Reader Warning – this is a cathartic post driven by weeks of intense pain so lots of pictures to lighten the piece.
It’s been a long while since I had the urge to write a blog post, but not because of any lack of love for my feminine counterpart. I’ve been suffering from ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ syndrome. Let me explain….
Pictured – as part of dealing with the pain that I’ll explain in the post I spent a long night going through all of my old pictures and finding a load of different ones, ones I managed to miss but rediscovered to my joy in the middle of the night. I’ll stick a load up and hopefully they will be as much fun for you as they were for me….. First one, the wonderful hourglass frock, red satin and black lace, uber-femm and delightfully pretty.
I thought it would be a good life experience to do a marathon length walk for charity. Sounds good so far, yes? So, I trained, like a good little athlete. I trained for a long while, about four months in total. Some of the training was silly, some was good, but on the whole I trained the way you should train. About four weeks before the walk I started to get twinges in my back but I ignored them because, well, I’m fifty and six foot two inches, do the math. I’m always going to end up with some kind of back issue.
So the night of the walk came – the Night Shine, a 26 mile walk through London at night for Cancer Research. I showed up at the start, ready and willing to go although I’d spent the last two days beforehand in a lot of back pain, and when I say a lot it was ‘lie down on the hotel bed and wait for the pain to subside’ levels of back pain. You know, the kind of pain that is your body telling you TO BE CAREFUL.
Pictured – I love this tea dress but I never seemed to nail the look for it. I might have to treat myself to another one as Vivien of Holloway have some glorious colours and patterns for this style at the moment, including a leopard print one. Dribble.
I ignored it. Stood at the start line I had to get my carefully packed medical supplies out of my backpack in order to spray, liberally, ‘deep cold’ on my lower back to get it out of spasm so I could do the walk.
Fast forward six hours and forty-three minutes (and yes, I’m very proud of dragging my fifty year old carcass around 26 miles of London in that time – average time for a person to walk a 26 mile marathon is around eight hours 50 minutes and I beat that by over two hours) and I’m at the finishing line, smiling happily, medal in hand, a grand and a half of money raised towards finding a cure for the ailment that is killing too many of my friends.
Pictured – a genuine smile. Hard not to smile when an outfit comes together like this. This was, cough, one of those outfits that I found hard to pose in because to pose I need a mirror, and seeing her in the mirror was, well, making me aroused. Bad Sarah.
What on earth has this got to do with cross-dressing and the adventures of Sarah? Well…..
A couple of days later my back was really hurting. I’d got a couple of thick muscle knots right at the base above the bottom and decided to see a physio. He said I’d got some deep muscle damage due to walking fast on a frozen set of muscles and suggested a deep muscle massage. I had said deep muscle massage.
During the massage I started to feel a different kind of pain, like nothing I’d ever felt before. Basically my left leg felt on fire and cramping. After I’d left the massage studio and headed home it got much, much worse. Fast forward to 4:00am and I’m driving to casualty with tear streaming down my face from the pain.
Pictured – I could make a quip about the pain of child birth but given the fact the doctor in Casualty came very close to giving me an epidural injection into the spine that quip would be a little close to the bone, if you’ll pardon the irony.
It was like nothing I’d ever felt.
Cue three nights of agony with no sleep, two visits to casualty, one visit to the doctors and turns out I have had an undiagnosed damaged disc in my back for ten or so years. The marathon, the mistreatment of my muscles, the mistimed massage and boom. Disc herniates out of the spine and smushes the sciatic nerve, the major motorway of a nerve that runs down your leg.
Again, what has this to do with Sarah?
Pictured – when you find yourself looking at pictures of your femm side at 3:30am in the morning with tears of pain running down your face and a sense of jealous resentment towards the woman in the picture because a: she’s living life as a woman and b: she doesn’t have the pain you have, you know the drugs are messing with your mind. I stopped taking the diazepam and amitriptyline very soon after I started to see Sarah as a real person and started feeling jealous towards her. Yeah, chronic pain and narcotics, not a fun place.
Well, for the last five weeks I’ve had constant crippling nerve pain in my left leg. Whenever I fall asleep my body relaxes and the nerve gets pinched between the spine and herniated disc, waking me up by telling me my leg is on fire and my foot is numb. Prognosis is three months for the nerve to calm down, three months of heavy painkillers and exercises that make it feel like your leg is being shaved of meat.
