Hello dear reader,
Today has been a gift. If you will, a bright gem within the regular mud of routine. To start off, I met with Andrea, one of the Chams Massive, who doesn’t work too far from me. We met up, had a tea and a chat, then a stroll around the grounds, talking about this, that and the other. Mostly gender / trans stuff, in between trying to help with a lost dog. I think, – no, not the lost dog element – that being able to talk with someone who’s on a similar wavelength, is one of the (many) good things about the trans community. You don’t need to have your guard up, around what topics of conversation can, and, obviously, can’t, be had.
A brief history of Slap
Afterwards, I popped in to a nearby gallery, to see the Boots Inspiring Beauty exhibit. There’s been a few adverts for it here and there, and my interest was piqued, Anyhoo, today, I got the chance to pop in and have a look. There were around five, or six, display panels and a central hexagonal cabinet. There were items from yesteryear – like that launch in the 30s, the war years and changes stepping to follow how women changed.
Seeing how make-up fashions changed was one thing, but the shift from women being pegged as only demure and quiet, to This Is Me, was, for me at least, a pleasant eye opener. I think we’ve got a long way to go in terms of equality, but at least we are moving. There seems to be more freedom to be yourself nowadays. Okay, yes, there are still glass ceilings and beauty / conformity stereotypes, but… you can chose to walk your own path. Hell, if you write a blog about it (hint: not this one), you’ll probably find some like-minded souls, or soon gather some.
Back to the exhibition; the 50s posters, while marvellously kitsch, where – according to the documentation – ‘very gender prescriptive’. Perhaps that explains the use of 50s imagery as ‘the enemy within’ or a more glam, Stepford straitjacket (despite Stepford being set much later). Ironic in a way, that now, that 50s look has been remixed, with arm sleeve tattoos and more sass than a 40s pin-up. Not that, I mind, I think that’s a great look.
In & Out
|Legs san padding|
I popped back to the office to show my face and charge my laptop. Lunch soon arrived and I was off to town to collect some new jeans for summer. New Look may have dropped their tall range from in store, but the Click and Collect service still services those of us with longer pins.
While I was there, I picked up some ballet pumps. My size 8 ones are a little on the snug side and hurt my toes, which isn’t great – and that’s with thin, or no tights on. Time for some new ones. The shop was pretty busy and despite waiting for a quiet moment, that wasn’t going to happen. So, I took a deep breath and, once I’d found an illusive sales assistant, took Pat’s suggestion, and asked if I could try the shoes on, away from the shop floor.
After a short pause of finding somewhere, I was whisked off to an out of use changing room, although the young lady said she had to wait nearby, ‘for security reasons’ and she rolled her eyes. Clearly, I looked the dodgy, shoe thieving sort 😉 I joke, because this now seems standard policy. I guess stores have lost out to some Scally’s nicking the stock and walking out in it. Four pairs in and the last pair fit. Yay!
In the comments about last week’s post, Zosimus was kind enough to mention her coming out story, and also asked about mine. It’s trick because it was a very long time ago, and memory; well, if the past is another country, memory has it’s own language, laws and geography. I’m not sure you can ever visit the same place twice, when it comes to distant events. 🙂 But, on we go…
Put your mind back to the end of the 80s, and picture a teenager, laid flat out on his bed in a black, school uniform. He’s almost face down, except his head is over the edge of the bed, while his feet are on the pillow. He’s staring at the carpet. Perhaps, he is looks hard enough, the answer to what’s bothering him, will surface, vision-like, from the threads. Weaveworld, this isn’t….
Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. The Gordian Knot of a problem about where he was headed, refused to be unpicked. Alcohol and, later, other substances, did nothing to tease the tightly bound ropes. Thinking, which usually worked, was not.
Some time in the year, perhaps the spring, or early summer, his mum enters the room, and asks what’s wrong. “Nothing,” replies the teenager. How can he tell his mum? He’s worn her heels, tried on her dresses and his sisters. It’s a violation of trust and personal space. How can that not be wrong?
She asks him and again, and she shuts the door. Is it someone at school? Is he being bullied? Is it a girl? Is it a boy? She looks worried. Worried because she sees her son’s face screw up, as he begins to cry. The hold each other.
“No”, says the teenager, “It’s worse than that.” She cries too and asks him what it is. He tells her, through tearful whispers that he doesn’t know what sex he’s supposed to be. He likes to dress like a girl and he’s sorry, for trying on her things. She doesn’t shout, or tut; for that was what he feared. Instead, she cries too and holds him. She says she doesn’t understand, but she’ll find help. Help, to help him understand and decide. No judgement, but there are tears. He wonders if he’s let her down.
“Please, don’t tell, Dad,” he adds. Not because his father is an ogre. That couldn’t be further from the truth: Dad is kind, gentle, funny and patient. The teenager doesn’t want his father to know, because he feels ashamed. Other kids don’t do this right? It’s not normal. The mantra echoes around his head. It’s not normal.
The door closes as mum leaves. The boy is both sad and happy that he told her. Schrödinger’s outing.
Weeks later, the teenager sees the family doctor and tells him, perhaps in not the best of words, “I’m a screaming transvestite.”
The doctor doesn’t react, but nods, sage-like and says, “I think I know someone who can help you, with your feelings. Help you find out, who you are.”
Or at least, that’s what plays in my head. Let’s face it, it’s pretty crowded in there and I do like to spin a story. The truth, may be far less like that, but it’s a start. If you feel like sharing yours, the comment box awaits. 🙂