Choosing Our Battles

Once upon a time, in a life far, far away I began wearing a special sort of clothing. I can’t exactly say it was modern, based as it was on outfits that had been around for over ten years, but it was certainly functional. It was made for a purpose and served that purpose well.

Whilst fashionably adorned in delicious combinations of beiges and greens I undertook a course of study. I began learning how to accessorise my attire; what went with what and where it was worn. Some was draped firmly yet still casually over my upper body. One special accessory enhanced my hips and from this wide belt I slung even more accessories.

Most excitingly about my dress of those days was how I could vary it to match the occasion. For those times when I sought to blend in and not be noticed I chose rather drab combinations, often so successfully that I actually disappeared into the background. At other times there was a need to be seen, to demonstrate to all how proud I was to be who I was. For those times I chose immaculate outfits that were crisp and well laundered, coupled with glossy accessories that reflected the sun in an effort to match the beaming smile I also wore.

Appearance isn’t all there is to life though, so at that college of learning I also undertook studies in other areas. One of those was battle tactics. That was when I first learned that winning doesn’t always mean victory. Sometimes a sensible tactical withdrawal is also a win. “A wise man picks his battles” I was told. “Only a fool takes a knife to a gun fight” I was also advised. Although I did receive instruction in how to wield said knife, especially when it was attached to the end of another of my accessories, I understood that the actual meaning of that saying is to be prepared for what one is going into.

As I said, those days are far, far away and it really does feel like another life. From those beginnings as a hesitant and often scared young man I think I developed into a relatively confident adult and maybe even, at times, something like a good woman. Some lessons linger though so I still pick my battles and I rarely take knives to gunfights. Sometimes I will sally forth into the fray only to determine that I’m either outnumbered or I’m fighting the wrong battle. At those times I choose a tactical withdrawal, hopefully with not too many wounds to lick. On other occasions I see how an engagement is proceeding and determine if I am suitably equipped to join battle. Unfortunately, there are also times when I know I’m not suitably outfitted yet I still I take up arms. The outcome isn’t always a good one for me, some lessons in life being hard to learn.

We must learn to plan our campaigns and decide how we will face each challenge. Acceptance that we can’t win every battle will help us to determine which battles we choose. Sometimes that tactical withdrawal is the very best option. As my similarly khaki and green-clad mentors told me way back then, a withdrawal is not a retreat. A retreat is an admission of defeat and flight from the field. A withdrawal is acknowledgement that success lies in doing things differently.

Life as a transgender person is an on-going campaign. Some battles we win, some we lose but hopefully we learn to manage our involvement. Purging is a retreat. The withdrawal option is storing our items away for revival when conditions are right. Returning to the closet and pulling the door to is a retreat. Choose instead the withdrawal option of finding a quiet place to review the recent action or, if a return to the closet is deemed necessary, leave the door ajar so that communication with allies is possible.

Finally, no battle should ever be fought alone. Every campaign needs reinforcements and for those of us who still fight the odd demon, who still suffer the occasional setback, Crossdresser Heaven is the perfect recruiting centre for those reinforcements. Just stick up a poster with your face beaming out from it with the call “I WANT YOU” emblazoned below. Someone is sure to come to your aid.

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JaneS

Also known as Doc, from Canberra, ACT (that’s in Australia) is an older crossdresser who gets to dress whenever she wants to thanks to total family support. She’s happy to share her experiences if it helps others to feel less alone.
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9 Comments
  1. terri m 2 months ago

    The key word in my life I has been balance. Each year it seems to get harder to maintain. The urge to be my female self seems to get stronger every day. I love my family and don’t want to hurt them. My wife of 45yrs wants no part of Terri, but doesn’t fight me too much on getting out. I started going out in the late 70’s. Over the yrs I have met so many nice people. The last 3 yrs I have attended the Keystone conference in Pennsylvania. I love meeting girls from all over.
    I love playing with my grandchildren. But I also love going to my hairdresser and getting my hair done. Each year it seems to get harder to maintain the balance. There are no easy answers in life.
    Terri

