I feel like it’s been forever since I wrote anything about anything anywhere, but I’ve been going through a period of intensified curiosity about my own feelings again that caused me to get out the old napkin to formulate a type of spatial diagram that shows the connection of multiple layers of issues involved in the struggle against crossdressing and/or the draw toward it. Here’s what I scribbled out:
It seems like I’m always tumbling about in one of these shaded regions, struggling with the issue from one angle or another, or two or three or four angles at once.
- On the “disease” side, I know many would take issue with so stigmatic a term. But this is meant to speak from my perspective on the matter of what healthy whole life as a man is- what 90% or more of men go through without the urge or interest or desire or thought of ever wearing women’s clothing. It may very well end up being the aspect of crossdressing that outlives all the others and perhaps even drives them. Since having deeply conditioned a fetishism that surrounds not just looking at but wearing these items, I’m not sure how, if ever, one is meant to undo that. With other additions, people have to come to face that they are simply that- addicts. That they don’t have it under control. That they have a problem they can’t conquer without some bigger levels of help and direction besides just trusting in their better judgement and instincts. They are “wired” to live in the cycle of binge-shame-purge kind of stuff. That’s a big challenge to accept. It also comes with a lesser appreciated residual aspect of just that- accepting brokenness. Nobody like to feel incomplete or damaged. Even less do we want to BE that. Especially when it comes to trying to fight one’s way out of a mess, the reality that it’s a fight on broken legs is all the more important, making us realize we need other supports and also need to pay attention to healing the broken parts if possible so as to help stand on two feet so to speak. Instead, it can cause depression and lead to a cycle of surrender to the problem again.
- With regard to “ethics”, there is an entire perspective in life that could be exclusively absorbed by the matter of understanding and doing what is right- the virtuous thing. Is it virtuous to indulge oneself in pleasure to the nth degree for the sake of please? Is it permissible? By whom? That’s a big part of where religion comes in. For someone like me, the Christian worldview is all-consuming and re-frames everything else from its own vantage point. It also brings extra challenges to the table in terms of theology, spirituality, worship, and the most intimate levels of personal expression and thought and prayer. It calls on me to consider things from the question of where my “heart” is and how faithful I’m being to my Lord who leads me through life. What does He teach me about this? How is He reacting and helping, etc.? He’s not merely consumed with legalism of right and wrong- rules and violations. But He definitely is calling and pushing- even demanding- me to move forward in my ethical growth. These things profoundly change the way all of the struggle is framed and walked.
- There is always the “societal” dimensions as well, and it’s not small matter. What is appropriate, acceptable, noble, and generally good in the eyes of the world around is not even a singular thing (wild tumult in today’s world with regard to opinion and understanding of these things) but even if it were (and it still lands- in my opinion- in the majority of denial of crossdress fetishism as “ok”) on any side, the question would still remain whether the society itself had lost its “mind”. And there’s a lot of crazy out here folks. I can’t just follow whatever is popular, but I also have to come to terms with the fact that my very sense of who I am is socially conditioned. And if I’m all tied up with gendered clothing, then I’m certainly in way over my head in the game of what is socially defined and discussed already. So I have to battle my way through this territory, and it’s exhausting since I’m not always sure what is me and what is merely a reflection of what I see around me and/or what I’ve assumed from outside and what I feel inside, etc. Sociology is a cool topic, I have a few favorite thinkers on the matter. Their systems are quite philosophically complex but so is human society…
- One more narrow element that deserves its own category is simply the ever-pressing issue of my own personhood. It easily is an area that collapses everything else if not maintained in proper consideration and sanity. The urge to “escape” the hard core reality and challenge of being a person interacting with other people (especially one’s spouse with whom gender and sexuality are two of the most fundamental aspects of the relationship) is a strong one that melts away all other attempts to fight or do right or whatever. I think it’s a sort of nihilistic philosophy that looks at the world in any other way than through the eyes that see persons as whole persons, not mere objects or manifestations or instances or expressions or puppets or pawns or merely victims at the whim of God or circumstances or evolution or whatever. It’s in my fights with people- in my bad days when my “relationships” with others are not going well that I feel most like giving up and throwing on some heels. Why?! Because that’s a definite reformation of the world at my command rather than surrendering to the reality of what is and who I am. Even if there were no other reason for staying away from such decisions, this alone seems to be a pitfall I would not want to accept. I’m convinced of the fundamentals of personhood (again I have some favorite thinkers here) for human life.
I’m sure it starts to become more clear (or more jumbled?) how much these four can strongly overlap- maybe even converging within one another, but I think each is worthy of its own distinct categorization for various reasons. However, I do think living in the middle where all four coincide as one thing is the ideal (except maybe the “disease” part should be labelled as “health” instead to take the positive approach of the convergence). Perhaps there’s a fifth or sixth part of the chart that I’m missing, but after a lot of consideration it has not presented itself as more than something fitting under one or the other of these, or perhaps purely as a derivative of the combination of one or more of these. I won’t take the time now to parse out every overlapping section here, but there’s certainly some worthy notes to make in the in-betweens.
I just wanted to sorta vomit all this out there to you all. Like I said, I don’t get a chance too often to share or even to think, but I did have this little formulation brewing. I think it could be expanded and formulated as a somewhat profound guidebook for counselling in the matter of crossdressers who want to stop. I’d be happy to flesh some of it out by interacting with your reflections on it. Until then- thanks for reading!