Sarahjanus's Blog

June 27, 2011

Making the invisible visible

Am I real Part II

In Part I, I sped through some things that I really should return to and expand upon, not so much for the reader but for myself.

I’ve been a bottom-feeder.  I think that, probably, everyone knows exactly what I mean by this. Any woman who has dated more than one man certainly does. Being a bottom-feeder isn’t restricted to the male gender, we just seem to practice it more. For me, it means that I have lied, usually to avoid facing the consequences of something that I shouldn’t have done in the first place. I never seem to “lie for a moral cause”, that philosophical juxtaposition that is confronted in every university ethics course. The other venue for “lying for the right reason” is that of the stand-up comic when he is explaining the vagaries of domestic life and the rules for the maintenance of tranquility. It usually involves the question; “does this dress make my butt look big?” There is no right answer.

I came back to proof-read this and realized that while I admitted to lying, being a liar, I immediately shifted the focus, first to university courses and then to stand-up comics. It’s a mechanism I use in my domestic relationship as well, in a “yes, yes, I’ve admitted to that, now let’s move on!” kind of way. It occurs to me that I am acknowledging the fault but not really taking ownership of it.

It also means that I have acted immorally, the “something I shouldn’t have done in the first place”. Again, my usual defense has been exploited by the stand-up comics. It makes it very difficult to say; “it seemed like a good idea at the time” when some guy on Just For Laughs has built a seven minute routine around that single line. And last but not least is the line that I
must condition myself not to ever use again because it has been used to beat me to an emotional pulp; “I didn’t mean to …”. You can insert whatever you want in there. Generally, mine is “hurt you” as in emotionally, rather than a physical assault. Of course this weak-kneed rationalization of not intending to cause harm is usually (and rightfully) shredded before your very eyes.

The question then is; would Sarah be a better person than her host or would she eventually be just as weaselly?

A state of confusion that has existed  I know it’s easy to say “I never fit in, I never belonged”. Here’s irony at its extreme. I will argue that I didn’t fit in as a child and that continued through the rest of my life. I was an actor in my own life. The irony of course is that my solution is to be a cross-dresser, like we fit in. I just put a bit of a twist on the thought for entertainment. I didn’t fit in because I was acting, not being real. I arrived in this country as an immigrant child. Hear me through; I’m not playing the immigrant card in the usual way. Lots of immigrants arrive in this country and assimilate quite successfully.

The hour is such that without knowing where my wife is, I can’t be sure she won’t turn into the driveway and scare the life out of me. So, I have to change. The problem with taking these clothes off is that I lose my personality as well. It’s as if a shroud descends upon me. I lose the frankness, the honesty. I skid down into the abyss of deception and image management. I lose the motivation to carry on with the introspection.  She’s at her sister’s. Based on history, she won’t be home before midnight but I’ve changed clothes, and attitude. It went as easily as the dress came off. Sucks really.

So, Monday has arrived. The house is quiet, not empty but quiet. I am not quite as I would like to be but I am good. I am at ease, composed. I can carry on from where I left off. I arrived in this country as a child, with a slightly different style of dress and a pronounced accent. The Canadian school saw fit to put me in a class with students who were a full year older than me. The decision was based on the level I had been working at before I came to Canada. In retrospect, I can’t be sure that my father didn’t influence the decision. He was and still is an ambitious and driven individual with great expectations for his children.

On the surface I had a few strikes against me to start with, but more importantly, internally I had a sense of being different. I wasn’t athletic so I struggled to participate in games that were unfamiliar to me. I was emotional, far more likely than any of my friends to display emotions. I would cry when bullied in the schoolyard, which only added to the moment for the bullies. I was not mechanically inclined so I was a constant disappointment to my father, who was very skilled with his hands. Frugal to an extent, he would build things, carpentry, metalwork, welding, that others would buy and he expected the same from his sons.

I was or became introverted. For the years that I was in elementary school, I remained the youngest child in the class. My  natural immaturity more pronounced in an older group. I simply wasn’t where they were in mental, physical and emotional development. Eventually, in high school, I failed a grade and was held back. This was a tragedy in my house, an embarrassment almost without equal, but in the long run, it was the silver lining in my gray cloud of a life. I finally was in a class of my contemporaries. I was still a bit of an outsider, because they had been together since kindergarten but I did make friends, to the extent that my personality would allow. I grew up in a small town with very limited opportunities. When high school ended, we scattered to the four points of the compass. I didn’t keep in touch with any of them.

