Thursday, 12 April 2012

Just Like Me?

Here's something I found really interesting. I came across this blog, Healing from Crossdressing. Why did I click on it in the first place? Because the title caught my eye: crossdressing is damaging to me, and perhaps a little healing is in order. However, my first impulse was to move on immediately: blogger Thorin, a Christian pastor who is also a crossdresser, starts off pretty heavy on the religion.

Just to be clear, though I was raised with a strong Christian background, I am very unsure about God. Even if he is up there, I feel pretty strongly that this is the way he made me: a man with a large spoonful of woman mixed in the recipe. If you really want to get all biblical about it, crossdressing is for me like Paul's thorn in the flesh: it's something which afflicts me daily, and against which I have to struggle. I don't however think crossdressing is inherently sinful or wrong in any moral sense.

I stuck with Thorin's blog a little further, and read several of his posts. Thorin is a smart guy; he is articulate and he has great emotional awareness. He admits with startling frankness the effect crossdressing has had on his life and marriage. He is very forthright about his experiences with the internet (crossdressing fiction and photographs). And he, like me, is struggling to keep crossdressing from overwhelming him. He has managed to keep it at bay using prayer and scripture, for which I wish him nothing but success. But where I am yearning to do it, he is yearning not to do it (or perhaps more importantly, yearning not to have the desire to do it). But Thorin and I have a lot in common, not least a recognition that dwelling on crossdressing takes emotional energy away from more important things (like family). And we share the urge to not bottle up our feelings, but to blog about them as a means of crystallising our views, seeking insights, and reaching out to other people who might feel similarly.

From Thorin's blog, I clicked onto one of his links, and found myself reading about Ralph in a Dress. Ralph is, if anything, closer to my viewpoint than Thorin. He writes:
Ralph: When I first started this blog, it was for the purpose of finding, relating to, and encouraging other crossdressers. As part of that goal, I spent a lot of time seeking out crossdressing blogs and forums to see what other crossdressers like to talk about. What I found was… not me. Page after page about panties and bras, passing as a female in public, how to hide what you do from your wife (!), and musings factual and fictional on the authors’ erotic attraction to women’s clothes.

Instead, the bloggers I have the most in common with are the ones who, for personal or marital or spiritual reasons have decided to quit crossdressing entirely. They understand that “if it feels good, do it” is a self-destructive philosophy; they understand the importance of limits and self-control and taking responsibility for your actions, your family, your job.
Perhaps for these reasons, Ralph's blog is pretty quiet. He has only made one post this whole year, and that one a cartoon with only a short caption.

Ralph's viewpoint is the closest I have come to-- so far-- which echoes more or less exactly how I feel about crossdressing. I have posted before how I think that openly pursuing crossdressing is likely to be harmful to my marriage and my family, and that boils down to a simple choice: either crossdressing rules me, or I rule crossdressing. Actions have consequences.

Where we differ is that I am trying to look for ways to make crossdressing OK (while admitting inwardly that I expect it never will be completely OK). Whereas Ralph and Thorin (and others) are trying to reject crossdressing from their lives: in effect making it not OK all by themselves.

But how can this be? That the people on the blogosphere I have most in common with are the ones who are trying hardest not to do it?

8 comments:

  1. Guess you do have a blog after all :)
    Thank you for this kind post. Careful you'll give me a big head saying I'm smart and articulate! haha

    Ralph took a hiatus from blogging, but I think he still checks in once in a while. He is a great guy and I love having him around for discussion. I don't think he is trying to give up crossdressing. He is content with the level of crossdressing he is at, which is not full crossdressing. In that he is more unique than most of us. Not trying to give it up, but not trying to go further like most crossdressers. He is content to do the slight amount of dressing he does. Feel free to weigh in here Ralph and correct me.....

    On my blog, like you said, I very consciously and purposely speak out of my faith, with the Bible as my authority for life. But I do talk about interesting articles and links I find, and discuss the general nature of crossdressing. So there is probably a lot of good things we can dialogue about. I'll take a look at your other posts too.

