Sunday, 3 February 2013

A to Z: Excuses

I talked before about things making me not want to dress up, most of it comes from some form of embarrassment. What I didn't talk about was how I often sabotage myself, and my desire to dress up. It isn't easy to explain, mostly because it's nonsensical and often I don't see what I'm doing till after the fact.

When I get the desire to dress up, either at home or for an event I often create excuses as to why I shouldn't. These excuses are frequently, at the time, reasonable in of themselves; however have repeatedly stopped me from dressing and thus resulted in feeling guilty, letting myself down / missing an opportunity. For instance a common one is not knowing who's going to be at an event, worrying that someone will come to the door when I'm at home, or that I need to leave the house at some point. The biggest excuse I come to however is that it's a lot of effort, or at least it feels like a lot of effort. I almost never dress up any more without shaving and full make up, and I don't think I've ever gone to the effort solely for myself.
I say any more, there was a point when I would just throw on a skirt because I felt like it, if it was warm in the house, or if trousers were just generally being uncomfortable. I'm not sure why I don't do that any more, it might be linked to the fact that I don't feel comfortable in Ely yet. As silly as it might sound being on the ground floor rather than the 5th floor makes me very conscious about being seen though the window.

As I've said before I'm not really comfortable with my appearance. I worry that my stubble is really obvious so I use way too much foundation, I'm also more overweight than I'd like, and I tend to wear less than casual, everyday clothing. This makes me feel like I'm standing out, even just at home, which is stupid really.

Another excuse I seem to fall on regarding going out is shoes, I must admit that I really love heels. I'm rather good at walking in them and they make me feel feminine (even if they make me stand out even more, I'm 5'11" without). That said, they are uncomfortable. I own a couple of pairs of flat shoes, however they make my feet seem even bigger than they already are and thus I lean away from them. I've been looking for a nice flat pair of boots but I've not seen anything I really like yet.
note: not freehand, I really wish it was, but it's traced D: But I do love these boots (Dr Martens Regina boots)

I am unsure what to do about this habit; One of the things I'd really like to do is try and spend all day dressed up and see how it feels. When I consider it the things that stop me are;
  • It's a lot of effort, and it's just me.
  • It can be uncomfortable, especially over several hours.
  • What if someone comes round?
  • What if I need to leave the house?
  • Izzy will come home from work and will respond in whatever manner she responds in. (don't get me wrong, it will be a positive (or more not negative) response, but as stated before any response, even no meaningful response is awkward, and yes that is a catch 22.)
  • Can I see myself doing the things I'd normally do dressed up?
There are probably more but those are enough to discourage me.

It suddenly occurs to me that using the term "dressing up" kind of typifies my issues, I find myself questioning what it means to me, is it only just dressing up? The way it makes me feel implies there is more to it than that, but the fact that my go to phrase is "dress up" says a lot I fear. This is one of the reasons I want to try and  do so more frequently and in a more casual fashion, along with for the entire day. Try and make it seem more normal and less of an act or show which is somewhat how it feels.

Actually no, how it feels isn't quite right. What I really mean is how I seem to talk about it. I focus on the effects rather than how it makes me feel. I am struggling to find a better phrase to use, something more "healthy" to describe it.
On an unrelated topic I've not really talked about the whole Julie Burchill, Comment is Free, Transsexuals should cut it out issue. One of my later topics is/was going to address the wider world and this kind of comes into that post more than this one. I'm not going to go into details because I can't really add too much that hasn't already been said several times over. However what it made me realise is that I don't read a lot of trans media. Personally I find it very very difficult to read / watch things that cover that area. It is again a trigger for embarrassment. Also as much as I don't like feeling it, I find it really hard to hear about the happiness of other people regarding this area.

Don't get me wrong, I am happy for them, and I really wish them well, it's just hard to hear stories about other people's success when I'm feeling paralysed, and worrying that nothing will ever come of it. (NB: I know a few trans individuals read this blog, and talking to someone on-a-one to one basis is very different and in general rewarding, what I find hard to deal with is abstract almost freak show / stereotype documentaries that sit on the fence between exposĂ© and docusoap.)

The other thing I didn't realise was just how much hate their is out there, and not from where I would have expected it. I was aware extreme second wave feminism trended towards "natural women are the only real women" but the level of vitriol was breathtaking. Surely logic dictates that men who wish to be women as strongly as to go though serious and life altering processes would be de facto feminists. 

Examining Julie Burchill's past writings I was quickly unsurprised, she doesn't seem to like anyone really. What shocked me however were the writings of other feminists in response, people like Germaine Greer who, until recently, I held in a semi high regard.  I might not agree with her but I respected her views, and expected a level of logic and reason not fear and prejudice similar to that used against the feminist movement in the past. 

All this said, the level of counter arguments in comments, and in complaints is rather heartening. I realise that a large amount of responses were probably from the trans community (or direct supporters ) and thus doesn't necessarily speak for the majority, but it is encouraging that, at least in the internet generation, people are willing to stand up against this kind of blatant prejudice, and if nothing else unnecessary rudeness. For clarity's sake I am not implying it's unacceptable to broach the topic, as long as it's a reasonable and civil discussion, that's kind of what free speech is all about.


  1. Depending on how large your feet are - flat boots? Try Tesco.

  2. Hey Chris,

    I'm just thinking about what you've written about dressing up, and I'm wondering if your feelings of femininity correlate with how much effort you put into distancing yourself from your masculine side? To elaborate, do you need to go through every step (boots, corset, boobs, etc) to feel fully dressed up, or could you perhaps just shave and wear something comfortable yet feminine, something that a girl'd wear when relaxed? I ask mainly because it seems to me that you are put off by both the amount of effort and prospective feelings of shame you might feel for being so 'fully' dolled up - as if the fears double up on you.

    I've just had a little read to check I'm not contradicting anything you've put; I remember you stating that you, in some ways, liked to avoid shaving so as not to waste the feeling you have when getting rid of the beard - as part of the ritual of dressing up. It does seem like a huge part of it is maximising the transformation from male to female, so perhaps my suggestion fails to have the 'impact' required to really help you feel feminine, even if on paper it would appear to be a logical stepping stone.

    Anyway, fantastic pictures and musings as always, hope you two are well!