Preface - I'm a little embarrassed about how much time exists between Part 1 and Part 2 of my little confessional. Obviously I don't have to explain myself (esp. at this point, when I have no audience to whom I must answer). Everyone's gotten too caught up in real life to indulge their private whims from time to time. And so have I. A lot can happen in three months. It was all more important than jotting down my gender role woes to satisfy my feminine angst, I assure you. But I admit, I'm not very good at returning to diaries once I leave them to fend for themselves. At least I came back. Count that blessing.
In my last entry, I counted off a few general variables that all closet cross-dressers have in common, as far as my limited understanding goes. I think it's safe to believe everything I mentioned, bearing in mind that while no two people are alike there are definite patterns that can be observed if only one bothers to look. As usual, there is no accounting for individuality. At some point, the closet CD tends to break away from the typical behavior pattern and ends up contributing her own style and preference. She becomes an individual. It's all about creating identity now, instead of initially discovering it. She focuses on not just making herself happy, but actualizing the significance of self. In fact, happiness and self-actualization start walking hand in hand, discussing future plans, exchanging meaningful looks, deciding whose house they'll move into, etc. It feels right. In some ways, it also feels wrong. This won't be resolved for some time, but that's not so important at first.
What's been important to me has been determining how I, Holli, can manifest as a person, as someone whose existence matters to another living soul. Dressing the part in my free time is really a secondary achievement. I may as well be the sole survivor of some nautical disaster, isolated on a desert island in hopes that someone thinks to come looking for me, knowing that's about as likely to happen as I am to sprout wings and fly home. Here is a hard fact: Most everyone has no idea that I am transgendered, and those who do are generally powerless to love me for it. (I choose the word "powerless" only in the sense that their personal moral codes keep them from getting involved to the point where they'd be culpable for any mistakes I made; in short, not supporting me in case my actions blow up in our faces.) Erica thinks I should content myself with having the house to myself every now and then. Without spreading the word around to close friends or family, this is as good as it gets.
And then I think of how I've never, ever been to the movies by myself. I'm sure lots of people do it, or have done it, but I don't know anyone who really wants to. Movies, to me, are soul-stirring experiences, stories that bond you with others (yes, even the crappy ones) much in the same way sports games or TV shows become the topic of water cooler conversation, or any kind of "mini-event" that lets you relate directly to another person. Thinking of myself as a woman isn't just a hobby. It's self-discovery. It's evolution of the soul. But just because one may relate to women, one may feel like a woman, one may even become a woman, if no one acknowledges your needs then you may as well be a brick. None of us feel we are who we are without some sort of social feedback.
Some CDs, tired of living cooped up with their inhibitions, will attempt to go public with their feminine identity. This decision leads to gigantic, nigh-irreversible life changes that affect everyone involved in that person's life. Here, my dears, is where I wave from the front porch and wish them safe journey. I can make my own decisions just fine, but such an intimate leap means making decisions for other people in my life as well. I'm too well-loved in all other regards to leave them behind.
Anyway, I have no idea what I'm trying to accomplish. What's different about being Holli? I'm convinced that my identity isn't separate, but I can't outwardly express myself as both man and woman. I believe that being who you are means spending time in the role, and that that time have some kind of impact on someone besides yourself. When alone, I indulge myself with playing the stay-at-home-wife role, even though I think the idea of being a housewife is ridiculous when you aren't even married. Of course, I am married, but as Holli I don't have the privilege of relationships, not even in devoted service to those I care for. Yet do I usually fold the laundry and do the dishes and vacuum and pick up the house when I've switched roles? Oh, yes. Does it make me feel more like my feminine self? Not really. These things are expected of me anyway. But usually "playing house" brings me closer to Holliness. As I type this, I really wonder how pathetic it sounds.
I used to go online whenever I could, frequenting the U R Not Alone chat rooms in search of like-minded peers, making connections that could well evolve into genuine, meaningful rapports. This became a steady exercise in figurative head-banging as it became clear to me that my choice to remain closeted turned most people off to pursuing any kind of ongoing association. Yet for the sake of Erica's privacy and various other concerns, I didn't have much choice but to remain anonymous. It's been over a year since Holli disappeared from that scene. Despite the occasional temptation to revitalize my presence there, I don't believe I can reach any kind of fulfillment there.
I confess that there have been... carnal ways of attempting to fill the idle hours, but that's something I've been steering away from. Sex is as much a condition of gender development as anything else, and just as important, but - again, I make with the blunt honesty - that's a glass that's never been full. And, believe me, I've tried since adolescence. It's far too late to separate the thrill of sexual gratification from feminine appearance, as those strands of consciousness are forever entwined. But merely pretending to be the object of someone else's desire tires me, leaves me feeling empty when the moment has passed.
Finally, it comes to this: What does the closet cross-dresser do when she only has herself to validate her identity, yet out of respect for loved ones refuses to step outside the boundaries she herself has drawn to avoid unpleasant reprisals?
She goes mad.
This, I fear, is inevitable unless something changes. Something that I cannot change myself, because of my self-imposed dictates of conscience. Is it my fault because I choose to lock myself in a closet rather than give over to self-gratifying indulgences? Or should I go beyond that, blame myself for not being creative enough to find another way to be recognized and loved?
Okay, I can't go out. But how can I invite someone else in? I guess that's the next puzzle to solve in this maze.