I don’t often remember my dreams, but a lot of them recently have included some element of trans living.
Last night’s dream included the need to select my clothing from a small collection of only female options. I picked a short dress that looked somewhat androgynous when worn over jeans, which is how I was able to wear it.
But over and over I had to pull the top together to cover my chest because it hung very loose on me. Only after I woke up did I realize that this was because I didn’t have breasts where the dress was designed for them to be. In the dream, I knew that something was missing, but I didn’t quite know what it was.
Being trans in my dreams is a relatively recent occurrence, but I like it.
Recently, I mentioned that the thought of transition had become somewhat frightening for reasons that are a little hard to describe. Here’s an image which brought out a flood of negative emotions that I had to sort through:
In the scene, she had just discovered very distressing video about her husband, and found herself feeling alone and overwhelmed. It struck me as somehow a quintessential image of womanhood stripped of anything which might make it look attractive. She has been humiliated and beaten down, and retreats to her bed, and then into herself.
In my imagination, transition has always looked like a great release, a chance to finally inhabit my life fully, and stop hiding half of myself from the world. But when I saw this image, I immediately realized that both transition and being a woman likely involve this type and depth of vulnerability and pain.
I’ve always found vulnerability to be almost impossible, and excruciating when brought on me by something out of my control. Likewise, I’ve always gone to great lengths to hide emotional pain, essentially just denying it most of the time. These are not healthy things, I know, but that’s how I’m wired, and it’s one of the things transition might help with.
I mentioned a couple of posts back that my best friend has been diagnosed with a serious and likely fatal illness. But I can’t seem to feel anything about that. I’ve been able to treat it as an intellectual problem, a medical problem, an existential problem, but I’ve been unable to feel sad or even anything for that matter.
The risk in transition is that the floodgates would open, and more often than not I’d end my days looking like Alicia in that scene. That scares me.
Also from my Good Wife binge-watching, I had to acknowledge that Mary Beth Peil, who plays Alicia’s mother-in-law, managed to create a whole character from almost the first frame she was on screen. That is no doubt due to great casting, great writing and tremendous acting skill, but I wondered if it might also have to do with the hairdo, which essentially is the character. (I’ve written about this subject before.)
I imagined that that actor, had she not already figured out how to play Jackie, would have taken one look at herself in that hair and been able to simply become that woman.
This suggested a purpose for cross-dressing that hadn’t occurred to me. By wearing the clothing, I can more fully become my female self. In fact, if I were successful in making myself look reasonably feminine, I could much more easily actually become more feminine. It has worked for me before, though I admit that I mostly see more hope than success when I look in the mirror while dressed.
I mostly stopped cross-dressing a while back because I just didn’t see any point to it. The thrill was gone, so to speak, and I sort of felt like I’d do that once I’ve made the commitment to transition. But I’m starting to rethink it.
Part of the rethinking is to ask once again whether I want to transition for the clothing (yes!) or for the emotional opening which I’m sure I would experience (yes!). There are probably other potential reasons.
But that’s the point that I return to the image of Alicia above. She has none of the trappings of femininity about her, no nice clothing, no confident public air, no strength whatsoever. Transition has the potential to strip you of even the good things you have and leave you a quivering ball of emotion. Anyone who transitioned for the clothing would probably be terribly disappointed to realize that it’s likely more about the emotions than the pleasant sensations.
It would be really lousy to go into transition without clear understanding of one’s own motivations. If they are shallow, there can be only heartbreak.
But how can you ever be sure?