The Belles of Christmas

I was on my way to my second period, English class when I saw the crowd gathering around the bulletin board outside, our guidance counselor’s office , Ms. Brumfeld . Curiosity got the better of me so I pushed my way through the throng until I saw what the fuss was about . A big notice announcing “Contestants wanted for the 2nd annual “The Belles of Christmas Pageant” . What might you ask , is that? I will tell you. It’s a pageant featuring twelve Junior and Senior boys who compete in a womanless beauty pageant to raise money for needy children and families in our community for Christmas .

Each contestant was sponsored by various school and civic clubs lead by girls and their mothers . Each boy is chosen by secret ballot of the students in 11th and 12th grade and then each organization draws a name out and that is the boy they will then work with over the month leading up to the pageant on the last day of school before Christmas . Each boy generally goes along with it because it’s for a good cause and it also gets them into the good graces of some of the prettiest girls in school .

My given name was James Michael Stevens , I was secretly hoping I was one of the lucky ones picked for another reason . For as long as I could remember , I dreamed of being one of the pretty girls roaming the halls of our school and doing all the things they were lucky to do every day . The girl name I picked for myself was Sarah Michelle after my favorite actress of my all -time favorite show .

My parents were in denial and my sisters were too self involved to notice the signs I was putting out there . Some of the boys at school already pegged me as different by the offhand remarks they would make about my body not being masculine enough .

The girls would comment about my face being too pretty for a boy and they always talked about being jealous of my hair and my legs . I was on the swim team and always kept my legs shaved for competition . Of course that was just a convenient cover for the fact that I loathed body hair and feeling like a girl , I didn’t want any except on my head . My longish blonde hair was a bitch to tuck under a swim cap , but I refused any and all pleas to cut it shorter .

The notice said that the ballots would be handed out at lunch and filled out and dropped in a box on our way out of the cafeteria at the end of lunch . No one would know who was on it until they were distributed . It usually contained twenty -four names . The twelve highest vote getters would compete and four of the next highest would be alternates . I was on pins and needles through my next two classes and then made a beeline for the cafeteria . Being a Junior , it would be my first year of eligibility .

I made it in the door and grabbed a ballot . I scanned for my name and could barely contain my excitement when I was one of the first three listed! I quickly selected sixteen names and deposited my ballot in the big wooden box . I could barely eat my lunch , but did manage half a roast beef sandwich and a few chips . I only had to make it through one more class before the school assembly during last period where the winners would be announced and the club representatives would draw names .

I pretty much daydreamed through History but somehow managed to answer a question , Mr. Farnsworth asked me about Napoleon . The bell finally rang and we all made our way into the auditorium for the announcement . Our Principal , Ms. Mayweather sat next to Ms. Brumfeld on the stage and then made her way to the podium. She began calling the first name and to my surprise , it was Me! It seems I was also the highest vote getter. She called the names of the others and we made our way to the stage .

The representatives of the organizations were gathered next to a black top hat that had twelve folded pieces of paper . Each lined up in alphabetical order according to first letter of their organization and then put their hand in the hat and drew a name . Five names in, I heard my name called . The Junior Women’s Club as well as their parent community club were my lucky sponsors . The ironic thing is that my sisters and my mom were all members , but not officers so they would be aware of my transformation but not partcipate directly in my initial makeover . After all the names were selected , we were each taken to a separate classroom for our measurements and to set appointments for hair, makeup and deportment lessons .

The idea was to hit the ground running . Each of us was then taken into a locker room , told to strip off all our clothes and handed a bottle of shampoo and body wash before stepping into the shower . Emily Marshall and her mother, Cindy, were there as my sponsor representatives and they were very pleased that I was already ahead of the game on hair removal . I had also never had facial hair at all, which puzzled me and pleased me at the same time . My parents never worried about it because they thought I was just a late bloomer and never thought to consult a doctor about it . I also never developed much down below .

