Sep 16, 2010

I know you are, but what am I? SCC Part 3.

I am a bit of a TransSpotter. Most of this happens when I am in drab mode. Looking back over the last year or so I would hazard that I have noted about a dozen or so Sisters out and about in plain vanilla, daylight environments here in Atlanta. This estimate does not include the handful of socials I have attended at nightclubs and such where one might expect to see a chap in a dress, a Woman at the far end of SRS or people somewhere in between.

When out en Femme, I am typically not expecting to see people of my variety. Odds run against this likelihood. I just pay keen attention to everyone else, and these moments are close to sensory overload … ooo, I like her shoesdamn but her complexion is lovely and I am jealouswell, there is a look that guy just gave me …. awww, that Woman just smiled at me, how nice.

It is therefore quite a different experience to spend a week fully surrounded by hundreds of gender explorers. This experience helps fix ones place in the spectrum, see the big picture, and perhaps sort out a few unresolved questions about ones self. Be assured, I attended SCC primarily to make friends, dress nicely and have fun (check, check and double-check), but gender exploration is a very serious part of my life, and so some serious thinking is bound to happen.

So, what am I?

I spent as much time as I could last week at
SCC in conversations with Women. I will not try to apply more specific or limiting terminology. Women. People who identify and live as female. Memories of prior lives and physical discomfort from truly traumatic surgeries linger certainly, but let us leave the label simple: Women.

These new friends and acquaintances and I generally had a few things in common: Very youthful exposure to dressing. Pronounced rebellious streaks that erupted periodically within otherwise model, happy and conforming lives. A talent for adaptation to the expectations of the world, including a talent for concealment. A sense of trouble about our differences that nurtured a capacity for brooding (not all a bad thing … on balance, we seem to be good problem solvers) and periodic bouts of unhappiness.

These Women at one point or another, early, later or just in the nick of time associated the unhappiness with their gender assignment. And then set about changing it. Absolute wonders of courage, one and all. To be dedicated to having a full life, in the one life we know with absolute certainty that we have is our first obligation. Dammit though, gender reassignment is a big ticket item, emotionally, socially, and financially. Again, what admirable, breath-taking courage these Women exhibit.

Courage is a more typical hallmark of the female of our species in my experience. Women need more of it the fellows do to simply get through days in a world whose rules have largely been set by Men. So there. These Women have ample supply of that feminine characteristic, and now have the correct bodily host for it. Brava.

Courage is something I believe that I have in good measure. It does take a heaping tablespoon of the stuff to say yes to the dress, put a hand on the hip and holler out “hello world, here I am”. I would like to think that I possess courage in good enough measure to live life correctly, fully and with my surfaces (and biology) in full alignment with my senses and realities too.

The thing is though, that when not in Petra-mode, things are fine. I fit in. The parts work. I smile often. People like me (mostly). And in fact, a good many people really love me with fierce loyalty. I am privileged in return to feel the same way about a select awsome handful, and those feelings are I suppose the best feelings we can have.

So, back to the question: What am I? Transgendered? A Cross Dresser? Or am I simply confused, delusional, in denial, or not possessed of the courage and strength required to really know myself?

I suspect that the question will always be there, whispered, demurred, and largely dormant unless the answer comes up differently one day.

But today, as in all the prior days, the answer remains the same. I suppose that by some definitions I am all those things, but ultimately it seems, I am (loaded expression alert!!) a Man. A Man who feels that the accidents and inheritances of my birth, terrific though that they are, are simply not big enough, full enough, rich enough.

I am also a Man who realizes that some of my worst potentials are typically masculine characteristics – quickness to anger and aggression, impatience and impulse, sloth and excess, a lack of care and concern for the misfortunes of others. Many of the things that cause the world to be less beautiful than it might, could, should be.

When I present as “Petra”, those characteristics and nasty potentials seem a far ocean away. When the dress comes off, currents pull those potentials back, slowly, weaker each time, less potent than before, but still surely, back. Perhaps some day they will simply stay away for good, and for better.

Ideally, I should be able to be the better whole person without the expense and social complications inherent in living this guarded life, of being this periodic Cross Dresser. I am not that saintly or self-actualized I suppose. I will keep trying though.

And hopefully I will always revel in presenting prettier surfaces here and there. Being Petra is fun, very immersive, alive and special after all.

Plus, there will be always be other TransSpotters out there and they should not go home disappointed.

Your comments and thoughts most welcomed as always


Elly said...

You're a good looking woman and brave to put your picture out there for the whole world to see. I like the way your skirt and hose match, you are quite stunning I would say. And thanks for your kind words too.

Hugs, Elly

Tights Lover said...

I certainly believe I identify with your present state of mind, even though I am well behind in terms of actual experience out in the world.

I'm not sure you give the 'man' you enough credit though. I think being Petra puts you in such a better state of mind that the characteristics you associate go away. I think when we're our full-time selves (whichever self we ultimately choose) we're still ourselves...for better or worse.

Anonymous said...

Petra. I really enjoy reading your observations as a cross dresser. What's better is that you prefer to dwell on the more fun aspects of this part of your life-- the fashion, especially the hosiery, the make up, the preparation and the time out. PS. From your few photos I can tell that your present well and must go "unread" most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Hi Petra,

I think you just don't dislike being a man enough to want to become a woman all the time. Like me you have been male a long time and despite it not feeling 100% right you manage to balance the moments that aren't right by being Petra.

This is enough for you and not enough for others. I think you have found your place on the gender wheel where you can exist happily which is the perfect place to strive to be. Just being comfortable with you and what you are is wonderful.

Expressing that and being able to share it with others is a blessing too and for every man who sacrifices all to be a female full time, there are countless others who don't wish that to be their destiny.

Hugs Anabelle xxx

Petra Bellejambes said...

@ Elly - thanks, but not so brave. I barely recognize myself, and don't expect many people who would be surprised by Petra to find this little blog. I like the outfit too :)

@ TL - Amen.

@ Anabelle - lovely note, thanks for visiting, thinking and sharing...

Halle said...

Petra, girl you have outdone yourself here! I started writing a comment and realized it might get longer than your post! A letter is coming your way.

Suffice it to say to the girls out there, read this post again and think about who you are. I sure am glad Petra has done the legwork (she does have the legs for the job too!) for us.



Couture Carrie said...

Hello my gorgeous Petra,
What a brave exploration you post about here today!
I love how you note the commonalities in demeanor amongst you and your counterparts.
I think you are beautiful, inside and out! No need to put a label on ya!

Have a fabulous weekend, darling!


Vanessa Law said...

A weighty topic love, as you know I've spent a long time pondering something similar. While I came to a different conclusion than you, I know how liberating it can be to know yourself, to know who you are and accept that person.

Hopefully we'll be able to meet at a transgender conference sometime in the future - if my job ever stops working me so hard :)

Glad SCC was a good experience for you love.


Anonymous said...

Petra I have to admit that I stumbled across your blog looking for titillation. I stayed because of the quality of your writing and how the warmth of Petra's character shines through your words. I envy you your courage and these recent experiences and I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. Finally I agree with another comment too. While you do have the legs for that skirt I think it is that striking blouse that makes a lovely statement in your photo.


Petra Bellejambes said...

Dear Robert,

I am flattered entirely, and very grateful that you would take the time to say these very nice things.

Honestly. Thank you.

I too am rather fond of the blouse btw. The only thing that feels better than a silk blouse is a genuine compliment.

Best regards - Petra

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