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. 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 "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" 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!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

My Confusion

This was in 1996, apparently. If I had
known... I would have done bugger all.

Claire as 'Mother of all battles'.
Devouring the Grayson Perry biography I have been rather challenged and discomforted, the best sort of feeling to get from any tome, and it comes in the midst of travelling up to see my nephew have a thanksgiving service. Thus my family have been rather sharply contrasted with Perry's and his experiences with mine. I took the role of whipping boy over my rash decision to go electric in the car department - itself something I first mooted in the 1980s to the derision of my parents (along with recycling, teaching, writing and home schooling any future children) - and there were no casualties but pride.

I realise that I am a poor transvestite. I never dressed in anything feminine until the first year of university, which I did in private and in scrupulous secrecy, and I never actually came out as one (though I suspect pretty much everyone knew and probably better than I did). I have had but one romantic experience with cross-dressing involved that was with a mad person and had no future. I have never created nor maintained an actual wardrobe and I have been out and dressed (hardly) once in my entire life, in October 2011, with my platform heel shoes and, briefly, a skirt. The rest has been indoors and in private. Okay, there was the time I went in a mini-dress to a club with Toby but that doesn't count much as it was entirely shit. Okay, and the school-girl occasion on Toby's birthday, that was positive and never repeated and dressing up.

I am a poor human being. Today we were discussing what people wanted to do in school, I think my brother was being harangued (again) by my father over his 'non-job' (my father's words) of Christian youth work started in his gap-year. My brother never made it to University and his gap-year became his life work. I worked out that I had never had a really defined aim. A family, go to University and that was it. I have achieved these aims. I've tricked a woman into bed long enough to have two children and fooled academia long enough to dispense it as a career. I get paid for what I do. In the last week I even got a review from my immediate boss that reads like a fucking love letter. I'm not complaining.

None of it is me.

Do I spy Juana Galan in this image? I think I do, there to the far
left. I find it interesting that there are men in it - the story has
it that only the women were involved.
As a child I had my warzones and soldiers. Ruff, my puppy, was regularly captured and became a guerrilla leader before I was ten. Soldiers, cars, robots and transformers would battle it out on the bedroom floor with me as out of the picture. I dreamed in third person, always the observer and never present, with stories increasingly without character or emotion that focussed on the feel and the atmosphere rather than character or plot. I piddled about in art, where my work had no spark or soul or even ability. Somehow I wrangled a 'C' out of that. I wrote, and I thought I was good at writing, and dreamed of a book that would be published with my name on. Not my actual name, but a name that was mine. It was feminine. When I was 16 I went 'public' with my pen-name of S. C. Charlton (the S stood for Suzanne). Ha. I make it sound grand, I wrote it on some shitty writings in an old rough book my mother had got from her school. No one cared.

Yeah, I daydreamed in lectures, fell asleep in seminars and
didn't read widely at all. I blagged in Politics and fronted in
my main. I went to bed at 9pm mostly and woke at 6am.

I was pretty shit as a student. Imagine if I had embraced my
cross-dressing. Imagine if I had lived.
At University I failed to either party or study. I wrote even more close-packed and stunted prose that had an intellectual backing but nothing that set it apart. I thought I was good. I was shit. I did not embrace the opportunity to be me. My upbringing and my shame at what I suspected made me tape everything down harder. It was in my first year of work that I began to actually explore the feelings beyond the masturbation over the wordy and dense porn I discovered on fictionmania (was it my friend who introduced me to that, QP?) and that was, for many years, as far as I went. I discovered sticky-site (now defunct) at the end of that year and started going out with Toby soon afterward. It was staying over at hers in the summer of that year that I cross-dressed properly for the first time, I wore her T-shirt to sleep in. I bought a pack of knickers. At the end of the summer I wore her dress, I've spoken about it before (search the tag 'mad-ex' if you're interested), and then ordered my own stuff for Christmas that year - sharing it with Toby when she came to visit in January. That was the dam that broke.

Oxford. I bought roses. Derivative. Doomed.

I still love the colour yellow and would like to try a
half-tester again. It is laughably unlikely I ever shall.
I have never 'let myself go' sexually, emotionally or creatively. At least, the most I have was when I was with Toby. Then I packed it all up again. There was a potential release and acceptance offered with Catherine and the dress incident, along with the photo, but then it was back to privacy and in my own home. I could have developed but I met Tilly. I told her, I know I did because she likened me discussing her drinking with my mother (something she was very upset about) to her talking to her mother about transvestism, which is something she proudly didn't do. This was before that first Christmas, before we went to Oxford, very early in the relationship, and she wonders why I was secretive about it. We spoke about it again, in Oxford, and again when she moved in (I showed her my wardrobe in the racing green metal trunk by the bed). She was not interested. I tried one last time when we filled in sheets before we were married, I wrote in the "things I wish my partner knew about me" section that "sometimes I just like to wear clothes made and designed for women, like dresses and skirts." She asked if I'd done it since she moved in. I hadn't. That was the end of that.

Sexually I was disappointed. My naivete led me to believe that most people went beyond missionary, that most people were playful and experimental, ish. I always assumed that I would be the brake due to my own very set ideas and resolved to be open to anything once. It didn't help that going out with Toby was my only real experience of women who were sexual and she was mad.

