We live in both the best of times, from an information and, you know, not being at war or under constant threat of death way, and the worst of times, in that the society we live in seems, well, a bit shit at the moment. There’s end-stage capitalism, a realisation that those in power care absolutely not one whit for the common man but instead, shock horror, are using their positions of power to feather their own nests and needs. Yeah, it’s always been that way but right now, because the politicians and rulers are rock-stupid, it’s more obvious than it’s ever been before.
But those are big problems and I want to talk about the little ones, little in terms of comparison to the real world but feckin huge for us that have to deal with them.
See, I can’t do makeup. Yeah, that kind of small problem. And what that means is when I want to look fabulous, when I want to be, well, me, I need to go somewhere else and have my appearance professionally altered. I’m lucky in that my other half ‘tolerates’ this activity, but there’s a caveat on that – I’m not allowed to ‘do it’ at home.
Pictured – though I fail to see how doing the gardening in this outfit would be an issue…
For a certain type of girl, one who can’t dress whenever she wants and can’t address those feminine urges when they arise, I call this the ‘inbetween’. That eternal stretching length of time between being Sarah and, well, being Sarah.
And surviving that time is a bitch, if you don’t mind the language. For 98.2% (and I am that anal) of the time I’m stuck as drab me. And to be honest that sucks a lot at the moment. He’s getting older, the world is getting more and more terrible day by day and he literally craves to be her. But he can’t, because he can’t do makeup and can’t do it at home. Hence the inbetween, the time when he needs to find a way to just survive without going nuts the time when he can’t be her.
The cycle goes like this – I worry about the logistics of up upcoming ‘session’. I then get a bit stressed in the days running up to the session, not because of the session but because what if the trains are cancelled? What if I forget that gorgeous new floral frock she desperately wants to wear? What If I, gasp, get a spot, or come down with a cold? Then the day comes, and I stress about the train until I’m physically sat on it. Then I stress about whether the train will be late every time the brakes go on. Then I stress about getting a taxi because, and sorry Sarah, she packs *way* too many clothes and shoes and the bag, looking a lot on the outside like a military backpack and on the inside like an explosion in a burlesque dressing room, ways an absolute tonne. They I worry about the hotel, will they have accidentally cancelled my room? Then the day of the session I worry about getting to the place of transformation and, and I’m a little ashamed to admit it, I still get terrified waiting on the doorstep for Cindy to open the door.
Pictured – although in the old days I’d convinced myself that once frocked up I’d have way more courage. Ah well, a girl can dream…
Then the session, which is like having my soul dipped in liquid chocolate. It’s just bliss. The minute I look in the mirror and she is there, and he is gone, it’s like a light goes on in my soul. Cue x hours of dressing up, posing, laughing, tottering on heels, the works. Then back to the hotel, still a-glow with the after effects. Then the train home. Then the inbetween.
And the inbetween works like this, because I’m in denial. I get a couple of days of euphoria, an urge to post as many pictures as I can on social media to get that little rush of people telling me how pretty she is. And yes, it’s the ‘she’ bit that gives me that glow.
Then a couple of days of testosteronal bullshit when I persuade myself ‘that’s it’. No more Sarah, it’s all done, I’m satisfied. Then a couple of days of mild depression as I actually consider hanging up the frocks and walking away. Then a day or two of panic at he though, combined with frantic texts to Cindy to book another session, to get a date in the calendar so I know that she will come again at some point.
Then a week or so of feeling a bit flat. The pictures of the last session look superb, and I find myself jealously envying the person in the picture, who gets to be dressed like that for eternity while drab idiot here has to go to work and face the cold world with the itchy armour of masculinity sitting heavily on his frame.
Pictured – look at her, not a care in the world….
Then an odd couple of weeks where everything seems to balance out, and, for a short while, he stops to think about her at all. He doesn’t go on social media, doesn’t fire up her laptop. It’s odd because it’s so different to the way I/he feels normally.
Then she comes back in his mind. The urges to look at the Vivien of Holloway website start again, casually opening a browser window, going to amazon.co.uk and searching for ‘1940s women dresses’. That subtle perfumed, pink itch that starts somewhere behind the eyes and spreads to the entire pre-frontal cortex.
And then it becomes maddening. For a couple more weeks every spare moment is spent writing blog posts as her, posting to Facebook, Flickr, Fetlife, instagram. Many evenings of going back over the huge amount of photos she has and being genuinely stunned, in a nice way, at some of the looks she managed to pull off. She becomes overpowering in the way he thinks, even at work and in high profile meetings he will slyly pop his phone out of pocket and go to Instagram, rabidly reading the comments with a little thrill every time someone complements her on her fashion sense, the way she looks, how beautiful her nails are.
Pictured – yup, people do fixate on the nails rather than what she is doing with her hands.
At this point in the cycle there’s normally about six to eight weeks to go to the next session, so there’s an uptick in female shopping behaviour It’s about this time I usually end up buying something special for the next session, an expensive frock, some perfume, maybe even a pair of shoes assuming there are ones in my size.
And then the worry starts. Every sneeze is the flu, which could stop me going to the next session. I get obsessed with my weight, with my eating. I start to over-exercise, telling the world in general it’s so I can stay fit when in actuality I really, really want to squeeze my old flabby frame into a size 16 pencil dress.
And the we’re back at the start again……
Pictured – nothing to do with the blog post, I was just very amused how dirty women’s magazines can get….
I think, for me and a lot of girls like me, this period of inbetween is brutally hard. We have the advantage of social media but that comes at a price – it’s a place where people can vent themselves without having to physically face anyone else, which means you get a very raw look at people. What I mean by this is that people can project what they think they are, or more importantly what they think people need to think about them, onto the content they push.
And as someone who can’t be me every single minute of the day it is sometimes very hard to watch other people, through the lens of things like Facebook and Instagram, being able to express their inner selves and indulge their needs whenever they can. It’s not a complaint – I know for a fact that nearly everyone on social media is hiding a pain they can’t talk about. But for us ‘inbetweeners’ it hurts a lot when we can’t do it.
I’ve kept no secret that I’m a little screwed up, but I’m starting to realise that the Sarah part of me, that I love, isn’t the symptom. Being her is the way I deal with having to be him, she is my coping mechanism, which makes it even harder for me when in the inbetween.
Pictured – a rare picture of my *two* coping mechanisms. Sarah and alcohol, what a mix.
At some points I can’t face going on Facebook, partly because it highlights how limited my own ability is to be the person I want to be, and partly because there are a lot of people I genuinely love on Sarah’s Facebook and I don’t want to share the crap bits of the inbetween. Which then makes me feel even crapper.
I’m not daft enough to think that being Sarah all the time would solve this quandary. Far from it, being Sarah all the time would lessen what Sarah is and means to me. So the inbetween is a necessary but genuinely unpleasant necessity.
Pictured – major problem with going full time would be I work with an amazingly sexist bunch of people and I know for a fact that they’d put aside the fact I was me under this kind of look and try and hit on her. A lot.
The thing with this blog post, and it’s not being negative, is that there isn’t an easy way to survive the inbetween. The fact it is there just highlights how much I love being her, and how important and valuable her time is to me. Doesn’t make it any easier when I’m at the absolute mid point between Sarah times, but if I didn’t have Sarah life would be a lot, lot worse.
Anyway, as you can probably tell, I’m at the exact mid-point between sessions……
Stay beautiful and for all of those girls out there, and I class myself as one, who can’t dress when they want to, stay strong. It’s what makes the experience so sweet.
Pictured – I’m counting the days, babe.