[WARNING] 3:00am Blues Alert….
Insomnia is an interesting thing. 3:00am is the time when your body expects to be in repair mode, deep in REM sleep, collating and storing the memories of the day in longer term cells, chipping away at the clumps of white blood cells that have quarantined bad stuff in the bod and allowing your mind to wind down. With insomnia you end up awake and an unwilling participant in the process of internal analysis.
Yeah, long words, my apologies. Seems my internal thesauri is active at this time in the morning as well.
Pictured – Thesauri: Feminine, Ladylike, Effeminate, Female, Womanly, Womanish
But this is a different kind of insomnia. See, tonight, or rather last night, was the inaugural Boys Will Be Girls Winter Ball in Brighton and, although I’d bought a ticket, I was unable to attend due to various things – primarily work had me north of the border, my car was unwell and in the Audi garage, and I’m developing an odd dichotomy around my attitude to my femm self.
There, said it. See, the longer I let my femm side out the more I am seeming to distance myself from her. I know that sounds odd, especially if you’ve been following the blog, but my capacity for letting her out to play in the real world seems to have atrophied entirely.
Pictured – the last time i was out, Wayout, drunk as a skunk and still terrified
And I’m pretty sure I know why. I think Cindy has nailed Sarah’s look perfectly and I’m becoming very comfortable with choosing frocks and wearing them. And part of me is terrified about that.
See, Sarah used to be Debbie. And Debbie used to be Julie. And Julie was originally Diane. Each name was a different facet and personality of the inner-girl and Sarah, bless her, is the first one to truly live under the spotlight and out of the closet. And there’s a part of me, deep inside, hard coded from being a kid, that sees the whole femm stuff as wrong.
Pictured – Diane, 1996, bless
We get told we can change and that’s pretty accurate. We can control our responses to various stimuli in different ways – a perfect example of this is that twenty years ago I couldn’t even see a spider without my nervous system going into panic and spasms. That came from growing up in a house where my mother was terrified of them and would literally scream if she saw one, and that was imprinted on me as a kid. Now, by working on it really hard, I can pick up spiders and I *never* kill them, partly because they do a thankless and great job of keeping the number of buzzing idiots down in my room in Summer.
But with gender identity it’s much more set in stone. I know and love some members of the community who can embrace that inner girl and I envy them, because as much as I say I love Sarah, and I do, there’s a part of me that is so far into denial it’s practically outside my body.
When completely transformed into Sarah I find it exceptionally difficult to be feminine, and that’s just odd. I photo well – point a camera at Sarah and she will immediately pout, pose, exude femininity (if I may say so myself). But the nagging little voice inside that protests about being a man is very, very hard to shut up.
Pictured – ‘masculinity’ 🙂
And he comes out in interesting ways. For example, when I do a session I drink alcohol. A lot of alcohol. When I’ve been out as Sarah I’ve always been three sheets to the wind, and not for Dutch courage. The consumption of alcohol proves I’m a man, according to the sexist idiot deep in the core of my lizard brain.
I truly and really wish that I could just let my hair, or rather my guard, down. There’s always a little part of me that makes a joke about being dressed, that will say something toxic-masculine while I’m gingerly standing on heels and sipping beer, through a straw.
Pictured – it’s a wine glass but that’s BrewDog…..
And it’s getting harder, not easier. And, trying to stand outside and look in, I think it’s because for the first time I can see a woman when I look in the mirror.
And that’s scary. Thrilling, but scary, because a lot of us with confidence and gender issues use that one flaw that we can see in all of our photos to justify that we are still ‘men’. It’s a thin thread and a sad one, but we have that ‘get out of pink jail’ card we play to ourselves to justify that we can still hold our heads up high and claim to be masculine.
And, at 3:00am, or rather 4:00am as the clock ticks inexorably onwards, it’s far too easy to see that conflict and be depressed by it. I can look at pictures of Sarah and not see a single aspect of masculinity, and that gives her a massive rush of joy. And the little macho, nasty, toxic part of my mind doesn’t like that.
Pictured – I love this photo so much because a: no him and b: she’s so happy
And hence the dichotomy. Part of me wants to say ‘screw it’ to the masculine definition of the world and show up to work with painted nails. And the other part of me is terrified that people will see me as less of a man.
Why on earth does the opinion of others mean so much to my tattered masculinity? We live in an interesting age which is by far the best for gender blurred people, even though obsolete dinosaurs of politicians are trying to put the lipsticked genie back in the bottle. But these traits and trained behaviours run deep and hard.
And, according to my needs to get out but my fear and inability to do it, I think the little masculine chunk is winning at the moment. It’s too easy to say no to any offer of going outside, of opening myself up to the world as a woman. Part of me still wants to crawl inside the shell of the man and claim it’s all been a laugh, of course I’m a bloke, just look at me.
And Sarah fights back at that. I have moments where I go ‘right, I’ll book a makeup and go from Cindy on a Saturday night and head to Wayout by myself, just to show I can do it’. And it sounds thrilling, inside my head, but I know if given the slightest chance to get out of it I’ll bail. And if I do do it I’ll walk into that bar on heels, oozing sex appeal, and head straight to the bar for as many beers as I can take before having to urinate, at which point I will totter into the Ladies, lock myself in a toilet cubicle and have an anxiety attack.
I really wish I was stronger, and the wonderful oddness of that is that to be stronger I need to be more feminine. Another dichotomy……
Anyway, time to wrap up this midnight ramble amongst the more depressing parts of the soul, take a deep breath, wait for dawn and hope, with all of my feminine heart, that the day brings more Sarah and less him.
Stay beautiful and don’t let your mind bully you, or at least don’t let it stop doing things that will make you happier in the long term.
Pictured – and if not, there’s always beer……