What do you want?

Very often, my journey has circled around the question of “why” (even the legacy of testimony written in my sidebar on this page still has that prevailing theme). Whether it was why originally or why along the way or why now or even just why hypothetically, this has been the pursuit of my mind and heart, with hopes that its answer could help alleviate the burden and struggle of trying to be rid of something that I know I do want to be rid of.

During the course of the years, it has certainly not escaped my notice that, if this is something I don’t want, then it should be pretty easy to just drop. Rather, I have a running assumption that this is something I have wanted and still do often want very much- so much in fact that I’m willing to go against the God I believe exists and about whom I believe I will have to stand and face judgement for these things. Yet no amount of sincerity or urgency or spiritual intimacy has ever been enough to conquer (for a prolonged period) the urge to rush back to my vomit and lap it up again.

Clearly there’s something I desire, something making me feel good. Something about it is compelling enough to lead to what I consider horrible and destructive choices for which I am guilty. I feel the guilt and shame, but it’s not enough to stop me from going around again later on. What gives? Again, this has been the main reason this page exists for me- somewhere to come back again and reflect along the way in an honest and serious and slightly public way so that I can get out of my own head a bit and keep a sane narrative about it all.

This week, today, I found myself wondering more about the “what” than the “why”. While men like me attempt to swim upstream about this, the world continues to be filled every waking second with pornographic content exploring and displaying every type of imaginable (and unimaginable…) fetish. So I was wondering, if there were no rules in the world (cosmic or otherwise), what would I want as my genuine “dream come true” experience. Or put another way, if my wife were to just throw her hands up and say- “you know honey, I know you want this, I’m all for you having whatever pleases you that way- what would you like me to do/say/be/wear/allow to get you off (sorry if that’s crude- for me a lot is just summed up in the fleshly sexual urge)” what would I answer with?

In such an exercise, I usually find myself at a dead end of dissatisfaction. None of the in-the-moment temptations are actually sustainably enjoyable to my psyche. Much more comes from the prison of the taboo rather than the freedom of expression… stolen candy is sweeter… But I started really trying to think through some aspects. For one thing, I wouldn’t really want to dress in front of my wife. I’d be embarrassed at how ugly I look. I want to be her man, not her hideous turn-off freak. But if she were able to pretend she loved it, and if she were able to show no hint of revulsion but in fact enjoyment, I could possibly overcome that fear. But then, I’d be tripped up by her attraction. What is she really liking? She’d see me trembling in giving in to my flesh rather than having a sober and strong stance. She’d be inevitably celebrating my weakness and/or confusion, it seems. In that alone, I’d be unhappy. I don’t want to be her pet loser that she pities and loves anyway. I want to be a successful human that she admires. I want my wife to be herself aroused at my strength…

But I am over the moon at my wife noticing that I notice her. Seeing that I like her and her features (and clothes) and standing strong in her own beauty. To imagine her pointing out my attraction and arousal in the context of my focus being on her (not on me or my own status) drives me wild. “Oh you like this- here’s some more to see” is a disposition that is truly thrilling without shame. Pointing out the differences that I’m attracted to highlights what is attractive rather than capitulating them over to me and letting me “have/be” them. In my moments of weakness and when we are separate, I do see an advantage of just taking them myself and being alone with my own self-pleasure. But this is not what I want in the long run. It is isolating and sad. I want to be with her, and I want her to be her and me to be me. I’m saying this out of genuine exploration and discovery- not to “convince” myself (or, even less, to convince you the reader). It’s an example of what happens when you really do think through what you want.

A lot of my favorite movies are like this. Groundhog Day- he is given freedom to explore his wants until he comes to the end of himself in seeking a truer meaning than his initial thoughts/urges. Click- he learns that any time he caves to immediacy he loses his deeper hopes and dreams. Absolutely Anything- he has unlimited powers and finds out that quick self-gratifications grabs are ultimately not what he wants to do with those powers… In every case, the immediate impulse is self-pleasure and focus, but the longer term, bigger picture is that none of that brings actual fulfillment or ultimately even basic thrill or pleasure. It’s cheap, empty, and destructive to anything really good inside or out. It’s not what we really do want in our deepest place. But we fall for it (since we aren’t in a movie with infinite lifetimes or magical powers to explore and fix problems with). I fall for the deceptions. Hopefully I’ll try to ask myself what I’m looking for for real in the future.

