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Feb 08 2015

Breaking Out of More of Society’s Chains.

Every time I start to feel better, I feel trapped again. Is this the story of Society’s Chains? Every step down this road needs to another step ahead. It will be nice when there are no steps to make no more decisions to make. Every day I feel better, yet every day I still have pain. Each door opening puts me in another locked room to which I have to find the key to get out. I am leaving a room called Hormone Replacement Therapy. I have accepted it is going to happen, I am happy. However, I opened that door and hoped for a moment’s respite. None was there.

I walked directly into another prison in my mind, although this one is a physical “prison” as well. I went to a musical last night called La Cage aux Folles. For those of you are not aware, this is the play, which spawned into a movie of the same name. That movie then came to America and was renamed The Birdcage. I wanted to dress up a little bit. Because I do not have any exterior female clothing that meant I had to try wearing a male dress shirt again. I have not worn one since summer 2014. I never did feel comfortable in them. However, now the feeling has now moved to a new level.

I felt strangled, and in handcuffs, all night. I did not even button the collar, but I felt strangled. I felt like the cuffs were handcuffs. I felt conspicuous. I felt like people were staring at me. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt imprisoned by the clothes I wore. I felt like a woman in man’s clothing. Which is more acceptable to society than a man in woman’s clothing is. However, I am starting to get over what society thinks… It made me consider escalating the wardrobe changes up in the list. As of this point, I can never wear a male dress shirt again. That means no suits. What am I going to do if I need to go to a formal / semi-formal occasion between now and next spring?

The Birdcage and La Cage aux Folles are both the same core story: A gay couple, one of whom is a transvestite (A man, who is happy with being a man, but is validated by dressing in woman’s clothing) owns a transvestite nightclub. They have a son who has intent to enter a heterosexual marriage. There is conflict when he reveals that the girl’s father is a conserve politician and they would have to hide their lifestyle so that the girl’s father would accept them. They attempt to do exactly that and their secret falls apart eventually. The girl’s father comes to learn they are still good parents despite their lifestyle. However, the birdcage and La Cage aux Folles are very different. The Birdcage concentrates on the definition of family and all the different types of family that exist. Yet each is valid and good. The Birdcage starts in this way:

I really miss Robin Williams. Sorry, just had to say that. La Cage aux Folles concentrates instead on the identity of each person in the story. Choosing instead to get inside their mind deeper and concentrating on showing that these people are valid instead of the validity of the family unit. Each Identity on La Cage aux Folles is its own and you can see conflict between them. La Cage aux Folles starts with this song…

It is a very different look on the same story. One talks about how these “non-standard” people come together to create just as much as a loving environment as those that fit the societal definition of “normal” people. The other looks inside the identity of each one and how these “non-standard” people to show they are people too, they have the same emotions, cares, loves, hates, and aggravations of people that society as a whole would view as “normal.” I had a lot of trouble not crying when this song occurred…

This song is sung by the main actress of La Cage aux Folles when he is told that he has to be absent. He will be missing meeting his son’s new family because of who he is. (Sidebar: MSWord kept insisting I change that to “actor” because I use “he” later in the sentence because of a grammar error defined as “Gender-Specific Language”)

I had always wanted the transition to feminine clothing to be the last thing… I never wanted to look like a man in woman’s clothing. The idea bothered me immensely. This song made me ask “Why?” The only answer I could come up with over the last 12 hours since I saw the play is “Because society has conditioned me to think so.” To think that my mind was still in the prison society created for it did make me cry. I spent about half an hour crying over that. Therefore, that leads me to believe the wardrobe transition is going to happen sooner that I originally planned. Male to Female transwomen start with the clothing transition or at least do it quicker than I did… Now I know why.

I may have a male body, but I am a woman on the inside. Do you think I should be one on the outside too? Why have I let society tell me that is unacceptable? I feel confined by my wardrobe. It is time to open up my closet and see what is in there… Piece by pecie an investigation will happen. But I know what’s going in the donation bin first… My suit and dress shirts.

I hope, after all this, I will be able to stand proud and say, “I am what I am!”

About the author

Josie

I’ve never been good at writing about myself. I’ve never been good at ‘talking up my strengths’ but at least I should try…

I am a 30 year old (gasp), woman. To me, it is just that simple. My life is slowly coming together into a form where I can be proud to call it my life.

Who am I? I’m a strong, loving woman that was assigned male at birth and is finally correcting that egregious error by biology. For most women if they have an urge like wearing a sundress, they just do it. For my first 29 years on this planet, that wasn’t a possibility.