    Let me say, I once was similar to you. Except that I was very firm about my faith and relationship with God. But even with that faith, I still was looking for ways for crossdressing to be okay. I was looking for any possible ways to keep it in my life and not have it be problematic or feel guilty about it. I thought the best possible life would be staying strong in my faith and having some way to privately crossdress. But I found no truth there. Finally after years interspersed with crossdressing and fighting against crossdressing, I became serious about giving up crossdressing. It's been about 8 months or so now. This is the best year of my life, and I really mean that. I've never felt so good and free. Life is not perfect, but having cd out of my life feels so good. I don't miss it one bit. Last night I thought purposely about crossdressing, tried to fantasize about it, to see if it still held any pleasure for me, and I did not desire it in the slightest. It's true the desires come every once in a while still, but overall the desires are greatly diminished, I feel so good and free and so glad I gave it up. Getting rid of this particular addictive sin in my life has grown my relationship with God immensely and I feel much closer to him. (that's one thing about sin, is it distances us more from God). So I have no regrets about giving it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Thorin and thanks for your kind and thoughtful posts.
      For me, in some ways it's the opposite for you. From an objective scientific perspective, crossdressing is a bizarre activity. Yet from an emotional perspective, it feels so _right_, and afterwards I feel amazingly better, usually for several days.
      I was at a small tutorial where I was asked: What activity do you do which soothes and restores you more than any other? Your "soul food"?
      I was so ready to answer "cross-dressing" that I really stumbled over the question before mumbling something about writing my diary. It wouldn't have been a very elegant way to come out!
      I recognise that cross-dressing isn't a _solution_ to my problems. It doesn't fix anything, and it doesn't address the issues in any semblance of a sensible way. But my problems seem more or less insoluble, and cross-dressing is the best way I know to feel better about them. I've tried food, alcohol, music, video games, distraction, cognitive focus, mindfulness and a variety of other techniques, but nothing is as good. Why should I deny myself this release from emotional tension?

      Delete
  2. I guess I wouldn't say you "should" deny yourself from it. In the end I think crossdressing is small potatoes compared to our relationship with God. See what I say here - http://healingcd.wordpress.com/my-perspective/
    But I won't preach to you about that. I'm just saying I don't think there is much reason to give up crossdressing or much hope in being able to give it up, without the abundant life and joy we can have in Jesus. But we'll leave that there, unless you feel like talking more about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I am with Polonius on this one: "This above all: to thine ownself be true". Right now, this is who I am, and to deny it seems futile. On the other hand, being a crossdresser doesn't mean I have no moral or spiritual sense. I respect your views on Jesus, but I don't want to go much further down this particular line.

      Delete
  3. When I discover a new blog I normally don't read too far back in order to avoid rekindling discussions that have long since wrapped up, but since you specifically directed my attention to this one (and it's all about me! ME! ME!!!) of course I have a bit of additional comments to throw in here.

    I don't know if it's accurate to say my blog is geared towards accepting that crossdressing is not OK. I'm on the fence about the issue. I love Thorin like a brother and we have a great deal in common philosophically and theologically, but we differ in our interpretation of whether what we do is offensive to God.

    My blog is quiet partly because I don't push it very much and partly because I don't fit in either with the "If it feels good, do it" folks who make crossdressing the central focus of their lives OR with the folks who seek to stamp it out. For my own part there was a huge flurry of activity when I started because I had a lot on my mind that I needed to put in writing, but once I got it all out that particular monkey finally jumped off my back.

    Now that I've taken a tour of your nice home here, I do agree that our viewpoints on the place crossdressing has in our lives is remarkably similar. Thanks for the warm welcome (and the shoutout)!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Ralph.
    Thanks for dropping by and posting.
    I hadn't meant to imply your blog was all about giving up crossdressing. Instead I found your point of view refreshingly similar to my own: crossdressing is OK provided it takes place in a moral framework which recognises that some things are more important.
    Vivienne.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Vivienne,
    After denying it for many years, I finally have realized that my crossdressing Is OK. Wearing women's feels so amazingly right to me. I've recently been doing it as often as possible and lately have started going out shopping while dressed. Hiding behind a large pair of sunglasses helps my courage. I guess I would say it is the most fun you can have with your (girl's) clothes on. Thanks for posting this blog. I enjoy reading your intellectual writing. I often ponder why I love wearing women's clothes so much when the consequences could be so harmful to my relationship with my wife were I to be caught.
    KerryMichelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kerry,

      Thanks for dropping by to post your comments. I am sure your story is very familiar to many readers of this blog. You are caught in the dichotomy we all feel: this thing I want to do feels right, and is harmless, so why is society so opposed to it?

      There are, unfortunately, no easy answers.

      Vivienne.

      Delete