from Richard

(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.)

The next couple days I didn't dress with both of my outfits now being dirty. Friday afternoon when my mother came home from work, she asked me to get them so she could wash them, she wanted to take me shopping the next morning for at least a couple more outfits.

I brought them down to her in the garage to put in the washing machine which she was already starting. Before I could walk away, she asked me to wait for a moment. She closed the lid to the washing machine and then motioned for me to follow her upstairs. I followed her into her bathroom, where she had laid out several things.

"My period should be starting in the next week," she informed me, "and I think it would be worthwhile if you got to see what it was like to have to deal with one as well. With the girls, I let them try both pads and tampons when they started their first period and then decide on what they wanted to use." I looked at what she had set out for me—a couple of thick pads, and a box with five or six tampons in it.

"These are for you to use to try when it starts," she instructed, "the pads are like your panty liners, for the tampon, take it out of the plastic, hold the outside tube with your thumb and middle finger, insert it until your fingers touch your body, then push in the inner tube. There's a string attached to it so you can pull it out to change it later.

"You don't want to leave a tampon in for more than six or eight hours," she went on. "There's a risk of what is called toxic shock syndrome, if you feel feverish or anything take it out and let me know. It's rare, but it can happen. Your pad you can leave in place all day. I'll let you know when my period starts so you can start using things as well."

She handed me the box and pads with final instructions to place them next to my package of panty liners in the bathroom.

The next morning, I showered and put on my sundress and my mother helped oversee me doing my hair and makeup. Pronouncing me ready, we walked downstairs to get in the car and head back downtown for another shopping trip. My stepfather saw us as we were about to walk out the door.

"Wow," he said, "I still can't get over how much you look like a girl. You guys going out to get more clothes for you?"

"Yes," my mother answered for us, "you suggested getting a couple more outfits, there's a few other things he could use, like slips, pantyhose, and maybe another nightgown. I figure we'll get a better chance to look this time since he won't look so out of place."

"Well, have fun," my stepfather finished.

I was extremely nervous as we pulled out of the garage and headed back downtown to the same store we had just been at the week before. I had yet to venture out of the house in these clothes, and despite my mother's insistence that nobody would know the truth unless I told them, I felt like it could be obvious to people that I wasn't really a girl. I kept checking myself in the mirror in the visor, so much so that my mother finally commented on it. "You're checking you makeup more than most girls do!"

I blushed at this, then took a moment before telling my mother the truth. "I'm just kind of scared," I admitted. "What if someone figures out I'm not a girl?"

"Nobody is going to know unless you give it away," she reiterated. "You look and act so much like a girl that I'll be really surprised if anyone were to figure it out. Calm down and relax, being nervous about it is only going to make it worse."

I did my best to relax, and when we pulled into the parking lot I took a deep breath to help steel myself. As I stepped out of the car and stood there, I looked down at myself. I had worn the wedges today at my mother's insistence. The open toes showed the pink nail polish, matching the fingernails on my hands, which were clasped over the front of my yellow sundress. I brushed my hands across the front of the dress, and followed my mother into the store.

As we entered the store, I kept looking around to see if anyone was noticing me. The few people who we made brief eye contact with as we walked paid little attention, but I still was nervous someone might see that I wasn't really a girl. Heading over to the same section we were in the week before, my mother began to look over the racks of dresses and skirts.

I kept an eye around us, but it was hard to find anyone really looking at us, and it became more difficult as my mother pulled out clothes and asked my opinion. She would hold some things up to me, and I soon realized people just viewed us as a mother and daughter out shopping. My nerves calmed slightly, but I was still worried.

We soon settled on four or five choices, and my mother walked me over to the girl's fitting rooms. "I don't think anyone will mind you trying these on in here this time," she commented.

As I was changing in the fitting rooms, I heard a voice outside that sounded slightly familiar. I walked out to find the same sales girl from a week ago had walked up to say hello.

"Weren't you here last weekend?" she asked my mother. "Trying to figure out fitting rooms?"

"Yes," my mother answered, "thank you for your help on that."

"I hope it all worked out," she replied.

"It certainly did," my mother answered, "see for yourself."

The girl looked over at me as I stepped out in a sleeveless green dress for my mother to review. Her mouth opened for a second, then shut as she looked me over. "I hope it's not a problem using these fitting rooms," my mother said.

The sales girl shook herself out of her stare, then looked at my mother. "No," she replied, "I don't think anyone would raise any questions. This is really the same boy from last week?" She had lowered her voice when asking the question, something I certainly appreciated.

