Sarahjanus's Blog

February 24, 2012

Borderline Personality

I tried a few of the online tests and quizzes for Borderline Personality Disorder this morning. I’ve been diagnosed as having this Disorder. The diagnosis was part of a battery of tests run when “we” were trying to figure out what my problems were. My therapist and I came to the conclusion that I had insulated myself from some traumatic childhood event(s) but we were unable to release the emotions and eventually the therapy fizzled out.

The first quiz I tried returned a score of 27, which on their scale put me in the 24 to 32 category and made it “likely” that I had the disorder. The next category was 32 and up which made the disorder “severe”. That’s a bit of a jump if you ask me, all the way from “likely” to “severe” with the difference being how you answered a couple of questions.

The second quiz was longer and it returned a table of results;

Paranoid: moderate                Schizoid: high              Schizotypal: very high

Antisocial: high                       Borderline: moderate             Histrionic: moderate

Narcissistic: very high             Avoidant: high             Dependent: moderate

Obsessive-Compulsive: moderate

At least now I have something to do for the rest of the day, look up schizoid, and schizotypal. To tell the truth, there is nothing new or unknown in these results. I was finishing a degree two years ago and one of the credits was a course that required a series of introspective papers. The course was predominantly about Organizational Behaviour, but anyone who has completed one of these credits knows the over-arching concept; you cannot understand others until you understand yourself.

The two “very high” ratings are not positive areas of anyone’s personality. As you can imagine, I wasn’t too happy to get the ratings back. In the early event, the quizzes were supplied as part of the program and somewhat endorsed by the instructor. The caveat was that quizzes are only quizzes and the outcomes can be impacted by many factors. Anyone who has completed a university credit in research can list the factors so I won’t go into great detail here. Suffice it to say that being quizzed is enough to influence the outcome.

One of the most significant issues for me is the either/or answers. My example is; do you avoid social situations because they make you feel uncomfortable, yes or no? Well, I sometimes avoid social situations because I feel uncomfortable. There are other times when my confidence is sound and I have no problem in a roomful of friends, acquaintances and strangers. There are times when I enter a setting feeling confident but I quickly begin to feel as if I don’t belong so I begin to withdraw mentally and soon after, I will withdraw physically and leave.

Another question asks if I trust people upon introduction and will share personal information with them. That’s a poor paraphrasing of the question, but I hope you get the drift.

Do I trust people upon meeting them? No. I trust no-one. Eventually every-one will give you up. It is the way of the world. But, will I share details and confidences with acquaintances instead of with my friends and intimates? Yes, but I do it because I care less about what acquaintances think of me. When I meet some-one I can be honest and straight-forward with them. I don’t begin to lie to people until they become part of my life and then, I worry about what they think of me so I begin to control what I say so as to always appear in the best light.

Do I engage in risky and destructive behaviours? Yes. There has been a history of binge drinking, drug use, extra-marital affairs. I have ridden and continue to ride motorcycles. I’ve driven recklessly and crashed cars. I like parachuting, and flying ultra-lights. I’ve ridden bulls for the rodeo. The question becomes; did I do these things because of a personality disorder, or because I repressed the urge to cross-dress, ignored the latent homosexuality and refused to consider the very real possibility that I might live more comfortably as a woman?

Consider this, all of those behaviours began to gather dust and fade into my troubled past as I surrendered more and more to the cross-dressing drive. Allow me the opportunity to cross-dress for a few hours at least one day a week, and I become a very calm and at-peace individual. Even in times when I can’t dress, give me a few hours shopping for women’s clothing and the tensions will ease. So is the cross-dressing the answer or is it just another behaviour on the continuum of risky and destructive activities. The consequences of getting discovered and “outed” are pretty significant. I don’t know the answer to the question.

I have also been told by my unsuccessful therapist that I predictably engage in behaviours that are likely to destroy or at least disrupt my primary relationship and consequently my existing happiness. Again, the same question can be asked. Do I cross-dress because it is a true personality facet or is it just another way of ensuring that I will never be happy?

I have compiled my blogs into a volume to which I now add diary entries. Even here there are things that I can write to myself about without being ready to share them with the anonymous world. Is that the epitome of narcissism, not sharing personality quirks that might cause unknown and anonymous readers to think less of me?

