Sunday, October 16, 2005

Feminine Influences

(by Felicia Conti)
"The person(s) in my life who most influenced or most helped me with the development of my feminine side is......................"

The person in my life who most influenced the development of my feminine side was probably my mother. She was an amateur actress who played the leading lady parts in a number of plays. I remember sitting in the theatre as a young boy when this steamy woman would walk out on stage and everyone would be entranced by her beauty. Was this the same woman who I called “mom” and who only hours before had been preparing my dinner? I remember trying on her clothes and wondering if I would ever be transformed from what I considered to be “ordinary” to “special”? Second in line, was probably my sister who developed at a fairly young age into a real beauty. She had lots of cute girlfriends and lots of guys calling on her constantly. She also had lots of clothes that fit me. Maybe I could learn to be beautiful too? I think that I learned something about feminine comportment from years of observing and interacting with my mother and my sisters. I have to think that this early learning helped me to catch on quickly and to find it relatively easy to exhibit feminine mannerisms when I am now in the feminine role.

Most of my feminine existence stayed in my fantasy life until several years ago when a therapist suggested that I try dressing again. After getting some fairly acceptable pictures posted on Yahoo, I met an experienced translady, Lori Michaels who helped me to get ready for my first night out on the town. In doing my make-up, she was able to give me a glimpse of my potential and a realization that it was possible to look good as a female. Several months later, during a down period when I was feeling I was making no progress in my feminine development, I met Joey Brooks, a make-up artist and drag performer who did my make up and gave me a make up lesson. She helped me to achieve the next level in my feminine development at least as far as physical presentation go. Additionally, I purchased several make up videos on line, including one done by Raven, the drag entertainer from Atlanta. Of course, I have had to tone down the drag effects to get a more natural look.

Working on my mental, emotional, and spiritual development as a female is much more difficult to discern as that work cannot really be separated from the years of work I have done on myself as a person, in general. Although I sometimes do enjoy role-playing when in my feminine role, for the most part, I strive to be fairly consistent whether I am primarily male or female at the time. My current therapist along with a number of my trans-friends (both in person and in GenderEvolve) have been very influential and helpful in my broader feminine development. At this stage, I would say that I am adolescent in terms of my emotional feminine development. I have a long way to go to achieve some kind of wholeness and a definite sense of direction for my life.

Felicia

4 comments:

Alexis Rene said...

Felicia,

I can see where you get your artistic nature. Your family sounds very sweet and so good that you could sit and learn from things . Some children at the age you spoke of watching your Mother transform in the Theatre may have left even if drawn to the expose' of it all out of denial . So even then you were facing who you were on the inside.

What really caught my attention here was when you mentioned the emotional & spiritual development.

I remember as a child asking my Mother about transgendered people and asked why "they" had to go through so much therapy ? Why not just line up the pills and schedule some Doc's and let them get on with their lives ?

The point I am trying to get at is we can all wear whatever dress, heels, make-up, even get meds without presription to try and compensate for some things but the one major that HAS to be "with the program" is the mental well being .

I am like you in the respect of looking for a consistency within who I am today and where I want to be tomorrow. I don't make a concerted effort to change how I respond to things in either mode. The thought is Evolution(technology?) can fuse the two together to where the outside matches what is inside.

I am not denying the Yin/Yang theories at all, It is just that I don't want too get caught up in the ..."Well that was my male side saying this" ...And "that was my female side saying that" sort of thing.

I would much rather just accept the responsibilities for whatever action as a whole person....Hoping that translates into the broadest horizon possible .

Thanks so much for bringing this subject up Felicia. :)

adarabeth said...

