Archive | July, 2012

It was acceptable in the ’80’s. The 1880’s?

31 Jul

Surprisingly only 48 hours later, I’m back writing again. Which is amazing as I NEVER finish anything I start. I get fed-up. I don’t have faith in it. I abort it, like it’s an unwanted alien foetus. I’ve had some very generous comments about my writing, which was surprising, so I hope this will be as interesting.

Thank Cod (& I don’t use the word of that sacred..and overfished…fish lightly) for the musical duo; Boards of Canada. Their ambient soundtracks convey any world I wish to inhabit at any time. They got me through my dissertation on the rather dry subject of 3d multi-camera technology. And they allow me to immerse myself in fantasies. Currently I’m listening to this mesmerising track – “Muckinabaht” (haha, take that spell-check!) which conjures up images of stumbling upon a faded 1950’s ballroom on abandoned ocean liner. Check it out – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIY0c_OmcOY

Right now I’m mulling over why I feel I’ve lost a connection to the late Victorian era. I feel I’ve lost many connections over the past few months. My mind is like a bank (or “monitor stack” for those of you who work in TV) of hundreds of monitors, and one-by-one since November their vibrant screens have been replaced by un-relenting static. One such feed to disappear has been my age-old connection to Victorian & Edwardian femininity which has haunted me quietly since I was around 10…. although my mum has confirmed that one of the little oddball things I used to do when I was 7 was stare for ages at an oval portrait of a Victorian lady in a bustle dress.

I recently found the portrait at home. The lady wears a green dress in the 1880’s “natural form” style. If I were organised, I would include said picture in this very post, to illustrate the anecdote. Alas. I don’t have a plan. And so I didn’t. And so there isn’t a picture. But there will be….at some point in another post, probably unrelated.

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(A fashion plate depicting the short-lived natural form style which became popular from around the late 1870’s to mid 1880’s, before dying out & being replaced by the “hard-bustle” IE: the style that made a woman look either like a snale or a generous bottomed Goddess depending on your view). 

Anywho. My question is – why does a chap born in the 1980’s somehow feel an affinity for a gender I’ve never experienced and a time I’ve never lived in? Maybe its a past-life, maybe it’s just my over-achieving imagination. But…grrrr & argh, it’s so intriguing & confusing. I always feel an odd sense of melancholy when I read about young women from those eras’ or see their pictures. Sort of feels like I may have lost something but it’s too unpronounced to trace it’s source. I damn well felt kick-ass and more powerful and more energised when I dressed up as a pseudo-Victorian woman (on a VERY limited budget & with little skill). Many crossdressers like to feel weak & powerless when they dress up, but I feel the opposite. And if I’m in a tight-laced corset and a bustle dress…I feel I can *cue Jeremy Clarkson voice* conquer The World. The BBC. Even my chocolate addiction. And possibly The Stig on the race track.

There is also something deeply moving & poignant about being a woman in those times I feel. I don’t seem to care about women from any other era. As I tell my mum who loves the 1920’s and ’30’s and ’40’s “I don’t do Art Deco. Art Nouveau is as far as I go.” Yep, it’s all about the 1870 – 1914 for me. Yes I am that specific. I may even throw in a month – March 1914 there you go – just to be super OCD.

Image (That’s a picture of me taken a few months ago wearing my favourite flared dress…erm…honest… Anyway, I’m sorta smiling as I was excited about Panasonic’s newly released 3d television camcorder – the AG-3DP1, even though I knew I couldn’t afford it. Actually…)


(…the Panasonic AG-3DP1. Panasonic’s first fixed-lens 3d camcorder for broadcast use, available for £30,000 squid. Good camera, nice convergence control which helps to create usable 3d pictures. Though the fixed lens limits what you can get a decent picture of – closeups or wide shots? Forget it.  I have used it at the Olympics on tests though and it worked ok. Hopefully I am the first blog to combine a a brief TV camera review WITH a discussion on skewed gender AND turn-of-the-(last)-century fashion for ladies).

There’s just something so awesome & powerful about the depiction of femininity within those times. Yep, It must have been fairly repressive and a bit pants to be a woman from any class of those eras (though I must say if someone offered me a life where I got to stand around looking decorative & hold social events every year I would trip over my servant in my rush to have that).