I had been different in some visible ways. I allowed that to create a distance between me and the people I grew up with. The truth of the matter was that I never felt “real”. I never felt like they appeared to feel in their day-to-day activities. So I used the visible differences to keep people from ever seeing the invisible differences. Would I fit in better as a cross-dresser? I doubt it. Going out in public, a man dressed as a woman is bound to attract more attention than I would ever want under any circumstances. I expect, although many of the writers in the forums note otherwise, that I would be the subject of derision either
behind my back or, worse to my face. As a male, I can slip by generally unnoticed; at least I believe so, by everyone. I am average man. As a cross-dresser, I am bound to be in the cross-hairs of attention but I believe in my heart and in my soul that it would be a more natural fit, a more comfortable being. It occurs to me that, as a cross-dresser in public I would be making the invisible
differences visible.

Advertisements

June 24, 2011

Am I real?

I finally have the chance to slip into something that makes me feel whole. I’ve lost track of where the people are who inhabit my house. I have some sound assumptions to work from, but I’m not sure. I came home from my errands to find the house empty and no notes left. I sat down at the computer in my sloppy man shorts and my worn man t-shirt and I just dithered. I wasn’t focused on anything specific and I wasn’t achieving anything either. Nothing was getting knocked off my to-do list. I decided to change into
a dress so that I could focus a bit better.

I have moved my work station from the lower level to an alcove that allows me to view the driveway if I keep the door open. It makes for a noisy time, with the traffic racing by but it gives me a few seconds head-start if I should need it. For those that don’t know me (which in this case is everyone!), I don’t react well under some kinds of stress. The high stress situations that I was trained for and experienced in, I do well with. The once-in-a-lifetime situations are not usually so successful. So, the thought that I can sit here writing my blog, dressed from shoes to shoulder, and expect to react promptly, efficiently and effectively, if someone arrives home unexpectedly is more wish than fact. No doubt I will both trip going up the stairs and tumble down in a tangle of half removed clothing, or I will drop something unexplainable and not recover it in time. However, that is my plan, flee at the first sign or sound of someone arriving, fling clothing into closets and close doors before adopting a pose of nonchalant innocence in
whatever room I end up in. If it doesn’t work, I can spend the weekend explaining my secret life.

I wonder if my wife would “out” me to the entire world to mitigate her own pain and distress, or would she absorb the blow quietly without letting anyone outside the house see the damage. Although I don’t really know the answer, even based on history, I expect she will “out” me to a degree to ensure that those who need to, understand her situation. In the past, she has followed different paths on different occasions. The key seems to be how my actions if exposed will reflect on her and the different facets that are her.

I’ve been a bottom-feeder for most of my life. I attribute that to what I now accept as my gender dysphoria, a state of confusion that has existed probably since puberty. One of the concerns that I have is whether or not it is real, or am I just looking for a way to escape my current life by re-inventing myself. I’m inclined to think that the gender dysphoria is real, and that I am not looking to escape who I am, but to evolve into who I have always been.

I’m organizing these blogs into a volume based on topics because I don’t index them at all, other than by date, so I’m never sure whether or not I’ve written something before, such as what I’m about to say. I have been playing a role for my entire life, to the point where I’m not sure if this is another role or the real me. I am a shape-shifter. I become what is expected of me. This is sounding familiar so I have written it before.

My cousin, who is within a year of me in age, is gay. He has always known he was gay, or at least since his teen years he has known. His parents engaged in a willful blindness that to some extent continues today. His mother, of a staunch English Presbyterian background, and therefore not inclined to discuss personal information to start with, has never openly acknowledged his life partner as anything more than his roommate. Her brother, my father, and therefore of the same upbringing, behaved politely when in the company of the two men but privately railed against the abomination of homosexuality. We never actually discussed it so I’m not sure if he believes it to be a curable condition but I do know he believes it to be an affront to the Lord and contrary to the teachings of the Bible, man shall not lie with man.