Thank you Felicia, I liked your story about who influenced you the most…it really made me think about who influenced me too. Initially I wanted to discredit my mothers influence on the development of my feminine side simply because I never once saw my mom dolled up the way I doll myself up…lol… But I cannot discredit her influence. Feminine trait or not, her selfless nature in my early childhood taught me more about unconditional love than at nearly any other time in my life prior to joining this group.
It is perhaps not accurate to try and say that love fits more on one side or the other – after all men are certainly capable of unconditional love, but this trait within me is one I can honestly say my mother deserves the credit for.
As does my mothers mother – dear ol’ gram who was always feeding me.
From her I garnered more of my deeper more meaningful feminine traits, the kind of course that also do not necessarily belong on one side of the gender fence or the other, but are often much more ‘feminine’ in recognition (such as giving, softness of spirit, preening, being gentle, being thoughtful and observant). And it was because of these two women that my kinder, more compassionate and social side developed.
Surprisingly, one significant female characteristic that I developed I attribute to my father. Out of scope, but noteworthy just the same.
His lack of being available contributed to me being more nurturing.
So many women that I know are very much this way. It is not exactly a feminine trait celebrated (though it should be not only celebrated but seriously recognized) it is none the less important to note it. In many societies and cultures of the world women are expected / conditioned / relegated to serve / take care of / respond to the needs of people more than men. For example, most of the world’s nurses are women. Most of the world’s servers of food and drink are women. And, last time I checked, the toughest job of all, being a mom (way harder than being a father…go ahead, challenge me on that one…) is almost always taken up by a woman.
Being the nurturer is usually quite natural for women more so than for men.
I am a nurturer by nature and by environment. By example from the women in my life and the lack of example from the men. It is a feminine trait that people recognize in me, even those who know nothing about Adara, yet is a cornerstone of who she is, of who I am.
My aesthetic development of outward feminine attributes is entirely influenced by current and past fashion and by the examples of real woman. Sure, the glamour of big screen and theatre have greatly been something to aspire to – after all, the stars get showcased for all they have to offer. But short of affording that style, I am content to find my outfits as stocked in any store, especially the kind of store that has what some other woman has grown tired of. But my style and taste is a reflection of what I already see on the women who can flaunt it if they want to. And my most critical judge is my wife who is more than ready to tell me whether or not I look fat in something. Mostly she just tells me I look too provocative. I don’t think I have ever told her, but she is provocative no matter what she wears. That is the magic of real femininity. Someday, I will get there…

Felicia Conti said...

Thank you to both Alexis and Adarabeth for your thoughtful responses to my blog.

The body that carries a person on their life’s journey, whether male, female, or transgendered has something to do with the predominate energy that fuels us (probably due in part to the effects of hormones on our brains), but the psyche has much more to do with our energy balance than physiology. I agree with Alexis that an ideal is a blending of the female/male or yin/yang energies in the same person. We are neither, but rather a blending of the two, regardless of our vessel.

I think that Adarabeth is very fortunate to have had a mother and grandmother who showed her unconditional love (as well as giving, softness of spirit, preening, being gentle, being thoughtful and observant) and a wife who is supportive yet provocative. I marvel at her strength at turning a negative experience of her father’s lack of availability into a nurturing quality in herself. I have discovered that there is much to be learned from observing ineffective people. I think I have learned a lot from observing them and telling myself that I wanted to be more effective in my dealings with others than they were. I feel that much of my life has been built on this striving to do better.

Thanks again for sharing.

Felicia

Laurianna Payot said...

Dear Felicia,

Thank you so very much you for addressing the fundamental topic of feminine influences, The world abounds in models of femininity for us. Many women are ready to accept us as transwomen and to help us nurture our feminine nature and beauty. I think this starts with our own desire and willingness to be receptive to feminine influence and our readiness to reach out to women for the help that we need, accepting women as our models, and yielding to their leadership in the satisfying work of creating our own special personae. My own way of moving toward this is to do so as naturally as possible in cultivating friendships with other women and through these friendship showing the deep respect and admiration that I feel for them, and my gratitude to be able to share their interests and model myself upon them.

I love your sense of being consistently yourself at any given time, whether you are presenting yourself as a male or female. As men, we can be receptive and respectful toward women. We can be nuturing, soft, gentle, sensitive to beauty, and open to emotion. We can care for ourselves, and for others, paying attention to all the myriad details of caring, whether it be in the loving cultivation of our relationships, the effort and attention that we devote to maintaining lovely homes, or in following our diets and skin care and beauty routines. This is what I try to do in my own daily life, cultivating the blossoming of my femininty from within in constantly repeated scales of ever more evident outward expression.

There are so many resources for us. I have recently let my hair grow out quite long and have made an appointment at a local salon for its styling in a classic bob cut. I have made appointments elsewhere for a regular detailed regime of skin and nail care and still elsewhere for laser removal of my facial hair. These are all female owned and operated salons in my own community. They have accepted my calls for appointments with courtesy and warm enthusiasm. I hope to go shopping soon and quite openly with women friends.

We are all, I think, whether male or female, complex blends and outcomes of masculine and feminine energies. For me it has become a clearly richer and so much more satisfying response to life to relinquish my yang energies and celebrate my yin. My dear and lovely wife has no lacking of yang energy herself, quite enough for our little family, so I am more and more yielding to her own opinions and decisiveness. Although we can still energetically discuss such things as color schemes for our kitchen, I am always ultimately ready to yield to her.

Felicia, again my warmest thanks to you for your sensitve, thoughtful, and honest writing. I am so very happy to be able to share some of my own thoughts with you, and wish you every satisfaction and happiness in exploring and developing the joys and beauties of femininity.


Love and blessings to you,

Laurianna Payot