Who Are We Trying to Be?

(by Samantha Leigh)

One of my deep ponderings of the latter part of last year relates to 'Chelle's recent post of spoiling the pass and this recent hair removal "Why' question. I've been working on being the best possible version of me, which of course would be different at the end from anyone else, but our quest might be similar enough.

The short answer to 'Chelle's question, in that I think she is similiar enough to me, is that she wants ACCEPTANCE. Accept me for who I am, come after me with pitchforks; because of who I am, but do not waste my time with false premises wrong ideas, even if they seem helpful in the short term. Love me or Hate me but please do it for the right reasons.

There are many pieces of extra baggage that "We" crossdressers pick up along the way. Skills we are not necessarily aware of. We are experts at concealling who we are, from other people and from ourselves. Most of us here have been experienced earlier in life at portraying the 'Man" other people expected us to be. Doing things we were not enthusiastic about just to fit in, whether clothing, or mannerisms, or conversations. You just don't talk about your favorite color of Nail polish in the guys locker room. We lived as a manlier version of the men we actually were.

When we get to the point of exploring our selves and arrive online in the CD, TG pick your label community, before many of us figure out much of anything we are faced with a brand new set of expectations. The pendulum swings. Can you remember the defining point when you stopped thinking of yourself as an inaduquate man and started thinking of your self as an inaduquate woman? ;-)

A lot of what is proffered as 'support' to the 'community' is an exchange of one set of problems for another. An exchange of a a false masculine fascade for a false femmenine fascade. The support groups are full of "you really should do this" advice. I feel that meeting our TG peers expectations of our femmenine selves can lead us down the wrong path as much as Society at large's masculine expetation of us.

The two parodies I see most often are the slut and the hyper-femme. We wax on about the problems of the slut often enough. The hyper-femme, the TG that wants to out Femme the women is another type. Having a learned responce from the masculine world of caving in to expectation, I think many of us in the femmenine realm go overboard the same way. From the "of course I'm a Man" to the "of course I'm a woman", to the point of claiming to be out doing women.

'Chelle was around for my TG newby days on another list. My wife having arrived before me was provided a laundry list of "your husband should do this or dire consequences may occur later in life". I went from tottal non-dressing denial to the Mall En Femme in 90days. The support group you find yourself in tends to reproduce a given cookie cutter version of CDs. The slut lists will reproduce more of the same. Some lists, the hyperfemme. Others the "oh my wife oppresses me".

How many have you have seen threads in another group about what a CD observed at the Mall about women. Most of these threads tend not to be revealing of anything useful and usually harp on how unwoman like women are; or some obscure behavior of women and how does one reproduce it. Wives on lists are always thrilled about these threads.

Another thread is the CDs buying femmenine hygene products and finding innovative ways to make use of it. I think this out does the Bikini line question. This is clearly a pointless emulation excercise. I am a woman---- women use tampons---- I must use tampons. Even if you think you're a woman trapped in a mans body, your mans body ain't menstrating. My wife once wanted to reach through the computer and slap some silly CD who was going on and on about how they wish they could have a period.

Human nature and observation will tell us that not all natal women are alike. I'm pretty sure that no single woman has all of what we could list about womanhood and femmeninity. There seems to be a flow in our community to be "all the woman you can be"; it's part of that pyramid that puts TS at the pinnacle. Even if you knock the top off the pyramid there seems a striving for the level below the pinnacle, a superiority over the levels below. I can pass you can't; I wear higher heals and/or shorter skirts; I dress 100% En Femme more often; I wear more femmenine clothes; I remove more hair than you; etc in the CD olympic games.

Lacey Leigh often discusses conforming to societal constructions of gender duality. I believe that CDs themselves are the largest proponents of maintaining this duality. People pendulum swinging from conformity to a masculine construct to conformity to a femmenine construct (or a parody there of). I think within the TG persons education is a great sense to cave in to peer presure, at first society at large and later the CD community expectation.

For those of you still awake, my point or question is.... Are you trying to be a woman, or are you trying to be yourself? Are you trying to be the best version of yourself you possibly can be or are you trying to be someone else? Were you happy at the initial joy of your crossdressing experience but still feel like something is missing? Do you find yourself doing something silly because you read it online? Real psychologically healthy women don't TRY to be women. 'Chelle is one of the first people I met online and still know. Although we have only met once I think we both have enjoyed watching each other grow from afar. 'Chelle, I think you have ascended, you don't want to pass as a woman; You do pass as a person! You may still have goals you want to achieve, but I suspect you are now comfortable with yourself.