After getting a shower , I was given a pink robe and my hair rolled up in a turban . The school nurse took me back to an exam table where I was told to lie down on my back . She marked two places in my chest and placed two large breast forms on my chest and told me to hold them in place for a few minutes . When she told me to let go . I could feel the weight of them swing freely . She also fitted me with a padded panty prosthetic which gave me hips and a vagina . She did make a note on her chart after observing my rather small penis and empty sac down below .

After all that , I was handed a bra and a pair of matching panties . Emily helped me with the bra and told me that I was now a 38C cup . I was taken backstage to the makeup room in the theater department where Emily gave me step -by-step instructions on how to do my foundation, powder , eyes , cheeks and lips . She told me that it would take some time to perfect it , but I would get the hang of it . . She also had a set of heated curlers she applied to my hair, but she said I didn’t need much since my hair was already sporting a natural curl.

After that , I was sent behind a screen and handed a red Christmas sweater and knee length denim skirt . I was also given a pair of black suede ankle boots with a two inch heel . After I was dressed , Emily handed me a heart shaped necklace and a pair of earrings . Since both ears has been pierced for quite a while , it was just a matter of popping them in . Emily led me over to a full length mirror draped with a sheet and I was just stunned at what I saw in the mirror when she pulled it away .

I couldn’t hold back the tears and they just started to flow like a river down my cheeks . At that moment Emily came up behind me and gave me a huge hug . Her mother appeared to my right and started to rub my shoulders . At that moment , I just let go and told them about all the pain and all the misery I had lived through trying to maintain the facade of a boy while Sarah Michelle was aching to be let out of her prison .

Cindy then told me something that floored me! She said that my mother and my sisters would tell her about me after each meeting and voice their deep concern for my wellbeing . It seems they were not as oblivious as I had thought . It turns out that Cindy was a well respected gender therapist in the community and Emily was always on the look out for kids who looked like they were struggling . It turned out to be no accident that they had chosen me as a contestant . Ms. Brumfeld has been observing me for a long time and she conspired with my mother, Cindy and Emily , to get me chosen by their club . My sisters , Natalie and Danielle , were home with my mother waiting for me . I dried my eyes and redid my makeup with help from Emily.

As we arrived home in Cindy’s car ,
Mom and my sisters ran out the door to greet me in the middle of our yard . It must have been a sight to see with five women crying and hugging me . Dad was gone on a business trip so he missed all the emotional stuff . As we got ourselves together , Natalie and Danielle were still holding on to me in a hug sandwich all the way into the house . They dragged me to my newly redecorated bedroom which they had been working on for hours . It was exactly the bedroom I had always dreamed of having . There were even more surprises , I had a closet full of the latest fashions that any teenage girl would envy and my bathroom and vanity were both stocked with makeup , skincare and hair products .

After a few more minutes of hugs and tears , we all sat down and laid out everything I would be doing to get ready for the pageant . My sisters are telling me i’m a cinch to win it , but I’m not so sure? I still have a long way to go before then .

Over the next four weeks , I felt I was going through boot camp . In between sessions with Cindy and my other doctors , Mom and my sisters were just as strict as any drill sargeant . If I made a mistake on makeup or deportment , they were all over me ! Dad cane home and knew to stay out of the way . It was worth it though, by the time the pageant was held , I was walking in heels and doing my own makeup with the best of them . The pageant ended up raising $50K with community leaders matching what was raised .

It was truly insping to see how many people cared . I did win the pageant in the end so I am officially “The Belle Of Christmas” . Natalie and Danielle also dressed up in gowns and tiara’s as we visited the children’s hospital and handed out gifts . We even brought along dresses and tiara’s for the kids . The local news that evening , showed a parade of little girls joining in with us in a line all up and down the hospital corridors . The reporter covering the story , dubbed us all “The Belle’s of Christmas “.

As I look back fondly on that Christmas , I can’t help but think about all the people who saw my dream even when I was too wrapped up in my pain to notice that they could see things much better than I could . They were all there with me as I came through the surgery to complete my dream of being the woman I always knew that I was in my heart and soul!

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