Video

Opia

Opia [o-pia]  The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel simultaneously invasive and vulnerable.

A requiem for the sullen.

During some of my endeavours while venturing out meeting likeminded, it occurred to me that there seems to be a distinct divide between the characters who are going for real and those who just want to play dress up every now and then.

Deliberately putting this with some disdain, perhaps in a faint attempt to retribute.

Hearing the stories of those full on trans girls, they often left me pondering over their strong determination. About them willing to sacrifice so much for seemingly nothing. As for some, their happiness came at such a high price and getting their lives back on track often took decades rather than years. Losing their jobs, dear and loved ones. Going through long, intimidating and painful procedures in search for that authentic feeling of what they refer to as finally being themselves.

I know it’s all too easy to get lost in that maze of physical and psychological discomforts. I therefor deeply admire their commitment and grew to believe that compared to them, I lived a life of Riley.

Allegedly I took a wrong perspective. I had entered a world I didn’t know much about and all the different emotions attached to it made me feel alienated. But I’d recognized the sentiments and feelings and soon enough I could make sense of what they said. Being blessed with a reasonable physique and seemingly above average styling and make-up skills, it made me more than once draw the attention of those who saw no future in their lives without a full transition. Most of the times doing nothing more than giving them a listening ear, attention and recognition, it nearly always made me pass their scrutiny and got me their proverbial nod of approval. They apparently trusted and liked me enough to pour out their hearts. Which I wholeheartedly embraced because I love people and like to hear their lives stories, providing them the acknowledgement they so desparetely need . Especially those in our trans community have something to talk about.

There were occasions however, when those conversations abruptly ended as it came to answering their inevitable question,…..about how far I was in my transition. Somehow the answer wasn’t what they always expected. Admittedly the majority was more or less surprised and continued the conversation in a polite manner. But some acted like they just told their biggest fears and secrets to their worst enemy, soon turned away and ignored me at later meetings. Looks and demeanour were apparently enough to assume I was one of them, simply because I could relate to the things they said, but not worth the attention after it became clear that I only qualified as a crossdresser at best.

Why was I seen as a pretender?

When I made my first steps into this world I initially thought that all trans people, no matter what shape or form, would make a stand for each other. But slowly it dawned on me that the blurry line between crossdressing and transsexuality actually was a gaping divide. It kept me confounded for a while, because since when did one form of transgender identifies as more legitimate and genuine than the other? Wading through the marshes of this transworld idiom, it’s easy to get stuck in the quick sands of the terminology coming with it. People do have a natural tendency to label others and things around them. Primarily just to make sense of our complex world but not the least to define and establish their own place in it. That there’s some kind of hierarchy applied to it was something I had to find out for myself. By putting the other in a lesser category apparently makes their own case more important and legitimate, but completely ignores the other’s feelings and merely regard the fact that there might be loads of different ways to identify oneself. That we’re all rocking the same boat is easily forgotten and when it comes down to their own niche they’re riding high horses.

I made decisions in my life to do the things the way I do. And although I technically “only” identify as a crossdresser in some’s perspective, I know that I could have easily ended up on the other side of that line if circumstances earlier in my life would had been different. So why is it that they see me as lesser kind of transgender? Just because I don’t take hormones, my breasts and hair are fake and I didn’t had surgery of any kind? All those conversations initially took off with them talking about the feelings they have. Starting from an early age and how they had to cope with a childhood riddled with mental difficulties and hardship. Years of feeling out of place, being lonely and misunderstood. All the things I’ve been through as well and can strongly relate to. The physical part had always being of secondary importance to the psychological part. So similarities rather than differences till this point.

Recalling our conversations, I had been desperately trying to get to the essence of their discourse but quickly got trapped in the maddening loop of their moral truth. What it ultimately seemed to boil down to, was that in their opinion I took the easy way out. I simply lacked the courage to make that definitive and last step. But without knowing the whole story, did that entitle them to claim victory over those that for various, equally legitimate reasons, choose not to take it?