For me it started with my wife saying something like" You're just going to the supermarket for a few things, you don't need to put on make up." I'm more than Make up and clothing deep. My femmeninity is part of being the best version of me I can be. It's not an escape from my reality. I'm not worried that my kids calling me Daddy means that people know I'm not a woman. I know I'm at peace being me. I'm transgendered, I just pass easier as a man than I do as a woman. I like to think I pass as a real person all the time.

I hope this has given everyone something to chew on.



Laurianna Payot said…
Dear Friends,

I just wanted to slip in to say hello and to comment briefly how much I am in harmony with the atmosphere of this article. I do so very much agree with its general view that we should just be ourselves. I would not say try to be ourselves but rather be ourselves.

For me, this means simply to allow myself to relax and let all the wonderful feminine energy within me to flow through me naturally to expression in behavior and style ... This need not be "slutty" or "hyper-femme" and in my own view and practice is never aggressive or confrontational.

I find that I am free in a wide-range of social settings to express my own deeply feminine nature in displaying warmth and consideration for others, in gently offering a sincere and spontaneous smile, in acknowledging beauty and expressing my appreciation of beauty wherever I observe it, in so many ways. I am free to make an appointment at a hair dresser and ask for a feminine cut and advice on hair care. I am free to prepare a lovely dinner for my wife and friends. I am free to indulge in the soft support of lingerie.

Above all, I am free to express to women, both genetic and transgendered, how much I honor and appreciate and emulate the feminine and how I so wish fully to be at one and in soul-completing harmony with my own sweetness and what is for me the wonderfully satisfying world of femininity.

I hope in the coming days and weeks to share more with all of you on this topic and on others.

Wishing all of you
Peace, Love, Beauty, and Light,
Love & Light
Lauren Thomas said…

Samantha has a wife who is understanding and who open-minded enough to make helpful suggestions. However, not every married or single CD is afforded such an opportunity. Most men that Crossdress are in the closet, and for most the Internet is their only source of sharing what they enjoy doing. I can I take a wild guess and say that there are probably a 1000 Internet groups, Yahoo and MSM that cater to Crossdressing and these groups as just as diverse as those who join them.

So, the question "Who are we trying to be?" can, and does have as many responses as there are Crossdressers. Without polling every man that Crossdress, I would suspect that most have no real desire to become female, and for the most part don't have a feminine thought in their heads, although I know of few men who started out Crossdressing, and later discovered they were TS, but that's another story to share.

In my opinion most just like wearing female clothing and have no realistic thoughts of ever becoming a women, but just enjoy the fantasy of pretending to be women. In my opinion most men that Crossdress do so to fulfill their own fantasies about women. The look, the clothes, and the sexual activities that they have about women. Thus we have the "Slut Look", which is not the same as being sexy. For the Crossdresser who enjoys this type of look and dress, this is their personal perception of what is sexy and nothing anyone says will change that perception.

In fact if you visit many of the Yahoo and MSM groups, as well as a few web sites, you will probably find that the number of Crossdressers who present themselves this way is much greater than those who choose to dress and appear like normal women. So, if you asked the question "Who are we trying to be?" Maybe the answer for them is just what you see, and nothing more!

As I said in the beginning most men that Crossdress are in the closet, and also most do not have a realistic view of how a real woman looks and dresses. Also, most probably do not have a feminine bone in their bodies.

There was a time in my early crossdressing that I was just as clueless about dressing, and needless to say I dressed and looked like a slut. However, I was fortunate to have a wife, although not very accepting she did point me in the right direction, and in doing so helped me to change the way I looked at women and the way I look when I am dressed as a woman.

Since then there have been several Genetic Females in my life that I have learned from and for that I am truly grateful. Whether I am trying to pass in public, or at a club, or on the Internet the person that I present is always the same, because this is my perception as a Crossdresser, and hopefully I am doing a good job. Of course I am always open to some constructive suggestions on how I can do better ;-)

With Love and Respect for all of us,

Laurianna Payot said…
Dear Lauren,

Just a brief note of appreciation for your sharing. I have read your contributions and taken (too quick) a look at your rich website and at your images, among my favorite of which is in your "up close" section of May 2005. Gracefully seated on a lovely pillowed couch, wearing a pink top with medium length ash blond hair, you radiate the beauty and softened elegance and joy in your femininity to which so many of us aspire.

