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!

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Half and Half

Lots of things on my mind and about to lose the next few nights to going for a wedding. A family one, with the eldest and my mother in tow, some four hours' drive away (plus maybe two hours for charging if it all goes badly) so... Yeah, not looking forward to that really, but I can do it.

So, Jo, what's on your mind, girl?

Here's the side-by-side. See what I mean?
Thanks for asking, rhetorical device, I'm glad you're interested! First and foremost (really) is the fact that I was playing around with the FaceApp again and noted that the last couple of times I tried it the only differences I could spot between the images were the length of the hair and the slight smoothing of my Adam's apple. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am not complaining but I really honestly didn't ever think I was that close. So, does that mean that I could pass? Wait, more to the point, does that mean I always could?

Huh. Well.

This morning I had just washed my
hair, so it was still wet here.
And that leads me into the whole concept of passing. On the forum for the support group to whom I reached out there is a newb like me who pointed out that the conversation seemed to hinge on clothing and how one appears to others. I recall having similar thoughts myself not long after starting this blog (and blowed if I can find the post I did it in, I read it recently but I don't keep notes). In other words, is the goal here to pass unnoticed in our society and behave in such a manner as to be camoflagued? I... don't have a satisfactory answer to this. However, I have long ruminated on the fact that I assert that I could not pass - it was never part of my goals or aims because I simply assumed that I would be unable to do so. That is, my goal, such as it could be described, was intensely private and self-directed - I wanted to have a feeling that matched who I was, who I am and the world can go hang with its expectations on how that should look to others.

I now know that I am autistic, I did not always know this, but I have never really worried that much what I look like. No, scratch that, I have always worried how I look to others. No, I mean, for example: I like to chew the inside of my lips. I now know this to be a stim. I likely adopted it because it is less obvious to others, less likely to gain attention. But, being a teacher, I know that some of my chewing habits are very visible - for example, I have a nub of flesh left over from some spot on the inside of my lower right lip, just shy of centre and below the lip line on the inside. When I had the spot I chewed it and sucked it so much that long after the spot went the nub of flesh remained. For whatever reason, I like to chew that now and again using the left front top tooth and bottom teeth. So I have to pull that part of my lip to the right bit of my jaw, making extremely noticeable changes to my face. I do it anyway when I feel like it, despite how it looks to outsiders - my motivations are purely on it feeling 'right' to me to do so. It is much the same to how I have approached cross-dressing.

Here it just removes my shirt, seen
this before.

Really thinking I need glasses.
I have never really bothered with how it appears and have always focussed on how it feels. I still do. Now, having got so little of a wardrobe and so few spaces and times to indulge I have, naturally, been able to over-think everything. My first ever time fully dressed en femme on Toby's birthday was thus preceded by a fortnight of me carefully selecting clothes that I imagined 'matched' to some degree. But, at the same time, I went to a lot of trouble to find clothes that felt right. I had a good candidate blouse with bell sleeves very quickly (and cheaply) early on, a day in, and I rejected it because it did not feel right. It wasn't me. Similarly a skirt. The bra I got was almost entirely about how the chest band felt, I had no clue how to stuff it nor any real thoughts on cup size (I plumbed for C cup based purely on a story I'd read on fictionmania).

Why am I digressing? Well, this revelation that the App thinks I can pass suggests that... I don't know. But I got a little stab of gender euphoria that I really wasn't expecting at all. Like, I took the photo cross-dressed as a male for work. I wasn't even in appropriate clothing. The image thus wasn't about the clothing. It was simply me. And... I looked female enough that the App decided it didn't have to change much. And, unexpectedly, that made me happy.

It does, moreover, lead into my next point. A comment on my last post was about the role of Him Upstairs. It suggested that Christianity has a hard and fast rule that prohibits cross-dressing, that prevents me from indulging the desire to appear the lady that I feel myself to be.

In a jumper, FaceApp'd

A month ago.
Now, I have written a lot about my faith and my wrestling with my understanding of myself, how I was and remain harsher on myself than any minister of religion I have ever met has been. How my own reading of the Bible has often been softer than how I have chosen to interpret the laws and ideas contained within to myself. I am also at the tail end of a divorce, the comment made no mention of that, which I am fairly certain has little biblical backing to support. That divorce, bear in mind, has little to do with my realisation of being trans, as it occurred before I knew that. Did it have to do with cross-dressing? Well, kinda sorta. Read the story about that (sexless marriage and conversations with Tilly are your tags if you wish to) and you'll see that the cross-dressing is merely the conduit through which various underlying features and stresses were pushed. And it was mainly Tilly that did the pushing. Indeed, much of the issue stemmed instead from the lack of intimacy, which itself led to the discussion of my cross-dressing.

Put another way, had my relationship been less cold and difficult it is unlikely I would have circled the drain as long. One of two things would have resulted: 1. I would have realised I was trans sooner and embraced it,  being in a safe and loving space to do so and explore that part of myself. 2. I would have been able to put that part of myself on a back-burner indefinitely, awaiting a time to examine it properly, and got on with the relationship. What relevance does this have to my faith and cross-dressing/femulating/being trans?