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Juvenile Delinquency

In recent weeks, I’ve had a few reasons to reflect back on my youth. I was definitely a “bad” teen. Not in the sense of cool or having a well polished image of badness. I was bad in the sense of dropping out of high school, getting into actual trouble, and generally having my life driven headlong into the dirt with horrible choices. It all stemmed from a very intentional shift in my heart and mind at around 13. I decided “F… them all”. I decided God was a joke, and thus every single institution in the world that attempted to stand in the way of me and whatever I felt like doing was completely devoid of any authority in my decision-making. I was considering last week how much I was instantly imprisoned to the horrors that are inside me during that time (rather than finding “freedom”). My own “flesh” and its wants had nothing to stop them, no higher order to put them into proper service of life. There was only the tyranny of my thoughts and my desires. What a nightmare.

As I also was struggling in recent weeks with some of those old addictions flaring up (particularly starting to pair them up with searching through the endless supply of images at one’s fingertips these days…), I was considering also something interesting about the continued search for an “explanation” to the beginning/development of cd obsession and arousal in me (and perhaps others). Lately, I have started to feel (as an almost-middle-aged-man does, I suppose) a bit less of the instantaneous and overpowering constancy/immediacy of the physical arousal state. I mean, I don’t spend day after day pining and thirsting like I used to like a dying vampire. Instead, with a little distance, I felt like it took a little extra trigger to get things going. If I thought about someone looking a certain way, I could get a bit more excited, and that alone made me think more about conditioning of arousal and the like.

I’ve written about the sort of operant sequencing before, but I was realizing how unique sexual conditioning is (especially in pubescent days when the arousal state is quicker and stronger). In classical conditioning, there’s a clear order of something coming before the treat that then becomes a substitute for causing the reaction that the actual treat did (think dog drooling to the sound of a bell). But in a more heightened state of sexual arousal, anything and everything that is seen, felt, tasted, touched, or thought during that state (before and after ,too, but a long protracted DURING is the new thought here) can easily become a future association. Even horrible things can get in there (evil, pain, etc.) if they are not too strong or destructive of the general state. It would explain so many things that are understood as “perversions” of healthy sexuality. It would also get rid of the hunt for a deeper “problem” or “identity” driving it all. I can definitely think about the early state of young arousal (even before real puberty) and the lure during that state of thinking about things related to what I liked, wanted, and even felt some strange, new, almost-flush feeling around. As I explored around with that and expanded it and felt it and then came across things like clothing that were highly associated with it, the growth of interest and attachment and connection and even fetish makes total sense. Sure many factors and strands and incidents influences play a role in how each person(ality) weaves that tapestry, but ultimately it’s more of a catch-all, like fly paper, than it is a magic formula or a super hero origin story…

It also makes sense that so many have no real access to anything but the clothes (for some it’s other stuff like imagery if it’s around), given that actual physical relations are unlikely for the majority until much later (at least it used to be that way, I don’t know about today). So a good percentage end up stumbling themselves into this sort of tied up, twisted attraction (which is certainly fueled always by media at all levels as well, even unintentionally as it reinforces what particular items are “bedroom” triggers) just by our wanton blind groping during that time and state. And it is sort of the same idea as my juvenile meanderings. I was just following the flesh and seeing where it led. I had no real compass, even though some things I still had some sense to avoid (I was more after pleasure, not just getting myself killed quickly). And likewise, when the state of sexual interest comes, that time frame of just sort of “looking around” makes and/or breaks us. What we choose to do then is everything for the future. It can drive things into all kinds of strange places over time, and it can also continue to reinforce the same ol’ tired obsessions as well. I pity those today with the options being presented to them and pushed as viable (I didn’t even have the internet then!). This has to be all the more dangerous whereas I always still had a deep subconscious set of “norms” (not to mention actual limits in actual life) that would only let me get so far before I snapped back in confusion and self-defeatism and guilt.

