#16 – Catharsis Part I (Was: Consider This A Placeholder)

Nothing much has been going on, not even with friends. (those who know, and those who don’t)

The job search has stalled for now, but I will kickstart it again, along with getting back on track with exercise and portion control for meals. (And counting what I eat.) I guess everyone needs a break at one point or another.

I’ve read some blogs elsewhere, some good, some bad. I’ve given though to why some others stop posting, take down their pictures, or decide that their path takes them out of a less public eye. It’s funny, my journey’s barely started, and I’m already thinking about the end, though it may not be the ending I’m thinking it’s going to be.

I’ll fill this space with something somewhat worthwhile later tonight. I’m going to get out, walk, have a late dinner, get in a showing of The Departed, and continue looking at netbook computers. (I’ll watch The Departed tomorrow, I guess – I’m still tired out from only 5 hours sleep last night. I need a bit more. I’m surprised I’m up typing this.)

(What follows here was original posted, in a slightly different form – over on Flickr – I’ve expanded and rewritten a bit for here. Sit tight, this is going to be a long one.)

I’ve come under criticism from at least one of my friends that I told about my crossdressing “hobby”. ^_^; Their main beef with me is that I tend to use Flickr as a blog, when there are other sites that better fit the purpose.

I will make no apologies or excuses why I do so. I am a mirror – I reflect what I see others do, and I try to integrate some of those actions into me, and put my own spin on them. I pay for annual Pro account status here, I have over 400 pictures here, and over 9,000 (shut up already with the Vegita and the power level scanner meme – it’s so 2007. ~_~;) pictures on my boy-mode Flickr.

In short, this (Flickr, here, Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, etc.) is one of my spaces, and I feel entitled to post whatever I want, and write as little or as much as I want to, within reason, as long as I moderate it, and keep my wits about me, it’s all fine and dandy as far as I’m concerned.

Another dagger in the back. While on my outing at Valley Fair in San Jose/Santa Clara Monday afternoon/evening, I was persuaded to stay a bit longer and check out the mall in proper. It’s been ages since I’ve been to Valley Fair, and I’ve been there several times over the last two decades. They’ve done a lot to it.

Let me clue you in on something. Going to the mall – Even the local mall where I live, is not one of my favorite experiences, mainly because:

  1. I go to the mall in boy-mode, because I’m still not ready/confident/established enough to go out as Julie Anne.
  2. I’m definitely in plus size territory. I’m 5 foot 9 inches – “Supermodel” height, as I refer to it – I’m in the company of quite a few tall famous women, as I’ve found out while browsing through the pages of Stana’s Femulate site  – I’ll mention a bit more about that elsewhere. I’m also quite overweight.
  3. I’m definitely descended from “peasant stock” – in other words, guy-sized hands and feet (I’m somewhat comfortable in womens’ 11W shoe sizes) – I’m probably around a 24W dress size, and I can fit into the largest womens’ glove sizes at Target. There’s not too many options, unless I’m willing to expend a bit more in terms of time, distance, and money, and of course, shopping over the internet.

Three strikes against me – I’m out for now, but there’s always the next game, and the next season, to borrow a sporting metaphor…

So, over time, as I grew up from being the typical “boy” who liked checking out toys, video game and computer magazines, and the occasional sci-fi or other books, and of course, hanging out at the arcades, and into who I am today, I’m haunted by memories of how malls used to be, and how nowadays they’re primarily geared towards one core demographic — As I see it, women age 18-35. I feel totally like a fish out of water, adding more to my apprehension when I deal with the “struggle” within me on a near daily basis.

It didn’t, however, stop me from looking and wondering. I will also admit this – If I manage to get another job, and get myself into a position where I can do something I enjoy somewhat, and work my way into something where I’m earning around $40K or more per year, and I can pay off all my remaining debts, relocate somewhere, perhaps on the other side of the Altamont Pass somewhere – It could be Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, Milpitas, Fremont, Hayward, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Mountain View, even Gilroy – Who knows? If I could get out completely on my own, and make a fresh start where I could establish myself – Both sides of myself, get in touch with public support groups, get some kind of professional therapy to find my path – I would do it. If I can build up the confidence to go out as Julie Anne (and achieve some degree of passing), and have the confidence to shop “en femme” for myself – I would do it. – I would have a place of my own, to be whoever I felt like being, boy or girl, maybe both on any given day, but each side would be me. I will find a way to unify myself. When I get right down to it, at this moment in my life, I don’t really have anything left to lose, other than a possible place to stay, and some friends and family.