As to genetic women in our lives, we are lucky to have fabulous leadership and guidance and encouragement from women such as Michele, and many of us are blessed to have relationships with genetic women in which we can share our adoration of femininity, and our own feminine aspirations. We can cultivate and honor such relationships, and we can also draw inspiration from so many women all around us, for a multitude of looks, many of which are comfortably ambiguous, many of which are so alluringly and completely feminine.

For myself, it is from within and without my aspiration to become and to be an ever softer, sweeter, compassionate, and nurturing creature, for whom a love of beauty and adornment simple or elaborate is a natural expression of my heartfelt caring for others and for myself.

I "believe in beauty" and believe that we as trans-women can learn more and more and more and more to absorb beauty into our souls and to express beauty naturally. It seems to me that you have already made such a wonderful and rewarding pilgrimage along this path, and I am thrilled to be following you and so many others toward the enriching blessings of our cherished femininity.

What kind of woman do I want to be? Like you, I think, just as lovely and graceful as I can be.

With much love and appreciation,
and the deepest respect for you,
Laurianna Payot
Love and Light
Shari Williams said…
Wow, this topic has brought forth a great deal of excellent and genuine thoughts. I agree with Lauren, and I will not try to restate here position, but who or what we are attempting to be is as different as the individuals concerned.

I have always taken the approach that femininity while a great way to describe feelings I have, really represents part of who I am, not what I do or how I feel. The hard part comes when you are asked to describe yourself to others. How do you accurately and honestly describe the feminine as well as the masculine part of your being?

For me they are both part of the total…not one or the other. In my humble experience, just being yourself (both the masculine and feminine) is honest as well as an accurate way to approach describing who or what we want to be.

It really is a personal decision, and not one we can make for the whole community. We all want different things from life. I think we all agree that above all we need to be ourselves and in turn we will be a good role model for our community.

Peace and love
Adarabeth Veau said…
I have had the chance to ponder this on my dumbass drives... and now have a chance to respond myself...

My sisters here have almost commented this one to death - adding more brilliance than I could muster if I focused for longer than my 2 minute mind would let me (most would agree that I have had over 20 years as a 10 year old - only fascinated with one thing until the next comes along - constantly working on the next... from the magnifine glass and ants to the see how far I can fly my bike off the curb/jump/bridge - its really amazing I do not have brittle bones like Bri)...

so I will try to be brief...

I have to agree that this article is more geared to the CD than the TS... all I can truly say is I am unidentified and part of the spectrum... my desire to transition is stronger than the average crossdresser (if there is such a thing) but my motivation is not as powerful as a true transsexual (if there exists such a person)... at some point I will have to decide how far I can live with the envelope I push.

Unfortunately the decision is GREATLY influenced when children and a wife are part of the equation... want the cake and to eat it too...

Samantha raises many great points about the growth of self - being the best possible person one can be, regardless of gender identity...

In the community I am finding more and more people who really are not interested in the aspect of growing as people in expressing their desire to play gender games.

As Lauren noted 'sometimes a spade actually is a spade...' - I would venture the majority of those who identify as crossdressers only are mostly fetish in nature and are either uninterested or simply not realizing the 'big' picture in regarding the duality of energies.

Some, however, eventual do embrace more than justs the sensuality of dressing and realize the potential beyond it. While others even embrace the qualities of androgyny blurring lines - something which I find quite fascinating and even do myself at times.

It is so unfortunate how often we are judged both within the community and outside of it. Ultimately, I agree, we all just want to be accepted for whatever form of expression we desire to express. Real acceptance of self and others is the goal, I think, in any transition.

"Real psychologically healthy women don't TRY to be women."

Neither do healthy men.

And neither should someone who recognizes and embraces their very real dual identity... why try, why not just be...

At least that is what I think...

Marlena Dahlstrom said…
A lot of other people have covered points I was going to raise, so I won't repeat them....

For starters, it's important to remember that as transman Jamison Green, there's no "right" way to be transgendered. There's a reason why it's call the TG _spectrum_ --it ranges from the occasional pantyhose fetishist to the TSs who transition as early as possible and all sorts of points in between and beyond. (Which is one problem I have with Lacey Leigh. Despite many of the good things she does, she's got definite ideas about what's "right" and "wrong" CDing. And TGs and TSs aren't really on her map.) Really, just like in the rest of life, it's about what the effects are of your behavior, on yourself and others.