Feeling a strong responsibility towards my spouse and children I’m committed to make their lives as happy as circumstances allow me to do. Being the husband and father they deserve. I can’t just take the liberty to grand myself a second change in life by abandoning them in pursuit of a single happier goal. It was me fully aware of my situation, who made the choice to start that relationship, marry and have children. I can’t just simply walk away from them and be happy about myself. That I found another way to rebalance my life doesn’t seem to occur to them. I think that before either choice is ultimately made it takes an equal amount of soul searching, grief and courage to get there. And from my perspective I could simply reason that their choice was an act of selfishness and single-mindedly giving in to an idea. But that thought never crossed my mind. Why? Because I can relate to their struggle too. Because I know all their doubts and fears in a “been there, done that” kind of fashion.

Nowadays I’ll find encouragement in that some do understand I was almost one of them. We became good friends.

x Sophie

 

 

Advertisements
Nodus Tollens

Nodus Tollens

Nodus Tollens [ˈnəʊdəs təʊlz]  The realization that the plot of your life doesn’t make sense to you anymore.

For J.

Emptied and alienated, I’m stumbling through strange rooms. Clutching thoughts, torn between fear and opportunity. Trying to project a possible future on these empty walls, silently beholding a promise of a new beginning in their bright white virginity. A girl from the real estate agent is giving me a tour of the apartment. That it had to come this far. Splitting our lives, cutting through 25 years of shared history. Divorce, its sudden reveal stopped me in my tracks. And although inciting my lethargic tendencies it’s yet gently gaining appeal. I was never the quitter before.

…..this lovely apartment appeared on the market only a couple of days ago…..

I can’t remember what it was she said, but it triggered me to go look for my own ways. It happened a couple of times before, but it never felt real somehow. This time the words stuck, they didn’t go away. She thought I was better off this way. Letting me go as the ultimate sacrifice of her love. Perhaps she had a clearer view on what was right for me than I had myself. She’d been right about me before so why not this time? Perhaps I was finally ready and she had suggested it one time too many. It felt such an obvious thing to do.

…..the boiler has been replaced just 2 years ago…..

The last week had passed in a haze of doubt and indecision but also vague anticipation. Having me turning inwards again, but without the usual panic and chaos. For the first time I could see a future for myself without her.

…..although the building is only 3 stories high, it also has an elevator…..

Going our separate ways was never my idea and I was never convinced that it would make me any happier in the way she thought it would. She was always convinced that Sophie would drive us apart sooner or later. But unfortunate enough, reality is that it’s not something I do, it’s something I’m. I can’t just switch Sophie off and J realized that as no one else. From the moment she discovered this alternative personality lurking inside of me, something in our relationship has changed. Although Sophie only surfaces for a minor percentage of our time and the two do rarely meet, J still feels like she is living with her all the time. That she is forced into some kind of a lesbian relationship that she is unable to accept in any way. But she also feels that she’s keeping Sophie restricted and therefore put a cap on my happiness. Maybe that’s all true, but then she fails to see that this so called restriction, is also something that I need to help me balance things out. Keeping me on track.

Where would I end without her?

 …..the view from the patio is very beautiful and it’s such a lovely and quiet neighbourhood..…

nodus

The luring freedom of the split is weirdly attractive however, but in a way certain women are. It feels like it could fully cut me from the life I had. Press rewind and start all over again. But reality has it that there is no such thing. We drag our history behind us and looking over our shoulder we’re always facing the smouldering embers of the bridges burning behind us. We will be constantly caught up by the smoke and trivialities of our shared past and in the end it would cause more grief then happiness. I can’t just let that happen to my children, nor to my so beloved J and not even to myself.

Apart from the Sophie thing, we have some much more that binds us, so much more that makes our life’s worth spending together and above all….we still love each other to bits, even after 25 years.

…..and the best thing is, it’s immediately available.….what do you think?…..What do you think Madam?…..