Spring Harvest Big Top Praise.

This is from 2012. I haven't attended since 2005 I think.

Last time as a worker, rather than a punter, (and this is better
methinks) was in 2004.
I have never met with nor talked with actual transvestites or cross-dressers in real life. Hell, I didn't even anywhere else until I wrote this blog and it was a revelation that there are so many of us! I never sought it out in literature or libraries. I sort of denied it completely, utterly convinced that it was the precipice of destruction and, well, ill-defined Bad Things Generally. I approached masturbation the same way, nothing in my upbringing or my church-life informed this (indeed, in summer work, I'd read enough books on Christian relationships that were, really, more sex-positive than the one in which I currently live. Hell, some of them were positively filthy in what they suggested for couples with prayer - I realise my own church-life and religion is different from most other people so, I guess, YMMV). Nevertheless, I kept it secret and was even addicted for a few years in my MA and immediately afterward. However, like most of my actual addictions, I broke this by brutal cold-turkey and my own self-imposed spartan nature.

Apply the scrubbing pad to your fucking skin to remove the
stain. Nothing sexual or masochistic, it just fucking works.
There's no stain nor dirt that can stay if you scrub off the skin.

It's why I shall never have a tattoo. I'd scrub the ink out. It
would bleed.
I wash myself similarly. I can scrub myself raw to remove ink-stains or paint or, memorably, warts. I had a wart on my toe. Application of wire-brush, alcohol gel and my nails to the point of blood and stinging for three weeks sorted that out. This stands as metaphor to my approach to anything else. Too many energy drinks and caffeine? Cold turkey until the headaches stop and I don't think about buying them. Sweets? In a tin and see how long I can leave them untouched (three years before I simply stopped counting, that was in 1995). Computer games? Shut down and wait. I can wait a long time. I am good at waiting. I am actively divesting myself of extraneous shit. I continue to actively wait in terms of sex in my relationship. I can wait a long time. I am good at waiting. I managed two years without anything sexual. I managed three years without sex. I've managed seven years and counting with dysfunction. I'm waiting. Scrub with alcohol gel until it goes numb and stops bleeding, cut it off, rub it out, pulverise it with rocks until even the dust marks are gone and the concrete is scarred more than my flesh. And it fucking works. It's my one special ability, my one method that is mine. It really isn't for everyone. I can do it because I am single-minded and broken. I am not better than others in this regard, I am different. It is, perhaps, my only difference.

Eye bleach!
My only failure of this method so far has been cross-dressing, transvestism. Yet I still persist in trying my method because part of me resents the fact that I can't let this part of myself go. I have spent so long in my life rolling back my borders, scrubbing traces of myself from my life and those I meet and the environment in which I live, fading into the background, the observer and no more, that my failure in this regard still rankles. It carries bitterness and reading the biography has brought home, once more, how successful I have been and how much I have still failed. I am not one nor the other and thus have the disadvantages of both and the advantages of neither. It is The Fear, about which I have also written. But it remains. It will likely never go. And I shall never know the freedom and release of Perry, of the other brave souls who embrace who they are that I read about through this vicarious life on this blog.

Waiting has destroyed my writing urges. I have scrubbed and gone cold-turkey and I have succeeded, it is dead and gone. I no longer harbour dreams of publication, I assassinated that part of me. There is some pride in that. My last unrealistic goal purged so that I shan't feel bitter and sad when others see success in this regard. I can no longer be insulted and hurt when people do not like what I have written because I no longer write anything. I never get as far as opening the documents any more, I have stopped jotting down dreams and ideas, the still-births no longer haunt me. People like Perry, like my friends, my wife: true creatives - they create. They have the resilience and the ability. I do not create, I copy and twist. I have never had an original thought or idea and, frankly, I don't think I want one, it seems like a lot of work and emotional investment. As an emotional illiterate I believe myself incapable of the latter and as a lazy cunt I dislike the sound of the former. I do not sally forth to seek asymmetric battle with terror, I withdraw and hide in the hinterlands. There is no Alan Measles, only Ruff - the forgotten hero abandoned before I was 12 because soft-toys were for children - and his long forgotten and abandoned conflict. I have withdrawn because I am a coward. But I am alive and cannot be killed. Better a live coward than a hero disabled. I have skull-fucked my dreams and they have stopped, slick in their own blood and mouldering on the abattoir floor.

But I can't manage to stop the cross-dressing.

My children will have dreams. It is my wish and my desire that they do not self-regulate to my excess. But I am slightly autistic and, though spectrum-y, neither of my children yet display any of my hallmarks regarding self-control and active waiting. With Tilly as a mother perhaps they never will, and I shall be glad.

Stopping now, being remarkably self-indulgent.


  1. Oof. I feel you. I can't seem to shake my behaviours either, particularly as work is beginning to crank up again. My own habit is so long and runs so deep that I don't think I'll ever be free of it. I think it's an essential part of my identity that I have to accept and try to incorporate into the rest of my reality. Your mileage, and all that, but yeah, I feel you.

    The work stuff sounds good, though.

    1. Thank you.

      And yes, it's another post where I don't keep to the point. Ugh. My delay in responding here is due to laptop issues last night.


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