That is all I can say really. I don’t have any analysis. After the general ambience of antique femininity floated around for a few years, I managed to get quite close to feeling quite connected on a more physical level. Yes, all crossdressing is essentially is wearing some fabric with a bit of social meaning embossed onto it, but it certainly seemed to shift my perspective on things. I also for a very short space of time managed to perfect putting my hair into one of those Edwardian up-do’s which I think look amazing. It felt wonderful to re-create their hairstyle on me, very natural, and it felt “right”.

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(oh. And. One of my first “roll models” before I even became aware I was seeing them as such, was this lady. I can’t find the damn name for the painting, the artist, or it’s date (though I guess it’s around the 1870 – 1890 mark, due to her costume & it looks like an Impressionist painting). I used to imagine I was this lady whilst serving in many catering establishments. Finally last October I cut my hair EXACTLY like it is in this picture, & went to work with it like that. It raised eyebrows and I certainly didn’t look like your average chap but damn did I enjoy feeling a bit more feminine).

But since my strange internal change I can’t place, and my hair loss I can’t stall, I feel I’ve lost that connection. I don’t feel ambivalent towards the depiction of femininity of that time…I just feel dead where that emotional interest used to be. Oddly, nothing has flooded in to fill the void. If I am becoming more male in body and mind and this has forced out the femininity issues, then surely I should be feeling more kick-ass & generally pleased as punch? But I don’t. I just feel. Homeless in my head. I don’t feel happy in my form. And I don’t have any place to run to in my head anymore. I can’t escape to that etheral, foggy, deamy place of antique femininity, it does not exist. I feel I’m finally after 27 years of managing to always escape to a dream world – I’m now in the real world. And it sucks. And it feels horrible.

Some dream worlds are harmful. I used to suffer from OCD…and that was harmful in that I turned me into a recluse alot of time. When I kicked that I felt liberated. I strove to break those OCD rituals and through patterns. But the feminine internal dream world and those feelings… since they’ve gone I feel I have no power left. I can’t seem to generate as much enthusiasm for anything anymore.

I’ve woken up to a world that constantly cloudy. I may be awake finally. But like Sam Tyler in Life on Mars – I don’t feel I am alive anymore. That discreet feeling of being connected to femininity used to brighten up my day, power me through all the bollocks of life. Internally I could feel that I was a girl & later on, a woman from those times, and these feeling were somehow compatible with being a biological straight average male. Once again though, now they’ve gone….I don’t feel my mind is my own. I’ve been invaded by…. something: Reality? Age? I’m not sure. But 1870 – 1914 is dead. And all the women in there are dead. When I wear the bustle dresses I’ve made, the experience feels empty. But I don’t feel liberated. I feel lost.

I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, I just seem to loose more attributes of myself that I care about. Bearing in mind that I’m only 27 and in great physical health…I shouldn’t be noticing any losses. But I’ve felt life has been pulling things away from me since I started puberty. It began with my imagination & ability to channel my creativity, then got to work on strangling my open emotions, then hardened my face, and recently has stripped me of my only expression of my internal femininity which I’ve been openly allowed to have over the years – my hair.

I feel that the latter has crossed the line, it’s too many losses to accept as being male, when I’ve been skirting the boundaries of being a “real” male for years anyway. It’s caused a sort of “constitutional crisis” within me, as it’s forcing me to address what makes me tick & who am I.

I feel I must go after the feelings of femininity I had, I miss them so much. I feel too much like an organic machine without them. Amazing to think that thoughts can lead to the destruction of the vessel that they travel in, potentially. So…if I did seek to regain those feelings – I would essentially be delving deeper into myself. But isn’t that a bad thing? An introspective thing to do? Afterall, I have spent three years breaking out of my shell, fighting fears & breaking habits to get into the wider world. I guess it depends on what one feels is their reality? If one’s fantasy becomes their internal reality…. then as long as that makes that person function in outer-reality, would that make it the right thing to do?

