Last week I got a resounding response when I touched on the topic of otherwise benign crossdressing websites displaying a warning. Perhaps, not so subtly asking the question – Are we ashamed of crossdressing?
I got a touching response from Michelle via email. She has kindly allowed me to share it with you:
But some of us are not proud of who we are at all. I for one am VERY conflicted. I really enjoy dressing up pretty and sometimes it is sexual, but sometimes it is not. My wife, however, does not tolerate it at all, sexual or not, private or not. I love my wife dearly, so when I do dress behind her back, I feel extremely guilty. Sometimes the guilt is because I have been to websites that I should not have been to, and sometimes it is because I have indulged myself sexually (never with another person, just masturbating, but still) and I know that she would not be pleased. Sometimes I wish that Michelle would just go away and not haunt me anymore. But then, I am irresistibly drawn to do something later that I will regret. I feel as though I have no power of myself. But you are happy with who you are so you probably don’t understand me (and those like me) and I don’t even know why I am telling you all this.
Michelle showed bravery and honesty in sharing this with me. I know first hand the pain, self-loathing and confusion she expresses. The lack of control over your desires, wanting to fulfill your needs and to still love and respect your wife. These are not easy things to grapple with. Many people never have to deal with something so heart wrenching.
Michelle’s email is a beautiful expression of a truth many crossdressers live with, and it touched a chord with me. I thought I’d share my response to her with you, dear reader.
I spent much of my life believing that crossdressing was a curse, or worse – a sin I needed constant forgiveness for. Society and religion had convinced me that I was doing something wrong. If only I had enough will power, or enough faith, or a mastery of my emotional triggers – then I would be free of crossdressing. I was wrong for doing it, and I was weak for continuing. As much as I accomplished in my life I could never conquer crossdressing. I felt powerless, until I realized that I did have the power.
I could not change my desire to crossdress, any more than I could change my height or the color of my eyes. But I could change the meaning it held for me. Up until then I had viewed crossdressing as a cross I must bear, but what if it was truly a blessing? I couldn’t make society accept me, but what if I accepted myself?
With much introspection I asked myself – why should I be ashamed of crossdressing? At this question my mind flooded me with answers, most of which involved some variation of how other people would perceive me. I tend to agonize about what other people think, but crossdress or not, other people have perceptions of me – both positive and negative that I can influence but not control. Should I be ashamed because of what other people may think? For centuries people thought ill of another based on the color of their skin. Does that mean every person of color should feel ashamed? Absolutely not!
It took a long time, but I finally overcame this reason to be ashamed. Yet so many more reasons remained. One kept nagging me – ‘was this the most productive use of my time?’. Were the hours spent perfecting my makeup technique and shopping for clothes well spent? Perhaps not – though the same could be said for hitting a little white ball around with a stick.
The mind is cunning, next it asked, ‘What about your wife Vanessa? Surely your crossdressing must do harm to her, don’t you feel guilty about what you put her through?’ Ahh, well played mind. I do feel guilty about this. For my wife I want to be the man she deserves. I don’t agonize about the perceptions of the nameless stranger on the street, but I do care very deeply about what my wife thinks.
So I took a step back, and took stock of my ‘husbandry’. I crossdress, but I’m more caring and compassionate than most men. I wear makeup, but I treat her as my equal and respect her opinion. I’d rather get a manicure than tinker with a car, but I share my feelings and listen to her do the same. I realized that our relationship to another is more complex than a single issue. How fortunate a couple would be if crossdressing were the only issue to deal with. It doesn’t erase the guilt I feel putting her through this, but it does put it in perspective. Would your wife rather you spend every night drinking in the bar than crossdress? Likely not…
Sex has a unique way of making us feel guilty – we’re conditioned to be ashamed of our bodies almost since birth. In this case, perhaps you feel uncomfortable that your desire to crossdress is partly sexual. Even organizations like Tri-Ess try their best to separate crossdressing from sexuality. This is one I don’t feel qualified to unpack, though having a sex drive and becoming aroused is natural and healthy.
So is crossdressing a blessing? That’s something you get to decide for yourself. Personally, crossdressing has made me a better person. It has also allowed me a unique opportunity to share my acceptance with others. If I can offer just one person comfort and hope, then I’m doubly blessed in getting to share my blessing with others.
You may not be able to control your crossdressing, but you can control what it means to you. Will it mean shame, guilt and heartache? Will it be a part time hobby you indulge in, as harmful as a round of golf? Or will it open up the doors to bless others with compassion and love?
The choice is yours. The only wrong answer is choosing not to decide.
Hugs and blessings,
Dear reader, what do you think? How have you come to terms with your crossdressing? How do you deal with the shame and guilt? Is crossdressing a blessing or a curse?
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