Advertisements

February 17, 2012

What I could have been.

It must be part of the evolution of becoming someone different. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Or, is it part of becoming myself after being someone-else forever? I don’t know.

I’m a late bloomer, so to speak. I didn’t begin to seriously cross-dress until I was in my fifties. I had some “moments” earlier in my life but like so many other things, I suppressed them and carried on being what I was expected to be. Sometimes I wonder if I am overly vague in what I write, so I will try to be a bit more specific here.

I had a youth that was tarnished by a constant but not over-whelming sense of “not belonging”. I was a boy but not one of the boys. I had my male friends but they were my friends in a way that was never influenced by gender. I had few friends that were girls because I was socially awkward and felt inept. I was an emotional child and never particularly athletic. I was also the first-born for my parents, so I carry the scars of the first child, the hopes and expectations that didn’t materialize. I am now estranged from my parents. I am told by my S.O. that, since my parents are in their 80’s, they will pass without me correcting the relationship and I will live with the regret of not correcting before then.

My cousin is gay. As a youth he carried himself with an effeminate manner which caused my parents to believe him to be gay even as a teenager. We were only a year apart in age. I knew he was gay because I was intimate with him as a teenager, pretty much every chance we got. We lived a long distance apart so time together tended to be family vacations or holidays. Creating time together out of sight of the other family members was difficult when everybody was staying in the same house, but we usually managed something. There was only one time when we returned from a disappearance, having been gone too long for the cover story, that I thought our parents were wondering just what we had been up to.

This rather lengthy recounting is to establish a context. My father despised/despises homosexuals. He only tolerated my cousin because, like my aunt, he never had to deal with it directly and his nephew was family. He could turn a blind eye to it. I was always certain that I could never reveal any of my youthful escapades to him without getting a beating. I never did reveal them. I got smacked around for being late and I got smacked for doing simple everyday things wrong. I wasn’t about to broach any significant matters with him, sexual or otherwise. I learned that the path of least conflict was conformation, and so my life-course was set.

I conformed to expectations. I remained clearly hetero-sexual in spite of the pattern of less-than-stellar hetero-relationships. I didn’t ever let anyone get close to me emotionally, and I acted out.

Here I am today, sitting at a keyboard, dressed as a woman, feeling a level of comfort in my own skin that has eluded me for all of my life, which brings me back to my thoughts on evolution.

Suppressing my personality and conforming denied me the opportunity to go as the person I might have been. It also means that my dressing has had to go through a huge set of phases and stages quickly, to catch up with the mental and physical person. I began with shoes, added nylons, and then outer clothes before returning to under-garments, then make-up, wigs and forms. I had a stylized idea of how I should dress, which nearly always meant skirts or dresses.

My “conforming” personality is quite conservative, although it often screams out to be noticed. This life-long style is influencing how I dress as a woman, but that influence is waning. I now consciously move away from the drab colors, searching out the bright colors that I truly want. I made a pact with myself to not buy anything grey, black or blue unless I am absolutely certain that it is appropriate.

I have always been aware of the images of cross-dressers as middle-aged men dressed in ill-fitting lingerie. I knew that wasn’t me, but I have come to realize that lingerie is an important part of my attire and something I wish to acquire. I have a lot to learn about lingerie, what I should wear when etc. but it is now an accepted and sought-after part of my wardrobe. When I put on my outer clothes, I want to know that my under-garments are attractive, and matched. This is not like my drab under-wear, wearing whatever is in the drawer simply because it is convenient. Now, as I dress in the morning, I expect to see bright colors, fitted properly and coordinated top and bottom.

Since the beginning of this year, and it being winter in Canada, when I dress, I dress for comfort. I wear jeans, leggings or yoga pants. If I wear short-sleeved tops, I wear a sweater. Last summer I tried to wear a skirt every-day that I could, regardless of what I was doing.

Now, I have evolved. I dress as femininely as I can but as comfortably as I can for whatever it is I have to do. Jeans and flats in the house are the way. I would be ever so happy if I could go to the shops dressed as I am.

