Author Topic: The Chronicles of Caela  (Read 5981 times)

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Offline CaelaNotKayla

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The Chronicles of Caela
« on: September 08, 2020, 06:33:57 pm »
Hello everyone!

I'm taking the plunge and starting my own blog thread.  For those of you I haven't yet had the pleasure to interact with, my name is Caela, and I'm a 46 year old widowed MTF/bigendered individual, and currently identify predominately female.  I'd like to share some of my daily trials, tribulations and observations- but before I get there, I need the catharsis of telling my story.  It's not a Disney fairy tale- kisses don't wake the princess up, she doesn't live happily ever after with her "street-rat" prince by her side, and the shoe definitely doesn't fit... but it is real life- and it starts with an ending.

Part One- All Good Things...

2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, but my challenges began long before COVID-19 shut the world down.  As the door closed on 2019- My wife was fully engaged in her battle with cancer, and my father was in a accelerated decline in his health.  I never imagined that they would both be gone within months.

My father was the first to go, before the year had barely begun.  During the planning for his funeral we heard rumors of a potential pandemic virus spreading in China.  Within a couple months COVID-19 had spread to our community- and shortly thereafter we were in lockdown and working from home.

Lockdown caused a significant shift in my wife's cancer treatment.  Everyone has heard of the families of COVID patients being unable to be with their loved ones, but in our community every patient- regardless of what they were being treated for- were blocked from having someone with them. I was no longer allowed in to hear the words of the doctors and nurses- and it became much harder to advocate for her care.  She had surgeries, treatments, and chemo all without the support of someone next to her.  We went into lockdown in the knowledge that her treatments were not working as they had hoped- and sometime during lockdown she was told that her cancer had spread to a point where the remaining options were no longer viable.  She held this information to herself and wouldn't talk about it- but it was obvious that her sense of hope had vanished overnight.  Her health declined fast, and we soon called in hospice to provide her with palliative care.

I woke up early one day to the sound of my wife's rattled breathing.  I was holding her hand when she passed away.  I felt her life fade away as the warmth left her body.  Her nine month fight with Metastatic Colon Cancer had come to an end.

In a moment everything in my life changed.  A gaping hole existed where the center of my life once was.  All of a sudden I was a single parent.  At first I tried to keep moving forward.  Funeral planning again.  School for the kids.  Work.  Figuring out finances on a single salary.  Seeing memories in everything I touched.  That is, except for one thing- something I found on a shelf in the back of the closet, something that I'd never seen before.

One brown wig. 

And in that ending is my new beginning.

Next- An Old Friend

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline SarahEL

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2020, 06:50:40 pm »
Caela, well done with being so brave and starting your blog..here for you and reading.. xx

 (I hope 2021 gets better for all of us.)
Oh, life is bigger,  It's bigger Than you and you are not me
The lengths that I will go to.  The distance in your eyes

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

Online Northern Star Girl

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2020, 07:59:23 pm »
@CaelaNotKayla
Dear Caela

I am so glad to see that you have started your very own thread that is all about YOU and your experiences !!!
Consider this your personal journal that you can share with your readers and followers here on the Forums.

The previous reply comment from @SarahEL is correct...
Caela, well done with being so brave and starting your blog..here for you and reading.. xx

 (I hope 2021 gets better for all of us.)

I am very happy to read that you are now documenting your official transition journey with your very own personal Blog/Journal.
Yes indeed, I and the rest of your new followers to your thread here will want to see you post updates and even a few photos.

In addition to having several ongoing threads here I also keep and "old-school" pen&paper journal at home for my eyes only.  I include lots of venting and thoughts that I have and also include some colorful doodling and an occasional snap shot photo or two.  On a cold and rainy night in front of my fireplace I can find myself in my comfy chair reading my journal for hours, sometimes with tears of joy in my eyes and sometimes with tears of unhappiness. 
Your journals will be a very good form of therapy for yourself.   Keep them updated.

Having you own journal thread here on the forums is very good therapy that allows you to not only safely vent about you disappointments and failures but also about your successes and your good experiences.

When you post good news, we are here to rejoice and be happy with you and when you report not-so-good news, we are here to listen and to lend our shoulder for you to lean on.
We are your biggest fans and are always rooting for your success and happiness.

