Yeah, I know I should use the word ‘mastering’ but the whole point of this blog is to break those phallocentric norms that society forces upon us, so bear with me.
It’s probably obvious to you, dear reader, that a number of the posts I put up here are actually directed at myself. I use this blog to try to put down in words, and understand, the situation I find myself in. And it’s a lot of fun, partly because it gives me a chance to step outside of the tangled world of stockings and those damn little zips that fashion houses put on dresses (what is the deal with those damn things? They are barely pull-up-able when you haven’t got nails, it’s like they are making feminine clothes particularly difficult) and partly because it gives me a chance to take a deep breath and try to understand what on earth is going on inside my head.
Pictured – most of the time subconsciously my brain is saying ‘buy more Vivien of Holloway outfits’ but that’s not what this blog is about
And it turns out you can’t. Well, you can, but the next day you can find your mind has changed. Because we, as human animals, are constantly changing.
Hence the title of the post, which has two meanings, but I’ll get onto that in a moment. My first point is this – I am not the woman I was last week. Or the man I was three years ago. And I am lightyears away from the young, damaged, immature person who started on this path of flouncy frocks and red lipstick.
Pictured – I’m not the woman I was last December when this shot was taken, although I wish I was because that dress is not only gorgeous, it’s satin-lined which makes it delightful to flounce around in. But anyway, back to the serious stuff…..
We constantly change. And what’s sad about it is we tend to judge ourselves by the standards of previous versions of ourselves, or even worse, previous versions that didn’t even exist.
Take sexuality for instance. When I was growing up I was terrified, literally terrified, I’d grow up gay. Not because I thought it was a bad thing – but because I was TOLD it was a bad thing. That kid back then, growing up in a downright weird society (go watch Life On Mars to see how brown and f*cked up 1970’s England actually was, or just look at all the tales of damaged people that have floated to the surface). Being homosexual or bisexual back then was seen as exhibiting the worst of the stereotypes – limp-wristed men bitching at each other and the world while having all the strength of a wet napkin. All the while as red-blooded men laughed uproariously at stocky northern comics wearing the worst kind of drag, because that was acceptable.
Pictured – an exasperated expression which shows my feelings about 1970s comedy. Or just a fun look in a lovely silk shirt-dress, you decide
Because that was the sheer hypocrisy of the era. A man was a man, masculine, daring, strong. And the irony was the male population adored this stereotype in the same way a dreamy eyed girl was meant to adore it, all the while ignoring the obvious homo-erotic messages.
Yeah, the 1970’s were a strange brewing pot to grow up in, but the point is the person that went through that, that pinched clothes from his mother’s wardrobe, that knew every squeak in every floorboard and could dance over them like the best ballet dancer of all time, not making a single noise while draping a Laura Ashley dress over his shoulder, heading to the bathroom with his single red lipstick, bought at a shop along with a load of comics and sweets and the most crimson of cheeks, to get five minutes of relief wearing a dress and staring at the face yet to be scarred by masculine puberty, that person is long gone.
Pictured – now the five minutes are ten hours and the makeup is much better, applied by an expert and much more convincing
Every cell in the human body has a maximum life of eight years. Eight years. There is literally no physical part of you currently banging around in the homeostatic engine we call a body that was there when the Twin Towers fell. Yet we carry these subconscious scars like cherished pieces of jewellery.
And the irony is even now, in 2020, my behaviours, my stresses, my worries, all stem from the seeds of crap that were sown forty-odd years ago.
And that drives me nuts. I have some wonderful friends, online and in real-life, who I adore and, hell, heroine-worship because they seem to make all this seem so easy. But it isn’t – everyone carries these inner demons, some are much, much better at hiding them.
When you talk to people about this hobby/fetish/lifestyle/never-ending-urge within three or four questions you get asked this, every time. ‘Do you want to be a woman?’. It’s like a goto question that cis-people feel the urge to ask and, while it’s entertaining the first hundred times or more, it’s a difficult question to answer because the minute someone says it, at least for me, I get a surge of the 1970s shame even before I have a chance to answer it.
Pictured – do I want to be a woman? Sorry, what was the question again, this corset and PVC dress are cutting the blood supply off to my brain….
And that’s mad, because the answer is no. Personally I don’t want to be a woman; I just want to experience what life is like for them for just a single moment of uninterrupted joy, a single moment without all the demons in the back of my mind reminding me that real men don’t do this, that somehow this urge undermines and destroys all of my credibility as a member of the male race.
And I hate that feeling, always have. Some people like me delight in that feeling of degradation, completely generated from within, that assumption that being female is somehow less than what they are, an emasculation that gives a thrill. And that’s fine, whatever keeps you warm at 5:44am (I only use that because, err, it’s 5:44am and I’m ‘enjoying’ that wonderful kind of self-indulgently miserable insomnia). For me it’s always been an internal fight between the gorgeous pink light that makes me want to embrace the femininity I know is inside, and the nasty little 1970s bully that is telling me I’m a biological failure because of the gorgeous pink light.