All I could do on Monday was look, and wonder… Seeing a full standalone MAC store, dozens of other stores, a Sephora store, the Macy’s (not the mens and home one) on the side of the mall where I parked and we entered the mall…. My friend asked me if there was anything I was interested in. (I’m not comfortable looking for anything Julie Anne-related, especially with other guys.)

Good God, I know I have to work on speaking up for myself, and standing up for what I want, but at times, it seems so difficult to do.

There was one barb that just rubbed me the wrong way, and I expressed such – When my friend made a little crack about what “your kind” do – That’s one sure-fire way to get on my bad side. He said he was joking, but that was a bit over the line. When I came out to him, I trusted him, and it was only after a great deal of anguish. He got on my case because he felt slighted that I thought he’d drop me like a bad habit when I came out to him. If only he could feel what I was feeling from my end of the talk. I had agonized about this for nearly two weeks before I told him. It got easier talking to three other close friends after that, however. I can only hope it gets easier, though I know eventually there are going to be people I know, whom once I tell them, they may choose to reject me, or not have as much to do with me anymore. I can live with it.

And from there, we get into the one main thing that really made me feel bad for all of Tuesday – I was going through a few t-girl blogs I’ve been discovering recently – mainly Jessica Who? – which more or less paved the way for me making a decision to create a “Julie Anne” specific WordPress site on my own server. (If nothing else, I’ll take everything I’m learning under WordPress, and spread them out to the other non TG areas of the server, including other WordPress sites I’m developing and maintaining.)

There’s a section on Jessica’s page, in which she mentions about why some transgender blogs go away, whether they fade out, go dark, or the blog author announced they’re formally stopping updating. For some, as mentioned, they reach the end of a chapter in their life. I took a look at one of the blogs mentioned, and I didn’t quite like what I saw. It was nice that they left what they had up, as a record of their “past life”, but they interjected what had brought them to the closure they found. Some of what they written seemed quite controversial, such as “to be transgendered, you have to be invisible,” and “If you are transsexual, you must never crossdress. A transsexual will never wear women’s clothing until the medical and legal patriarchies have bestowed/granted the identity of female. Transsexuals will leave their former life behind and adopt a new identity, with new friends and acquaintances that are typically not from the transgender community.”

There are so many paths one can take, some may be more difficult than others. However, there is no iron-clad law written in stone tablets that decrees “Thou shalt go into deep stealth if thou wisheth to present themselves as a gender contrary to how they were born,” or “In order to be who you want to be, you have to completely break off all ties and delete your previous self.” – Reading too much into it just serves to discourage me, and makes me feel that, “no matter what I do, how well I develop my sense of fashion and style, how hard I work to lose weight, reshape my body as well as I can (and pad, cinch, and conceal what can’t be changed), how well I work on my voice, walk, mannerisms, dressing age and situation appropriate, that I’ll never have a chance at passing, achieving the illusion, having a space I can go to when I don’t want to be who I was born as, who I feel I’ve failed of living up to the expectations of, that, as Mom told me 20-odd years ago….’You are a BOY, you will NEVER be a GIRL!’, and that I’m pursuing a lost cause.”

On the blog in question I checked out, though I’m still new to the game, it only served to further discourage me. Just every aspect, politics-wise or other, was thrown at me, “… the crossdressing community to be an inherenty dysfunctional community. The degrees of misogyny and self-loathing were oppressive…” “…i cringe whenever I listen to another crossdresser lament about how ‘society doesn’t understand us.’ I think society does. I think it is the community itself that is indenial…” “…these are the same crossdressers who, on-line, won’t even tell you what city they life in because they are afraid out being outed…” “…when I listen to crossdressers talk about clothing, the word ‘fetish’ is never far from my mind…” “…the real tragedy has been the way the ‘community’ has become an enabler. I have (known) people who go from never having crossdressed in their lives… to living full-time in a matter of months, with plans to soon start HRT and transition next year. Spurred on by their ‘sisters’ in the transgender community, they immediately come out to everyone – family, (friends), children, employers – completely unprepared for the rejection they get….”