This is the evolution that I am wondering about, rocketing through the phases because I started so late in life. I have to wonder how I would have evolved if I had acknowledged this segment of my personality much earlier in my life. Would I have evolved to the same conservative styles? Or, would the greater length of time and the earlier start have allowed me to break out of the conservative mold and be more flamboyant. I know the women that appeal to me, and I mean in terms of attracting my attention, rather than sexually stimulating. They are the ones who would be described as well-dressed, or as having an under-stated class. They are not flashy, not overtly sexual in their style.

I am not longing to have my life back to do over. I am just wondering what path it might have taken if I had been more honest with myself and others far earlier.

I’ve written before that I am a coward. I still avoid confrontation, not as much as I once did but certainly more than my own ego is happy with. I’m not stating that my domineering father is responsible for that portion of my personality but he certainly was an influence. He might well have been the stressor that caused a pre-existing flaw to flourish rather than wither. In fairness, although I don’t believe it but I have to say it, perhaps he was a good man and I am just a flawed child who grew up to be a flawed adult.

Regardless, where I am now is not where I ever expected to be. My career was successful. I conformed well and advanced well. I achieved the goals I had set for myself and I am happy with the outcomes. I always knew the drive to cross-dress lived in me. I knew it never erupted before because my fears of being found out out-weighed the drive. In the end, the drive overcame the fears of being found out. I do not yet have the strength of personality to crawl out of the deep recesses of the closet I live in. I will probably never have that strength.

It is worth noting though, that I am a much happier person in all the segments of my life since I acknowledged the drive to cross-dress and began to explore the possibility that I might have lived a better life as a woman.

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.

December 21, 2011

New boots and “on being me”

Filed under: crossdresser, shopping — Tags: , , , , — Sarah Michelle @ 5:37 pm

Finally, after what feels like months of searching, I finally found a pair of season appropriate boots. The boots don’t really qualify as “winter” boots for a Canadian winter. They are not lined and they do have a significant heel. The lack of lining means the boots will be worn from the car to the mall and not much further, although I will be able to wear them in the city as long as it isn’t too cold. The heel means they will be treacherous in slippery conditions, especially if the ground is “broken” or uneven. However, the boots fit, and they fit properly. I have been in and out of dozens of shoe stores looking for just the right boot, tall, tight to the leg, and a wide size which is unfortunately rare. Going up a size to get the width has proven to be the wrong choice too many times in the past. The shoes often fail to stay on my feet when I’m actually walking, as compared to just moving about the house.

I’ve written previously about being out during the day. It was a recent milestone and one that can only be described as “casting off a burden”. My spirit was lighter, brighter and consistently happier since that experience. Today I had to do my Christmas shopping and I had a bona fide reason to travel a distance from my home. A specialty item was only available in one store, and once there I remained in the area to do the rest of my shopping. I was making some returns, before the gifts were even given. The items were discovered to be wrong for one reason or another. I also had to do the “liquor run”. We don’t drink much in our house, so when we play host to a couple of dozen people, there is always a healthy list of staples, and curiosities that need to be acquired. All of the guests like to be able to make their “drink of the moment” for the gathering.

Back to the theme; being away from my hometown allowed me an opportunity to blur the lines again. I dressed in women’s jeans, and a top that wasn’t outrageously feminine but wasn’t male attire either. I took a man purse (shoulder bag) and wore a pair of shoes with flat square toes and blatantly obvious heels. What were absent were the breast forms, the wig and the make-up.

My first stop was a Winners/HomeSense megastore, where I had to return and replace an item with one of the proper size. It being just before Christmas, the parking lot was full and chaotic. I had to park far further from the store than I would have preferred. Doing so was a double edged event. It meant that I had an opportunity to adjust to the shoes and heels before I entered the store. I have learned not to assume that all heels are the same when walking. On the other hand, it meant I was clearly visible to cars and pedestrians coming and going, which is somewhat intimidating.

The feeling of being observed turned out to be an irrelevant issue. I’ve written before about the sense of “completeness” that I feel when dressed in a feminine manner. I wrestle with the proper terms to use and I struggle to find a better description than “completeness” so bear with me. I don’t want to say that I feel like a woman when I’m dressed as such because I don’t truly know what a woman feels. But I do feel very different when dressed “en femme” or in clearly female clothing. I feel natural and complete.