There's definitely a lot of people out there who are, in the words of friend, "fantasy gendered." As Lauren points out any quick trip through profile pages will show that there's a lot of slutty dressers out there. Among the various reasons for this I think is simple gender envy -- being able to show off your body in a way that's not acceptable for straight men -- although it's a man's idea about what being a women is like. Even at best, our idea of "femininity" is filtered through a man's perspective. We weren't raised as girls and no matter how feminine we might feel inside, there's a whole lot of lessons learned about "femininity" that we missed out on. (For that matter, I've seen women who have equally "fantasy gendered" idea about what a man's life is like, for the same reason.)

But I'm not down on fantasy per se. A friend of mine made a good distinction: is your crossdressing an outlet or avoidance? We all need a vacation from our daily routine at times, and being someone else is a good way to do so. Some people join Starfleet, we put on a dress.

But it's when your crossdressing is a way of avoiding dealing with real life, that's when it's a problem.

Adarabeth Veau said…
aye aye cap'tn...

make it so number one...

great points darlin... love your perspective here...

Indeed our notions of femininity can be quite dramatically different...

I dated an older woman when i was 26 (she was 45) and had daughters who were the same age as me...

I made a remark once about her skin being in incredible shape (she was an actress/painter/dancer) and she immediately went on a tirade about the stretch marks from birthing...

Eventually I managed to calm her down, and tearfully she told me that this was all part of femininity... cellolose, stretch marks, wrinkles...

I assured her I did not see these features when I looked at her (she was immensely graceful and so off the wall in personality that I was so enamoured by who she was that I guess I never saw what she did everyday)...

But it was a serious realization for me about the viewpoint of what I perceived as feminine. And what she did. My rose colored glasses changed hue then...

And Marlena, the term 'fantasy gendered'' is new to me. And wonderfully so, accurate. Most of the natural born females I know think it is far easier in life for men than women. Sometimes it is. Other times not. In the environment I work in, it is a normal day for every single guy here to work 12-16 hour days in extreme conditions (-40C and F) with equipment prone to breakage. I have been hurt on the job so many times, it is not even worth mentioning. If women want the 3am morning calls to be somewhere yesterday to do something unpleasant in an extreme environment... well, there are more and more opportunities opening up for them everyday...

Truth is, life is challenging for both sexes. I do believe the deck is stacked against the female gender in general, but the deck holds some equally unappealing cards for the male one as well.

Like you said, it is all on what we do with the cards after they are dealt. I know plenty of very successful women and men... many of them have their outlets of avoidance, but they somehow manage the effects to produce results ...

Whether we fit a definition or not... this is our challenge...

Love your post darlin...

Maja said…
Hello all

I have been reading your article with interest, as its been a question that have been runnin thru my mind a lot to.
"Why do we try to be woman"

I guess its like the same with everything here in the world, we humans somehow forget the big picture of it all, as we are good at focusing at things there are in front of us and inside of us, so we offen dont see the picture in total.
Meaning everything in this world comes in pair, and then its up to you to create and find that balance inbetween that makes the boat rock steady.

Regarding the male vs female I believe we all are born with both sides. That we then end up with bodies as a male or female, doesnt make the difference. Coz its the soul inside of us that needs to make the balance between the energies of masculine and feminie.

Thats why we suddenly get the urge to dress up and feel our feminie energies, because we supress the feminine energies as the man in the real world. We dont allow any femninity into this world. Once we start to be both feminine and masculine we grow as a human, we melt these 2 sides together and end up standing as a more complete human,with an understanding of both sides of the human nature.

If we take Eden where Adam and Eve met eachother.
Eden is the body the soul,
Adam is the male energy...
Eve the female energy.
The snake represents the earth/society. (according to the indians the snake is motherearth)
The snake will always try to rock your boat...as you enter the world.

Now its your mission here in life to create that balance.
And I do understand its not an easy task, and it do make a lot of people confused about who I am, with society constantly bombarding us with images of this is a girl, this is a man, be all you can!

but just take a quick look at the world, and tell me.. is this world in balance with it self?
My answer is a big NO NO NO

We have wars, poverty, greed,torture, slavery, diseases.. and why? If this world has to get back on tracks and find balance, we have to start with ourself, we have to start with making that balance within ourself.
Then with time, the balance will come in this world.

So whoever you are man or female, you have to start finding your own balance. Emerge the 2 energies together, and find the best qualities of both sides and emerges those together to one strong soul! More wise more clever and more understandable, and most important more acceptable.

oh and the bad qualities you find from both sides, throw in the trash!


Gef said…
Thanks for that mate, I am still pretty new to this so your info is great!
Randy Blue

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