It was enough to make me question myself – If I were any more weak-willed and lacking in conviction and follow-through, I’d start pulling down all of my pictures, never post anything, and disappear, never to be heard from again, leaving contacts and friends I’ve made since the beginning of this year hanging — And I’d be no better for it. I’d become what I swore I’d never be. Someone who only jumps on the bandwagon, only to get off when they’re bored with it, when it’s not enough for them, when they’ve been disillusioned by too many bad experiences, too much rejection, too many outside factors killing their dreams off… Finally given in and being told they’ve hitched their wagon to too high of a star, that they’ll never able to accomplish what they desire.

Goddamnit, the friend who made the crack about “your kind” was the very same friend I broke down and cried my eyes out to, when I was dealing with the pain of having to give in and clip my fingernails, just because Mom noticed, and remarked that they looked too “girly,” and that I shouldn’t wear clear nail polish. In some ways, it was like the clock was turned back, and I was a confused, hurt 15 year old who wasn’t old enough to know what they wanted.

The path for one person isn’t the path for all. Everyone has a bad experience sooner or later. I’m sure eventually some people out there – Friends, families, perhaps employers, will dig deep, find everything, all traces of my “digital footprint” on the internet, boy and girl, take a close look at the pictures, put two and two together, and they’ll probably ask a lot of questions. Whether they choose to accept it, whether I can intelligently explain and articulate who I am, what I’m feeling and why I’m doing this, and what I want to achieve, and where I see myself years down the road… That will the real challenge. It may cost me a job or two, it may cost me friends, it may cost me family, but the important thing is the victories – NOT the defeats. For everyone who rejects me, there has to be someone who can accept me. For every employer who tries to get around the state laws barring discrimination and using gender as a reason to refuse or terminate employment, there has to be some place for whom I choose to present myself as, either on the job or off, doesn’t have any bearing on the work I do AT work. For any family members who want to disown me or feel “disappointed” in me, there has to be some who will accept who I am, and love me unconditionally.

If I was really afraid to deal with this, I’d still be exclusively male in the world, I wouldn’t be blogging like this, I wouldn’t be posting pictures, I wouldn’t be trying to reach out, to build up my courage, to see how far down the rabbit hole I can go, to walk down the path, and see where I end up. I would have purged everything — Clothing, shoes, underwear, stockings and tights, the wigs, I wouldn’t have accumulated a tackle box full of makeup and brushes, and Julie Anne wouldn’t exist at all, either physically or virtually. In short, I would continue repress and deny the curiosity that has been there for over half of my life, and I would be continuing to live to what others expect of me – In short, I’d be continuing to “live the lie.” and go through the motions of life. And over the years, I’ve learned — I just can’t do it anymore. I’m hurting, I’m feeling incomplete, and I’m motivated to fill that void.

Maybe there is more to me than others see and assume. Maybe I want to be found and understood. Maybe I want to make people understand. Maybe I just want to find out, once and for all, who I am, and what my place in this world is, and if, finally, I can be truly happy, or as close to it as I can.

So, why am I doing this? It seems almost the same question Agent Smith asked of Neo in The Matrix Reloaded – “….Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you’re fighting for something? For more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know?… It’s pointless to keep fighting…. Why? Why do you persist?”

The only answer that makes sense for now, the only answer that I can give at this moment is…

Because I Choose To.

If I didn’t want to deal with this, I wouldn’t have chosen to do all of this, to create a presence for myself in girl-mode online, to eventually prepare myself for being out in public as Julie Anne. I brought this issue “out into the open”, and once having done so, it’s going to be near impossible to put back into the closet. In a way, I’m forcing myself out, bit by bit. I’d rather out myself before having someone else do it for me. Sometimes you have to “be a man” and just get in there and realize you don’t have to give up on what you were curious about so many years ago. If a door is closed, a window is opened somewhere. This is what I wanted, this is how I’m setting out on my journey. What I’m doing may not be the way others are doing it, or how you should do it. I’m figuring all of this out as I go along.

I just hope I can enjoy the ride…

Thanks for staying with me if you made it this far, thanks for your understanding, your support, your time, and your acceptance.

Hugs and kisses, and much love….
— Julie Anne

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