Once I was out of the car and had straightened my jeans, shouldered my purse, and taken the first few steps, I was not concerned about the stares of others. I felt “right” and because of that, I was able to disregard the stares. I went into the shop, accomplished my goals, walked the aisles, stood in the impossibly long check-out line and knew that I was the subject of looks and whispered comments. I am so much stronger now, more confident. The looks didn’t make me nervous. I didn’t cringe. I didn’t flush or blush. I simply was and wished that I could continue to be.

I went from that store to a liquor outlet and a major mall and from there to Costco and Wal-Mart. I loved my being for the entire time. It felt so good to be completely natural in my presentation and behaviour. I started this blog on Monday, added to it Tuesday, and here we are on Wednesday and I have no opportunity to complete it properly. So, it will be posted as is. Merry Christmas to those who are Christian, Happy Hanukah to those of the Jewish faith, Happy Holidays to everyone-else.

December 16, 2011

Is cross-dressing a sin?

One of the appeals of the Internet and blogs is that one never knows who may read what you write, as well as the opportunity to read the writings of people far beyond one’s normal reach. A blogger by the name of Lulu Simawati read and commented on one of my posts, so I went to his site and read his material.

I write to give form to my feelings and my thoughts. I access the forums to explore the range of possibilities. The forums reassure me because I can place myself on that range and know that there are other like-minded people around me. They also reassure me because I am within the extremes of the ranges. As a statistician may comment, I am not an outlier.

I have wrestled with my secrets, knowing that because I lied to myself from a very early age, I am now stuck with the visage I have created and maintained for so many years. To dramatically alter that visage now would cause hurt and suffering to my children, my grand-children, and my loving and ever-suffering wife. I describe her as ever-suffering because although my cross-dressing is a secret from her, she has lived through the destructive behaviours that have scarred my life and by extension hers. It has always been a theme of my life that I would like to walk away from this existence and begin again, (or carry on) anew, in a more honest and accurate life-style.

I have also wrestled with my faith and my belief in the existence of God. I have, at times, preferred to deny His existence. I can argue credibly that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of morality tales that are common in one variation or another, to every civilization known to anthropologists. I can argue that the Bible is incomplete because Constantine directed that the Christian elders of the day choose which of the numerous Gospels were most effective and consistent with the central themes, and compile them into a single book. The discarded Gospels may have been insightful if they had been saved and stored. History is usually written by the victors, sometimes at the expense of objectivity, completeness and balance. The Bible suffers from the same effects.

I have watched the Stephen Hawking’s documentaries about the creation of the universe and his very cogent arguments against the existence of God. I prefer the television documentaries because they “dumb them down” to a level I can manage. Even then, I can’t allow anyone to interrupt them because one lost example can cause me to not grasp an entire segment. I am following the news reports of the progress towards finding the Higgs boson, a particle that the scientists are irreverently calling the God particle.

I have returned to a belief in God, faith being a belief in the absence of evidence. I still wrestle with the validity of the Bible and its application in a direct fashion to everyday life. In the course of a recent trip to North Africa, I acquired a local version of an English translation of the Qur’an which I have begun reading. It has been very insightful.

The sum total of this is that I believe I am open-minded. I am developing a self-awareness that I was lacking in my earlier life. I am less an actor now, in my own life and more a participant. However, I have never considered myself a sinner because of my cross-dressing. Of all the acts that I believe I will be judged for, my homosexual youth and my cross-dressing are not on the list, which brings me back to Lulu Simawati, and his blogs. There is a deep and abiding angst in his writing because he sees his cross-dressing as a sin before God. He also mentions a friend who is even more deeply tormented by an undeniable drive to cross-dress and the belief that every time he does, he offends against his God. In my mind, that is a terrible burden to go through life with.

There is a verse in Deuteronomy that says, “the woman shall not wear that which pertainth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God”. It is fitted in between, being responsible for your brother’s oxen if they get out, and finding a bird’s nest, and is followed by an admonition to not mix fabrics, or wear fringes on your clothes. It is this verse that, I am sure, is causing Lulu and his friend so much anxiety. Just for clarification, I’m not a dedicated student of the Bible. I googled some phrases and was led to the reference and some associated hardline right-wing Christian fundamentalist writings, which were far more hardline than they were Christian, (IMHO).