As a student of the Bible, I think about Adam and Even and the first sin. I remember preachers sharing insight about how the biggest problem was even just trying to sit and have the conversation with the serpent. It’s like choosing to just “browse around”, trusting our flesh to lead us right, when instead it just imprisons us into the lowest debasement and filth (indeed back to the earth itself) on its own. Curiosity is definitely a killer here. Mulling it over is not a virtuous endeavor. Instead, getting out of the heat, and continuing to eat from the tree of life (and all the other good trees of the garden which were literally every good fruit), that’s the way to stay strong. I’ve read some pretty compelling works arguing that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the one they were not supposed to eat from) was actually something God would have eventually had them partake of as a sort of maturity- once they had their grown-up bearings and would follow the Lord through it’s revelation. But their partaking was wrong because it was on their own terms, in their own timing, and in disobedience instead. Truly like my teenage days. Exploring sexuality without any adult concept to guide and correct (and without the actual marriage bed within which it was only ever meant to be explored) is chatting with the snake, looking and touching and tasting what it is, and finding only forbidden fruit (and associated banishment!).

Of course, for me now (in 2020), I have found that the marriage bed is its own challenge of maturity and boundaries, rather than a playpen of the flesh. Such “eating” is still and always will be drawn into a sense of “propriety” and wholesome truth (ultimately selfless love for others that surpasses the physical stuff itself). This struggle sometimes pushes me between the volley of trying to do right, and then full adult escapism- not youthful trespass- to the evils of my youth, running back to the snake and begging for more conversation- for another taste of what landed me so far from grace before. It’s a double whammy. Now the journey is seemingly impossible- to face and overcome the challenges of adulthood while still not knowing how to stay out of the troubles of my youth. Well, I do know how- but both steps take a lot of “growing up” into the call of Christ, who crushed the head of the serpent, and resisted all fleshly urges when challenged directly by him in the desert. Anyway, sorry for so much Biblical allusion for those who haven’t read the Christian scriptures. But this all has its parallel and fulfilment in the message of the faith I hold to. And I’m seeing it play out in my life as I learn to NOT go “clicking” around while high on dopamine… something my younger self never could say no to.

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To be known…

The other day, while driving home from church on a Sunday afternoon, we went past a bar and someone was crossing the street in a nice dress and heels.  I tried not to look at “her” as “she” crossed the street a ways in front of me (you know- when I see stuff like that I try to avert my stare so as not to lust and also especially when my wife is right there so as not to get her worried about my unfaithfulness).  But as we got closer, it seemed more apparent that it was a man due to the bowlegged walk, the awkwardly large upper shoulder proportions, the general hips, etc.  I wasn’t sure, but my wife who was looking more said it definitely was a dude.

I don’t remember what remarks of surprise and rejection were passed between my wife and another friend in our car we were taking home.  But I do remember the fact that there was a sort of secret knowledge in the car that only my wife and I know (not our friend and not our kids) that I, too, struggle with the strangeness of that guy’s derangement.  On the one hand I think my wife tells herself I would never ever want to actually do that (get all dressed up like that and go out in public).  On the other hand, I’m pretty certain that deep down she has a terror in her that I do want that, and she is horrified and disgusted at it so much that she cant’ even face it in the least.  So in that moment of recognition where we couldn’t say something like “who would ever want to do that” we had to replace it with “wow, it’s crazy how he’s just going out like that” or something.  Right then, I felt such a profound yearning- not to be dressed like that guy, or to go out like that- but for my wife to be able to see into my heart and know what I really want (and maybe also that she would be honest in sharing what she thinks and wants about that too, even if negative).

I think this is a pretty basic and universal yearning- primal even-  to know and to be known by our spouses at the deepest levels.  I’ve been married over 10 years.  I’m not looking for the thrill of a moment or of an imaginary companionship to fulfill all my wildest dreams in life and take away my loneliness forever.  Instead, there’s a hunger to connect past the layers of deflection, fear, bitterness, hurt, and offense that gets built up each day.  I want a life partner that knows me- that really “get’s” my thoughts and dreams like they get my jokes or hobbies.  I imagine this is what is stereotypical in the unfaithfulness of women- when they finally find a guy that pays them notice, that tries to care for their parched souls rather than just sucking the objectified pleasure and service out of them.  I fear for that with my own wife.  I know I don’t pay her enough care and affection and love and genuine acceptance.  Me of all people.  Our fights and battles and difference run so deep and I erect my own barriers, too.

