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Real Life TG Journies

My Life in a Page
By Karen "Hot legs" Byrne

Karen ByrneTo say my life has gone full circle would be an understatement, but I will try to keep this to about a page, so lets start with the ‘old me’. I was brought up by a strict Irish emigrant mother who had great hopes for me to join the priesthood. My dad was an alcoholic as was my mother, which I’m sure has a lot to do with why I am now a reformed alcoholic. I spent my childhood much the same as a mouse spends her life, making as little noise and fuss as possible, I was and still am painfully shy. I left school unable to read or write, which is why I spent most of the next thirty years working as an unskilled manual worker. This, along with twenty years spent homing my skills as a boxer, has left me with muscles in my spit. Not very ladylike I’m sure you would agree.

I married when I was twenty and two beautiful girls soon followed. The next fifteen years were spent under the same black cloud that had hung over me in my earlier life. It was while I was married that I started dressing as a woman, it started as a bit of ‘kink’ with my wife, I’m sure this rings a bell with a few of you girls. I started dressing during the day, and it soon became obvious to me that there was something much deeper than just wearing women’s clothes. This was a paradox, because at the time I was working as a night club doorman. I won’t go into the detail but suffices to say, I was living the life of a tough guy by night and during the day I lived in a feminine world, one which I was increasingly becoming more and more comfortable with. This was a dichotomy in every sense; I was so confused and bewildered. I was angry with myself for having these feelings of femininity and dreaded the thought of my ‘friends’ finding out.

Because my life had been so confusing in so many ways, I didn’t know who or what I was. My wife had no chose but to leave me because of my behavior. I was diagnosed with clinical depression soon after she left me, I had a nervous break down which landed me in the funny farm. I tried to commit suicide, but failed miserably, (although the lorry I drove into a wall didn’t fare too well) so began my long and painful journey back to sanity.

Unfortunately, my rehabilitation came too late to save my marriage; my ex-wife remarried and is living happily with her new husband. I wish them both love and happiness, she deserves it. The one good thing to come out of our marriage, or to be more precise, two good things, are my beautiful daughters, who are my best friends.

Fast forward a few years and here I am, at the grand old age of forty seven studying for a degree in creative writing and drama. I was diagnosed with dyslexia two years ago, which explains why I couldn’t read or write when I left school. I have been under a therapist for the last eight months and having the time of my life. I don’t think I could put my finger on one particular thing about my life that could explain my happiness. But I know that one of the main reasons is that for the first time in my life, I have been able to shed that horrendous macho, he-man lifestyle I had been living. I know now I wasn’t that person, it was just an illusion, a mask, a false persona I was putting on to please the people around me.

As for my dressing; I have left the ‘kink’ behind, although I still have some sexy six inch stilettos and some ‘to die for’ mini skirts. For me dressing as a woman has taken on a far deeper meaning. I feel that I am a woman whether I am dressed or not. So, yet another dichotomy, I no longer have to worry about who I am but what I am? I feel less and less masculine as time goes on. Let me tell you a little story to make my point.

A couple of weeks ago, I was on my way to see my therapist. I was wearing a nice skirt and blouse with three inch heels. Three men were working on the other side of the road, as I approached them I began to feel very scared and nervous. Sure enough, one of them made a sarcastic comment about the ‘tranny’, I felt so vulnerable, even though as a trained fighter I would have probably been able to deal with them with no problem. I felt, and still feel that I am a woman, that old tough guy is dead and gone.

That’s not to say women are weak, I truly believe women are far stronger than men, perhaps not in a physical sense, but spiritually and emotionally. So where do I go from here? I am very unsure about my sexuality. Like many cross dressers, I am attracted to other TVs. I find them so attractive. But, I am still attracted to women. So, perhaps I’m ‘bi’, I try to kid myself that if a man is dressed as a woman, it’s not the same as fancying a man, but of course this is just self delusion. I am happy to go with what ever I turn out to be, because what ever it is, it will be the ‘real me’ and that is the most important thing. We all wear masks; they are the masks of mums, dads, lovers and friends. I wore the mask of a ‘macho man’ for most of my life. But they are all masks. When we close the door on the outside world and look in the mirror, it is only then that we see ourselves as we really are. It is a brave person who allows the world to see this mirror image. I believe shemales are brave enough to do this and unfortunately, have to sometimes face the embittered and uninformed backlash of a society that is pre-occupied with its own masks.

I love being a woman, am I a woman? Time will tell.


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