It’s the girl from the real estate agent, waking me from my reverie, giving me an inquiring look as only a professional sales person can. She’s irresistibly attractive……like certain women are,……like the luring freedom is, dangerous and potentially lethal. Nice for the moment, but the happiness they bring is often short lived and it nearly always ends in tears.

……What do you think Madam?

Erm…… yes, nice views indeed.….. Mind if I’ll think about it for a couple of days? I’ll let you know next week right?

She hides her disappointment well as she walks me to the door. Two paces ahead, turns and smiles as she hands me her business card. Flaunting a purposeful gait and her heels are absolutely to die for! Love at first sight. (Still wish I had dare to ask where she got them from.)

Women are incomprehensible creatures. J. knows best, and apparently so do I. Perhaps it’s we’re too afraid of what a future without the other might hold and therefore we both can’t make that sacrifice.  Sometimes it’s difficult to make sense of my own thoughts. It takes one to recognize one as one of my initiated friends once inappropriately said. And that is where we ultimately find each other again. The very thing that drives us apart also makes we understand each other so well.

It’s cold outside, autumn is nearly ending. The last light sets the horizon ablaze in oranges and reds.

My mind’s made up as I step into my car and hit the engine.

The dust in my mind is settling. The time we had apart didn’t miss the cathartic effect we both hoped it would have………..we can finally turn this page now, on to the next chapter.

x Sophie

Video

April 5th

Today.

I notice something’s changed outside.
Open my window, let the smell of the young year in.

Fresh air, easing the mind.
cleansing the soul of wintery clutter.

Love the spring, anticipation.
Waiting for the colours to burst.

Mercury rising.

Make me go outside.
Ride.

Ride away.

Away from the darkness, the doubts and fears.

Into an endless summer.

x Sophie

 

 

 

Video

Consensus over identity

What is it that people see when they cross ways with me?

I’ve been asking myself this question over and over again for the last few years. In our modern world full of fool’s gold and make belief it’s often quite hard to distinguish the truth from falsehood. It always proved difficult for me to understand the debate of what defines the standards of quality and good taste. Long did I thought that Intelligence and adequate education where the primary merits one had to have to separate true from false, to distinguish good from bad. But apparently I was wrong, it seems that authenticity is defined by that what the majority sees as true and genuine.
It was a way of thinking I wasn’t familiar with and which in modern philosophy goes by the name “truth by consensus”. What this theory roughly boils down to is that it’s the process of taking statements to be true simply because people generally agree upon them.
Not to be mistaken by unanimity, which stands for undivided opinion.
The difference is a subtle yet important one.

Now how does consensus effect everyday life and how can I make it work for me? I wanted to find out because it sounded like something that could make a crossdressers life easier.

When hitting the street as a girl for the first time a few decades ago, seeking acknowledgement in passing was my only objective. Doing my best in fooling unsuspecting passers-by, naïvely I thought that every time I got home without being read, I was seen as female.
How much truth held this thought exactly?
According the consensus theory, getting dressed up through town and not being read would make me a real woman right?
Unfortunately and needless to say, it doesn’t work that way.
Although I do have an outspoken female taste for all good things in life and feel rather offended by female unfriendly behaviour, I’m still born a male.

That isn’t changed by how other see me. It would be different when the people would think unanimously positive about my female appearance. In that case I would despite all my bodily features still be qualified as female, simply because people were all a hundred percent sure and no one would think otherwise.

concensus II

Now before you get lost in my smoke and mirror lockdown it’s important to know that the fundamental reason for my habit is something else than fooling people in making them believe that I’m a woman. I do have rather profound female feelings that I need to express on a regular basis.
Making myself pretty on the outside is the only way for me to reflect what’s going on inside. So looking nice and feminine is as important for me as it is to display my female attitude. It’s the total image that’s giving me the right feeling. Just putting on female clothing can be satisfying to spend an evening at home, but going out requires a lot more effort. I noticed that some transgenders have a different view on this, but I simply prefer to look as convincing as possible before stepping out of the door.

