I like this format of randomness; it matches my brain at the moment, which is all over the place to be honest. Too hot a Summer, too scary a world-view, too infuriating a political landscape, not enough Sarah time, it all adds up. But to be honest I’m sat on a constant stream of worry because, yes, I’m going out for a day as Sarah.
Not only that but it’s going to be, gasp, somewhere public and, double gasp, one of the defacto retro events of the year. Being honest I’m terrified, not of going out dressed because this is a bucket list, but because of the thousands of steps that I need to get right to just get to the place enfemme. Luckily I have a friend who has a military level approach to these kind of events and she’s done all the foot work; chauffeur booked, MUA booked, proper retro wigs being styled and provided by a place in London, the works.
Yet I’m still suffering from a touch of constant screaming anxiety. Go figure. Anyway, let’s have some randomness…..
Mainstream recognition, blush
So this is a big thing for me. Contrary to everything I put on Social Media, but absolutely highlighted here, I have a lot of confidence issues. Even after five or so years of honing the look, the mannerisms, working hard to get a coherent picture style, I still have next to no confidence on my ability to be anything other than a ‘man in a dress’.
So when a corporate company asks, very nicely, if they can use my picture on their Instagram store for the frock I was wearing I was taken aback. No false modesty but wow, the first thing that went through my mind was ‘are they taking the piss?’, followed by ‘are they trying to tick the inclusion box?’, both of which were very unfair thoughts given the company in question.
I absolutely *love* Vivien of Holloway dresses. It’s hard to describe why, at least from the ‘I’m a man’ perspective (although tellingly I always bought dresses from VoH for my partners to wear because I was telling myself they would look good in them while secretly yearning to preen around in them myself), but when you zip yourself (or button yourself) into one of them they feel, well, pure quality.
I love the styles, I love the simple retro feel of them. And when I was on Facebook I was part of their closed ‘I love my VoH frock’ where I would cautiously upload pictures of myself modelling the dresses I bought and was greatly gratified by the positive and nurturing comments I got.
So when I got a DM in my Instagram box asking if they could use a picture of me I was chuffed. Nervous, because you know, the real world and all, but very chuffed. It’s even more of an honour as the picture before mine in the carousel is Vivien herself modelling the same frock. It gave me a warm feeling of, well, belonging.
So. this is ‘yet another worry’ ™ about going out to this big retro event. I’m going with a friend who is way down the road of transition and can pull off the ‘normal girl out and about’. Me, I’m 6ft 4in in heels with a defence mechanism that automatically lowers my voice when I get anxious (see childhood in the 70s/80s for details, chapter ‘not getting beaten up for being a poof’). I know I’m going to have a day of interesting gender pronouns.
But the thing is this, I shouldn’t care. In actuality I’m (biologically, just) a man who will be wearing a gloriously retro 1940’s costume, hair, makeup. And I don’t have a problem with someone addressing me as as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’; my worry, oddly enough, is how uncomfortable it makes them.
I know I talk about lack of confidence etc etc but in actuality I’m very comfortable in the position I am in; non-binary gender confused. And to be honest what pronoun is that?
It’s a tough discussion because a lot of people on the trans spectrum get very upset when misgendered; when you are presenting fully as a woman and adopting that role 100% it’s a slight, an insult, when someone mis-genders you. But it’s a minefield on both sides; having been the person trying to work out what pronoun to use and desperate to not offend or upset (my natural state courtesy of childhood) I will fall back on non-specific terms. ‘Guys’ is usually my goto which doesn’t work.
I’ll take every Miss and Madam as a complement. But I won’t be destroyed or distraught if I get referred to as ‘sir’ because life is too short. My worry comes from putting someone else in an awkward position, but I’m always the one that is worried about the person behind the counter’s position (I detest it when people treat waiters, baristas etc badly; a nice word either way, a smile, and it lightens up the day). That’s where my worry is.
I was even considering wearing a badge proclaiming my position but that would spoil the 1940’s look.
Thank **** it’s Autumn finally
As mentioned before I don’t get to do the Sarah thing when it’s above 24C. This global warming (warning, first world problem incoming) really effects my ability to frock up (sorry, had to). So now, as we stagger, sweating and dehydrated, into the Autumn months a bit of me celebrates.
Time for the longer dresses, cardigans (although I’m pretty sure I’ve never done a shoot with one) and other warmer garments. Time to plan for Halloween and Xmas shoots, both of which I have a lot of fun with.
I’m planning to tick some boxes this Autumn; doing my first joint shoot (pure retro, two 1950’s housewives meeting for coffee kinda thing), a modern (dare I say it sexy) ‘Xmas Card’ shoot and a catch-up at Cinder’s where I have oodles of new retro frocks I need to test drive.
This year has been odd. It’s felt disjointed, even more scary in places than the time of Covid, mostly down to the aggression in the Ukraine, everything becoming unaffordable, the rise in hatred towards the T community, the works. I don’t think 2022 will go down as ‘one to remember’, unless my tickboxes turn out to be as wonderful as I think they will be.
But back to the Autumn stuff, for me it’s the cessation of that damn heat. I’ve got a lot of Viking in me; we don’t like sweltering temperatures. My brain goes mushy and it takes all of what little energy I have to lie in a sodden mess waiting for the sun to go down, so to come back to cooler days, and to look forward to open fires, warm quilts, is wonderful.
Plus, of course, the Autumn ranges, in particular Collectif Clothing which always have a delightful set of frocks for me to burn my credit card on.
Stay beautiful and stay sane, Winter is a-coming….