Ultimately speaking, If I were to submit to a feminine biology, would that make me stable enough & happy  enough internally to be able to function better outwardly? I have no idea. Currently I feel like a fractured man & some crude draft of an unfinished woman. What makes a person? Biology or thoughts and feelings?

I’ve recently found out that lots of men suffer from “crossdreaming” which is where they want to be the other sex. The ideal version of themselves are conventional sexy women like Cheryl Cole for instance. I turn up with pictures like the one below and say “Well. This is me.” They I’m weird. “How can such a woman from such a time feel like an identity they may say?” This is hilarious. It appears I am chief oddball. Among oddballs. Strangely, this makes me smile.

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(One of those famous “Gibson Girls”. Named after the illustrator who created the Gibson Girl as the embodiment of upper-working/middle-class female perfection of the very late Victorian/early Edwardian epoch. I’d love to riff on this look and wear a modernised version to work. Annoyingly I can’t.
But I can actually play golf.)

Every time I tell my self to get a grip and just get on with being male, I think of the Japanese musician called Mana, and how he has pretty much gotten to have his cake and eat it, so to speak. He lives a life of dressing up as a pseudo beautiful Victorian-esque lady whilst dating as a straight (or possibly bisexual) man & bringing home the bacon by performing in his band. It does not matter how he identifies who he is. It just matters that he “is” and that he functions well as a human being. I wonder with rising anger – “why can’t I be someone like that?!” Even if it’s on a woefully smaller scale. Even if I were to be a poor quality, low-budget version of Mana, I’d still prefer to that life progression to my current trajectory.
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(Mr Mana. I’m not actually sure what pronouns he prefers. I wonder what he/she sees themselves as).

Those damn Victorian & Edwardian ladies coaxed me into their world when I was an impressionable child, kept me intrigued up until I had the courage to impersonate them (yeh, yeh, Little Britain style I know) & just as I felt I had obtained a reasonable feeling & look within the limitations of my physical form. BLIP. I found myself suddenly alone. And painfully aware of the massive gap between how they were and how I am. I feel I’m at the point of no return. I am now undeniably male. My masculinity has penetrated my core & it feels alien & hostile. I feel like that core is solidifying into something hard & cold. I desperately feel like I must find a way out, to feel warm & soft again, to live again, possibly even more abundantly than before. I feel like the replicant in Blade Runner demanding “I want more life!”

But who’s life would I be living, mine? Or a real-life version of an 1880’s woman?

(but anyway sod life and gender and historical stereotypes, who’s for some visual titillation? Hope you enjoyed these ramblings)

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An email to a therapist

30 Jul

This is what I’ve just written to Madeline H. Wyndzen at http://www.genderpsychology.org/identity/mail.html.

Perhaps it’ll help her with her research, perhaps she will write back & give her thoughts on my situation. Even if its none of those, I still feel better for writing it all. I seem to be able to commit my thoughts much more concisely when they are to a singular person, rather than if it’s for a blog or diary.

“I’m in a thoroughly confused state about which way I need to go to be happy & feel fulfilled. I’ve recently discovered that I am a crossdreamer (or autogynephiliac) and therefore have been since I was 14, which is when I first felt the need to crossdress, & since then pleasure has all largely centered around dressing up & increasingly wanting to feel like the female during sex. However, I’ve also recognised that I’ve felt an internal non-sexual connection to femininity that has persisted & grown within me since I was 11. This part of it manifested itself by my thinking I must have been female in a past-life, together with creating fictional female characters in my mind for books & short films I never ended up writing. Over the years I noticed that I was more sensitive than the average boy, if I fancied a girl I would by default feel the need to prettify myself & be flirty in a “conventionally” feminine way. I finally realised that this wasn’t how men attracted girls, so I learnt how to appear more masculine. In relationships that did work I’d often feel my male labido suddenly vanish and I’d feel that I should be the girl in the relationship. It used to feel as if I was a planet and my Poles suddenly shifted and became inverted. After a while, the Poles would reverse back and I’d feel totally happy being the male again.

