Sarahjanus's Blog

January 3, 2012

Happy New Year & Stereotypes

Happy New Year, these are hollow words that haunt me every year. I don’t expect it to be a happy year. There will be inter-personal conflicts that I cannot resolve without causing greater upset to some in a way that they never asked for, and aren’t prepared for. On the other hand perhaps I am being pessimistic. Perhaps, if I am able to dress in the manner that my inner being wishes, and if in doing so, I am able to grow, even a little bit as a person, it may be a happy year. Perhaps I am confusing happy with joyful. Perhaps I need to tailor my expectations to my reality.

Last night a fight broke out between my wife and me. It happened late in the evening and as she pointed out, my anger was out of proportion to the situation. She quizzed me as to the true cause of the anger and I gave her nothing. I had a cause in mind. I wanted the anger to be the result of the behaviour of the Last Child Standing. I didn’t offer that up as a possibility for a host of reasons. The fight carried over to this morning and she went off to work just as hostile as I was, remaining at home.

My morning processes brought me to the computer, through my e-mail and Facebook, to the blog. I had dressed very simply in a galabeya, catering to the need to dress without really dressing. However, the need was not met and I had to re-dress. The anger, it seems, was based in the frustration of not being able to dress for a couple of weeks through the holidays.

Clareflourish (clareflourish.wordpress.com) responded to one of my blogs, pointing out that many TG people have very narrow stereotyped ideals for the genders. Her point was that (in this case) I need to relax a bit and be more accepting of myself. I accept her point but I also think I need to expand a little on what I was thinking when I originally wrote the blog. My transvestism has been a journey, and it has been a long and slow journey because I don’t really know myself and as an individual I still lack the courage to be myself. A big part of that journey has been finding my own style and manner of dress. I came to this place very late in life so I lost the opportunity to be young and match my outer self to the inner self. I regret that. Part of the regret is for the opportunity lost and part of the regret is for the clothes I can no longer wear. I have skirts and dresses that are not “age-appropriate” simply because they are beautiful pieces of clothing, which when on me, make me feel beautiful. I have said before; if I lived in a house without mirrors I would be a beautiful woman.

So, the irrationality of my thinking begins to appear. I can be a man dressed in women’s clothing, and I can accept myself thusly. But I worry about whether or not the outfits I wear are age-appropriate, appropriate for the circumstances that I imagine myself in, and appropriate for the body that I am putting into them. As a being, I am conservative, quiet, unassuming, generally wishing to not be noticed. That “being” is genderless, so my clothes must match my personality if I am to be comfortable on the outside as well as the inside.

If I were to present to the world as a woman, I would wish to present as a slim (height to weight) middle-aged being with the resources to dress well and the taste and style to choose the right clothes and accessories. For example, I bought a new dress at Le Chateau after Christmas and today is the first day I’ve had the chance to wear it and accessorize it. It is snug through the waist so it emphasizes that I have regained a few of the pounds lost, and I need to lose them again. It is further above the knee than I am comfortable with, but I can imagine it with my boots, so I can live with the (lack of) length. It is snug through the bosom, so that zipped; it gives me an obvious cleavage which I am absolutely thrilled with. Given the right weather or place, would I wear it in public? I probably would not, because it would attract more attention than I would be comfortable with. My dressing is not about “look at me”. It is about; if you look at me you should see a well-dressed person who is comfortable in themselves and in their environment.

Do I have a narrow stereotype of what a woman should look like? I don’t believe so. I have a narrower range of what is acceptable for me to look like dressed as a woman. My standards for being dressed in public as a woman are different than the standards I have for being dressed as a man because when dressed as a man, I was simply meeting the social conventions for being dressed in public. Being well-dressed as a man didn’t make me feel better about myself, so I dressed to a lower more common standard. Being dressed as a woman does make me feel better about myself, so I do aspire to dress to a higher standard. This is not to meet a stereotype but more, to be the best I can be with what I have to work with.

It will be a happy new year, if, through these blogs and the comments they generate, and the forums and support groups, I learn more about myself and grow as a person. For years of my life, I never looked inwardly because the darkness of the unknown made me fearful. I have overcome the fear and begun to turn on the lights. I have caused myself no small measure of distress with what I have discovered about myself, but my acceptance of self is growing. The last huge step is to share my awareness of self with others close to me. Unfortunately I have not yet figured out whether or not the end justifies the means.

Happy New Year to all.

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