Of interest to me though was how, even though I didn’t really have much of an actual crossdressing desire in mind- I didn’t want to be that guy we saw at all- I was infatuated with the notion that I did have an interest which I wanted my wife to recognize as part of me, even if contending that it’s a part of me that is unhealthy.  It’s sort like (I know it’s different, but bear with the comparison to get my point) wanting to get a burger and shake for dinner, knowing it’s not the healthy choice but instead of responding with awkward distance, just toying with the idea even if to say no way that’s terrible.  In the end it’s not so much about the burger as about the understanding and connection along the way.   I’m really not trying to justify it.  It’s bad- worse than a cheeseburger.  But my point is that I wasn’t even really struggling with a particular interest in any clothing or dressing, but in the profound urge (and associated arousal) with having my wife just notice it as a part of me- a thrill of a little secret escape into me and my wishes even if to reject them after some clarity of thought.  I don’t think I’d really be happy if she “accepted” crossdressing.  I’d not be able to agree with her that it’s “ok”, even every once in a while. But hiding her true thoughts from me may be the worst possible outcome.

If I didn’t have a challenge to my every whim I’d probably yearn for the reverse- for a close ally in the battle for good rather a partner in crime.  Yet there I was wanting so bad to just have a connection- a fun little wink and nod at my heart and hunger for sex play really.  And I was fixated for the rest of the day.  I couldn’t shake it with the usual analysis of the desire itself for the clothing stuff.  It wasn’t the driver, just the accidents of the situation really (for the most part, I guess).  This whole thing got me thinking about the mystery of how we want to be known but how we hide and sorta only want that on our own terms.  To be known against our wishes or will is quite an awful thought indeed.  It is shame, embarrassment, and a molestation of our being.  It is a false reputation that we are petrified to allow.  So we certainly don’t just want it all hanging out there.  But a fragile blossom, and I expect also a profoundly beautiful unity on earth, awaits for the careful self-revelation meeting with a careful (but not uncritical) connection on the receiving side that is then turned and reciprocated as well… all of this is overwhelming to imagine and is fundamental to human relationships, I know.  It’s important to note how this ties in with my own areas of thinking-  so thanks for letting me chart some waters here.

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Crossing the line in a blaze of glory

Recently I was reading some spiritual insight and advice in which there was a sort of breakdown of the inception and progression of a sin from fleeting thought to full blown habitual action.  It was helpful especially at considering more fierce action earlier in the process of attaching positive feelings or acceptance to a wrong thought.  But it also left me considering an experience I have whereby there’s a far more sudden type of jump (or slip) into sexual sin.  It’s a strange sort of thing to identify, but there’s something potent about the temptation that comes with a surge of erotic arousal all surrounding the “boundary” that should not be crossed.  I’ve never considered myself a bad-boy type that is thrilled by a walk on the wild side.  I spent a decade doing whatever pleased me in many ways, so that’s sorta played out even if it was ever there.

 

Yet, there’s an illusive type of lure that has to do with the deception of sin in general.  The promise in our minds is that it will satisfy- that it will make us happy.  Perhaps it will give us the release we want from our problems.  Perhaps it will make us feel finally free, finally ourselves.  Whatever it calls to, it holds out the hope somewhere in there that our wish will be granted.  And then, once we cross the actual line to do the thing in question, we are left with the big let down of reality- turns out that the temporary thrill was just that, and nothing that drove us to it was really met.  Often quite the opposite.  How dumb could I have been to think otherwise?  It really leaves a mess that can drive us to deeper insanity just out of the cognitive dissonance of it all.  If we did it all for the thrill itself, then we got that thrill.  But even then, it was so temporary, so fleeting, so not enough for what we had to cross to get it.

 

Drilling into it, I find a sort of vortex where the thing I’m chasing wouldn’t even really be pleasurable to me in its fully manifested form.  Like if I were allowed to run with it for infinite time in any variation or direction, I’d eventually come to reject that line and look for another.  Since today (at midnight) is Groundhog Day, it reminds me of the movie with Bill Murray where he learns that lesson after infinite days of no consequences allowing him to explore what he actually wants out of life.  But the whole point for me now is that I don’t have the regular gradual arousal pattern for a straightforward desire in this.  Rather, a blurry dream of a cloud hints at a mysterious fulfillment of everything inside without any clear description of the other side.  The more mysterious and illusive, the more arousing, rather than the other way around.

 

Crossdressing fantasy continues to have this type of bizarre element about it.  I almost liken it to the illogical desire of a married man for a heat-of-passion border crossing with another woman.  It does’t make sense by any progression.  In fact, part of what makes it so erotic is the thought of blazing across the line with reckless abandon-  the pleasure is in ceasing to try to think about what is right and wrong and just letting the carnality of it all fly for even just a brief moment!  Not because the marriage is bad, or the other woman is more beautiful, etc.  But just the sheer thrill of doing it!  Perhaps this is the same as premarital temptation vs marital freedom.  I haven’t struggled with that, but I have definitely felt the sweat of anxiety just itching to cast off restraint and go dress up until I explode (knowing I would be throwing away so much good for nothing but a burst of pleasure).