I also felt a deep down inkling that I wanted to have a feminine face & hips. It just felt like it should be that way, though I didn’t think to myself “I feel i should look like a girl”, I just seemed to feel content if I looked soft or got mistaken for a girl. I mourned loosing my emotions as my 20’s progressed, & I felt myself becoming more male in temperament. I wondered if testosterone was to blame but my therapist at the time disuaded me from that line of reasoning. I decided to “kill” the femininity within me when I was 25 as I couldn’t get a girlfriend, people at uni and work seemed to think I was a sissy, and I began hating my sexual dressing-up sessions. So, I found a girlfriend, concentrated on appearing more authorativite & succeeded in purging my clothes & not crossdressing or crossdreaming for 7 months. However the urge became too great & it burst back into my life on a much stronger & emotional level than it had been before, the urge to dress became as much of an expression of creativity & what I wanted to wear as the sexual side was. It had a life of it’s own. It seemed to come from nowhere within me. A the same time I lost my emotions for my girlfriend and we ended up splitting up.

A year later, I discovered Japanese rock music. I found out that many musicians openly dressed as women out there, this was a monster revelation! I felt my heart skip a beat, & I felt that this discovery was a sort of “permission” for me to start dressing up as it meant I wasn’t a freak. I sort of felt like I didn’t need to just dress up for sexual purposes in order to express the femininity & creativity that I felt was hiding within. So I came out shortly afterwards to my friends as wanting to dress as female.

As soon as I started to explore this femininity, I began feeling more confident, more expressive, it was wonderful. And it continued. Long suppressed feelings of wanting to be seen as female by men rose to the surface. I began having increasingly stronger bisexual feelings. Dressing up became more normal & started to permeate into my every-day-wear. Finally I decided to have an obviously feminine haircut & I began wearing my hair in elegant up-do’s like the Edwardian women which I admired aesthetically. I was starting to do all the things that had been in the depths of mind and emotions since I was in my early teens. I still was primarily attracted to women however, but because of my obvious expressions of femininity I began to realise that the chances of dating straight women were becoming non-existent. I lost a few potential girlfriends around this time simply due to my displays of femininity even though they were subtle (apart from the hair) & I did act as manly as possible around them. A bi-sexual girl I almost had a fling with told me she didn’t know how to react to my advances as – though I was acting and presenting as male, I apparently approached sex like a cisfemale does & that combination confused her. I still don’t understand what she meant.  

Also at this point – November 2011 –  a great phyiscal change seemed to occur within me. In retrospect it feels like a second male puberty hit me. Within the space of a month or so, my skin got oiler, my hair began to receed and fall out, my face definitely developed more of a hardness that had not been there recently & my weight increased despite not putting any more fat. My face also thinned. I suddenly felt that the balance of masculinity and femininity within me had been toppled, and since then I’ve felt agitated, unsettled, confused, fearful & depressed. I feel that just as I had begun nurturing my feminine side & becoming  more rounded person as a result – my body had decided to really start hammering home my biological masculinity, and I feel this has created a massive dysphoria due to this dichotomy. I no longer feel “myself” and I feel adrift. Within the space of just a year, I feel much older, more hopeless and generally antagonised. I feel like a man now and to be honest I feel utterly repressed by it, both internally and by the outward physical manifestations.

I still am attracted to women, but that attraction is curdling into serious envy as feel I degrade and they remain how I feel I want to look. My attraction to women was complicated enough before as I tended to be attracted to women that I felt I would have liked to have been had I been a woman. Now, I just can’t bare to look at them sometimes, now I’ve become so masculine. I recently discovered that HRT therapy can potentially help one to look and feel like one feels they should, and that has intensified my dysphoria. I want to keep level-headed however and not make any rash decisions. This is getting much harder though as the NHS over here continues to postpone my therapy appointments, and I can’t afford private care. So, currently I spend my days mentally running in circles. I feel I’m trapped as male, but as I also want children – I also feel I cannot transition.

Plus, I’m also scared that I’m not a proper transexual and just a selfish effeminate male with a sexual fetish that somehow became a full-blown personality disorder who is running away from being a real man. I know that creatively and emotionally I would adore a full shift to femininity, I am sure of this. But to express all that, I would have to let me sexuality and male body die and that feels like murder. I am in a no-win situation, but I feel I have to choose. I feel that some part of me is shutting down inside and that I’m becomign a sort of 2D person, when before I was a 3D person. I feel my power source is dying. Yet, health wise I’m in excellent condition, apart from the hair & my thinning face. 