It’s at this “convincing” bit where the principal of consensus comes into play.
In my case, looking convincing is not what I think looks good on me, but that what confirms to what people generally believe a woman should look like. Blending in is the most important value in this consensus. It makes that they at first see a person who in most cases will qualify as female.
For the majority this is apparently enough and they don’t grand you a second look. Their brain isn’t triggered into believing anything other than to see a female person, as long as you look good enough to meet the requirements of the consensus. Mission accomplished.
For the remainder that isn’t so easily misled, it’s important to look the part. Putting in the extra effort generally makes that people don’t take offence and are happy to go with what they see. Passing isn’t an exact science though and that’s what makes crossdressing such an exciting enterprise. Besides that, getting read is part of the consensus right? Otherwise this post would be called “Unanimity over identity”. Sometimes I do get read too, but every single time this happened, I was met with a smile. Of course, there will always be someone who sees what’s going on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they let you know or that you get into trouble.

Maybe next time you go out, that someone will be me.  But hey…….it takes one to recognise one innit? 😉

x Sophie

 

Cimmerian fadeout

Cimmerian fadeout

Don’t believe what you hear, don’t believe what you see.

Coming out proved a difficult process, it shifted my perspective, made me look at myself in a different light.

“Saw my reflection in a window and didn’t know my own face”

One day I suddenly found myself on the outside again. On the other side of the window. I tried to look inside, but reflections distorted the image. To clear the view I pressed my nose against the glass. Shaded my squint eyes to cover the glare. Piercing the darkness. What was it I was looking for?
As I couldn’t see it from here, how would anybody else do? I had to change my angle of perception. Could I ever find the one thing that explained all what was wrong with me?

I found there isn’t just one eligible thing. Searching the intertubes, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of all theories available. Some deep and profound, another barely scratching the surface. There are a lot of them to be found and though widely varying by nature and background, they rarely tick all the boxes. I personally can’t relate to any of them specifically but most have facets about them I do recognize. Perhaps they’re all true for that matter, or maybe like none of them.

Why do I want to categorize myself so badly? Maybe to accept myself and understand why I am, the way I am? Identification, prove of existence. Don’t we all look for justification to make our lives worth living? We do indeed and so do transgenders. Too many of us are bailing out early because of missing just that.
In search for reasons which I couldn’t see or find, desperation made me turn inwards. Inside, alone in the dark, I felt safe. No one to oblige to and nobody to disappoint.
Years tallied up conveniently and the darkness inside slowly became my friend. I really started to believe I could keep this at bay. Hidden away from family and friends. Two faces and worlds apart. All the time while the outside part of me was playing the tart, the other hid in the shadows and graduately they grew further apart. I wasn’t aware how I was slowly being caught up by the fears and doubts that I was running away from, until the sorrow and loneliness finally got the better of me. Outside fell off his soapbox.

outside2 scale

That day was one like all before, when I suddenly saw it. There it was, on the other side of the glass and for just a brief moment it was staring me straight in the eyes. Chasing the faint glimpse I ran through the door, outside and into the street, just to find it empty. I looked around but he wasn’t there anymore, imagination defeated by reality. I blinked against the bright light, had it been something inside my head all the time?

I shrugged and turned around to walk back inside but found something had changed.

I must have let the door open…………someone put the light back on.

x Sophie

Video

Ever changing moods

2014, it was me harbouring worries for a future unknown. Spending my days in dull winter greyness, chasing up spring, but too far behind. No matter how fast I ran,…… just to see it sink behind the horizon.

Was it disappointment I felt?

moods scale II

Desperately looking for new ways that never came. It felt like I was waiting for something, but without knowing exactly what. The entire year felt like one long autumn and I simply couldn’t find anything positive to do or cling to. In search for answers I rounded up so much more questions about myself instead. All the doubts and fears that clouded my adolescent years returned. I didn’t want to dig up the past but apparently that’s the place where answers go when they’re left unquestioned.

