The difference is simple. I want a bigger TV. But I need to feed my family. OK, so we're not starving, but the point remains, that paying the bills is currently such that we can't just go out and buy a bigger TV. And the TV we have is fine: it even has colour, if you smack it just right. For any sensible person, you take care of your needs first, then you sort your wants, in order of priority. Do not grieve, Jim; it is logical.
In his wonderful book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman argues that the ability to forgo instant gratification in favour of a long-term greater reward is the emotional skill which ranks above all others, and is more predictive of lifelong success than IQ. Boy, do I have this! I'm so good at this that I can forego gratification until it never happens!
I've been considering the place of crossdressing in my life for as long as I can remember. If crossdressing is merely a want, then it's reasonable that it be set aside when it isn't convenient. That is the model that I have hitherto applied: the time isn't right; I have something more important to spend my money and time on doing. So it can wait until next time.
On the other hand, if crossdressing is a need, then it is reasonable that it be met: that other things take a back seat. The consequences of not meeting a need can be substantial. Here's Helen Boyd, in one of the defining passages in her book My Husband Betty (Boyd's italics and pronouns):
Boyd: Perhaps the most important reason crossdressers offer is that, in some sense, they must: not must as in eating and breathing, but more like in bathing and sleeping well and getting enough exercise. Crossdressing is not necessary to a person's survival, but it does seem to be necessary to his wellbeing. Crossdressing is not, as some wives of crossdressers might wish, a selfish whim. Crossdressers as a group do not give it up despite the troubles it can cause in their lives. The phenomenon is stubbornly inexplicable, a cross between a compulsion and a wish.I am beginning to think that crossdressing is a need. Perhaps it has always been one. If you deny a need, the compulsion becomes greater and greater. Imagine going without sleep. After a while, the urge to sleep becomes overwhelming. It dominates your every thought. Ordinary things which would normally give pleasure become meaningless. Eventually, the need to sleep becomes so overwhelming that you can fall asleep doing something really important: climbers have almost died falling asleep on narrow mountain ledges; and a lot of people have been killed as a result of someone falling asleep at the wheel of a vehicle.
I have from time to time found myself so consumed with thoughts of crossdressing that I have been effectively unable to function: don't want to see friends, don't want to go out, not interested in my kids, no interest in TV or movies or video games, moody and distracted at work. Part of the problem is that, occasionally in our marriage my wife has made promises: she promised we would go together to Transfandango, for example. At first, I believe her: she finally gets it, I tell myself! I just need to hold on a little longer. I start to plan it in detail. And that keeps me going for a bit. And then she gets stressed, and I think, okay, just a little longer. And then it eventually becomes apparent that the moment is never coming, and the disappointment is crushing. We never made it to Transfandango, and now we live in a different country. She doesn't mean to break those promises: when she makes them she is sincere. But the failure to make good on them causes tremendous inner damage, a damage which she just doesn't want to hear about. (In case you haven't read all my blogs, my wife regards crossdressing with loathing: she cannot condone any part of it, and can't bear the thought or the actuality that I do it).
|Untroubled: Emma and Luisa|
Another symptom of need is that crossdressing haunts my dreams. These are frequent; at least once per week, and for the Freudians among you they are simple, straightforward, wish-fulfilment dreams. I am in some situation where crossdressing is OK: out with my friends, speaking in public, in a job interview, meeting new people. In each case, I am lavishly and wonderfully dressed: I draw compliments and warmth and enthusiasm. People find it interesting and cool. And then I wake up, and that lovely warm rosy glow fades pretty sharply in the face of the alarm.
A final symptom of need is that, if you suppress a need, it will find its way out somehow. In my case, crossdressing finds its way out on the Internet, and I don't propose to go into any details here. But this blog is the positive, creative part. The denial of a need is unbearable and unsustainable.
Needs must be met; it's that simple. The question is how to meet my needs in a manner which is not going to cost me my marriage or my kids. You might think that is a situation which could be solved by a little negotiation: I have thought so too for over a decade without success.
(As a final amusing aside, when I typed Do not grieve, Jim above, it came out as Do not grieve, Kim. It would put a whole new spin on sci-fi's greatest bromance if everyone kept calling the captain Kim. It's life, Kim, but not as we know it. It's worse than that, he's dead, Kim! By golly, Kim, I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day! Live long and prosper, Kim.)
You can find the original location of the photo of the girls on the train here at Flickr. Emma regularly posts short videos of herself here on YouTube . She has received over 4.5 million hits, and I have blogged about her here and here.