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 shoes … damn but her complexion is lovely and I am jealous … well, 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