William Shakespeare, once wrote “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players…”
And that’s true for everyone. As we go through life we play the parts dictated to us by our families, our friends, our employers, society and finally our selves.
The problem is there is sometimes a disconnect between what we want and what the rest of the universe has lined up for us. Whether its a tough as being in the wrong body and having the wrong “bits”. Or the other end of the scale; a simple liking for something feminine in our wardrobe.
We all play parts in the drama that is our lives and for most of us we do that without any fuss or angst. The small amount of time we have in our alternative role is enough to sate our appetite and ease our discomfort. But for others the whole living in the wrong body eats them inside. They look out at the world with regret at the part the universe decreed they were to play. They look at the other actors with envy and sadness. If not for a small twist of fate back in the womb they would be living the life they desired. But yet they are stuck with this part and play it they do. What choice do we have?
How often have we looked at those ladies dressed to the nines wanting to be them, or sadly at the ladies dressed as if they stepped straight out of a “People of WalMart line-up”. Those that just threw some stuff on and look as if they just don’t care or even treasure their femininity. We then look inward at ourselves and think we’d do a better job of being a woman than them. Then we move on with our boring lives.
But how do you just move on?
For some we secret away our femininity and allow that secret woman to be released only when the world is safely locked outside. Others much braver strut their stuff in the real world and we envy them their courage. Feeling the wind swirl their skirt and the echo of their heels on the side walk as they let their femininity “breathe and live” are things we dream about.
When I first dressed it was because I wanted to and I liked the clothes my sisters had. They were pretty and nicer than mine, the innocence of youth. They were so lucky to have that variety, so I wore some of their stuff. Until I got caught that is and my parents explained that I was a boy, so I didn’t wear that stuff.
It was then I was typecast into my life long role. Or rather the universe thought I was.
Of course I still wore what I could and kept it secretive. For a time it exciting and maybe that drove the urges for a while, but when I hit puberty things changed. I’ll admit the dressing took on a fetish type of appeal. In that hormone crazy period of my life I don‘t think I really considered why I dressed. It was a troubling time and probably was for most. I was aware of sexuality for the first time and of course the common ideas of the time were if you weren’t manly or liked the wrong things then you were gay.
The period of time as a teen was tough. I fought against those feelings and didn’t dress much if at all. I convinced myself that I would be fine if I just stopped. Well that didn’t quite work out. I found myself sneaking into my mom’s stuff to get a quick fix. Convinced that if I just did it one more time then Id be okay. Id kick it….. until the next time.
I hated myself. I hated my weakness and I hated that I couldn’t do what I was supposed to do. To be the man I was supposed to be.
Fast forward 30+ years and I had a crisis. My marriage fell apart. That was it. I broke. I couldn’t cope and I withdrew into myself. I sought out a place to hide and a way to avoid my life. I let that hidden female figure within me to “take the wheel for a while”. I became that woman when I was out of the view of the world. And it was the best thing I have ever done.
I had no idea the effect that would have on me. That female influence softened me. People now comment on how much I’ve changed in the last 3 years. I’m a nicer guy to be around and a better person I’m told. And truth be told I know I’m better too.
I am now back with my wife and we are trying again. I give credit for the new person I am because I finally let my inner self come to the fore. I’m still closeted, but I’m slowly peeking out from my self imposed prison a little more than I ever did before. My wife isn’t okay with Sarah, but she tolerates my Cross-dressing because its a part of me and not just something I do. And because its not something I’m ashamed of or going to give up.
I spent decades playing the part that I thought society and everyone expected me to play. I forgot about adding some flavour from within myself to that part. And for a short time I played a different part; I was a woman playing the part of a man outside the home. In fact I played that role for quite a while and still do some days.
And then one day it dawned on me that maybe I didn’t need to conform quite so rigidly to my role. I could actually ad-lib and just be me. I could let a blended version of myself be the part I played. I let myself be an amalgamation of the two persons I was trying to be. I take better care of myself. I moisturise and look after my skin. I walk more and cycle a little (which gives me a reason to shave my legs) and I’ve allowed myself to be a bit silly and paint my nails (which when asked I just say “I like it” and not justify it past that).
Sure its not a perfect solution for all and for some it would be impossible, but what if it isn’t. What if its a way to have your cake and eat it. Maybe not as much as I have or maybe even to greater extents, but maybe its a way to acknowledge that inner you without compromising the image the world expects.
I now wonder if the part I’m playing is that of a woman pretending to be a man, or a man playing at being a girl. With time I’ve realised that maybe its both and probably neither.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that what we do is playing in any way. Its serious stuff. We have complicated double lives and its how we chose to live them and which part of us we show the world is tough. Everyone’s situations are different and what is good for one is poisonous for another.
So what image or part do you portray to the world? Are you letting the inner you come to the fore or are you hiding that inner you in a bid to stay “normal”? Maybe you are worried that any easing up will result in an inability to pull her back inside. Either way take comfort that there are untold numbers just like you playing the part they believe they should, while they wish they were cast a different role.