I will start, dear friends with the trivia.
My feet are better as of a late Monday morning.
Yesterday, with the benefit of a nice late sleep in, a low impact day of laundry, periodic cat-naps, poached eggs for lunch, a delightful Indian dinner and the weekly fix of Mad Men gorgeousness I feel refreshed and ready for … well … all the unusual usual things.
So yes, my feet, and much of what totters about on top of them did feel a little roughly used after a solid week en Femme. The body has remarkable powers of restoration though and so I am able for the requirements of the day.
The feet though, my word. Unaccustomed to the rigors of consecutive long days in closed-toe three and four inch stilettos’, they did rather shriek by late Saturday night. Perhaps it was the dancing. Yes, Mrs. B, myself and a handful of friends did indeed cut a rug after the gala dinner on the culminating soiree of our first Southern Comfort Conference. I typically guard against dance, knowing that my capacity for ecstasy causes my arms to pulse in oddly palsied and arrhythmic orbits. One must dance though. Dance is one of those manners of expression that comes from deep within. Dance is a dividend of happiness.
And Dance is something new to Petra. Delighted to have another threshold of accomplishment to think on. Dance did not make my 14 Stations of the Cross Dresser list, but now that I have a check mark beside the canonical CD achievements I wrote out quite early in my embrace of Petra, I suppose it is high time to build the list out here and there where indicated.
So there friends. I suggest you try dancing. It feels lovely.
There is much I have on mind today, perhaps a half dozen or so themes for posts that should follow here in the next couple of weeks. There really is a great deal to sort out, dust off and polish up. Many moments scattered here and there between my ears, and notes buried somewhere in the depths of my purse. I lived a very full week, a revelatory week, a week of witness.
I suspect that subsequent posts will fall into categories along these lines:
- commentary on the conferences organization and execution. Hats off to Lexie, to her staff and volunteers, and to the amazing personnel at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia.
- learnings from some of the terrific presentations and lectures I enjoyed
- thoughts on where does the Cross Dresser fit into the large and vivid spectrum of Gender expression
- marvels about just how quickly and honestly complete strangers find common ground in our uncommon lives
- fashion, style, and well, you knew it was coming, a few words on the merits of the endless river of nylon and Lycra that clung to my legs all week. It was a fine week for hosiery indeed.
Much beauty. Many stories of strength. Conversations that turned easily to very intimate, very core truths, triumphs and, yes, troubles too, shared haltingly sometimes, but fast and freely too. It was a very real week. Not all of it wine and roses, but tilted conclusively to the life affirming.
Many new friends made this week. Countless short, casual introductions, and moments of chit chat too with dear people whose names may not stay with me, but whose impacts aggregate up into a bigger, better me.
Constant reminders too of just how fortunate I am, in many ways, but in one above all. Did I mention what a star my wife is?
Mrs. Bellejambes joined me and our new friends on a couple of evenings throughout the week. She is the better part of our shared home. She showed that in such measure this week in her support of my happiness that I am as close to wordless as a rather wordy person can be.
I am gifted. ‘nuff said.
I will share a big conclusion here today though, one I am certain of even before all the puzzle pieces are put together. Ready?
Going into the conference, knowing how deeply, and for how long I would be immersed in … Petra, I knew there was a reckoning I was setting myself up for. Any time that the Gendernaut expands his or her orbit, there is a fear at some level that our tethers will loose, and that we might not make it back to the home planet more or less as the same person.
As deeply and fully as we explore ourselves, there always remains a question as to whether we have kicked in all of our internal doors, and searched entirely and ruthlessly the premises of our souls. By going outside of our orbits of certainty we run the risk of falling into the gravitational pull of another unknown and daunting world. For me, a full week of presence within “Petra” and the company of so many other birds of the feather was a new orbit, a deeper voyage (ed. metaphor clean up on Aisle 7 please, and pronto).
Orbital re-entry went off without a hitch. I believed before the start of the week, that I would feel good about folding away the surface elements that allow me to present en Femme. I felt as though I would feel comfortable expressing, as I am doing now, with the surfaces that describe the person that most of the world knows me by (khaki trousers and a polo shirt for the curious). I felt that there was a high probability of me knowing myself a bit better, and re-affirming that who I believed myself to be was more or less right on the money.
I was correct in this.
Beneath the surfaces however, the week will have a lasting impact. The impacts will display, if I am careful, in all I do, regardless of the surfaces.
I genuinely look forward to carefully sharing all of that and more with you here in upcoming posts, stitched together in between all the other normal and exceptional moments available to us all every day.
Thanks for being along for the Voyage.