Unravelling my childhood I found no cause, no reason. If I could find an explanation at all, it would be the barbiturates prescribed to my mother to relief her from anxiety and insomnia induced depressions during her pregnancy. But I can’t blame anyone for that, as I can only see it as a sign of the times. This was how medicine worked in the late sixties and it ultimately doesn’t prove anything, apart from having some vague statistics on my side. The evidence is simply too thin for Dr. Swaab to bail me out. Besides that, it doesn’t change a thing in my current situation. Unfortunately this took me quite some time put into a right perspective. The negative feelings about myself parted over time, although at a slow and agonizing pace.

Some questions remained though.
Locking away these feelings in my early teens wasn’t exactly my best idea as they now proved to be a lot harder to answer for.
Do I really have to start all over again? Leave my family, friends and job and find happiness in the parallel universe that have been luring alongside me for all those years?

I’m inclined to reason my way out of this scenario and count the blessings in the life I have. Circumstances made me take choices earlier in life that asked for commitment and responsibility. Like starting a family, raising children and pursuing a career in heavy industries.
I simply can’t drop it all and push these things aside as if they never happened. Am I running away from making that ultimate choice? Scared of the other life that might be not as good as I imagine it would be? It would have been all for nothing than and in that respect I’ve got a lot to lose. It would make a lot of people I love and care for unhappy and ultimately wouldn’t make me feel less lonely and misunderstood. And then again, what about those lost years? I can’t turn back the clock. I will never regain the innocent youth that make young people so attractive. I can’t just push rewind and start life again at 20. Silvester is the ultimate jailer.

My shadowy outlook on life sometimes make me struggle the temptations to leave or to give up the ghost all together and I’m afraid that these doubts and fears that power the dark kaleidoscope in my head will never leave. I will have to learn to live with that.

Knowing what I know now, would I’ve made that ultimate decision 35 years ago? I like to think I would had.

But that’s today, tomorrow will be different. 😉

x Sophie

 

Video

Sellotape

Blending two identities into one isn’t so easy.
The little war inside my head apparently raged on for too long and that took its toll on my expressiveness. So busy with imaging the person I thought others needed to see, it totally killed my creativity. Over the last year it slowly dawned on me that acceptance wasn’t a goal, but just a start.
Finally on track to negotiate a truce that will last, I’m franticly trying to fix the damage done to myself. But finding my true identity isn’t just a unidirectional process. I’d like to think it’s me busy accepting Sophie as part of my identity, but isn’t it actually Sophie accepting me? Have I been pushing her away for too long?

vleugel

With my coming out and all that followed, the dialogue between her and me definitely changed.
Was it me telling Sophie what to think and how to behave in the past, very often it’s her now telling me what to do. I like to believe that letting this happen, makes me a better person all together. I have a lot to learn from her. Also that women are treated differently in society than men and that it’s not a choice as I always liked to believe. It’s hard to admit, but Sophie is the better part of me as she’s way more social and has better emphatic skills than myself.
Dropping the male mask isn’t easy. Society likes us to play our part and in daily life it’s all too easy to oblige. Letting Sophie play her part in my male identity not only changes how others see me but also my perspective on all around me. Looking through her eyes the world seems a better place. It gives me energy and it’s her creative nature that put me back into photography, music and writing again.
She gave me back my wings, now I only have to learn how to fly again.

Thanks las!

x Sophie

Giving me wings,

You’re a fool man, you throw it away
You kill her with your confidence

In the old days, the cause you embraced
The simple things that people over complicate

Speaking in lies known to yourself
You’re speaking at length, on all those days

Will you come with me
And we’ll be ourselves
And we’ll walk into the light
And you colour yourself in golden wings

You’re never yourself
Not even with me

Will you come with me
And we’ll ask the dust
It’s on my way
It’s all my concentration
Can hold

But you alienate me
You throw it down and rip it off
When nothing’s feeling right
And I’ll show you how you can sellotape it on

You’re giving me wings, so I don’t have to jump
And you’re giving me will, so I can carry on

Dissimulate and celebrate this time we had alone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXLsJ75QX_k