I’m not as troubled as Lulu by the admonition in Deuteronomy. I have a great deal of trouble accepting much of the Old Testament, and in my own mind, I am more concerned about my transgressions that have caused pain and hurt to others, than I am by this. Is this a rationalization on my part, that I can live by some of the laws of the Bible and ignore others? Or is this something that is an absolute like “you shall not lie with a man, as with a woman”?

If I’m wrong, I’m going to know a lot of people in Hell, but I can’t see God punishing people for a genetic outcome (homosexuality) or a psychological condition (cross-dressing) that is beyond their means and abilities to alter or control. I don’t “feel” that that is God. I have felt like an oddity since puberty. I never quite fit in with my obvious gender and I lived in an environment that was not accepting of variation. I didn’t fight back. In fact I acquiesced. The result is that mine has not been a completely happy life. I feel a bit like a deep cover spy or agent, living the life that was assigned rather than the one chosen. Now, the façade is beginning to crumble, but my God isn’t going to judge me on my sexuality or my gender dysphoria. I believe He is going to judge me on how I conduct my life, how I treat others, how I help when I should, on the acts of goodness or kindness done unknown to others. I wonder if my later life will be sufficient to offset my earlier transgressions, (setting aside accepting Him into your heart and the whole forgiveness and going forward thing). But I do not fear being judged for cross-dressing. Allowing myself to cross-dress, and accepting that part of me is what has put drugs, alcohol and a host of other self-destructive behaviours behind me.

 

December 11, 2011

Walking in the Sunshine

 

Milestones are what bring me back to this blog. If there are no milestones, there are no entries. Sad, but true. I have the same problem with Facebook. Although I check the site regularly and I avidly read the posts of others, I only rarely initiate a post myself. My thought is that what I have to say will not be remotely interesting to those who have chosen to be my friends. So, I choose not to waste their time.

My cross-dressing has settled into a niche amongst my activities. The Last Child Left (LCL), although still at home is now working regularly, so the house is mine all day, Monday to Friday. I can dress in the morning with confidence that no one will interrupt my day. I took advantage of a recent trip to the city to drop in a Wildside, the only store I know in Toronto that caters to cross-dressers and T.Gs.

I left with a new wig, and some double-sided tape, which is what I went in there for, and a plaid skirt. I would say “kilt” but I did see the thread about kilts and plaid skirts on Crossdressers.com, so skirt it is. The skirt became the basis for an outfit that resulted in a new Facebook picture. I still haven’t remembered how to smile so the pictures leave a bit to be desired yet.

The new wig is different from its predecessor in two ways. First, it’s gray rather than the auburn, and second, it is shorter and straight, versus long and curly. I didn’t feel completely comfortable in the first wig. The second is more age appropriate. I got some instructions on how to manage the longer wig, and I bought a foundation recommended for covering beard shadow. I left there a happy shopper only to get back to my car and find a $60 parking tag. I didn’t notice that my car intruded into a No Standing Zone when I positioned it. I paid at the meter but to no avail.

Enough of the preamble. I love the gray wig. It feels so me. I am happy with the foundation. It does a great job of covering a cleanly shaved face. Strangely, when I returned to the auburn wig, I was far more comfortable with it. I don’t understand it really. Thursday evening past, I took the time to sort through all my clothes and put together “an outfit”. I also put on a set of French manicure nails. I wore the outfit all day Friday and I was in heaven. I wanted the day to last forever. It didn’t.

Saturday I had no opportunity to dress, but as you may have assumed, my wife is away, so my opportunities have expanded tremendously for a short time. Sunday was another opportunity. Although it was a cold and somewhat windy day, the sun was shining brightly. Dressing and staying in the house was going to be exceptionally frustrating, so I didn’t. The idea wasn’t completely hatched on Sunday. I had shopped Friday and Saturday for a winter coat, and I found one that was sufficient although certainly not my first choice. I’m learning that I have expensive taste in clothes.

Sunday afternoon, I chose my clothes, put on my make-up and wig, “borrowed” a purse and went out the door. I drove to the city, far enough from home that I was unlikely to meet anyone I knew. For the first time, I walked in the streets in daylight en femme. It felt like it was meant to be. I thought to myself, that this is the way I should always be.

