How do we achieve self acceptance? And how long does it take? In my case, that would be sixty plus years — sixty plus years of putting Bobbi into a locked corner and rarely giving her time to be the part of my life. Bobbi has been purged multiple times in my life and for that I am truly sorry. She has deserved much more from me. She has never been allowed to be introduced to anyone in my life or to express openly herself in an accepting and supportive environment.
I began seeking counseling and therapy recently in hopes that speaking with someone in a forthright and honest way would somehow help me achieve self-acceptance, and at least some recognition that Bobbi is part of my life. It is important when seeking counseling that the therapist understand exactly for what you are seeking counsel. In my case, I certainly was not seeking to be cured, and this needed to be made clear to my therapist. Neither was I seeking to go into deep psychoanalysis of my childhood in order to “unearth” the reasons why I am transgendered. I am sixty-two; what does it matter what the trigger was. The deep and hidden event which may have contributed to this has no bearing on my coming to terms with Bobbi in my life today. Maybe there was trigger, or maybe I was this way at birth. It does not matter; Bobbi is here to stay.
What is important now is giving freedom for Bobbi to be part of who I am. I would like to grant myself the opportunity to blend both my masculine and feminine beings into one whole and happy person without shame, embarrassment and guilt. So how after a lifetime of denial was I going to do this. It was with this aim that I began therapy with a local therapist who specializes in transgender issues.
At one of my first sessions, my therapist gave me a simple exercise to complete for “homework”. He asked that I compose a simple list. What are the cons of my crossdressing, and what are the pros of my crossdressing. On its surface, the exercise seemed like a very basic and vanilla way to begin one’s self-analysis, but I found it quite useful and helpful once I really drilled into it.
Most of the girls here probably know the list of cons by heart.
- Secrecy — Secrecy is manifested in both physical and emotional ways. The physical arises from the hiding of your bras and panties where not even a police officer looking for illegal drugs would find them. The emotional being simply in keeping your cross dressing hidden from yourself and the outside world.
- Guilt — The guilt resulting from secrecy prevents any growth whatsoever in both your life personally and with your significant other. It creates a false life filled with half truths and equivocation — hardly a healthy dynamic.
- Fear — Fear is most certainly wrapped up in the equation of cons. For me, there are the fear of discovery and the fear of rejection from loved ones. More importantly, there is the fear of actually admitting to myself the truth, “I am transgendered; I am a cross dresser”, and what that truth means to the rest of my life. That is a lot to swallow and a lot of which to be fearful.
The pros of my crossdressing, however, are a much different story.
- Honesty — Honesty is looking at yourself in the mirror and knowing in your heart that this is the truth. It is admitting and accepting who you are.
- Freedom — Freedom grants the opportunity simply to be the woman you always knew deep inside was a part of you. It allows you to giving her life after so many years.
- Joy — Joy is the sheer euphoria and happiness when dressed up. It is the release from a lifetime of denial.
- Validation — Validation is knowing that crossdressing brings you so much joy, that the dresses and makeup confirm your deepest suspicions, that you do fall along the transgender spectrum. There is no doubt anymore. There will be no questioning.
- Fun — Everything about feminizing is amazing from shopping for new outfits to spending time on your makeup. It is a joy. Surely, something so fulfilling cannot be wrong.
From a personal standpoint, the pros certainly outweigh the cons, which is probably true for many of us. That, however, is just for us personally. What about the most important person in our lives, our partners and wives? Coming to terms with oneself is fine, but if you are still hiding your favorite dress under the mattress, then you have not really come to terms, have you? Truly, coming to terms must include our partners in life.
Coming out to my partner was the most difficult thing that I have ever done in my life. It was also the most liberating. When I came out to my partner, it was the beginning of an exciting, yet challenging, new chapter to our lives. Someone whom I love now is faced with challenges for which she never signed up. And for that I am sorry. Coming out, however, is the healthiest and most honest way to live life, and if she loves you and cares deeply for your happiness, then complete fulfillment is within reach. A loving and supportive partner completes a circle in your life. The chance to share your thoughts and desires openly can be the most satisfying and rewarding aspect of your self-acceptance.
Coming to terms with yourself is the first step toward a richer and fuller life. Putting aside the self doubt and guilt is important to embrace fully your second self and your new life as a whole human being. My journey like so many others is one of several steps and hurdles of which this piece is just one. Hopefully, I have provided you with some ideas and tools that will assist you on your journey as I have progressed through my own. Either way, in closing, I would like to offer my thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to share my thoughts.