I write to heal, then publish to inform. I hope my journey can make the journeys of people that come after me just a little less painful.

I also have a ‘day job’ as a Data Center Technician. I do an incredibly physical job lifting fixing and moving servers. I daily, walk into and then maintain ‘the cloud.’ Servers are still quite a bit larger and heavier than your desktop at home. So much so that I am the only woman on my team of 20 and one of 5 in the entire building of about 75. Technology is without a doubt a male dominated industry. Which makes me quite sad.

I wish I could better express who I am. I don’t feel like I’ve done justice to my history, my life, and my story, but for now, this will have to do. To me the most beautiful thing in the world is understanding and empathy. If we can have only one thing for each other person on this planet, I choose empathy.

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  1. Marcy

    I enjoyed the musical as well and the solo of “I am what I am” was very powerful. It wasn’t until just now though after reading about how you felt did it make me cry too when I re-watched it. I could see your discomfort and wasn’t sure how to help. I am just now enjoying shopping after my mastectomies and after losing weight (not the same but felt so depressed about what my body had become-obese and flat chested), it was torture and depressing to shop for clothes. I felt like a stranger to myself to wear clothes I didn’t like, but that I could fit into, and not feel comfortable in my prosthetics. It will get better for you, you are doing the tough work required of you. I KNOW you will be able to do what you said in your closing sentence and “stand proud and say, ‘I am what I am!'” and YOU DON’T NEED ANY EXCUSES for society. I love you, all of you, always and forever.

    1. Josie

      <3 Thank you.

  2. Wendie

    I am a mom of a trans* teen son. A friend of mine on my support group shared your article. I think you are already stating who you are by reaching out through the social media outlets. I am proud of you already. After listening to the song it made me feel slightly sad that it was written in such a way to say, what I am. You are not a what or a thing you are a beautiful person.. You are a who. I hope you can be proud to be, who you are. I understand your fear of wearing female clothing in public. Test your waters Dear, try adding a beautiful scarf or a set of fabulous bangels. My cis male husband 38yrs old has several pair of Womens jeans because they stretch, have a flare and have bold stitching on them. You may find that people don’t pay as much attention as you think. I love you and your courage thus far. You will be able to shout to the roof one day that you are who you are with a ball gown on too!

    1. Marcy

      Loved the point you make about What vs Who. Thank you.

    2. Josie

      Wendie, Thank you very much about noticing the What vs. Who! I was just thinking about that very word choice when you commented. I was working on a way to introduce a blog post about this very topic. Your comment gave me a great way to do it without sounding egotistical or condescending.

      I wish your child the best. For me the teen years were absolutely the worst. I’m hoping changing wardrobes won’t be much of an issue but I do really want to wear dresses and what not that’s a little more obvious. We shall see how things go.

      Without a doubt who is the right word! 🙂 Being transgender is a part of who I am. But they did choose What for a reason I think…

      http://www.uberpocky.com/2015/02/who-or-what-word-choice-matters/

  3. Susie Hayes

    Since you’ve already come out at work – that wold be a great place to start with your clothing. I’m not sure what kind of clothes you wear now – but an infinity scarf with a fitted t-shirt and skinny jeans would look super cute. Add in some accessories and high boots!

  4. Susie Hayes

    Since you’ve already come out at work – that wold be a great place to start with your clothing. I’m not sure what kind of clothes you wear now – but an infinity scarf with a fitted t-shirt and skinny jeans would look super cute. Add in some accessories and high boots!

  5. Dorothy Browning

    Dear Granddaughter, Jo,
    I had no idea such pain went with this process. I wish it didn’t. But know that you have so many people in your life that love you and support you in your transition. And this Grandma is one of them!
    Now as for the clothes you are not going to wear again..our church has a rummage sale in April and October and would welcome any donations. If you bring them to me I’ll be happy to pass them on.
    Love,
    Grandma Browning

    1. Josie

      Thanks Grandma, I’ll bring the dress shirts and suit tomorrow when we go out. I know I’m never gonna wear those again, and frankly I want them out of my closet…

  6. Dorothy Browning

    Dear Granddaughter, Jo,
    I had no idea such pain went with this process. I wish it didn’t. But know that you have so many people in your life that love you and support you in your transition. And this Grandma is one of them!
    Now as for the clothes you are not going to wear again..our church has a rummage sale in April and October and would welcome any donations. If you bring them to me I’ll be happy to pass them on.
    Love,
    Grandma Browning

    1. Josie

      Thanks Grandma, I’ll bring the dress shirts and suit tomorrow when we go out. I know I’m never gonna wear those again, and frankly I want them out of my closet…

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