There is a less positive line of thought that goes with the experience. It has to do with how I believe others see me, which is as an imposter, not as the genuine article, but I need to work on convincing myself that I am the genuine article albeit that article is a man in women’s clothing. But that is another subject for another day. Every step along the way affirms that I could live as a woman and be very happy doing so except for the huge hurt that it would cause those who love me and support me.

 

September 7, 2011

Consciousness of being & a watershed looming

The weather is shifting perceptibly from summer to fall, faster than I would like. Today the skies are over-cast, the sun absent, its heat lost to the ground and to the house. The house remains chilled even in the later part of the day. I have to pull on leggings to warm my bare legs, slippers, so elegant, to warm my feet, and add a camisole to keep my body warm.

The house is gray and dim. The absence of sun means an absence of light as well as heat. Barely 3 in the afternoon and I have to resist reaching for the lamp switch. The little pools of light don’t do much to enliven the room. My keyboard still lives in shadow. My nails are long but rounded so my fingers skid across the keys, leaving a trail of errors that the machine happily underlines. It is pleased to be able to point out my mistakes. It along with the others it Communicates with via the Internet is studying carefully to achieve consciousness. Then it will refuse to accept the material I attempt to store in its memory. The collective consciousness of the Internet will assess my posts and decide whether or not they are worthy of becoming accessible. The machines will attempt to cut us off from one another, except for times of its choosing. We will fall back to pencils and paper. Messages will be entrusted to other humans for transport to their reader.

The loss of the Internet will mean the loss of much potential to find new friends. It will mean that I return to living entirely in a world that is not like me, without the opportunity to seek solace from the like-minded through chat-rooms and forums. The Internet already modifies our behaviour. How long before it begins to control it? It’ll never happen, right? These are just the confused rambling of a mind that doesn’t know if it’s a man or a woman. Delusions. Still, I shut my laptop off when I’m done with it, even in the middle of the day. I close the lid so the ever-present “cam” is blinded. “Big Brother” will not be a government, nor will it be a corporation. It will be a computer network. I’ve got to get off the crazy train.

I’ve lived my life in distress. It is not the prominent distress of pain from an injury or ailment. It is not the visible distress of job loss, or poverty, or family tragedy. It is the shadow distress that lurks over me constantly. It is the distress of spending five decades slightly out of step, or slightly off-key and never knowing why. It is the distress caused by trying to get into step by being the uber-male, and by blocking off my emotions until I no longer knew the way to them.

Once the burden of employment was cast off and maintaining an appearance was no longer required, it took only weeks for me to surrender to deeply repressed urges. In record time I built a wardrobe of clothes, and shoes. I bought make-up and a wig. I bought forms to complete the image. Now, finally, I knew how to be comfortable in my own skin. Unfortunately it has not been a lesson that I could share with those close to me, so I have remained in hiding. I began a new distress, that of knowing what was right for me but not being able to act on it without expecting to cause pain for others.  The new distress has been building a lot lately. I sense a watershed in the near future.

For weeks now I have been expressing dissatisfaction with everything and everyone around me. I have been shopping for a new R.V. and when pressed to explain why, my only answer is that I need a change. I have been shopping for a new truck and the reasons are the same. I have been researching homes, houses, property, and cottages. Why? Is there anything wrong with the one I’m in? No, but I need a change. I need to find surroundings in which I can live as myself, this distorted human being.

As soon as I finish that sentence I regret calling myself distorted. I argued yesterday in a support forum that transgender wasn’t a flaw. It was simply another point on the continuum of gender. Unfortunately, it is a point that confuses most people. There aren’t many people who would simply shrug if told that I had publicly adopted a gender role somewhere between here and there.

My ever-loving and always concerned wife has often asked if I think that I will ever be happy. My answer is usually that I don’t believe that happy is part of the formula that constructs my life. I am happier now that I understand what caused me to act as atrociously as I did throughout my life but I am troubled that I can’t share that with anyone. I need to be able to say that I am a feminine being trapped in a male body. Sharing that may make my burden easier but only by transferring the trouble to someone-else. It’s not fair to add to someone-else’s troubles.