  2. Profile photo of Maria Young
    Maria Young 2 months ago

    Hi Jane and all you other girls I don’t know about all of you just myself but for me I don’t think I chose this battle really Its just the hand of cards I was dealt never knowing what a father was growing with all the women in my family hasn’t made life as a male very easy to understand but maybe I’m seeing it wrong somehow my family doesn’t understand how I see my life I’m not sure I do either LoL my late wife understood me better than anyone else in my life I think I’ve never had a good therapist I don’t think the only one I ran into just wanted to keep his son from being this way nice guy he was I hope I have better luck at my local LGBT center as soon as I can manage the gas to get there and back I’ve tried to figure it out all by myself in think I missed some spots though LoL and now I’m a mess Love Maria

  3. Profile photo of skippy1965(Cynthia)
    skippy1965(Cynthia) 2 months ago

    Jane
    Excellent article as yours always are. I too need to employ these tactics, biding my time(withdrawing from being totally out and open as you are, until the time is right(after my daughter’s wedding.) Until that time I can chose targets of opportunity to be out and about as Cyn, but not be full time. After he wedding I can consider if I am ready to go further in either dressing more full time or even committing to living 24/7 with or without transitioning. Thanks again for sharing the wisdom of your experience!
    Cyn

  4. Joanne Johnson 2 months ago

    I am enjoying Cross Dresser Heaven as a space to be myself. Sadly, I cannot come out without losing everything I have, family, job, groups. I dress each day at home when I am home alone. Oh the sheer joy of taking off all my male clothes and laying out what I will wear, dressing up and getting on with my day. Will I wear a skirt and top? A dress? Which pantihose? Bra and panties, matching or not? Exciting choices. I totally move into another space. I have hopes and dreams around living this way all the time. Even a week with like minded people. Being a woman, responding as one. Being treated as one. Living the dream that I have had for 50 years. It never goes away. I don’t want it to. It’s part of me. I wish I didn’t have that conflict but I love my femininity. I tolerate my maleness. My chest feels naked without a bra. My male clothes feel strange on. I am in this place and cherish every moment of my femininity being expressed and hope that one day, I will live the dream.
    Thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts and feelings.
    Joanne

    • Profile photo of skippy1965(Cynthia)
      skippy1965(Cynthia) 2 months ago

      Joanne,
      REgarding your wish to spend at least a week en femme, consider attending one of the conventions/conferences like Esprit in the pacific NW of the US or the SCC (Southern Comfort Conference) in Ft Lauderdale, FL. I went to the SCC this past September and had a b;last spending the entire week as Cyn with other like-minded people/ WE had people form all over the US and even some from the UK and India!
      Cyn

  5. Profile photo of Maria Young
    Maria Young 2 months ago

    Hi JaneS your story is very accurate and reliable we must live wisely I have been somewhat forced into being alone in my battle mostly by finances byfinancesi know I’m not alone but maybe somewhat unique in certain ways at least I struggle with those demons you mentioned I’m going to try and get some help soon now that I can at least drive legally again life has been a very unpredictable and bumpy roller coaster ride in the dark to put it mildly I know in my heart that I’m truly more female than male thank you for your article it does help I wish my family could be supportive but I’m not so lucky there at least not yet and most likely never Love Maria

  6. Profile photo of April
    April 2 months ago

    Nicely put Jane. Although I wonder if battle doesn’t have a bit too much of a win / lose aspect to it. At this point in my journey I hope I am presenting a win-win opportunity to the people I meet. April is definitely the better part of me, and when she is out and about I meet all kinds of people who I hope I leave in a better mood than when I met them. I am so happy as April that I think it just exudes from my very being. I know I have met some people that I have left smiling and feeling better about themselves.

    So sometimes it is a battle to confront those who let ignorance guide them, but more often it is just a joy to be out and about.

    Hugs
    April

  7. Profile photo of Jamies time
    Jamies time 2 months ago

    That is a very good story and so true with life as we know it. Since I became a member of CDH I have found out that there are so many other girls out there like me and I love who I am

  8. Profile photo of Jaimelynn
    Jaimelynn 2 months ago

    Hi JaneS,

    Love how you framed your article in a military tactical scenario.

    I see life as a battle every day and after finding some R and R (Rest and Relaxation) at this CDH site…I am in total agreement with your tactics…no more retreats for me…withdrawals if required and then only temporarily till the new plan of attack can come into play, and be better executed.

    My wife who gives me my space now but does not agree with what I do, just has her boundaries on how I do it so she can tolerate it, has insisted no more purging for me anymore…even if I decide to back off for some reason…I have invested too much financially this time and she does not want me throwing anything out ever again…end of discussion.

    Thanks for the encouragement Doc…keep up the good fight!

    Jaimelynn

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