Again, thank you for starting your very own thread, I will be eagerly looking for your updates as you feel so led to share them with us.

HUGS and best wishes,
Danielle
***SEE MY LINKS BELOW
The Ramblings of a Northern*Star Girl
A New Chapter: ALASKAN DANIELLE's Chronicles
I am the HUNTED PREY: Danielle’s Chronicles
Things change re: ALASKAN DANIELLE
Positive Mindset... put away negativity

Started HRT:   March 2015
Went Full-Time    December 2016
Quit my male-mode job and relocated to a very small town in Alaska in January 2017
I'm a blonde, blue eyed woman, Age 40

Online Birdie on a Wire

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2020, 08:20:14 pm »
Oh Caela... I am so, so very sorry the loss of your wife. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling.

I can relate with what you said “Seeing memories in everything I touched.”  Years ago I divorced and in little things... innocuous, mundane activities I would feel memories. I physically ached over the loss. It is the closest I can think if at how it must feel for you.

Again, my deepest condolences.

Take care. I look forward to reading more from you.

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2020, 03:21:00 am »
Thanks Sarah, Danielle and Birdie- 

Your support really means a lot to me- I don't think that I would be posting here if it wasn't for the care and compassion that I've seen from everyone on the forums- and I wouldn't be baring my soul if not for the strength that I've seen in your own posts.

I can relate with what you said “Seeing memories in everything I touched.”  Years ago I divorced and in little things... innocuous, mundane activities I would feel memories. I physically ached over the loss. It is the closest I can think if at how it must feel for you.
Birdie- my therapist says that the strongest feelings will come from the mundane, normal activities that you wouldn't think twice about- but made up more of your life than you admit.  Grocery shopping of all things often turns me into a wreck.

(I hope 2021 gets better for all of us.)
Sarah- I'm in full agreement- (knock on wood, throw salt over shoulder) we all need a better 2021!

Again- thank you all for your support!

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2020, 09:29:45 am »
I know right?
One thing I vividly remember was absentmindedly placing a cup to my left when eating because my wife had always sat to my right.

When I actually realized what I did I turned into a blubbering mess.

I often wonder now if the strife and conflict we had was because I was struggling with unknown-to-me gender issues and was retreating from her, occasionally lashing out and in general just being a butt.

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2020, 12:24:47 pm »
I often wonder now if the strife and conflict we had was because I was struggling with unknown-to-me gender issues and was retreating from her, occasionally lashing out and in general just being a butt.
My kids have observed that I'm more confident and comfortable in girl-mode, and more insecure (with all the compensations that are driven from that) in male-mode. I can't fathom the pain that that caused my wife over the years, knowing that I was somehow broken and not knowing why...

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2020, 01:12:15 pm »
Part Two- An Old Friend

One of my wife's initial worries during her fight with cancer was a great fear that she would lose her hair.  She was never really a vain person about her appearance, but for her the thought of losing her hair was one step too far.  Our first stop after her first visit to the infusion suite was to the "wig room", where the local cancer society was providing free wigs to cancer patients.  My wife picked out a very nice black Jon Reneau wig to match her hair.  And as far as I knew- that was the only wig that she had.

But it turns out I was mistaken on that point- my wife had in fact purchased two more wigs. Both of them were not her style, and appear to have been just put back on the shelf after she had tried them on once.  I found them when I was going through her side of the closet for clothes to donate, and something stopped me from sending them off at the same time.  I put them back up on the shelf, along with other items that I couldn't bring myself to part with.

I kept thinking about the brown wig in particular.  Why did my wife buy a Brown wig???  Brown wasn't her color, and she never wavered in her entire life from her hair color.  One day I decided to try it on to see if maybe it was the shape she was attracted to.  I put it on, looked into the mirror- and was surprised to see an old friend looking back at me.

---

As a child, I was always closer to the girls in the neighborhood.  Part of that was simple proximity- more girls lived in the neighborhood.  Barbies, Easy-Bake Ovens and dress-up became regular playtime activities at their houses.  In preschool, I remember often playing dress-up with the girls.   At home, I would touch the dresses in my Mother’s closet.  I remember the feel of the fabrics compared to the rough clothes boys had.  One year I wanted to go to Halloween at school as a girl- and my mother let me.  She later said that folks told her that was wrong to do, but she let me go anyway.  So my first girl pictures are of me in one of my mom’s wigs, with her shortest red dress hanging down to my toes.