You really are a peach, rhetorical device, thank you.

I like this representation of Jesus

Not as much as one toting an AK, but eh.
The God in whom I believe is Master of the Universe (no, He Man, not you) and Creator of All Things. That means, however distasteful you find it, He creates children with congenital conditions like cancer and worse. It means that He creates things for the rest of us to deal with. It is not punishment to the child with AIDS that they are born with it, nor punishment to the victims that there are flash floods, volcanic eruptions, storms at sea, meteor strikes, lightning storms, tsunamis, earthquakes- you get the idea. Rather we are called to be as Christ, who would gather the city of Jerusalem under His wings like a mother hen, to those in need. Jesus never condemned those who needed Him for needing Him. Go, he would say once He had helped them, and sin no more. But He suggested that everyone sinned.



White Jesus, but best looking depiction I could find
for the Sermon on the Mount.
In the Sermon on the Mount he offered the suggestion that men who looked on women with lust in their hearts the judgement that they had committed the sin of adultery already. If they wanted to blame it on men just being attracted to beauty, then fine, gouge out your eyes because better to be blind in Heaven than sightful in Hell. Oh, maybe it was a purely physical thing and lust, then cut off your hand and cast it away. Or, you know, you accept it's you and you ask forgiveness. Jesus never suggested that you could give it up, you just had to accept that it was you and there were no excuses. Similarly, when asked who had caused the paralysed man to be punished - was it his sin or the sin of his parents - Jesus simply absolved him of sin after telling him to get up and walk. As He asked His disciples: which is easier: to say your sins or forgiven or get up and walk?

My point?

The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, Blast Supper.
God creates people. He created me. And my trans-ness was baked in. Like my ASD. I didn't choose my ASD, I couldn't now choose to mask like I used to - I've gone beyond that Rubicon, I've passed the point of no return (no backward glances), the final threshold! I can't put the genie back in that bottle. No one is suggesting that I should. Baby, I was born this way. I'm not there to beat others into my worldview nor break myself to be part of the world. I am in the world but not of it. Gandhi said: be the change you wish to see in the world. Jesus said the same, through actions, in the Gospels (go read them if you don't believe me). "The most important commandment is these: love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength; and love your neighbour as yourself. On this hang all the law and the prophets." And so, my realisation that I am trans, heck, my cross-dressing, does not interfere with either part of that edict. In fact, I would argue that the struggle to accept myself was the process I had to go through in order to learn what was meant by the edict in the first place. Love your neighbour as yourself. I am an image of the Lord God, He made me that way, I reflect God and I am trans. He meant me to have that struggle (maybe not as long as I had it, but I was meant to have it). I couldn't ever accept others as they are, to show them the Kingdom of Heaven, if I had never had to struggle with myself and who I was. My love would be useless if it had come easily to me - how then could I support others in their struggles?

Just as my ASD is part of my God-given image, so too is who I am. And thus trans-ness symbolises to me the way in which God helped me come to peace with myself.

Okay, okay, there's a single verse in the Old Testament that says women shouldn't dress as priests or wear armour and men shouldn't dress as women to seduce passersby to have sex in a temple that many modern people of religion have interpreted as saying that cross-dressing is inherently evil. It gets translated different ways in the NIV and KJV, but both use it to have a pop at cross-dressing women wearing trousers. Oh, no, wait, that can't be right, isn't it against males dressing as women? Oh, no, there's no tradition of that. Huh. Oh. No one even used it historically to argue that men shouldn't play women on the stage? Oh, no, they said it prevented women from going on the stage as they woud have don vestments as worn by men. Oh. Oh, I see. So, this stricture against men dressing in women's clothes wasn't understood that way either by the culture in which it was written, the culture of Palestine under the Romans, the early Church, the Medieval Church or the Early-Modern post-schism European Churches? It only started to be used that way in Victorian Britain and the Empire (specifically levelled against a part of Indian culture in Hinduism)? Oh, oh. Oh.

Oh.

OH.

I don't think I'm going to convince anyone on this. I've said before I don't do that. But I will say this, because I don't know who needs to hear it: God made you, you are Fearfully and Wonderfully made. Trans or Cis, gay or straight, whatever combination of the above or otherwise. God is bigger than our human classifications.


Here endeth the lesson, and thank you for coming to my Ted Talk Sermon.

3 comments:

  1. Does god have a gender or is it fluid? If you don't want to be a child of a lesser god then god must be able to be seen as just like you. You are made in his image and your image is as a woman. I know its more than an image its deep down but you know what I mean. Femsup

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God has all the genders. As I understand it. :)

      But, seriously, when Jesus specifically invokes feminine imagery to talk of His role and God continually goes beyond 'Father' to also provide brooding in the Old Testament, I think it's implicit and as clear as it could be given the vocabulary, that God is beyond our mere language. God is bigger than our classifications.

      And yes, I am agreeing with you but with more words! Thank you, Femsup, nice to hear from you again!

      Joanna

      Delete
  2. Just as in the book and film the blind person is not a lesser being and you are far from that too. Femsup

    ReplyDelete

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