I feel I have to either take action or plough all my effort into embracing being a man, as I cannot pull-off being androgynous anymore. If one is in their teens and early twenties and is pretty enough, one can be succesfully androgynous and thus present as both male and female whenever. However at my age (27) my biology is clearly defining itself as male so I cannot pass as female without hormone (and surgical assistance). I cannot bear to become a typical balding middle-aged crossdresser with a “tolerating” wife, who lets me crossdress once a year in some hotel room in the middle of nowhere. That would be so humiliating, ultimately self-defeating & also tough on the wife. At the same ime though, I don’t think I’d make a passable women if I did transition. I could end up as a very feminine man on hormones but then I’d be neither a “real” man or an actual woman…which once again would be ultimately self-defeating & not very fulfilling. I’ve hit a brick wall. And there’s nowhere to go.

In an ideal world – I’d look fully female, I’d have a full range of expressive emotions, I’d wear feminine clothes whenever I felt like it so I could express myself, but I’d also have children and a wife who’d I’d strive to protect and provide for, I’d have a good steady job in my profession (cameraperson on outside broadcasts for television) & I’d design Victorian inspired dresses as one of my major hobbies. I’d be neither male nor female, I’d just be me. Functional, useful and if at all possible, beautiful in an elegant & gentle way. And I’d want to use my inner happiness to make other people happy. But alas, society and biology won’t let me fulfil what I feel could be my full potential. I hate gender. I feel cheated. Short-changed. Dis-enfranchised and lost. I feel like a cancer on this world as I don’t fit in and I feel that nature is trying to panel-beat me into submission to what it wants me to be.”

Fran’s-Gender – what the W, T & F is going on?

30 Jul

I’ve never been adept at relaying my feelings into words, be it typed, written, spoken…semaphored, morsed… or even generated in the Ceefax of my mind. Instead I tend to percieve & understand my feelings using my own dilapitated mental audio-visual department. Using stock memories & my imagination I generated  a torrent of images and sounds that seem to fit how I feel. I suppose this way of dealing with things befits someone who operates cameras for a living.

So, how do I percieve how I feel, now that I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m on a spin-cycle of emotions related to what I percieve is my gender? I see it as for the past 27 years I’ve been a venerable steamship sailing over the choppy waters of life. I’ve managed to navigate it so far without any hardship or event in life managing to breach the holds in the hull of my emotions. 

Throughout my serious asthma & bullying issues when I was a kid, my parents’ divorce & into the general alienation I’ve felt when entering my 20’s, I’ve managed to power through unscathed by burning through my eclectic imagination, whilst (in retrospect) my increasingly repressed emotions & personality began to rot in the confined space of the holds. I had no idea that at a certain time, these little time-bombs would rupture one-by-one, creating a carnival of chaos on-board, exploiting weaknesses in my ship’s structure & setting fire to everything. The wonderful thing about the personalities of humans…is that alot of us seem to be built with little weak spots, which life seems to be expert at exploiting, exerting pressure every so-often on each one, before usually sticking a finger into the weakest one & standing back to watch the whole structure implode. Life will always find a way to strike you at your weakest spot.
Find the schematic of your personality, understand yourself, trace the faults…and you may be able to address the issues before life comes along & shuts you down.

Anywho, I’ve kept sailing, with a fire raging in the bunkers. I’ve begun exploring my inclinations towards expressing femininity in it’s many different forms, after repressing them & not really acknowledging them for many years. My ship was well able to accomodate these experiments, thanks to appearing younger than it was. All was well. And then. KA BOOM! Life decided that things were going too well, so it decided to push that all-important weak spot so it could sit back with a beer and watch the fireworks.