Pictured – sometimes the light is yellow…
But the real point of this blog post, and the second use of the word Bully for which I apologise profusely, is that people like me, and others with different slants on this wonderful state of mind, get a lot of hatred and flak from various angles of society for nothing more than jealousy and, oddly enough, people’s own little internal bullies.
There are a number of celebrities who are talking out against the trans-community. For a start that’s a wide and far too varied a target; I could write a 500 page spotters guide to the different species of trans-people and still only just scratch the surface of differences. Society lumps a lot of what it can’t understand into the same bucket so it can throw crap at it, and what’s self-destructive about the trans community is even within itself we have bigotry and hatred, but that’s another kettle of handbags.
Anyway, these celebrities, some of which I truly admired before they opened their mouths and revealed the sad little spiteful children hiding behind their talents, feel they have the right to state definitive facts because, well, they are famous. And rich. Being famous and rich means nothing, literally nothing. In fact some of the diatribe being thrown around is literally so these people remain relevant.
But the horrible point about it is the vast majority of trans people, because of the nature of what we do, and how we have to do it in the shadows, are highly sensitive, inside, to this level of criticism and vitriol. We don’t show it because we have decades of practice in hiding the tears and self-imposed shame.
To have someone like Bloomberg, a very rich man who is buying his way into the American presidency, describe trans-people as ‘things’ or ‘it’ is just appalling. To have Rowling who wrote some beautiful books on how the beaten down can triumph actively support a brain-stem who promotes the worst kind of bigotry baffles the mind. To have Lineham who co-wrote some of the most funny, intelligent comedies of my generation be so vitriolic against a community for literally no reason is shattering to me. I would talk about Gervais but a person who spends his career playing obnoxious self-involved tone-deaf characters being an obnoxious self-involved tone-deaf moron shouldn’t be a surprise (spoiler – he’s actually a twat in real life, who’d have thought it?).
Pictured – I know I’m sounding reasonable, reasoning and reasonful, but with all due respect, which is none, f*ck you Gervais, f*ck you Lineham and sad to say it, f*ck you Rowling, you small minded, bitter, irrelevant, pointless, gutless bullies
I’m not even going to start to postulate why these people feel the need to decry someone else’s lifestyle from their positions of power/fame, but we live in a society where it is nigh on impossible to not hear what they say, and nigh on impossible to respond at the same level. It’s the 1970s bully culture taking to the extreme.
So how do we deal with it, and the bullies inside? You don’t. You let it wash over you.
See, there are actually two types of stress in this life – one is called stress, the other is called pressure. Pressure is something that pushes down on you and you have the ability to push back. Stress is something that pushes down on you and you can’t push against it. So you let it go.
I am at that point in my life where every second day I get slapped by something stressful, something I could pull into myself and ruminate about until it coloured me, bent me, broke me. And to what end? I can worry myself stupid about the fact that Rowling sees trans-people as something abhorrent, but my worry will never achieve anything other than actually making me feel like the person she thinks I should be. It’s pointless, and it’s stress. So screw it.
The point is this – there will always be people who are uncomfortable about the lifestyle I love. They are uncomfortable for their own reasons, a lot of them hypocritical, but nothing I do, say or think will ever change the way they behave. People don’t work like that. Hell, *I* don’t work like that; if I did the 1970s echoes would still be locked in the 1970s, where they should be.
I will always be haunted by the fears and worries of the seven year old cross-dresser who lives at the centre of my soul. I don’t have to be haunted and abused by someone else’s ghosts, and neither should anyone.
And finally the wonderful Nordic people have a way to deal with what they call Trolls. Pretend they don’t exist. And eventually they won’t.
Stay beautiful, hug the internal bullies until they dissolve, and learn to love yourself. When you mistress/master that, everything else is easy.
Pictured – and always bring a pink umbrella to keep the storm and rain away
3 thoughts on “[Philosophy] Mistressing the Bullies”
Mistressing The Bullies is a superb essay! You express fundamental and defining attitudes and concerns of a person who may live somewhere along the spectrum of gender fluidity/creativity. As a crossdresser your writings always resonate with me and this essay in particular really captures what I am sure are feelings shared by a great many. Thank you for your work in bringing your lovely blog to the world.
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Truly stunning piece of writing which resounded deeply with me
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A wonderful post Sarah! 🙂
And I’m sure, incredibly accurate for many ‘girls like us’ myself included. Dealing with the demons and bullies in my own head can be difficult enough without self-entitled opinion sqwarkers chiming in as well! And I agree that even within our own community there seems to be a lot of gatekeeping which I will never understand. 😕
We should be supportive of each other not trying to tear a strip off.
Your wisdom and frankness are always a welcome read. 🙂 XX
Stay safe my wonderful friend. 😘
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