I was born lucky.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been through really tough times with an overbearing father, my mother and sister having cancer (both are all clear now), drug addiction and depression. Although I do have an uncanny knack of finding good parking spots.
What I mean is I was lucky enough to be different. Being different was my superpower.
I remember as young child playing dress up with my sister and often choosing the nurse or princess outfits with a little smattering of Superman thrown (come on, the guy could fly). But it wasn’t until I was 15 that I tried on my sister’s school dress in the laundry and things just started to feel right.
Unfortunately society’s prejudices had already been instilled in me and feeling right in a dress was WRONG. Being a student I did the only I could to find out what was wrong with me. I went to the library to research. Luckily for me my local library had a couple of books about crossdressing and the transsexual experience (quite amazing considering this was the mid 80’s).
Through this research I discovered that I was a Crossdresser. Although I loved the idea of being a woman, I didn’t feel I was in the wrong body, although some breasts would be nice. So, at least now I knew that although still shunned by society, I was not alone. I guessed there must have been at least a few of us because they’d given it a name.
As I worked my way through my sister’s and step mother’s wardrobes I got a sense of fashion and style. Next was building up the courage to start buying my own clothes. So I spent a lot of time walking backwards a forwards out the front of lingerie shops saying “OK, this time!” and of course bought a lot of “presents” for my mum/sister/girlfriend. I even had a momentous day when I bought a wig (which I still love to wear to this day).
Having this secret side to me was exciting but also scary in that I feared the rejection of those that I cared about. I think this fear made me a very accepting, caring and compassionate person in the hope that maybe one day someone would payback this understanding and compassion. I was born lucky.
Working in hospitality during my 20’s I discovered drugs. And boy, did I discover them. I won’t go into what or how much but I was addicted. Addicted to the way my inhibitions just faded away and I felt free to explore who I was. Sarah got her name and felt more and more comfortable being out there as long as I was high. It was during this time that I told many of my male and female friends about Sarah. Also, all my housemates over those years found out about her when they’d find her passed out on the couch. But inevitably, as has been well documented, the come down sucks. The wonderful feeling of being able to share Sarah turned paranoia as I realized what had been my superpower was hanging out there for anyone to use against me. So needless to say depression kicked in and the cycle of addiction spiraled.
Luckily for me Sarah, who had shaped the person I had become, had helped me choose amazing, kind and open friends who accepted she was a part of my life. Some embraced her and others tolerated her. But most importantly they cared about me and I trusted them enough to let them help me out of the dangerous place I was in. I was born lucky.
Nearly 20 years later I still see these same friends and they occasionally joke about Sarah but are also excited to see what she will pull out at the next fancy dress party.
As I moved on with my life and into my 30’s I realized that I wanted to have a family of my own. Thus started a spate of girlfriends. Having come from an caring and loving family, that had more than its share of divorces and cheating (nobody’s perfect), I knew that I needed to be open and honest with the person I was with. I broke some hearts of those I knew I couldn’t introduce Sarah to and had my heart broken by some who either didn’t accept her or who embraced her but unfortunately weren’t the right person for me. Those were the really hard ones.
Nearing 40 I had almost given up hope that there was someone out there for both Sarah and I. Then like some Rom-Com cliche (I think I’ve watched them all) a lovely lady became a regular at my cafe.
I knew on that first date I was going to marry her. Sarah took a backseat during those early heady days of love until showing her photos of my house renovation up popped a photo of Sarah beautifully decked out in stockings, knee high boots, short skirt, corset and the aforementioned long brown wig. I struggled to skip quickly past the photo and, of course, brought up one of matching pink satin bra and undies with little black bows on them. The game was up. Flushed with embarrassment and tingled with fear I forced myself to look at the woman I had already fallen in love with.
There was no judgement or disgust in her eyes only curiosity. We talked for hours as I honestly relayed to her a lot of the story I have just told you. All those experiences telling friends and family were paying off. She had already embraced me and now she embraced Sarah as well. She loved me completely. I was born lucky.
That was five years ago and we are now married and I’m a stay at home dad for our beautiful 3 year old daughter. Sarah doesn’t get out of the house much anymore and it’s going to be at least 10 years before my daughter is ready to know about her but most days she’s there wearing little lacy undies and camisole under my jeans and t-shirt and a satin nighty to bed.
I was born lucky enough to be different and that is my superpower.