(by Annette Brunette)
Hello to all you lovely ladies,
I thought I'd write a personalized little thingy about my own journey through the gender world. Many excellent posts have been written about Gender Euphoria and the need to maintain balance in our lives and I don't have much to add to them at the moment.
I, too, went through my own period of euphoria lasting from 1995 til roughly 2004. Lately, though, the gender world has been a flat line and I've been feeling apathetic about the whole thing. So I'm writing from a different perspective, that of a burnt out CD. I still go out from time to time. But I don't enjoy it as much as I used to.
Burnout? Or maybe it's a gender midlife crisis. I looked in my closet the other day and stared at all my dresses. Shocking but apart from a Pagan transgender wedding that I had attended a few weeks ago (as "space girl") I hadn't worn a dress since January, the annual "First Event" TG convention in Massachusetts. Had my dresses suddenly gone out of style? No. Not really. I just realized that putting on a dress didn't excite me all that much anymore. It didn't make me feel more girly. Less masculine, perhaps, but not more feminine. I wracked my brains trying to think of the last time I got really excited about "dolling up." It was a few years ago and a genetic woman friend and I attended the Boston Symphony Orchestra in our black dinner dresses. After the concert, we had a lovely dinner at the local restaurant. Since then I've been out clubbing many times but it's never been quite the same.
Yesterday: Like most CD's I became interested in women's clothing at an early age. In northern nowheresville, Illinois where I grew up (and was incarcerated there for the first 23 yrs. of my life) you were not allowed to think about such things never mind discuss them openly. College years in Indiana. A move out east to Boston in 1984. Nothing changed. A GG roommate and very close friend began buying me lingerie in the early 90's. I was too embarrassed to buy them myself.
The dam burst in 1995 when I saw a special on CD's on TV...no pun intended. The next day I was at the IFGE (International Foundation for Gender Education) and Vernon's CD boutique. Then the Tiffany Club, a CD support group. Wigs, dresses, spandex, makovers. Many jaunts in public. Because I was short and small I passed very well. The Tiffany gals even took me to Jacques (the "sewer tour") before Jon at Urnotalone hung out there. Let me tell you it was wild seeing female impersonators live for the first time. I was dressed like a librarian but I still had guys hitting on me. I disliked shaving so much I started electrolysis. No more razors. Contac lenses. A trip to Provincetown. Manray, the local pvc fetish/bdsm club. I was in tranny heaven. It all happened in a blur. I met so many CD's I lost count.
Anyone who has never done so should attend a TG convention. My first one was in January 1996. There were over 200 people there. Somehow I got shanghai'd into modeling in the fashion show. Talk about being nervous! As clumsy as I was on the runway, it was enormously gratifying to walk in front of a supportive audience. The saddest part of the whole weekend was disrobing at the end and changing back into a "pumpkin." I didn't want the magic to end. In spite of all that happened in 1995 and '96, I never felt I was a TS and had no desire to transition. I just wanted to see where it would go.
Not much happened between '96 and '99 due to cash flow problems. Still I did go out semi-regularly en femme. By 1999 I had hooked up with some good CD friends and we spent more time clubbing and CD getaways down on the Cape. Manray, the local goth/BDSM club really rocked on Halloween and the B & D Ball. Nurses, cops, school girls, scantily clad women and CD's in PVC and leather. You name it, they had 'em all. Being a CD never felt so good and I was, once again, in Nirvana.
Every CD I know ponders the "next big step." Should I go out in public? Will I pass? Do I care? What about electrolysis? Laser? Makovers? Photo shoots? Maybe I can try a blonde wig instead? Should I tell my significant other? What about the children? Some even ponder transitioning and hormones. My "big step" was growing out my hair. It took a lot of nerve. The guys made fun of me from time to time but in the trades there's not really a dress code. (I told them I was "keeping up with the freaks" at Manray Club.) Along the way I had my ears pierced. January of 2002 was the magic year as I said goodbye to my wigs. It had taken 12-15 months and I remember the ineffible bliss I felt jumping into the pool in a bikini and submerging my head under water. Annette had come full circle! That should have been the high point in my journey into the CD world and it was ... for a while.
I got many compliments on my hair. (the "mop") Cd's said that I had it all. Short. Small boned. Full head of hair. No body hair save my lower legs. Feminine face with a soft jawline and no facial hair due to electrolysis. A Cd's dream? Yes and no. Imagine being cross dressed 24 hours a day 7 days a week. That's what it was like. Over the years I had been using less and less makeup. Even in drab I looked very effeminite. In fact the only difference between Jack and Annette was a pair of breast forms. Passing as a guy became almost comical. At a New England Patriots game last year the ticket taker told me I had to use the lady's line. (It was very very long and I was with 7 other guys) I told him twice that I was a guy. Finally (at his request) I showed him my driver's license and he apologized and let me through. At my boss's birthday party when I walked thru the door his sister in law asked who that "handsome lady" was. "That's Jack" he said. He told me that wasn't the first time I'd been misidentified. Even during my day job when I get hot and dirty outside I've been whistled at by passing cars.
Now none of this means that I'm complaining. Nor do I want to cut my hair short and start looking like a guy full time again. :-( (yech) But it does make me question my own femininity and how much and how often I really feel like a lady. What it has done is taken away the excitement of transformation. Showering. Shaving. Choosing an outfit. Dolling up. Putting on the wig. I've also noticed a lack of interest in "super femme" things like 5" heels and long pointy press on nails.
More pertinently, I've come to feel over time, that the feminine role can be just as restrictive as the masculine role. Amruta Slee, in the book, Dick For A Day: What Would You Do If You Had One? wrote, "I wish men and women, too, had created less cartoonish identities for themselves so we could all relax a bit." What this means for me is that physically I like my soft feminine body but mentally I prefer to slip back and forth between both genders. Sometimes masculine, sometimes feminine, sometimes a little of both and sometimes a lot of neither. Genetic women who I've become close to over the years like my ability to be caustic and verbally abusive one moment and very empathetic and sensitive the next.
I've also come to realize how much I clash with traditional people, both male and female. When I first got involved with the TG community, I idolized women, put them on a pedestal. Now I realize that women, like men have their own likes, dislikes and foibles. And yes, some of them support the binary straightjacket that "men are men and women are women." The man is supposed to be strong, decisive, the knight in shining armor. I read an editorial in a Boston newspaper about why a woman voted for G.W. Bush. He had strong moral convictions and didn't flip flop on issues. So did Hitler.
Today: I used to think I transformed into a different personality when I dressed up but I no longer feel that way. Dresses, PVC, leather skirts, pantyhose, pink spandex, Vickie's Secret lingerie ... it used to put me on cloud nine. But alas, the magic seems to be gone. Have my two personalities merged? Perhaps. I like to think that dressing up helped me to become aware of my softer and more vulnerable (dormant) side ... something I was never encouraged to do in my youth. As for my current lack of interest in feminine clothing, perhaps it's a combination of growing older and a lower sex drive and a realization that it's not necessary to put on a skirt to feel feminine. (A close Cd friend thinks I'm suffering from mild depression but that's another story)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
(by Annette Brunette)
Posted by annette at 6:02 PM
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