After years of struggling to look masculine in order to attract girls, keep my jobs & also not get flak for looking effeminate, I finally came out as wanting a truly feminine hairstyle..as depicted here – http://www.figure.fm/cgm/ecommerce/figure/images/large/9bb3673a42e3eb655a86a0e7c4e30883.jpg?1265361073
And I finally got to look feminine & also began styling it like Edwardian ladies indulged in!….for all of three weeks… before my hair started falling out. And it kept on flowing out of my scalp like smoke from an industrial chimney. What timing. Co-incidence I’m sure… yeh, right. Nope, it was because life knew it would generate a commotion, an inner-epxlosion, the one thing would get a reaction. A missile of testosterone into the superstructure of my personality and sense-of-self.. My hair has always been the only tangible expression I’ve felt I have even when it was shorter. Thus, I now have an emotional connection to it. Taking it away was akin to stealing a country’s official flag. A loss of identity & a questioning of where I’m travelling too.

The answer in my case was – to the land of “much, much, much more male”. Which to someone who only recently begun to blossom further & further into the femininity I’ve always wanted to explore, was a stumble in a wrong direction, via some pretty nasty falls down steps and a crash-landing arse first into the realisation that my ship was going the wrong way. Out of nowhere, someone had changed the course. I’ve had a somewhat stunted growth due to taking steroids as a kid to combat that asthma hobby my body had when I was a nipper. Thus I’d remained petite and compartively feminine in stature & looks compared to other men my age. Until now. When within the space of a month, my body bulked out, my hair of course began migrating my scalp & my face developed a hardness I’d not seen before.
Tis always the way isnt it? You try to build yourself a personality based on one’s form & physicality…and two come along at once in quick succession. 

This missile had struck my personality, detonating my repressed feelings and sending a fireball of angst & confusion blasting through the corridors & decks of my soul. I was forced to address this issue – I could no longer simply daydream through life, I had to address where I was going as a vessel. Why was I suddenly changing? How could I balance feeling feminine when I was starting to become more physically masculine? I was stopped dead, taking on water. Not knowing which way to steer the helm. And then, life introduced the concept of “hormones” into the mix.

This sudden realistation that potentially I could sail towards what I had believed was a mythical destination, and potentionally end the testosterone destruction, was like a torpedo striking my hull, sending volumes of “what if I transitioned?” water into my engine rooms. Over the course of a few months further torpedos struck, further encouraging my thoughts.

I had begun to take on water. Sinking into a sea of transition. It may well put out the flames of rampant testosterone, but at the cost of taking a perfectly servicable male ship…and all the stability that comes with it…well…with it.
The structure of the ship is groaning, the two genders governing the ship applying increasing pressure so that internal splits have begun. There is no balance anymore between the two. Only one can survive.

My decision can either be to continue steering a burning and damaged male ship towards whatever direction it wants to go, or allow the transition to scuttle the ship and send it hurtling towards the uncertain & tempestuous depths of femininity where it may either adapt or get break-up via the increasing pressure of the elements of change.  
    
That is where I am now. A sinking ship. Cue lots of onboard explosions, rumbling noises, twisting and groaning metal, collapsing supports, water crashing onto the submerging decks, superstructure beginning to fail as both gender structures onboard cause the ship to increasingly break into two.

If I could create a video montage I’ve how I’m feeling right now – it would include the sinking & splitting sequences from “Titanic” & the various collapsing dream sequences from “Inception”.

I hope all that made some sort of sense. Ooo err.

 

A Tx to no-one in particular.

29 Jul

Well, I’ve never kept a diary. For more than a few days at a time. But I do get the urge to suddenly write down my feelings and thoughts on till reciepts and bits of newspaper. Maybe one day I’ll scribble it in monster-high letters in spray paint on a wall somewhere abandoned. Anywho, until then, I think an online blog might be the most responsible & downright normal option.

A blog to chart my urbex habits, my random videography & TV work, and of course… the bomb-site that has become my increasingly trans-gender experience after my exploration into my feminine side exploded in my face early this year & re-decorated my brain with a nice shade of Fucking Confused (by Dulux). Oh and by some miracle I managed to land a damn good job with the Olympics.

Never written a blog before, so here goes. Perhaps I’ll end up simply using this to write my shopping list on it.  Feel free to have a browse. And stop by the giftshop on your way out.

Hello world!

29 Jul

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!