There is something universally understood in our day (ever since Freud) about the negative effect of “repressed (or suppressed)” feelings. They leave one unhealthy. One of the greatest things about Christianity, in my opinion, is that it is firmly grounded in the area of dealing with our struggle rather than simply “transcending” it like other mystical religious sentiments. I had a two-fold problem: repressing the desire to dress and the suppressing the fact that I did so. Both left me with a set of problems that made things worse in some ways. Regarding the fact of dressing up, so much of what I’ve said so far could have been brought to light if I just was forced to bring it to light. I never did put final articulation to all of this until I shared the issue with my wife and was forced to answer to someone else. Until then, I could lazily keep doing what felt good without ever really giving it all the thought I could have in order to be more healthy. We so often settle for less unless we have the community challenge us, but I trusted almost nobody with this secret for so long and I trust you can understand why. If I thought I had an understanding person with whom my relationship would not have been ruined and whom I trusted to give careful consideration to the issue, I would have loved to share it. But I just did not. I was stuck being the one everyone needed to be strong, to be righteous, to be wise. I had no leader I trusted, no confessor, and sadly I did not trust my pastor to be either confidential or carefully considerate of it all.
One result of living in this type of silent bondage is that the temptation is harder to resist. It seems like, without the ability to open up and deal with the parts of oneself that are good, separating them from the expressions that are bad, one is left trying to simply resist without true healing internally. In my situation, without deep healing, the more I tried to see women’s clothes as “off-limits”, the more I desired them. The issue in the first place was that it seemed like intimacy, beauty, and sexuality were only achieved through women’s clothes, and it was too hard to live without those things. My good desire was never separated from the expression of crossdressing. This is why simply “burying” the issue, as if it were possible, would not work (or at least not in the long-term for someone who strives to live in true inner freedom and honesty). Rather, I’ve found that the ability to be open with myself (and my wife) brings much more freedom for control by removing some of the pressure the issue has over me otherwise. Since part of the reason I got into crossdressing was as a “safe” way to express sexual desire, it helps to just be more open with myself regarding simple sexual desire. I haven’t, until recently, been able to accept that I really am full of sexual lust. The more I accept that, the better I can deal with it.
Crossdressing itself, it seems, had caused me to become borderline dissociative in my personality- now pretending that I’m not connected to it at all, now totally wallowing in it, and on and on in a vicious cycle. Part of my current task is to claim that part of me as truly me. This has been more difficult than I expected. I never realized how much I connected myself to this until now. Some days I am blown away by how badly I really want it and how reckless my desire can be. But it is still true that the more I “own it” the more I feel power to deal with it. I just have to be utterly decided that I cannot give in to the desire, no matter what. And my reasons for stopping are strong enough to lead to that decision (see last page).
I also want to mention that this all has something to do with affirmation. When I can say this all to my wife it helps because she can affirm the good part of sexual desire and love me through the bad part. Without that acceptance, the issue of crossdressing is made more of a struggle, because, as I’ve pointed out, it has a lot do with feeling sexually and emotionally close; attractive and beautiful. If I must continually repress these feelings and feel guilty about them, then it makes me all the more needy for something to make me feel ok and I must all the more remind myself that I am not some sort of hideous freak… and the battle would continue. But to share it verbally with an understanding person, it makes a world of difference! This is the greatest reason why I am now able to discuss Why I don’t anymore.