As I grew up, the little girl in the red dress came out to play less and less.  Around age 9 I experienced something very traumatic about which I will only say that I have very strong personal reasons for never, never, ever trusting a person outside my family with my kids.  I wonder to this day why my mind remembers the trauma vividly but blocked out its immediate aftermath- but that was the first time I started over.  Dress up ended, and so did most of my relationships. The happy outgoing child turned inward.

It was about a year afterwards, digging through a pile of used books that I came across a sci-fi anthology that looked interesting- so I put a dime in the payment bowl and took the book home.  One of the stories made a big impression on me- "Options" by John Varley. In that story, a woman is living an unsatisfying life- and decides to have a sex change, which in this future is an easy no-fuss outpatient procedure.  The story delves into the challenges of their relationships post-change, and ends with the thought that they were not one sex or the other- but both.  I remember thinking how it would be cool to be a girl, at least for a while- and it was also the first time I was exposed to the concept of gender not being binary.

---

So yes, it was that little girl in the red dress staring back at me, only this time she was all grown up.  Wearing the wig completed something in me- and the sense that had been growing for years of not looking how I saw myself lessened. I hadn't done anything else to look feminine, standing there in male clothes and a beard- but it still felt her gaze, and it felt more right than I had been in a long time. 

I liked those feelings.  And that scared me more than anything else.

Next Part- Happy Birthday

Caela

Postscript- I've written about some pretty tragic stuff in these first two parts- but I want you all to know that I don't count my life as tragic.  We're getting to the good stuff I promise!
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline SarahEL

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2020, 04:23:15 pm »
A lot to love in your last update...

First off, love the new avatar - very natural - you look really content.. that is nice to see.

Second, love that explanation of the 'first look in the mirror' - I too remember that, when Sarah first put on a wig, i remember saying, 'hello Sarah' to my image... The first time I ever heard my name out loud.
I actually was clearing out my wardrobe today and came across that wig, ready to get rid of it (I have the real hair now!) I just thought - ahhh, it was a starting, like babies first shoes or something, so I put it back..

Thirdly, that John Varley short story... wow I have heard so many people quote that as a reference... but yep, it touched me too at about the same age as well....

Can't wait for part 3!....
Oh, life is bigger,  It's bigger Than you and you are not me
The lengths that I will go to.  The distance in your eyes

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

Offline IamKatrina

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2020, 10:53:33 pm »
Caela, My heart truly goes out to you and I am so sorry for your loss. I was there holding my dad's hand when he passed. That is not an easy thing to deal with.  Hugs...Katrina
Life itself is a journey into self discovery

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2020, 11:25:09 pm »
A lot to love in your last update...

First off, love the new avatar - very natural - you look really content.. that is nice to see.

Second, love that explanation of the 'first look in the mirror' - I too remember that, when Sarah first put on a wig, i remember saying, 'hello Sarah' to my image... The first time I ever heard my name out loud.
I actually was clearing out my wardrobe today and came across that wig, ready to get rid of it (I have the real hair now!) I just thought - ahhh, it was a starting, like babies first shoes or something, so I put it back..

Thirdly, that John Varley short story... wow I have heard so many people quote that as a reference... but yep, it touched me too at about the same age as well....

Can't wait for part 3!....

Thanks Sarah!

I've become a selfie queen now that I'm happy with my look.  If you take enough pictures you'll always have a few good ones  :D  My last one was my "glamour" shot- this one is much more representative of how I usually look, and I'm wearing my favorite brown wig (the same brown wig in my posts)

Your real hair looks great in your avatar!- my own hair is much more Patrick Stewart than Kristen Stewart, and I'm pretty sure all the minoxidil in the world won't change that.  I've embraced that though, as It means I get to change my hairstyle as often as I like!

You're the first person that I've met who has read "Options"!  It's one of my formative stories, and was always one I held in high regard- even before I truly understood the personal implications.

