Understanding Part-Timers

Last summer, almost exactly a year ago, I started seeing a therapist to try to get a better understanding of why I was spending a lot of time crossdressing. The therapy was pretty effective, and last New Years I began living full time as a woman. As the months go by, I seem to find myself less and less able to understand why going full-time is not the path for everybody. Before I completely lose touch, I decided to write down some of my thoughts and observations about this subject. If I offend you or appear to mis-charactize your choices, I apologize in advance. Please forgive me--I already told you, I don't understand it! But perhaps my thoughts will prove useful to a few of you who are trying to sort these things out for yourselves, even if it only raises some questions you may not have thought of already.

First and foremost I must assert that my transition is not about being a "man" or being a "woman". It is about expressing my true self. My heroes in this regard are Quentin Crisp, a very effeminate man, and Wavy Gravy, a full-time clown.

That said, most people find it most comfortable to express ourselves within the traditional models of "man" and "woman"--however difficult we find it to define those models! I have chosen to present myself full-time in the role of "woman." But I do NOT believe there is a pecking order between transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens, and whatever. There IS a pecking order between those who are fully and truly expressing themselves, and those who live in masks for whatever reason. But this heirarchy is not a moral judgement or a character flaw. It only means that some of us are further down the road we all travel, toward self-actualization. (See Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.)

Am I really 100% woman, or am I suppressing my male side? I can't say for sure. I try not to suppress any positive aspect of my true self. But I am looking at habits that I've developed, such as writing long-winded didactic treatises. I ask myself, "Is this a an aspect of my true self that I wish to nurture, or is it just something I do because I thought it was what a man should do?" (I think the didactic treatises thing is okay, but I am trying to write from a more loving, less argumentative viewpoint.) But I don't know for sure. I am open to all possibilities. I know that I am nowhere near the end of my journey. I don't expect--or want--to ever get there. Life is the journey.

Now, on to you part-timers. That was me for a long time, too, and not so very long ago.

I see some (few) part-timers who, it seems to me, are very much expressing their true selves and are living a balanced life presenting as both male and female. I give you exhibit A: Charles Anders/Charliegirl. She has fully documented this phemonena in her wonderful book, The Lazy Crossdresser, which you should go to Amazon and purchase immediately. (One day I hope to get to know Charlie better. I'll probably find out that she's as screwed up as the rest of us, but for now she's my hero!) Another example, I believe, is my friend Katie, although she is still struggling with the issue herself. In my opinion, such people are way down the road of self-actualization, and I see them living joyously and bringing joy to all those whose lives they touch.

Another group of part-timers are those who are still trying to figure it all out. That was me for a long time. "Know thyself" is such great advice, but so very difficult to do. Would that there was a recipe. Good luck to all the seekers.

Another group of part-timers are those who choose to live both roles because they own something of value in each, and do not see a way to integrate them. Huzzahs to these people, I say! It is foolish to lose family, friends, a good job, or even those joys of manliness that may be valuable to you, if you don't need to. Maybe you need to, because the draw to the femme side is just so powerful: you will experience much pain, but in the end much joy; you have my sympathy and support. Maybe there is nothing you value on the male side: you have it easy, go for it; this was my fortunate position. Of those of you who continue to balance both sides, some of you work it out in a way that is comfortable for you and your loved ones. Good for you! Enjoy your life, you are blessed. And don't waste time regretting what you can't have, for you have plenty to be thankful for. But for others of you, the balancing act will always be a painful struggle. You most of all, Tin Man, have my sympathy.

Finally, you may be a part-timer who is "forced" to live part of your life in a mask. You are un-free. You have no choice. You would transition if you could, but you simply cannot. You, dear, also have my sympathy, but I have to tell you this: You are stuck at the very beginning of the road. You have not taken the first step. You are still a child, whose world is controlled by forces you do not understand. Please grow up, dear heart. Become an adult, or at least a rebellious teen-ager. The truth is this: you are free to make your own choices in this world. Yes, your choices have consequences, and you will bear responsibility for the consequences of your choices. But the choices are there for you to make. It's your life, and it's the only one you've got. Live it! Live consciously, live free, and choose joy. If you need help understanding this, here is a book that helped me a lot: How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne. (Yes, THAT Harry Browne, the Libertarian guy.)

The world is full of joy and love. Please come out and share it. Every single one of you!

Lannie Rose

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