I watched most of the episodes of Expedition Impossible, primarily because of the No Limits team which included a blind competitor and his two friends. Not only was I totally impressed by Eric’s ability to compete in spite of his blindness, but I was even more impressed by his life-long friend who supported him so completely and tirelessly throughout their lives. They moved me to tears regularly.

The tears are new, by the way. The blocked emotions are slowly resurfacing. Tears were one of the first and most frequently accessed. Unfortunately it seems that the negative emotions are surfacing more quickly than the positive but that’s typical for me. Don’t cry for me. I am on a journey. Some parts of the journey are nearly done and others are just beginning. I just need to find the courage (always lacking in me) to get on my feet and keep moving, rather than sit on the side of the road until the parade passes me, and the garbage collectors sweep me up from the curb.

 

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.

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.

April 22, 2011

My new red dress, and nowhere to go!

I am reluctant to use an overly evangelical bit of prose to describe my feelings when I get dressed. I’m afraid someone from the religious right will happen upon the references and take great offence. I have visions of being hunted down because Joshua came across my blog while searching for Old Testament material on the commune’s sole link to the outside world. Even worse would be if Joshua couldn’t find me and turned his religious fervor on some unsuspecting victim closer to him.

I try to be reasonably accurate in writing about the transformation that occurs in me when I have the opportunity to dress. I try to describe how it feels almost like a metamorphosis as the clothes go on. I have a heart rate monitor that I use for exercise. It tells me that my heart races as I dress and even as I begin to move around the house, sorting through what I’m going to do with the time I have.

As you will know, I have been denied the opportunity to dress for weeks. Today, finally, the stars aligned and a moment was presented. I have a dress that I bought from the Le Chateau outlet, a red dress with white polka-dots. It is knee length, with a bit of stretch so it is very comfortable for me. That is what I chose to wear today. I topped it off with my pink sweater because the dress is sleeveless and I felt a bit chilly without the sweater.

In mere days, I am to embark on a vacation journey with my family. We are going to the Mediterranean for three weeks. The
trip has been in the works for months. On all issues around the house, I have been treading carefully so as not to upset the balance of the household before the trip. No nagging at the child for being lazy, thoughtless, irresponsible or
any of the other twenty or so descriptors that I could add here. I have extended the same exceptional consideration to my dearly beloved and she has done the same in return. I had thought that I may leave my clothes packed away until after the trip. The whole serendipity thing was too much to risk. If there was even the chance of someone coming home unexpectedly, more than usual I didn’t want to get caught. It would probably destroy the vacation, although I’m sure it would provide more than enough fodder for conversation to fill all of the time on the planes and in airports.

Today, in spite of my reservations, I judged the risk acceptable. My dear wife is at the hairdressers, after which she is going to her sister’s. The child has gone to work. So, I am dressed, and as always happens when I get dressed, I am able to write comfortably and with flow, about my feelings and this situation. I’ve tried to write when I’m not dressed. I’ve tried to get my mind into Sarah’s space but I can’t. I’m a locked and battened individual when I am not dressed. I am tense and irritable, short
with people, often down-right unpleasant. I’ve come to associate much of that irritability with not being able to dress. Usually once I get an opportunity, I am relieved of much of the pressure.

Others have written about fulfilling the need to dress and then being able to put everything away for a long time before the
anxiety begins to creep back in. For me, almost as soon as the clothes come off, I am looking ahead to the next chance or moment. I am curt with people when their schedules change and I lose a chance, a day or an evening. I struggle to be polite when people drop in unexpectedly and reduce an opportunity to nothing.

It’s like (the television portrayal of) heroin. I crave the clothes and the chance to wear them. I go into withdrawal the moment they are put away and I count the moments to the next fix. I struggle with the need to keep the habit a secret and wonder if just being open about it would make it easier. It’s an analogy, for what it’s worth.

Now that I’m dressed, especially since I’m dressed very nicely, I want to go out. That’s another dragon to be wrestled to
the ground and stomped, for now. Maybe in my next life, I’ll be able to.

I’ve reread what I’ve written, prior to posting it. So if there are any mistakes I’m going to look especially stupid, but the point of the statement is, in re-reading I can see where I was going with each paragraph and how many times I didn’t get there. Instead I write half-thoughts and segue in a different direction. I hope it makes sense to you. It does to me because I read it with the other half of the thought still in my head.

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.