I picked this up through Stana's Femulate blog and similar to so many other excellent posts I see from her, this one really resonated with me. It was actually posted by Monica:
"I recently went to SF and then on to Denver to go to Art of Feminine Presence (AFP) Training.
This was my fourth time going to AFP. I am still amazed that our community has not taken to this; it really is the best way I have found for getting in touch with my feminine essence.
My companion for the training was my friend and well known voice coach Kathe Perez
I was surrounded for six days by loving caring and sympathetic cisgender woman who treated me as one of their own.
I have a theory, if you want to learn Japanese, you do not go to Japan and hang around with Americans. Similarly, if you want to get in touch with you feminine essence, hanging around with cisgender women is likely to be more productive than hanging around with transwomen. I am just saying! Get outside your comfort zone and you will be amazed at what you can achieve and learn!"
This post resonated with me for several reasons. First, I went through similar trials and tribulations as I was coming out of the closet. Unlike Monica, I couldn't find any trans women to hang out with if I wanted to. There were plenty of what I call "predators in dresses" but no true trans women. Similar to Monica, I began to hang out with nothing but cis women who consistently accepted me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. In fact they flat out tossed me off a gender cliff. I too was amazed on what I did (and have) achieved and what the future holds.
I love the line "I have a theory, if you want to learn Japanese, you do not go to Japan and hang around with Americans." I do think if you are going though, I think it is impossible not to bring some of your male past with you to spice your feminine essence!