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2020, 11:34:09 pm »
Caela, My heart truly goes out to you and I am so sorry for your loss. I was there holding my dad's hand when he passed. That is not an easy thing to deal with.  Hugs...Katrina

Thanks Katrina-

I'm sorry to hear of your loss as well. It's not something that you can easily describe to someone who hasn't been in that moment themselves-  I realized after looking through my journals that that was the first time that I'd written about the moment. I'd written about events that happened before, and I'd written about the aftermath- but not the moment.

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline IamKatrina

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2020, 11:34:57 am »
Thanks Katrina-

I'm sorry to hear of your loss as well. It's not something that you can easily describe to someone who hasn't been in that moment themselves-  I realized after looking through my journals that that was the first time that I'd written about the moment. I'd written about events that happened before, and I'd written about the aftermath- but not the moment.

Caela

TY Caela. My dad passed away back in 2003. Just know you aren't alone and if you ever need someone to talk to about all that comes with it I am always here. Hugs!!
Life itself is a journey into self discovery

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2020, 11:47:22 am »
I had a dream this morning.  I dreamt that I woke up, showered and started getting ready for my first zoom meeting.  I put on my face and hair- my new flowing, curly, auburn wig.  I put on my regular prosthetics instead of the smallies.  I put on a nice blouse with a flounce instead of a football jersey. Then I sat down at my desk and logged into the computer.  No one freaked out, no one got weird- it was just business as usual.

It was a good dream.

But I woke up, and I'm not ready for these people to see me yet, so I showered and changed into male-mode instead.  And then I noticed that sometime in the past few weeks that had shifted in my mind- I'm no longer changing into girl-mode, I'm changing out of girl-mode.  A small step but a seismic shift.

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2020, 12:40:17 pm »
@CaelaNotKayla
Dear Caela:
Thank you for sharing your recent dream.
I trust, hope, and pray that your pleasant dream will soon become a reality for you.  :icon_chick: :icon_chick:

Your personal transition journey definitely requires patience on your part... and there are lots of details... physical and mental ... and with relationships and employment that needs dealing with.

Please continue to keep me and the rest of your followers updated as you feel comfortable doing.

HUGS HUGS HUGS:icon_flower: :icon_flower: :icon_flower:
Danielle
***SEE MY LINKS BELOW
The Ramblings of a Northern*Star Girl
A New Chapter: ALASKAN DANIELLE's Chronicles
I am the HUNTED PREY: Danielle’s Chronicles
Things change re: ALASKAN DANIELLE
Positive Mindset... put away negativity

Started HRT:   March 2015
Went Full-Time    December 2016
Quit my male-mode job and relocated to a very small town in Alaska in January 2017
I'm a blonde, blue eyed woman, Age 40

Offline SarahEL

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2020, 02:47:52 pm »
It is not a bad dream to have Caela, one I had not too long ago too... And then my wife divorced me and Saturday, I got up and put on a dress, as normal day wear  ... The dream realised? Just to be me and be happy in my skin....And today I was talking to my therapist about when to change my name legally - and the answer is very soon.  This is all a process of getting those ducks in a nice orderly queue...!



(I wanted to say, but did not really know how to put it in words, but I feel for your recent loss of your wife... My father passed away in May after catching Covid, so in some small way, I understand a little of what you are going through).
Oh, life is bigger,  It's bigger Than you and you are not me
The lengths that I will go to.  The distance in your eyes

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2020, 03:13:33 pm »
It is not a bad dream to have Caela, one I had not too long ago too... And then my wife divorced me and Saturday, I got up and put on a dress, as normal day wear  ... The dream realised? Just to be me and be happy in my skin....And today I was talking to my therapist about when to change my name legally - and the answer is very soon.  This is all a process of getting those ducks in a nice orderly queue...!



(I wanted to say, but did not really know how to put it in words, but I feel for your recent loss of your wife... My father passed away in May after catching Covid, so in some small way, I understand a little of what you are going through).

Sarah-

I'm sorry to hear about your father, please accept my condolences..  Having lost my father as well this year, I know that you are going through a lot with grief and transition all mixed up in one.

I'm also very happy for you and your dream coming into line!    I'm looking forward to the day when who you are, and who the law sees you as are one and the same!