 

That’s the nature of the thrill of “crossing” the line for such pleasure.  On the one hand, it assumes one would find pleasure in such a weird habit.  But on the other hand it is exactly why this particular action has any sort of “sense” to it.  Indeed, maybe for guys like me who would never dream of crossing other lines, we find this one to be the one we allow.  Maybe crossdressing is the sin for those who still want to feel that rush of crossing the line.  The heat of passion.  Yet, all alike who chase this dragon can find the consequences after the fact to be quite destructive- to the sense of self, to a marriage/family, etc.  It’s playing with fire internally and setting a fire ablaze in action as well, perhaps hoping it doesn’t burn down the house along with everything else.  Not only that, but with such a thoughtlessness of the ramifications by design, there is no way to analyze the type of action and focus on beating its components.  Rather one has to commit to never surrendering to that sense of surrender.  One has to learn to enjoy and embrace permanent stability within some trusted boundaries.

 

 

 

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Back to the drawing board

Hey all,

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:

chart

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.

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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…
  4. 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!

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Home alone

Lately, I’m pleased to say that I’ve have a very strong sense of being stable and sane.  I’m not letting it lull me into a false sense of ease or flirtation with temptation, but I am taking the time to bolster my thoughts that tend toward a solid and singular sobriety about myself and my relationship with the lures that get me.
This weekend, I am home alone.  No kids, no wife, extra day off of work, etc.  It’s a perfect recipe for tragedy to strike in my heart and mind.  Yet, I don’t feel the pull.  Instead it just all seems kinda foreign.  Thank God!
That said, It’s not as if the matter has not crossed my mind at all.  This is because, over the last year, I have struggled a lot with failures that I hadn’t experienced for years prior.  Part of it was pressure, change, stress, anxiety, pain, worry, fights with my wife, etc.  But I think MOST of it can be pragmatically connected to the fact that we had a situation where my wife was gone one evening per week.  That was a “freedom” I just was not ready to handle successfully.
Certainly, it wouldn’t be impossible to slip up in secret any time, but having the whole bedroom (and closet and dresser) available is very different.  Going through this last year led me (I think) to a new level of growth where it’s not just about what I can get away with, but more deeply about what I really want or what really IS.  One thing that makes a big difference in changing my perspective on that is the confession process.  It reminds me that there really is no such thing as secret time from God.
What foolishness to imagine otherwise, but that is a huge part of my spiritual poverty a lot of times- succumbing to the lie that life is not lived before and unto God, but rather just scraping by unnoticed by His care and concern.  The enemy of our soul always wants us to believe we are alone and only have our flesh (or even rationality) to lead us.  Instead, when we can “remember” the reality of things well through prayer, revelation, and worship, it orients us in a different way- gives us access to another option- the higher power of recovery group fame.
Today I just lied in bed for hours in silence, awake.  In the past, letting my mind just drift around and/or just kinda trying to make myself happy escaping reality would have filled my time and often led to carnal acts I am not proud to admit.  But now, the silence, when placed before the Lord, was a sacred space to just rest, not surrendering to the madness and folly that the mind can easily drift to.  It’s been wonderful, even if unproductive.

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Very strange twist (for me)

I know it must sound pretentious to call anything strange in this flipped around side of the world I often live in dealing with these issues, but something occurred recently that was truly surprising to me and I still can’t totally explain or understand it-  but I wanna try while it’s very fresh.

In recent times (last 1.5 years or so), I have (very unfortunately) been far more prone to failure in my battle to remain free of crossdressing.  In my moments of weakness I have watched, listened, worn, done, etc.  I have had more moments like that in recent times than I did for 5 or so years combined prior.  It does not mean I’ve given up or given in overall.  All along the way I have continued to post reflections as I dust off and try life some more.  Each time I feel I learn a little bit, maybe even get a little bit stronger (which just means that life is getting even harder relative to the pace of my personal growth in strength).

