It felt a little strange celebrating my birthday as a girl, but my mother seemed to take full advantage of it.
We went out to dinner at a nice restaurant, of course, and afterwards came home for presents and dessert. There were several gifts from my parents, a few smaller ones from my sister and stepsisters, and one from my mother's parents. The first one from my parents had a card on top, which I opened first.
'It's Your 1st Birthday, Baby Girl!!!" it read across the front. A little cartoon tiger with pink bows in her hair, a cute pink shirt with a big '1' on it, and a diaper was under that. I must have looked slightly confused, at which point my mother told me, "Well, this really is Tina's first birthday, isn't it? And anyway, you'll always be my baby."
I could only do a little chuckle as the rest of the family laughed at the joke. "Relax," my mother cautioned quietly into my ear, "if I really wanted to push that I would have bought you diapers, and there certainly are times it seems you need them." I forced a smile, and opened the box.
Staring back at me from the box was a pink and purple dress. I wasn't sure what to think of it, all I could do was pull it out and hold it in front of me. Another present held a skirt, another a new blouse, and the last one from my parents was a couple packages of white panties. My mother had at least made good on her promise to get me something that wouldn't look so out of place when I went to school.
From my sister and stepsisters came jewelry, mostly the thing bracelets and bangles like most girls my age were wearing. They also got me one other thing that I had truly wanted, a couple albums from bands I liked. My mother's parents had bought me a kit of makeup, I could see the younger girl smiling on the front. I was rather surprised to see that they had bought a gift that was obviously with my dressing in mind.
"Mom," I worried, "they know about me dressing up?"
"Of course they do, sweetie," my mom answered. "I thought when you started all this we said it wasn't going to be a secret in the family."
"I just figured it would be all of us, not the rest of the family, too," I said.
"I'm sure there's going to be times when other people in the family are going to see you like this," my mom replied. "I don't think it's a bad thing, they'll love you whether you're a boy or a girl."
I let it go at that. The only other thing that came forward that night was after dessert, my mother asked me what I thought about the jewelry my sister and stepsisters had bought me. I answered honestly, that I thought it was nice, especially since it was the same sort of thing that other girls wore.
"Well, there is one thing you could also look at getting," my mother suggested. "I told the girls not to get them for you just yet, but if you wanted to go get your ears pierced you can have earrings."
"I don't know," I came back, "everyone at school will be able to see that. I know some of the guys get one ear pierced, but both is considered gay."
"Well," my mother pointed out, "some people might also get curious as to why a girl your age doesn't have her ears pierced."
"I'll think about it," was my reply.
The summer wound down. I spent plenty of days either in a dress or skirt, plenty of times where I went swimming in the one piece bathing suit, and was quite used to wearing girl's clothing by the end of it. There were more appointments with the doctor and I was also taken to see a counselor who would supposedly help me figure out where I wanted to go with all of this.
School started, and I put a lot of it out of my mind as much as I could. Kids were notorious for being vicious towards someone who they thought might be gay, being seen in a dress or skirt would immediately get me labeled as such. Often times, they would wait until after school and jump you then, beating you solely for the crime of being different.
I would change occasionally when I got home from school into a dress or skirt, most often on Fridays because my parents liked to go out to dinner as a family those nights. I snuck a couple days where I wore the new white panties my mother had bought me under my clothes, wanting to see if anyone picked up on them during the time we were changing for PE in the locker room. After three times of doing so, I noticed that most guys didn't pay any attention to the others while changing. Thinking about it, I realized that this could get you labeled as gay and could be trouble, so it was something that didn't happen.
When it came time for me to be on my period for the first time while at school, I didn't feel that worried about being able to pull off hiding it from everyone else. A spare tampon in my backpack could be hidden down at the bottom, and nobody would find it. I knew already that I could get away with wearing plain white panties, so I was ready to go ahead with things. The night before I was to start, my mother came into my room to talk to me about it.
"You know your period starts in the morning, right?" she asked.
"Yes," I answered.
"You've been doing really well at learning what it's like to be a girl," she went on, "and I think it's important for you to understand what a period is like for girls as well. We don't get a choice about it, so I think you shouldn't either, OK?"
"I understand," I answered.
"The thing is, I want you to honestly keep this up," she told me. "I think it would be unfair if you tried to sneak your way around this, either not doing things while you're at school, or trying to find some other way around it."
