Feb 24, 2010

Seven Deadly Cross Dressing Sins – The Concluding Two

I have had a couple of struggles summoning the energy to finish this series, and for that I am a more than a little tweaked off at myself. Serendipitously though, the only remaining Deadly Sins are Sloth and Wrath. Sometimes things just work out.

Sloth is to me an interesting word. Habitual disinclination to exertion; indolence; laziness. It comes to us from Middle English roots, predating Chaucer by a century or two or three. These years were hard years, an era of filthy hand to toothless mouth subsistence. You might imagine that a display of Sloth on a given day then, would likely result in an empty belly at the end of that day. Sloth was, in short, an early indicator of failure and a Deadly Sin indeed.

Here in our current world, so slickly optimized for people the likes of we (people with lots of electronic gadgetry and such), Sloth might be better understood as a reward, a payoff. Dinner is in the freezer, not out in the woods. Don’t need to gather wood to burn under the microwave. And a machine does the dishes. Doesn’t take much of an effort to pounce on a couch either.

Clearly, the less generally slothful you are, the greater the likelihood that your freezer will be bigger, the microwave will be sleeker, the dishwasher will run quieter and the couch won’t wind up on the rickety front porch. But Sloth is, in most of our days, our spa moment. Doing nothing? Luxury. So Sloth has (hath?) lost (lotht??) some of its sting.

If Sloth was still a truly Deadly Sin though, I reckon the Cross Dresser would be last on the Grim Reaper’s guest list. You simply cannot be a slothful Cross Dresser. The logistics of where and when are too exacting. The mechanics of makeup and wardrobe are too complex. The general exhilaration and full attention to the moment one has when inhabiting the wardrobe or gender identity of choice is simply too vivid. We are many things friends, but slothful I think not.

There are evenings perhaps where the eye makeup doesn’t get fully removed or the clothes are left rumpled, but that is more likely from fatigue or passion than a failure of character. There are weeks or seasons too where perhaps one simply does not feel up for the effort or terribly drawn to the dress. To me these tides are part of my Cross Dressing parcel. The lady comes and goes as she pleases, yes? Not much to do with Sloth.

Wrath is different filly altogether though. I will speak for my own experience, and suspect that you may find echoes in your own.

Wrath is another early English entry, and carries with it today its original meaning from the 9th Western century, and plenty of contemporary applicability: strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation. Wrath gets your attention and the attention of people around you. At it's best, it may be a motivator of change and progress, but moments of wrathfulness are not moments of forward progress.

I have had over the years countless instances of Wrath, at a few moments before and many moments after brief encounters with my feminine parts. The Wrath is, or more accurately was, summoned from a place of self-recrimination. I was wrathful at my inability to say no to the urge. I was wrathful that something I could not understand and did not enlist for was a seeming part of my bargain with the cosmos, and beyond my powers of restraint. The highs were high, yes, but the immediate afterwards of my femme flights were touched with resentment, furtive and far too inwardly focused.

Cross Dressing, and fantasizing about it was a small, private and hermetically sealed part of my whole life throughout my teens, twenties and thirties, and so the moments of Wrath were few and far between. They did not impair the forward progress of my life. Nor did they did not cause costly wardrobe purges and promises of abstinence that I could not keep, but they did exact a little toll on my happiness along the way.

I think that anything kept in a small enclosure and periodically subjected to strong forces has the potential for combustion, for explosion. The longer my years went, the greater the forces became. With that, the potential for damage, to myself, and to the people most dear to me grew, slowly and surely. I was fortunate to come to terms with the reality that I had a characteristic integral to my whole self that needed to be socialized, to be introduced to the rest of me. Doing so, about a year and a half ago has done me a world of good. Broadening the inner circle to include my wife has further diminished the possibilities of combustion. The moments of Wrath, and useless regret that did surface around Cross Dressing are, at least for now, gone.

Along with that bargain, and unexpectedly, I have found permission from within to demure and tone down some of the "guy" behaviors that I never felt fully at ease with. I don’t bother now with over-compensating for my private proclivities. If I am not thought to be a fully accredited chest-thumping, musk-soaked primate in good standing with the rest of the hairy tribe, so be it.

I think that a certain amount of mellowing comes to us all with enough years. There is also, for me, the mellowing that comes from nurturing the parts of me that “Petra” enlivens. Nice outcomes. I still have a capacity for Wrath, but am happy to report (and grateful as hell) that it does not come from an internal conflict about my own nature. It is more likely to be engaged by the idiot in the left lane who cannot locate his turn indicator.

This post then concludes my compulsion to somehow map an ancient moral touchstone, The Seven Deadly Sins, to the life of the contemporary Cross Dresser. Again, a salute out to the cold outer reaches of the blogosphere to Marta Dahlig, the artist responsible for the beautiful images that in part inspired and accompanied this series. Earlier posts on Vanity, Envy, and the whole “Greed” Group complete the set. They attend patiently, always, upon your click.

Your thoughts welcomed as always, in the form of comments here, or perhaps for a little change, in the form of a question posed in the Ask Me Anything box on your right.

Happy dressing and everything else….

1 comment:

Leah said...

I've been waiting for this series my dear friend. Sloth? I plead guilty to that. I can be a bit lazy when I'm not focused.

I can't say the same thing about wrath... except when I buy something at a regular price and a few days after, it's on sale. Hahaha! Seriously, I tried to eliminate wrath in my life... I don't hold grudges.

Have a wonderful day Petra! xoxo

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