Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Acceptance

Joanna. Me. As I appear
on Google+.
Aspirational?
One of the odd upshots of the past few weeks is the comfort I now have with using my Joanna online identity. It has actually become easier posting as Joanna on Google+ than it is to use my actual primary account as myself. Interactions on there with people who only know my alter-ego is easier than most of the conversations that I have online anywhere else and easily more effective and honest than any conversations that I'm having in real life.

What follows is a very brutally honest account of my feelings over death of people close to me. I would strongly advise caution with reading further - it's not for everyone. I am very blunt with death. Very blunt. It may not be a good idea if you have any feelings at all on death or have experienced loss to read on. I take no prisoners. If that refers to you, and it very well might, don't click 'read more' and, instead, have a caption I like to lighten the mood.



This was created by the very talented Friedoline. I think it may be my favourite
production. I don't quite know why. But it has an ephemeral quality that I enjoy.



No, really.
My boss was in tears over the death of my grandmother when she took me to one side to speak to me, compassionately I'm sure, about it on Friday. But, as I told her, I am a firm believer in an afterlife. As a consequence of that, coupled with my autistic life-view and the fact that my grandmother was semi-evil in her dementia since at least 1998 (if not before), I really don't feel any grief that she's gone. I mean, I'm not sure I'll even notice. My mother is, of course, torn up about it and my grandfather is very upset - so I shan't be sharing my actual views with them. But, even if I loved her (not sure I did) I wouldn't feel bad. I believe in an afterlife, which means I live as if it is truth. So, you know, she's only dead to us anyway. Equally, she doesn't care what we do now she's gone because she's dead. I really don't 'get' funerals and paens of praise draped over the deceased because they're dead. They don't care and probably don't even know what the living are up to. I had to ameliorate my opinions on this for the sake of my boss, whose mother died a while ago and who is still very much grieving and messed up by it, which was an odd one. I ended up having to comfort her about her loss. What I wanted to do was say "get over it, she's dead and you're not" but that would have been rather uncaring and unfair. She mourns not because her mother is dead but because she lost someone to confide in and who offered her unconditional support.

Flip the roles and this was pretty much my wedding night.
It sums up how I feel better than any of the disappointed
groom ones as they seem to focus on having a fat or
unattractive spouse. This was very much, and remains,
not a problem.
Never having had either of those two points from anyone in my family makes it hard for me to understand the loss other people feel when people die. Tilly went to pieces back when her grandparents died in quick succession. She was close to them, they had provided her with unconditional love and support for a very long time. She knew that she was going to miss them and had desperately wanted them to play a big role in the lives of our own children. We didn't invite my grandparents to the christening of our eldest after their performance at our wedding (the dead grandmother threw a hissy fit about my grandfather standing too close to another family member and so had all the photos redone - meaning that Tilly's family didn't get in any photos at all from the official photographer). Couple that with my mother's usual neurotic and controlling anxiety and you just had stress for the entire day. I managed to shield Tilly from most of my family's shit but had a hateful day as a consequence. I did not enjoy my wedding day. Oh, and there was no wedding night. It was all a bit shit really. It was another year before we slept together and actually consummated the vows (though, strictly speaking, we were married, and one flesh, in October 2006, almost two years before the wedding in August 2008). I have never really had unconditional love and support from my family.

Was my father's workaholic nature part of what has made
me so hellbent on being less masculine? Is that part of
the reason that I self-identify more with traditional notions
of femininity - in an effort to be less like him and more like
the dominant factor in my life: an overbearing, brooding,
sulky and neurotic female?
The lack of my father doesn't exactly make me more inclined
toward my mother, by the way.
At New Year we were round at my father's, Tilly gets on better with him and his wife than she does with my mother and her husband (Hell, I think I do), and my father expressed his pride in my brother and I. Except that he did by comparing us to him in terms of our attitude to our respective jobs. Basically, he suggested that my brother and I were as workaholic as he was/is and that this was a reason for him to feel proud of us. In saying this he blithely ignored our families, our children, our beliefs and our passions. Tilly reckoned it was a good thing for me to hear and I have not disabused her of the notion. I did not enjoy hearing it. My father's workaholism meant that I grew up without him, either he was commuting to Ormskirk and so left before I woke and returned after I was asleep on weekdays, with weekends eaten with him working and being irritable or he was physically away in Carlisle. When we moved to help his job I was uprooted and left friendless and bullied. I don't thank him for any of that. If any part of me is like my father then I want it burned with fire and destroyed. He's my father, yes, but any warmth from him has always been conditional on whether or not I was good at whatever it was we were doing or, if not good, like him.

