Kismet or Karma?
And yet, I have found myself recently – especially when enjoying peace and beauty – thanking God for giving me the chance to see life from two standpoints, and for the intense enjoyment, fulfillment, freedom and happiness which the release of my feminine persona brings.
I am in my fifies, and have been successful in my career as a male in a conventional social role, but I’ve always felt like an imposter or an actor, (perhaps ‘actress’ is the better word). My earliest memories are of enying girls and wanting to be like them.
Under the impression that I was unique in this respect, I grew up compensating, denying myself, deliberately taking part in the roughest and most competitive masculine sports. Yet, whenever the opportunity arose to wear my Mother’s clothes I did so, even occasionally going out in them at night. I can, now, with the utmost clarity and sense of joy, remember the feeling that flooded through me when I first put on a skirt. It was as if, having been on a long and tiring journey, I suddenly arrived home, to find light and warmth, safety and comfort. It was as though I had slammed the door behind me on the dark, dismal, dangerous night outside.
That happened nearly fifty years ago, and I have lived as a woman, at first quietly and privately, but recently in public, on many occasions since. Skirts and dresses have become natural and ordinary when in my feminine role, yet still an element of that sense of “homecoming” remains with me. I feel complete, no longer acting a part, and happy.
So, why, do I and so many others have to live most of our lives in a half world, living a lie, acting as a male, while feeling female, and never able to be wholly alive?
Is it sexual deviancy, hormone inbalance, or something far deeper and more mysterious, which we can only guess at? I have been in contact, in different parts of the world, with several religions, and I am convinced that we return to this life many times, working our way to perfection. It is possible that a person born into one life as a woman, can remember that in later incarnations? I am convinced that is the only way to explain that reassuring feeling of homecoming, when we finally admit to ourselves that we are more comfortable as women.
I feel “myself”, when I don female garb but, oddly enough, receive no physical sexual excitement at all.
Had I been born with a female body I would have wanted a normal married life, but the thought of a homosexual relationship repels me. I don’t consider myself homosexual. I love pretty clothes and feminine frivolity, and revel in the contrast with my normal role, but there is more to it than that. Clothes are accessories only, yet something strange happens when I’ve been wearing them for a couple of days or so. I began to look and feel feminine; my voice comes naturally at a higher pitch, and my walk and gestures become feminine.
Do I trigger the production of female hormones by stimulating femininity? That is probably medical nonsense, but certainly something happens, and I have seen enough strange occurrences in Africa and the Far East to be sure that are happenings outside our normal comprehension.
I am certain I have lived before as a woman, perhaps many times, and my hope is that I shall return again to that role. I also find it strange that it doesn’t seem to matter that I was born into the developed western world. Even with what I know of the dreadfully hard and deprieved life experienced by the majority of women in Africa and Asia, I would exchange my life for their tommorrow, were it possible without causing hurt and sadness to others here. So, in addition to clothes, conventional Western beauty and elegance do not matter that much. (Although given a choice my preference would lie in that direction.) It would be enough to be female. In fact, one of the continual dreams which I have had since childhood, (long before puberty incidentally) which is perhaps a window into the past, is of being a slender brown girl in a tropical climate, wearing only a sari or sarong kabaya, with bright flowers in my long dark hair. Well, one day maybe!
Since I discovered the shop at Bury Old Road, and Stephanie’s utterly professional, friendly, helpful and so understanding staff there, I have been able to allow my femininity some release. They showed me how I could be translated into an elegant, convincing and well dressed middle aged lady. Since then, luckily, being able to arrange my work conviently, I have lived for more days at a time in the role which I am more and more sure is the one meant for me. I find that as a woman I am an entirely different person, with different interests and a different personality. As a man I have always been self sufficient and a “loner,” but as a woman I love company and find I fit in with other people much better as a female. Both men and women seem to like to talk to me and often other people have initiated the conversation. In fact, I’ve intercepted one or two annoyed glances from ladies whose husbands have become involved in conversation with me! This does my ego, and confidence, the world of good! I enjoy visiting Cathedrals, churches and Museums or National Trust Houses, when that sort of contact happens – like having my hand held overlong by a Vicar who seemed to be really enjoying showing off to his female visitor!
These places are not of much interest to my male side. Neither is “good” music, which I love as a women. Another aspect of my treatment as a middle aged and well dressed woman, which flatters and pleases me is the courtesy and niceness shown by so many people. Men do hold the door open, or step aside, and it feels marvellous.
I enjoy going to Church – again this is the complete reversal – and feel very close to God there. I don’t feel that He (or She!) minds how I dress, and welcomes me. I don’t worry about the injunction in the Bible that the sexes should not wear each others clothing. I am – mentally and psychologically – a woman.
I have taught myself to cook a little, (through I am still having difficulty in coping with five things at once), and to sew and knit, and gain immense pleasure from all three. A fluffy woollen hat and matching scarf are currently in production for the forthcoming winter, and the wearing of these, together with the skirt which I am sewing will be as great an achievement as anything in my life.
I even enjoy arranging flowers, which is utterly alien to my male role. Strangely I am a noticeably worse driver as a woman, indecisive and lacking concentration. However, perhaps this is understandable, as I simply cannot resist looking at myself in the mirror, rather than the road behind!
Even when playing my usual part as a male, there are changes since I made the effort to escape from my imprisonment. I look at other women in a different way – in the way that a woman would look at them, assessing their clothes and hair wondering if they would present any challenge or competition to me.
Although I carry on in the male part, more and more my thoughts are femininely orientated – for example I identify with the female lead in a film or play rather than the male, and despite my contenion that clothes are only an accessory rather than an end in themselves, I am intensely interested in them. I have an embrassingly large collection, from an expensive fur coat to a sun dress, which to my astonishment I found that I could wear with a strategically placed scarf around my shoulders!
Naturally I also enjoy experimenting with scent and make-up, and although nowhere near as expert as the girls at Bury Old Road, can now do a fair job on myself, fair enough anyway to be totally accepted as a woman in all sorts of situations, shops, transport, restaurants, in fact everywhere that I confidently go.
But, where do I go from here?
To be honest, I don’t know. I became locked by circumstances into the male role before sex change operations became possible. Were I twenty or thirty I think that would be an option, but not now. Too many others are involved. Instead, I think that I am living in hope of the future, that God is going to say to me “Sorry, a finger slipped with your moulding, but we’ll get it right next time around.” If that thought brings any hope or comfort to others in my position then these lines will have been worth while.
If anyone has doubts about what can be done to escape, albeit temporarily, from a male incarceration, then don’t have. Try it. Get advice from the girls at Transformation. You may be embarrassed, fearful or shy; I was all three, but they were marvellous. I felt at ease and at home very very quickly, and that’s not all bad after fifty years of locking it away in my heart! The joy and excitement which you will get from hearing a waiter or shop assistant say “Thank you Madame” will make any initial trauma well worth while, I promise you.
Don’t be ashamed either. We are as that unknown Deity made us, and indeed what is there to be ashamed of in wanting to be part of the better and nicer half of humanity?! Of course I am sad for what I have missed. I would have been delighted in being a Wife and Mother, and indeed Grandmother, and I’m sure I’d have been good at all three, but I’m proud of the femininity that I do have, proud to be the nicer person that I have become, and intensely thankful for what I have experienced, in both roles.
The thought of the woman that I could have been, and perhaps, if there truly is another life, will be again, both excites and comforts me.
Don’t be afraid of life – get help, get advice, and be proud of yourself. I did, and I am.