"I wasn't going to try and get out of it," I responded. I really hadn't thought of trying to get out of it, and as it was, I was worried about what might come down on me if I tried to.
"Here's the thing," she continued, "I haven't seen anything that says you will or not, but I understand why you might think it's something to not do. I just think that there needs to be some sort of punishment if you do try to avoid it.
"So, I've thought about it, and if I find out you're not doing what you said you would, then I'm going to make you spend your period like you did during the summer," she explained. "We'll be nice and you can just wear your panties and do what you need to for your period, or you can spend the full week going to school in dresses and skirts, think that's fair?"
Whether or not I thought it was fair didn't matter. My mother had made up her mind that it would either be done the way she had agreed to up front or she would make my life miserable. "That's fair," was all I could say in response.
Needless to say, I never tried to sneak my way around being on my period. I was far too afraid of my mother to even think of trying it.
As the school year progressed, I found myself falling into a routine with things. School definitely kept me busy, but I still found plenty of time to do things outside, and there were plenty of times I dressed as a girl. I got comfortable with it, thinking that everything was not going to give me trouble.
Then one weekend I was out running errands with my mother and we were at the grocery store. I was wearing the pink and purple dress I had received for my birthday, and we were about to get in line when I heard someone call out my mother's name. "Linda! I haven't seen you in I don't know how long!"
Both my mother and I looked over. I quickly recognized the face of the woman who had called out to my mother, and then realized who was with her. Through elementary school and middle school, I had been very good friends with a boy named Ryan. We had been in a number of classes together, and during middle school we would ride our bikes to school every day. Walking towards us in the grocery store was Ryan and his mother.
"Jen, it's good to see you," my mother answered, "and hello to you too Ryan."
I wanted to hide if possible, but I already knew it was too late for that. "This isn't Mindy, or Kristen," Ryan's mother said, looking at me. "Julie's off to college now, isn't she?"
"Yes," my mother responded.
"Is this... is this Richard?" Ryan's mother asked.
"Yes," came the reply, "though we're using the name Tina when he's dressed like this."
"Oh, wow, I never would have guessed if I didn't know," she said. "What's the story behind it?"
I walked away a bit, not wanting to be there for all of the details that were coming out. Ryan followed me, not listening to my mother or his.
"Hey," he said.
"Hey yourself," I answered.
"So why the different clothes?" he asked.
"I had some questions about girls and what life was like for them, so my mom decided that I could learn by trying to be one," I said, not wanting to go into too much depth behind everything. I hadn't seen him for months, since we had finished middle school together. I didn't think it was appropriate to tell him I was trying to figure out if I really wanted to be a girl or not.
"How long have you been doing this?" he asked.
"Since the start of summer," I replied.
"All the time?" he looked really surprised.
"No, just a few days a week," I answered. "It wasn't like I suddenly changed over to living life as a girl, my mom just got me stuff to wear so I could do it on and off."
"You've gotten good at it," he pointed out, "my mom and I were wondering who was with your mom when we first saw her. Until we got closer I would never have guessed it was you."
"Thanks," was about the best response I could muster, "just please don't tell anyone else, I don't want to get the crap beat out of me at school if someone were to find out."
"I won't," he assured me, "I've got to admit, you look cute as a girl."
We walked back over to our mothers where they were finishing up their conversation. I could overhear a bit of it as we walked up.
"...well I have to admit he's very convincing as a girl," Ryan's mother was saying, "I'm sure if that's what he wants he'll do just fine."
"That's the hope," my mother answered.
"Well, it was good to see you and catch up," Ryan's mother finished. "Maybe we'll run into each other again soon, talk to you later, Linda."
"Nice to see you too, Jen," my mother answered. We finished our grocery shopping and were in the car heading home when my mother spoke to me about it. "So," she began, "did Ryan have anything to say about this?"
"He was wondering what was going on and why," I replied.
"What else did he have to say?" she asked me.
"Not much," I told her, "he did say he won't tell anyone though, which I kind of nice."
"Well, he's been your friend for a long time," she noted, "so that doesn't surprise me. I know you were worried this sort of thing might happen, and honestly I'm surprised it was this long before it happened. But it worked out for the best, didn't it?"
"Yeah," I answered, "I guess it did."