And here is what it has to do with Sarah. Sarah ran away. Or more accurately, when you flood a brain with chronic pain it pulls in on itself and all the fun stuff, all the stuff at the edges that makes life fun, gets ditched while the brain focuses on the pain.
Pictured – it’s a little humbling and depressing how fast a mind pulls itself in small when you hurt for a while, and how fast the idea of being Sarah disappeared
What an odd sensation. Sarah has been an integral part of me every waking moment for the last five years since I let her out of her pink prison, but suddenly the urge, the need, the love of all things feminine evaporated and I was reduced to going from minute to minute wondering what bit of pain would slap me unexpectedly when I moved. Bending is nigh on impossible, sleeping is still very difficult, and dealing with that level of pain constantly takes away the ability to enjoy the little things, the important things.
But wait, assuming you got this far. And I’ve been putting lots of pictures in so you’d keep reading. Being disconnected from the urge to be Sarah has interestingly allowed me to look at her, well me, with fresher eyes.
Pictured – and I found a lot of looks I’d forgotten about that were a lot of fun. This was a proper Stepford Wife look involving a gorgeous animal print swing dress from Lindy Bop, a petticoat and some good old fashioned ‘slut’ 1980’s white heels. Gorgeously silly and fun.
And it’s a nice thing. I;d got used to her being part of me and I’m ashamed to admit it, I was taking her for granted. She was becoming normal, and normal is, well, normal.
Not being able to embrace the need or urge to dress has made the idea of being able to be Sarah so much more precious. Yes, the urge has gone but it hasn’t disappeared – it’s become something beautiful that I yearn to be *able* to do. And the pain will go; on average this kind of injury, which is much more common than people think, takes three months to right itself. The nature of a nerve is that they don’t have a huge blood supply so the components for healing take way longer to get to them. Add that to the fact that the pain you feel isn’t actually pain but a misfiring of the nerve and it’s a difficult and long recuperation. Took me four weeks to realise that the horrible pain in my leg was not being caused by the leg, but more importantly the pain wasn’t an indicator of further injury. It’s just the nerve grumbling.
Pictured – and another forgotten gem, a lovely and pretty cat print dress from Lindy Bop and my natural hair colour for a change
Now, I have a session planned for Sarah from before the injury occurred, middle of November. One of the side effects of the damage is I can’t, or rather I couldn’t, physically get into or out of a car – the bending of the body and the spine to sit would pin the nerve and the whole left leg would suddenly cramp and report as being on fire. So I was getting very depressed at the idea that Sarah had gone away *and* even if she came back I couldn’t physically get in the car to drive to the station to get to London to enjoy being her. And if I could I could barely bend at all, posing in her favourite feminine way would be absolutely out of the question and a session of Sarah on crutches would be depressing to say the least.
But I’m starting to heal. Or rather I’m starting to understand the nature of the pain and think above it. For the first time in over a month I can actually consider getting in a car. Getting to London. Being able to shave the legs (all these first world cross-dresser problems).
Pictured – also forgot I did a Carol Marcus cosplay look from the new Star Trek. With thigh high boots. Dribble.
And that glimpse of the feminine is good enough to cheer me up. I will get to London, I have a plethora of new and different retro frocks for Sarah to play dress up with and the idea of spending a day in her perfume haze, the feeling of a dress riding over my legs as I stroll to the studio for pictures, is healing in and of itself.
So, excuse the outpouring please. Chronic pain is something horrible and I never appreciated just how rehabilitating it can be. I went from fast walking a marathon, something I never thought I’d be able to do, to feeling like an invalid, standing awake at 3:00am in my room wrapped in a quilt almost in tears because there was no comfortable position where the pain would relent, in just three weeks.
It’s a harsh reminder of mortality but the lesson to take from it is grab the good stuff while you can. Don’t take the lovely moments for granted. Don’t let the alter-ego of yourself become the normal. Keep her special.
Pictured – more irony, if I wore a corset now it would massively reduce the pain but a corset doesn’t go well with comfy pyjamas and Codeine….
And when I get to London in mid November, when I carefully shave as bending will still be a lottery, when I slip the first Collectif Clothing retro swing dress over my head, feel the zip, look in the mirror and see her again, I;m going to appreciate it like it was the very first time she appeared. And to be honest I’m thankful that chronic pain has given me that gift.
Stay beautiful but more importantly remember these days pass. Enjoy them as much as you can, live in the moment. You never know when you won’t be able to do what you want.
Pictured – I am so looking forward to being a vapid airhead again….. 🙂