My mother had stepped over to check on the fit of the dress, deeming it worth keeping and sending me back to try on the next one. As she turned back, I stepped towards the dressing room, keeping an ear on their conversation. "One and the same," my mother said.

"If I hadn't known from last week, I never would have guessed," the girl came back. "She's... , sorry, he's very pretty in those things and looks so feminine. It's amazing how much he looks like a girl."

"Thank you, I'll pass along the compliment," my mother finished. When I came back out, the girl had left, and we continued shopping. My mother decided on two more dresses for me, then picked up a couple pairs of pantyhose and a slip to go with one of the dresses. We did find the same girl up at the cash register once more, and as she rang us up, she looked over at me.

"That dress really does look pretty on you," she commented. "You look very nice in it."

I could only blush and mutter a quiet bit of thanks.

This time my mother felt no need to get anything beyond the new clothes, so we piled into the car and headed off to find somewhere to do lunch. We went to a different fast food restaurant than the week before and headed inside to eat. After getting our food and sitting down my mother looked over at me. "Did you notice the boys that were in line behind us looking at you?" she asked.

"No," I admitted.

"They must think you're cute," she said. I couldn't help but blush at this. "I told you you're going to have to be ready for when this happens, you're a very pretty young lady."

We ate with only a bit of small talk when I realized I needed to pee badly. I didn't get much notice a lot of the time when my bladder finally filled before I would lose control of it, so I needed to hit the bathroom soon. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure which one to use.

"Mom," I hissed, "I need to pee!"

"Well," she answered, "the bathrooms are right over there." She pointed over to them.

"But which one... ?" She suddenly realized my dilemma. This was my first time in public dressed like this, I had never thought about having to use the bathroom like this before.

"The ladies room is right over there," she finished. I knew now what she meant. I stood up and made my way over to the door. I didn't know what was on the other side of the door, I had no memories of ever being inside the girl's bathroom in my life. I took a deep breath and stepped inside.

It suddenly dawned on me that there was nothing special or magical about the girl's restrooms. About the only difference I noted was the lack of urinals, other than that, the bathroom was the same as the boy's. I walked into a stall, shut the door, and sat down to pee. I heard a couple other girls come in and check their makeup in the mirror while I was in there, and they were still chatting when I came out to wash my hands.

I was surprised that they didn't give me a second look, but continued their discussion about some boy one of them wanted to date. I finished washing and drying my hands and stepped out. When I came out and sat back down without the pressure in my bladder, my mother smiled at me. "Those boys were definitely checking you out," she said. I looked around, but apparently they had left while shortly after I walked into the bathroom.

We got home and I put my new clothes in with the wash for the rest of the family and sat down to watch television in the family room. It hadn't been long when I heard the front door open and close with an announcement of, "I'm home," from my sister.

I was stuck. There really wasn't a way to get past my sister and up to my room to change, let alone the bathroom to try and get rid of the makeup and brush out my hair. My mother had walked into the living room and saw the scared look on my face.

"Your sister is back from her babysitting job," she remarked, "why don't you come show off your new look to her?"

"But... but... but... ," was all I could reply.

"Don't worry, I'll make sure she doesn't tease you about it," my mother soothed. "Like you've been told all along, it's not going to be a secret."

I stood there stock still, unsure what to do, when my sister walked into the room. "Hi, mom," she greeted. She looked over at me and stared for a moment. "Is that... is that Richard?"

"Yes," my mother answered, "it's your brother."

"Whose clothes is he in? I know that's not my dress. Why's he wearing that?" she asked rapid fire.

My mother took a breath and started in. "He came to me about a week ago and wanted to know what it was like to be a girl. The only way I could figure out to let him know was for him to do it himself, so he dressed up. He said he would dress again if there were clothes, so we got him his own things and he's learning what it's like to be a girl."

My sister snickered quietly into her hand at the sight of me. My mother was quick to reprimand her for it. "I don't want you to think this is funny or hear that anyone is teasing him on this. Honestly, I think your brother is really doing something worthwhile. You know the old saying about walking a mile in someone else's shoes? He's doing it for real. He gets to see what it's like for all girls and women everywhere, I think he'll be a better person for it and you should support him, not tease him."

My sister immediately quit her snickering. She knew as well as I the tone of voice my mother was using—Mom meant business, and defying her would mean life would become miserable. My sister looked me up and down a couple more times. "He looks cute as a girl," she admitted, "is he wearing makeup too? And are his nails done?"

"He is, I got him his own so you girls don't worry about him using up all of yours," my mother informed her. "He has all his own clothes, makeup, and everything, so don't worry about him borrowing anything of yours."

My sister walked over and gave me a hug. "You look cute, kiddo."

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