If you’ve followed my posts, I have been thinking that I found a good handle by which to look at it all pretty simply.  I think I have made it too simple, in fact.  By reducing everything to mere physiological urge and conditioned fetish, I have ignored much of the undercurrent of other associations that know have been woven into my story throughout the years.  I suppose I had hoped to distance myself from that deeper association as much as possible.  I still do.  I don’t want to feed it, but nonetheless, I do need to face it (and even face that I have indeed fed it over time).

In my most recent stumbling, I actually was not really able/willing/feeling like going “all the way” in the sexual sense (which I invariably have for pretty much my whole post-pubescent life).  Even with stimulation and pressure and abandon, I only went so far as to feel good, a bit of arousal, some enjoyment of the feel and look and just fact of having it, and then went back into “normal” mode of my day.  I was shocked at myself even as I did it.  At first I though maybe it was an answer to decades of prayer that God would release me from the “temptation” of my flesh.  I still haven’t put that theory to rest.

I also wondered if I may be approaching a new bench mark in life (getting into more middle adulthood) where the fireworks at the end aren’t as thrilling and compulsively overwhelming to the entire journey as is the appreciation that the trip is at least as much fun along the way…  I don’t mean to paint any of this as a positive behavior by any means (except where it might apply in normal physical relations in my marriage, etc.).  I always kinda expected (seems like falsely so, just like my foolish hopes of thinking marriage itself would solve my problems) that, without the drive for climax, that the interest could and would surely fade out.  Perhaps it is and will.  If so, bring it on as fast as possible!

Instead (I fear), it seems like there is a more lasting and permeating sense of closeness that I’ve acquired- likely analogous to what comes from a dedicated relationship over years and years.  I’ve got a lifelong confidant in the clothes that makes me happy and comforted (except of course for the train wreck that follows if I want to have a healthy and happy life the way I am committed to it) aside from the purely physical (though I bet the actual brain chemistry has a lot to do with it still).

I don’t really know all the way.  But- on the brightest side of all these conjectures- IF this is true to any extent (that the surface experience is fading as a motivator and the undercurrent connection is what is to be left in its place) I think this could mean that I might have a way to simply smolder the embers a bit easier than I would have ever been able to stamp out the raging fires of my youth.  We’ll see.

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The upside of falling down

Tonight I am up late because I couldn’t bring myself to lie by my wife after what I did.  She was out of town and I lost my mind.  If you are dying to know, she left down in the middle of an argument (not due to the argument, but for work) and I just couldn’t overcome the bitterness.  It was the straw that broke the recent wave of urges and thoughts to the point of “heck, why not”.  I’ll be confessing to her soon.  Tonight she was too tire- too upset.  I need to choose my moment this week.

In the mean time, as I came on here to write about it, I looked at my list of “ideas” for posts that I keep around (since I have no time to actually write them).  I saw a starter line that just said “So proud to be free in such depraved culture”.  Ha!  The original thought here is obvious I should think.  I would have written with more subtlety, but that’s basically what it’s about.  In a world gone mad, I am very grateful to have been shown whatever light I have seen.

There are several ironic things about that potential post.  First, and most obvious, is that I am clearly NOT free- I wallowed deep in the muddiest depravity I could for a while last night.  I am madder than the march hare.  I am as susceptible to the fog as anyone (probably more so!).  I am not rid of this part of my life by any means.  But the deeper irony is actually this- this weekend was the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee!   The parallel of the wording from the boasting, blasphemous pharisee could not be closer to my own.  The arrogance.  The misguided tragedy.

Yet- here is the beauty in it all- I’ve been wanting to write lately about an amazing occurrence in my life.  It happens when I fail in this area particularly.  I almost universally expect lightning bolts to strike me down.  Practically speaking, I end up dreading my life, waiting for everything to go wrong- to feel the backside of God’s rejection and abandonment.  Instead, I have to confess, I usually sense just the opposite.  The following days are usually easier, lighter, more full of seeming divine providence, etc.  What gives?

One the one hand, perhaps it’s the expectation of terror that makes me appreciate things like never before.  On the other hand, perhaps it has to do with the fact that I’ve already lost the battle, so the enemy stops tormenting me.  Maybe things are easy when you’re on Satan’s side since there is no hateful enemy trying to take you down anymore.  Back to the first place, maybe it’s just God’s mercy on my broken, struggling soul.  I know He sees me.  I know He knows me.  Sometimes I think He lets this issue persist to some degree as a chance to challenge me to rely upon Him better- more.  Maybe it’s a chance to cut away my sense of legalism- to remember that God is merciful and loving!

