Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Striking a balance...

It occurred to me the other day that Joanna is known by at least 50 people if not more. Besides my close acquaintances, there are numerous merchants whose businesses I have been a patron of who know me as a middle aged woman and mother to 2 teens.

I am still dumbfounded that this is even possible because, not that long ago, I would never have believed that I could ever be taken for a female in such close quarters and face the scrutiny of genetic females. People smile at me when they see me and ask me about my life. They tell me it’s been a while since they’ve seen me and seem more than happy to spend a few minutes chatting.

As certain as I am that I will never transition, I still cherish the fact that I have gotten to such a level of comfort with my female persona; so much so that I would now feel comfortable attending a conference, taking a course or even working part time in a store as a woman.

N, the woman that I love, wants no part of this which is fine with me. When we first reunited after all those years there were early attempts at outings with me ``en femme`` but it ultimately did not work out. She began to feel that this would affect the way she saw me as a male which in turn prompted me to become self conscious about how I moved or spoke for fear it would affect our relationship.

It’s not at all obvious for a normal genetic female to see her partner in this way. I have seen blogs written by accepting wives of transitioning husbands, but the vast majority of marriages involving transition end in divorce. If you are fortunate, you may be able to entertain the possibility that you remain friends.

I desire to build a life with N so what remains for me now is to balance my existence as both male and female in such a way that neither side overwhelms the other. I think I am starting to do that but it’s not an easy thing to do. Balance requires giving each side it’s due.

For example, I start work very early in the morning such that by 4 pm I am home and usually changing into Joanna mode so I can step out for a bit. N and I might see each other on a Wednesday and every Friday night. Saturday during the day is time spent with my kids and Saturday evening and most of Sunday is spent with N although Sunday morning I will usually try and attend mass as Joanna.

The total time spent crossdressed per week is probably in the range of 6 to 10 hours which represents less than 10% of my waking hours.

The other day we had a plumbing problem in the building where I live and since I am the condo association president I stayed home to wait for the serviceman to arrive. I decided that since I would have time to spend afterwards as Joanna, I would simply present as her rather than change afterwards. All went well and he left being certain he had dealt with a middle aged woman.

I thought afterwards that it would have made little difference to him to him whether I was a crossdressed male or a genetic female. For me, however, the fact I was able to present successfully as Joanna made all the difference in the world.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Sites that promote stopping crossdressing...

I have been to a number of these sites in my life. The sites where the repentant crossdresser has found a way to cure his “addiction” and promises to never do it again. We are not always entirely clear about how and why they began and we understand little about their motivation to stop. They usually state in some fashion that they feel they are doing something wrong.

When I was in my teens and as far as my mid thirties I had no fear about conquering this “habit” of mine and felt that I could easily control it if I desired and so when I went to these sites I believed them. I knew that I only indulged my impulses a few times a year and then purged all of my things. Along with that purge came the promise to never do it again.

But the urge would always return and, with the passing of time, with increasing intensity.

I began to be truly concerned in my early forties when I began to understand that this was something I might be permanently saddled with and needed to address. I needed to find a cure so I began my treatment at the hospital gender clinic in an earnest attempt to find a solution.

That solution ultimately became self acceptance.

For the young people who may find themselves at one of these stop crossdressing sites, my only counsel would be to understand at best as you can who you are first. You may have arrived at the webpage of a person who is nothing like you and has different motivations for crossdressing. What they find objectionable about it need not be your concern and you should not use their arguments as ammunition for stopping.

If crossdressing helps you to stay balanced and sane then by all means continue. If, on the other hand, it harms your life in some ways then try to curb it or even cease if you are able.

Remember that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with crossdressing. If it runs your life and prevents you from being the best employee, parent, partner or friend that you can be then there may be something harmful in it for you. Conversely, it could be just part of what makes you tick and you should indulge it to the degree that it bolsters your psyche and helps you live as the person you were meant to.

There are no two people who are alike in this world so the ultimate judgement call needs to come from you.

Accepting your crossdressing could prevent you from a transition you might regret because while you are in that state of confusion about what your activity may or may not mean, you could fall prey to thinking that it would be better to be a normal woman rather than an abnormal male.

Renee Richards, who now considers she was a lifelong committed transvestite, wishes that someone had stopped her from transitioning and offered alternative treatment methods. She now deeply regrets her transition.

If you are a woman then you should transition but you should only do so when you come to terms with who you truly are. Dreaming about the aspects you think you would relish about being a woman can lead you into a deep pink fog which can sometimes confuse things. I know because I was deep in the throes of that process at one time; a good deal of it is chronicled here in this blog.

There is nothing wrong with being a crossdressing male and if that’s what you are then you should be glad that’s all there is. If there is something more to your cross-dressing however, then you will know it in time. Your heart will let you know.

My recent work with a therapist, who helped me deal with issues pertinent to my relationship with N, had him offering me this statement:
“You are a unique human being and what you do is different from anyone else. You are being true to your nature and are happier for it and have learnt to truly be yourself”

He was right.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The natural me

If gender is mostly about the way we perceive ourselves, then crossdressing is our way of temporarily aligning that mental image with a physical one. This is why most of us feel so comfortable and peaceful while dressed.

The desire for a young boy to want to imitate a girl is not understood. All we know is that for most of us, these feelings predate puberty and that they last a lifetime.

Here is a famous quote by Harry Benjamin which illustrates that there can appear to be a blurred line between true transvestism and transsexualism:

“A sharp differentiation between a fetishistic and a latent transsexual inception of transvestism is not always possible. The fetishistic can gradually develop into the (basically) transsexual variety, as case histories have repeatedly shown me. The former, however, may well contain elements of the latter from the very beginning. Otherwise the initial morbid interest in one or several articles of female wardrobe would hardly have evolved into the desire for total dressing. The basic transsexualism may therefore explain an occasional and, seemingly, progressive nature of transvestism."

This is why it is so hard for many of us to understand ourselves; we don’t know what or who we are and that can take a very long time. I know it did for me.

But being placed in the middle of the gender continuum need not be so bad. Once you understand where you are and what your comfort level is, it does not matter what you call yourself. It becomes irrelevant at that point.

On another note, I am not one for taking pictures but I did take a selfie this morning. Yes I also bought a new wig which not only is closer to my own natural colour (or at least what it once was) but I think is a more flattering one for me.

What struck me about the photo when I looked at my expression is how calm and relaxed I am these days. I am very comfortable being who I am and what a relief that is.