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2020, 04:01:17 pm »
Part Three- Happy Birthday

In today's digital world, everyone has the opportunity to make one representation of themselves exactly as they like-  their avatars.  My avatars all had long flowing brown hair.  My avatars either had glasses with larger frames, or no glasses at all.  Sometimes the beard would be gone.  I made my avatar look how I wanted to look like because I didn't like the way that I did look...  I never thought I'd have a chance to bring that image to life.

---

In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I had given myself the task of going through the stuff that I had inherited.  A lot of it it went directly into bags for donation to a local charity.  But some items (like the wigs) I couldn't bring myself to get rid of.  Some had "sentimental value", and I set those aside for the memories.  But other things just seemed random clothing items at the time.  (I realized later that I had been subconsciously setting aside the few things of my wife's that my female self thought might be useful.  Everything that got donated was obviously too small or something that I would absolutely never have chosen to wear. )

One day about a week before my birthday, my curiosity about that little girl got the better of me and I tried on those random clothes.  Unfortunately, while my wife wasn't exactly a small woman- I'm definitely a BIG woman, and there wasn't all that much that fit.  And since I was still curious- I went out male-mode, swallowed my nervousness about being in the womens department- and bought a couple of tops before they sent the clothing police after me.  I got home, hung them in the closet where so recently my wife's clothes were- and then freaked-out over what I had just done. 

At first I figured that I had snapped- that in my grief I’d gone crazy, and would soon end up in a padded cell somewhere shot up with enough happy pills to make me catatonic.  But I didn't feel crazy, and I remembered that I'm not the first in my family to come out- That was the person I identify as my father-in-law, and she didn't seem to be crazy as she described her life, her challenges, and her transition.

So if I wasn't crazy, what did these feelings mean?  Why was I so curious about what a female me would look like?  I decided to give myself a birthday present, and carve out some time to explore these feelings in a more complete fashion.

---

In the back of my mind, I still thought of this potential self with the name I had used as a child, a name that my mom had said that I would have been named had I been born a girl.  But I knew from the look in my eye that it wasn't her name anymore- I had given it away as my oldest child's birth name.  So I started looking up names, and asking myself it it was right... The day before my birthday I came across a name that rang bells in my head. I wrote it down and it looked right. Now if only my look matched up with the name....

---

I woke up early on my birthday, and finished my work as quickly as I could.  I fixed my vision of myself in my mind. Then I shaved off my beard for the first time in 25 years, dug through my wife's makeup drawer, and went to work.  And when I was done, the look was closer to the vision.  Looking back, the makeup job was basic, the wig was thrown on without being styled, and there was no shape under my new women's top- but I was quite happily surprised with how it looked, and I took the first of many selfies.

Looking at the pictures that I had just taken, I noticed something that was quite jarring... My glasses.  Even without a beard, with a wig, with makeup on- I still looked quite mannish wearing those glasses- and in that moment i almost gave up on the whole thing.

And then I noticed my wife's eyeglasses sitting on the counter.  A shape that my mind had always seen as feminine.

I put them on, and to my surprise- I could actually see through them.  They weren't quite my prescription, so anything further than six feet away was progressively fuzzy.  But the three feet from my face to the mirror was clear- and I saw a face transformed-  I saw the face that I had pictured myself as complete for the first time- the face I'd tried to model with every avatar I'd created.

I smiled, and said "Wow, Cae!"

Next Part- Covert Operations

Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline CaelaNotKayla

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2020, 04:07:43 pm »
I dressed like my dream- just had to get past my meetings!

Coincidentally, this is the blouse I wore in my first selfie!



Caela
My Blog Thread - The Chronicles of Caela

Who knew it'd be so bright without the blindfold - Demi Lovato

Offline SarahEL

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Re: The Chronicles of Caela
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2020, 04:51:24 pm »
Thanks for your latest update Caela... You come across as such a sweet and lovely person.
Your top in the photo looks lovely too...

and I will say it too (and have said it many times over the last few days)....

WOW CAE!


Can't wait for the next part xx
Oh, life is bigger,  It's bigger Than you and you are not me
The lengths that I will go to.  The distance in your eyes

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

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