This is what I’ve been taking away from it all these days.  My failure is an instance of forced humility.  I can’t hold a proud gaze knowing what I’ve done.  I just can’t.  It’s all too ugly (side note- the entire time I indulged, my face was aflame in embarrassment/shame…).  And I know that humility is the foundational building block to divine success in life.  So I can be thankful for this clarity of my own wretchedness.  At the same time, I don’t think nothing of the failure (intentional double negative there).  It is, after all, still failure.  Indeed, if I didn’t care (or if I believed God didn’t), then there would be no correlative humility by virtue of the fact that there would be no jarring sense of “failure”.  There was a time when I started to try to buck off any pricking of my conscience and just live here.  I feel like God showed me very sternly to get up out of that pit.  So in that sense, I am at least thankful that there is a God to look to to get out of this wandering.  What would one’s world feel like with no such direction?

And yet, in some sense I laid right back in it this week.  Side notes- I couldn’t even get an erection doing this.  Also, I look uglier than ever having put on weight, having a scruffy neck beard, etc.  Blegh.  I now have a very hurtful mess of confession to make that’s gonna set my marriage back quite of few steps.  This may spill out and affect my delicate work/ministry challenges.  We’ll see.  Today my car’s check engine light mysteriously came on.  Wonder what that’s about.  So overall- there you go.  If you’re gonna throw yourself to the bottom wrung, at least I pray it helps you snap out of any delusion about yourself being all that great to begin with.  Perhaps it will lead you to think again about why you’re on the journey to freedom- what you really want in life.  It’s serving me that way.  Nowhere else to go but up…

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A new and blinding insight!

What’s up people?  I just got done reading my own testimony on this page again.  Wow.  I can’t believe how far I’ve come in this journey.  And yet, in a sense, I’m so saddened that I still find myself from time to time toying with the obsession, or allowing my thoughts to stray wistfully in a nostalgic way over horrible deeds of the past, and even to what worse deeds I could have done/do by now…

Alas, I write today with something of a spring in my step.  This comes on the tail of a sad failure this week.  I opened myself to some stimuli that led to some self gratification.  Bleh.  But then, as I stumbled through some repentance- some bad days of sulking and frustrations, some deep sense of walking outside God’s will for me and the insecurity of all things in the world when doing so- I also stumbled upon some profound spiritual writings that led me down a train of thought that ended in a new trick in my bag- indeed a whole new outlook on so many things I struggle with!

It is this- that I simply don’t have to take my own feelings, desires, thoughts, and other tendencies that move me down paths I don’t like/want in the higher sense (i.e. that I see as evil or wrong) as definitive of me or controlling of my response.  For a long time, moments of weakness and temptation have seemed to overtake me in the sense that, if I don’t have a great, comprehensive solution to it all, then I simply must give in to the “power of it”.  But, with just a little bit of practice, I’m finding that this is very off-base.  There is no power that exists other than what I allow.  I don’t have to be afraid of trying to say no to myself as if the urge will be so hard to bear.  I can simply remove the urge by not giving it a home in my thoughts and emotions- I control these mental resources!

Here’s what I’ve been doing- just trying any mental distraction tricks I can to shrug it off.  Instead of immediately being scandalized by the whole process of figuring out what part of me is at work, how to fix it, where to apply coping energy, etc. like a constant therapy session (with the related sense of failure already from the start since it came from “inside me”), I just kinda go to a more flippant and detached place like “wow, that’s not what I wanna be about” and I don’t let it be definitive of what/who I am in the moment.  I guess I’m just shocked that I can just choose that my desire isn’t really my desire- that I can choose what I desire more logically than from momentary hunger for neurotransmitter rushes.  The detachment couples with a reminder of what I really want instead.  The larger life-giving source of eternal Being- God- can be remembered in so many ways, so easily, that just a little faith (and especially an entire couple decades of biblical training) can find a good grip on a better joy pretty well.  For you “higher power” folks, I think that works…

This doesn’t mean I can’t wonder or probe into why something might be coming up in a given time, place, or situation.  But it means I can say no to it by simply refusing to legitimize it or justify it rather than by going up against it head to head.  I just pull the rug out and not allow it to be what I really want.  This way no curiosity is there to kill me.  I don’t need to know where it all might go in my mind and heart.  I’ve decided from the outset that I don’t care- that it’s not what I want to be affiliated with, so I don’t have to let it burn me while I try to figure out how not to let it burn me.  I just drop it.