Is this true for anyone, anywhere? Or is it, as I suspect, an invention
of the mass media and cinemas?
I do not know what it is to experience unconditional love and support from my family because I have never been offered it. I find myself working very hard to be unconditional with my own spawn but I find even that difficult. The Boy is finally beginning to talk and I find myself focussing on the fact that I can't understand what he's saying, contrasted with Tilly who is still squeeing that he's even trying. No prizes for guessing which of us is parenting more effectively here!

My point? This sort of experience makes it hard for me to understand why people feel loss when a family member dies. I think I'd feel something more akin to relief. Indeed, if my grandmother had died a few years ago I think I would have felt something and that would have been relief. As it is... I'm not sure I actually feel anything about it. Apart from irritation that the funeral is on a school day. This means I had to set cover and have to mark like an eejit on an evening - which I am increasingly averse to. Mainly because, in my irritable state, I am wondering what the point is. Increasingly, that word again, I wonder whether any of my students actually read my comments. They don't even use capitals. And they're in Sixth Form. Bloody Hell.

Maybe I could do this?
I know that, when I die, I will be leaving a will that essentially says "do what you want with my remains, I won't be needing them". I'm not certain I shall leave any estate as such but I'll do my best to leave no debts.

But, yes, I find it interesting that I have accepted my alter-ego and that she has a name. Back when I started this blog I can remember viewing other blogs and writers and wondering at their assertion of a feminine persona that had a name. I remember thinking, possibly even posting, that my own 'dressed' persona was just me and had no name. I mean, that's still true, but the identity of Joanna as carved out online has taken on a life of her own in a way that I confess has surprised me. I think, if I was forced to give up Joanna's online activities, I would feel more loss and sorrow over that than I would the death of a family member. Joanna is more alive to me now than I suspect my grandmother has been since about 1998.

This has to have been the most difficult post I've ever had to write and certainly the hardest to present with images. I'm not sure what to make of that, or this post.

5 comments:

  1. I'm hoping that my afterlife is on/connected to the internet, which hopefully will achieve sentience by the time I kick off this mortal coil.

    I mean, the internet is everything I possibly every wanted, even before I knew what it was. I mean, all the knowledge in the world and people to communicate with? Especially if the internet has all the people that have passed on before me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, an afterlife on the intartubes sure *seems* appealing until I remember about the trolls and the message boards on the Daily Mail or the BBC, then I wonder if I could take that pain. :)

      I bring you my own black beast depicted in comic form:
      http://xkcd.com/386/
      And why I hope my afterlife has no wi-fi. ;)

      Delete
  2. I am very late to thank you for another kind reference of my blog. But I do, sincerely! I value your appreciation very much!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Now to your actual post. I do not believe in an afterlife, but I don't think that it actually changed that much inmy attitudeto death if it did. I have a family member whois a doctor and has quite a lot of experience with dying people. He says it is striking that the belief in an afterlife has no measurable impact on the ease or difficulty of people to come to terms with their own death. It's all about if the dying people can look back on a meaningful lifeornot, and if they feel that they leave problems and unfinished business behind. Well, that'swhat he says, and it makes sense to me, though I have no closer insight intothat matter.
    I have a very happy and harmonious relationship with my parents. I think I have been very lucky with them. Now they are quite old, and the notion that they will die, probably in not such a far future, is comingto my mind often. I know I will be very sad then. But I won't be devastating. I think I will come to terms with it quite well. They had a good life. Noone lives forever. And that, actually, I even dareto think isa good thing. It gives meaning and value to the time you are on earth. But I know what would devastate me: ifoneof my children died! The thought of thatis so terrible that I even flee the thought of it. For example, before Ihad own kids, I could cope much better with movies or real life stories where children die. Now it is pure horror to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, meaningful lives are the most important part of any 'coming-to-terms-with' where death is concerned. I think that the promise of an after-life pales in comparison with the weight of the memories at that point.

      And yes, the ultimate point of life is the death - I'm with you that living forever would be a singularly bad idea. Maybe if we could find ways to make people think in terms of their life span rather than the next few months that would be nice though.

      Children dying before parents is hard.

      Delete

All comments are welcome, I have a thicker skin virtually than I do in real life!