Sep 16, 2009

A-Z, or only as far as CD?

Future generations will scarce believe there was a time when hitchhiking was a borderline acceptable behavior, and not an advertisement of poor judgement or a display of desperation. Hitching was the platform for bad starts in countless films, and in real life, too many instances of crime, violence and victimization slowly drove this sociable means of transportation beyond the pale of, well, decent society. The civilized no longer pick up hitchhikers, and hitchhikers are no longer civilized. There we are, one way less for people to display a random act of kindness, and one way less to be surprised on the way from Point A to Point B and beyond.

I hitched in my own youth, back to college when money was tight, holidays in Europe, and a handful of other instances where the lure of a distant place was great and my purse too empty to travel on own my dime. Happily, I never ran afoul of the good luck that has been a hallmark of my nearly 50 happy years. In my time on the road one consistent finding was that my ultimate destination was rarely the same as my rides. There was an end soon ahead for my lift, or a route that I needed to be on that diverged from theirs.

In the space of 5 minutes though, or a couple of hours, we would typically, warily, politely establish the things we had in common. With that established, we could talk, share views, and pass the time and miles well. The open road as a literal and metaphoric mind expanding substance. Each traveler would get a little closer to their destination, and both of us at parting would feel like the world was a little kinder, a little less selfish than we feared it was.

So it has been with me here as I come within a few weeks of 1 year of active engagement with my feminine self. Last year around this time I felt stirrings and had occasion to cross dress again. I have long had a Love/Hate relationship with cross dressing. I decided to focus on the love part. I embraced my life long desires more willingly, patiently and fully and was rewarded with feelings of wholeness that had forever eluded me. I got past fetish, and found deep within something very real and rich. I knew, finally, that I had a real need to learn more, and that I had something of value to share. My need to learn resulted in a good deal of time spent hitchhiking around online. My desire to share resulted in the creation of my own vehicle, Voyages en Rose.

I started off the journey committed to not being frightened of where this all would wind up, but pretty certain picture of what the end of my road looks like. I pictured a destination where I could dress when I wanted to, not when a compulsion ruled me. I pictured a place where I could experience the world through better attenuated feminine senses, and not just stare blankly at a different looking me in the mirror. I hoped that I would arrive in a place where I could share a fuller self with a select number of people I love. One year later, I think I was right.

This destination is a private place that I will not heedlessly share with many people, many of whom I know, love and respect. Life has complications enough without optionally adopted complications. With that said though, once I am at that place, I hope I won’t work terribly hard to obscure it, and not live in fear of the consequences of disclosure. I am not there yet, but can touch this place in my imagination and feel like its not too far off.

In short, periodic cross dressing, especially publicly anonymous cross dressing in the big wide world satisfies me. Satiety is a good word to describe the feeling. I am delighted to find this state for myself, in part because of the feelings of tranquil excitement, becalmed alertness that comes with it, but also because it seems to signal a limit to my desires for exploration.

A part of me feared that I would not feel this satiety, and that an active embrace of my curiousity would act as an enabler for something bigger. That by opening Pandoras' box, Pandora might just decide to take matters over with me powerless to slow the ride down. I suspect that every cross dresser has imagined that an innocently hitched ride could have radical consequences. Consequences like a real challenge to our perceived sexual orientation or gender association. Challenges that seem too too big to take on when the rest of our complex lives take enough of a bite out of our energies and gifts as it is.

This was certainly the case for me. I questioned, for decades, if my sticking my thumb out on this curious road, was simply begging for a ride too far, unturning, and permanent. This fear I believe constrains our desires and douses our willingness to set out on the journey. So good to be able to wrestle the fear down.

Many of the friendships I have formed over the last year are with gender explorers who have that different destination, full gender reassignment at the end of their road. How daunting a ride. I have thought a great deal about the differences between the “simple cross dresser” and the person committed to the transition, to the adoption of a new and finally correct gender. I have thought often about how close our starting points were, the die cast in toddlerhood, or perhaps in the womb. I have thought about how each of us to some degree enabled the broader societal conspiracy to suppress our fullness. Denial, overcompensation, introversion, sourceless anger and often the unhealthy embrace of something in a bottle or a bong that might deaden senses aching for a little touch.

I am unable to put a name to what causes our destinations to be so seemingly far apart. And I am now ready to not worry about the knowing. The great shared things are enough. That we each have felt that a part of us was unknown to ourselves. That we each at our best moments let honesty and curiousity trump deceit and fear. That we have each felt that the consequences of not engaging with our whole selves was the bigger risk.

I have found myself metaphorically hitching a ride with many admirable, smart, brave, caring, perceptive, beautiful, and humorous people this last year. I have been inspired by the dignity and fearlessness expressed by our surprisingly large numbers, cross dressers and the transgendered alike, thumbs bravely out, hopeful of a destination in perfect alignment with their imaginings.

Whichever road it is, it is a road of uncertainty, fraught with peril, and a little bit beyond our absolute control. Taking to this road is an act of love for ones self truly, but it is also an act of faith in the people around us. That act of faith is an expression of our very best natures. With that better nature in mind, I am looking forward to an even better year, and wanted to thank you for sharing the journey with me this far. If you are looking for a lift on your road, holler out. We might be off to different places, but we have a lot to share on our common road. Thank you all for picking me up.


Anonymous said...

I feel like we are kindred spirits to a degree, you seem to think so much like me and I love your style! I'm happy too that you are reading my blogs, thank you for your comments.

I hope your journey takes you to the place you describe, it sounds a bit like heaven :) I have never felt satiated with this lifestyle, ive heard it equated to an avid golfer, where no matter what your best score is, you are always looking to beat it. It's an insatiable drive (so to speak) that never leaves you. So to be satiated even for awhile by reaching a new pinnacle...sounds dreamy!

Now, upon which road should i stick out my thumb? :)

Gabrielle said...

Such an interesting analogy of your journey, Petra. It works quite well.

I don't know where my next exit resides, but I can see clearly into the immediate distance. The ride is not as bumpy for me now as it once was. It's different than the "norm", but I enjoy it. I like being this way. We've all got Pandora's box to contend with - even the "normal" folks (hate that word, but you understand).

I believe you've looked your box dead in the eyes, and won the "blinking contest". Temptations will always be there. You are stronger and smarter than to engage in the danger territory - that place that differs for all of us, but that we all must deal with. That's life. Live it. Enjoy it. Do not over-do it.

Wishing you a very pleasant journey down the road on your personal map of life. It may not be a perfect ride, but I know it will be a rewarding one, my friend. And thank you for sharing it with the rest of us hitchers. :)

Petra Bellejambes said...

Dear Demi,

Thanks for the nice note. I agree we are kindred. Your wardrobe is much, much nicer though.

Which road is your road? Hmmm.... I suspect that at some level you already know, but that you enjoy uncertainties too much to give them up entirely. I get that. I would be happy to take up the discussion offline if you like. My email address is in my Blogger profile. Write anytime.

Gabrielle ... live it, enjoy it indeed. Delighted to share the ride with you... xoxo

S said...

Hello, I'm new to these parts.

What an interesting read that was. You write about your journey wonderfully.

I'm sort of stumbling around at the start of my road; I've been there for a while. But wherever I go, and however far I get, it's good to find sites like yours out there to read along the way.

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