I don’t think this really works without a couple strong underpinnings:

  1.  Having firm knowledge and conviction regarding what one DOES want, including an unshakable security regarding the availability of that better thing.  It can’t be a pledge to be a billionaire because once we sense that this is not realistic, then it’s hard to give up lower desires in pursuit of a futile thought.
  2.  We aren’t talking about the power to be invincible or immune to sin through some mental trickery.  One still must choose NOT to indulge and feed the base urge that one is trying to dis-empower in the mind/heart.  You can’t say “this is not what I want” while clicking through pages of the stuff… Has to be serious in that sense.
  3.  It has to have action- at least mental- to accompany it.  There must be some kind of follow up to give concreteness.  Stop the direction you were going and go another way.  Find a powerful mental image that is safe that you can fill your imagination with- and that you’d WANT to fill your imagination with.  Like a beach, or pizza.
  4.  I’m not sure any of this ultimately can work outside of the Christian worldview and understanding of the salvation through the cross- the peace of knowing that, ultimately, perfection in all things will prevail, little by little for now and potentially with pain and suffering, but one day with fullness and normal healthy bliss.
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I find this law at work…

Recently, I have been attempting to be a bit more severe about the limits I put on my own thoughts, feelings, and expressions in my personal journey with this cd stuff.  After some stumbling (again)- I was feeling a bit desperate about how much my mind seems easily dragged away and enticed.  What gives?  Other than the fact that I am constantly reinforcing this connection (not with any CD content, but just fetishistic focus on womens’ clothing, etc.) in my intimacy with my wife.

I don’t just mean the regular experience of her being her and me liking that.  I mean, (don’t wanna be graphic here) we let way too much focus and inclusion go to various items that I like a bit too much.  So I decided I’d try to cut it out (no doubt I’ve mulled this over in previous posts…).  Not only that, I decided I’d make a more concerted effort at guarding my thoughts and heart and lot letting myself toy with the images, delights, and/or arousal that comes from considering what I like so much about those things- “staring at the redness of the wine” so to speak.

What do you think my experience has been?  No, I haven’t found myself more troubled internally.  I have not found a problematic type of repression.  I have not found it coming out in other ways.  Here’s what I’ve found- a seemingly all out onslaught EXTERNALLY to get me distracted and back to focusing on it.  On the one hand, you could say there’s something to the idea that fighting against something which you previously accepted ends up naturally showing just how much you accepted it without really noticing it always being around.  If you suddenly tried to ignore the color red in your day, you’d find that red is in your face far more often and more extreme that you may have previously imagined.  But what I experienced this last week is not just that (I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it…).

Here’s an example.  I went shopping for normal dress clothes at Target (my shoes are wearing out and I got them there and like the ones I have, so was gonna try another pair of something similar…).  I was checking out clearance stuff- white button up shirt, black slacks, etc.  Nothing my size for good price, blah blah.  And then, as I’m browsing racks, there, on full display for me is a skirt my size.  A women’s skirt, tucked back in the corner of the men’s section (some other crossdresser active in that store that day?).  I’ve never had this happen before- maybe you have.   I’ve seen women’s clothes mixed in piles in stores that have messy piles.  But this was a more prominent set up, I felt.  Like a big ol’ desperate grab from the enemy of my soul to try and trip me up.  Multiple other times, women in very attractive high heels came walking into my isle to look for something.  I’d hear them coming and then struggled not to see them or their outfit at all as I grabbed my stuff and moved on.  Again- this has surely happened before (probably to you, too).  But I have to say it just feels more extreme, overt, almost comically laid out.

I was reminded of the verse in Romans that the title of this post is based from.  And it makes me feel more galvanized into continuing on the path I’ve begun.  What a sad day if these are the things that bring me down.  I gotta get over this and move forward.  What am I gonna do?  Buy something I shouldn’t?  Bring it to the dressing room?  NO!  What am I gonna do?  Daydream about a woman who’s not my wife?  Masturbate to the image of her feet?  NO WAY!  These decisions are easy.  But the slippery slope can make them hard if I don’t brace for a more serious type of perseverance and dedication.  It’s not gonna just come to me.  I am going to expect evil to be right here with me, trying to get me tied back to my old slavery, habits, and fetishistic obsessions.  May my mind, will, emotions- my whole self- be utterly at peace with what it has and in Love with God so that I will not find the time for such trifling bumbles.

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