Having nattered through all that, what do you think the chances were of me revealing that my cousin and I had been sexually active and intimate for a number of years before circumstances separated us? I am a pleaser. It is my wish that the people who matter to me are happy with me. I will do a lot to be sure that they are. On the other hand, there are things that I should do as a responsible adult that I don’t, generally because of negligence and procrastination. Ironically, some of the things I do to ensure people think well of me, include lying and deception. I will sustain a false image rather than be thought of as honest and straight-forward which is probably the stronger, better trait anyway.

I was going to write that I strive to meet expectations, and I guess to an extent, that is accurate. However I also fail to meet expectations often and when I do, I will lie, obfuscate, and rationalize to justify myself. So the more accurate statement may be that I strive to appear to meet expectations.

And on that note; I will post this segment and carry on with the introspection. I thank you all for your attention and your anonymity; it allows me to be brutally frank. I could never speak to anyone like this and I certainly couldn’t marshal these thoughts in my head. They would be scattered like sheep with a wolf in their midst.

June 23, 2011

My summer of opportunity denied

Here’s my most consistent opening sentiment;  it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything for the blog.

I’ve spoken before of the mental state required before I can write for this blog. I have to be Sarah. I am my strongest when I am fully dressed as Sarah, that is when I feel the most complete. I can hear Sheldon (of the TV program The Big Bang Theory) pointing out in his nasal and punctilious tone, that “complete” is an absolute so I am either complete or incomplete, but I cannot be most complete. Penny would understand.

I am not dressed today. The summer has become a wasteland of opportunity denied with no hope for any change or improvement. I have pinned my hopes on the Fall, but they are faint hopes for some solid reasons. The Last Child Standing (LCS) has settled into a work schedule of afternoons. Most of his shifts begin at 4pm. My caring & attentive but unaware spouse leaves work shortly after 4pm, making my window of opportunity negligible. Those few opportunities that are presented are risky, riskier than I am prepared to accept. Social engagements that take one or the other out of the house for a few hours are not structured or predictable. Either one could and has returned prematurely from these events. As it is in most homes I’m
sure, there is no early warning system that would allow me to revert to my expected form in time to accommodate these early returns. I find myself idling away time, agitated that while I am alone, I cannot be dressed, or if I am dressed, I am edgy and wary for the first signal of danger.

In the fields and forests that I traverse with my dogs I often see deer in the distance. I know that they are hyper-vigilant for threats and danger, that they move away, usually quietly, long before the threat is aware of their presence. Occasionally we (the dogs & I) will approach from cover and down-wind so we do get close enough for the dogs to pick up on the deer, but even then, the deer are gone before the dogs can cover the distance between them. I understand the deer. I live like them when I try to dress under these circumstances.

In the past few months I have entertained the thought of “coming out” to my spouse but I am a coward at heart and nowhere
near ready to take on those challenges. At the same time, I have created issues of conflict and concern, issues that will, when looked at in retrospect make sense. I have kept my finger-nails longer than is appropriate for a man. They are usually longer than is common for most women. I know. I check their nails when I encounter women in my day-to-day business. If I look at my nails from the palm side of my hand, they extend well beyond the fingertip. The nails are squared, as if prepared for a French manicure but I don’t have that luxury.

I have kept my legs nearly barren of hair. Now that shorts are the expected clothing for the weather, my near-bare legs have been the source of some consternation. Of course I lie, like the snake I am. I don’t have the character to simply say that I much prefer to keep my legs smooth and hairless. Such a statement would require an explanation that I don’t believe I can provide.

Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, she would comment on these things, suggesting that, perhaps, I wanted to be a
woman. As true as her observation is, and as great an opportunity as the comment presents to open a truly meaningful conversation, I always denied it. In what is a message of its own, she no longer makes those suggestions when she
comments on my gender blurring behaviours.

What normally happens when I write is that I begin a topic, wander away from it, ramble to somewhere between 500 and 1000 words and pause. I lose the momentum, post what I’ve written and rarely return to the thread of thought. I’m prepared to do that here as well but instead, I’m going to post what I’ve written and continue on with the expression of thoughts and
feelings for another post.

Thanks for listening.

Blog at WordPress.com.