Out of the Closet – Column 2
My first column was an introduction to who I am, my background, some of the issues I've faced and how I came out to my wife. This column is going to cover some very important things that have to be done before you even consider "coming out" to your friends and loved ones.
WARNING: This is only the first of many steps you'll need to take before you are ready to "come out". Don't take that leap until you have thought through all the possible scenarios, how you are going to react to their reactions and are sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you are going to come out to your friends or loved ones. I'll probably write my next article about these things but there are a few things we have to cover first.
I think coming out to a loved one or friend is probably best compared to closing the biggest "sale" of your life. You are going to have to do the best "sales job" that you've ever done. To sell something effectively you have to believe in it. If you really believe in your product with all your heart and soul, it will come across to your prospective buyer. They will see your belief in your eyes and hear it in your voice. They don't buy what you are selling. They buy you.
What you say is important but how you say it is crucial. When I came out to my wife, and in many of our conversations since then, I tend to get a little emotional, bursting out in tears, most of the time. Now I'm not saying you should fake tears to make someone feels sorry for you. What I'm saying is that if your wife truly loves you and she can really see the pain you've felt and how important it is to you...that it isn't just some passing fancy...she SHOULD accept it more readily.
Unfortunately, if you don't believe or are faking it they will sense it. It doesn't matter how well you say it. They'll see through the charade. You only get one chance at this one so proper preparation is vital to your success. What is the first step to "coming out"?
To Thine Own Self Be True
This famous phrase is from the play Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, and was undoubtedly inspired by Socrates (know thyself). It basically means "do not deceive yourself". If you deceived or lie to yourself then you are very likely to attempt to deceive others and vice-versa.
Ok, so what does some ancient quote have to do with "coming out" to your friends, family and the world?
The answer is "EVERYTHING".
How can you stop lying to them if you haven't stopped lying to yourself?
How can they know you if you don't know you?
How can you explain to them what you want if you don't know what you want?
How can they accept you if you haven't accepted you?
We all have to get in touch with our true reasons and motives for dressing.
Now, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on this stuff. Some people need expert help to answer these questions. But I believe that most of us have the answers and have the ability to reason it out for ourselves. You just have to do what is necessary to get to know yourself. You probably will never know everything but you can get close.
Here are a couple of articles that I highly recommend you read:
What is Gender and Who is Transgendered?
If I had to pick one article to hand to someone that explained gender, this would be the article. I believe it is spot on. I formed most of the same opinions on my own before I ever read it but the article spells out gender and gender issues from a scientific perspective better than any other article I've read.
A good friend of mine, Nikkie Stallen, wrote a document on communication:
Nikkie and I don't agree on everything. We have very spirited debates about a lot of things but reading this article really put a lot of things in perspective for me and was very helpful in my relationship with my wife. It is the best article I've seen on communicating with your SO.
Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- When did this begin?
- Why did it begin?
- Why do you feel compelled to do this?
- What is it that motivates you to dress?
- What exactly is it that you want?
- Where do you want this to go?
Here are some additional questions that your wife and other loved ones are definitely going to have:
- Are you gay or bisexual?
- Do you want to become a woman?
- Are you mentally ill?
- Why can't you just stop?
- Is this some kind of fetish?
- What will everyone think if they find out?
- Who can I talk to about this?
- Aren't you satisfied with me?
- What have I done wrong?
- Can we ever have a "normal" relationship again?
- Will I still get to spend time with the man I love?
- What will happen to us if I accept this?
- What will happen to us if I don't accept this?
If you don't know the answers to these questions then you are going to have a tough time answering them. Right? You have to answer these questions as accurately and honestly as possible.
You have to KNOW the answers and BELIEVE the answers with every ounce of your being.
I try to question everything, form an opinion and then question the opinion.
Sometimes it is really hard to give an honest answer because you start thinking about all the repercussions of your answer. One little trick that I like to use to get to my true feelings is to reframe my situation then ask the question.
Let's take the question "Do you want to become a woman?" as an example. Based on my existing situation (married, children, job, family, financial responsibilities, etc) the answer is an easy one, "No". It is easy because there is no way that I could afford to do it or want to put that on my family and kids. If I reframe the question it could change the answer or might confirm that what I want to do is what I need to or have to do. So, If my situation was different (single, had no kids, was independently wealthy, had no family and it wouldn't hurt anyone or myself) would I want to become a woman? By reframing the question, to a situation that would give me total freedom to do whatever I want, I get a better perspective on what might true feelings are. By the way, the answer is still, "No". So I have confirmation that my wants meet what I have to or need to do.
Not all my answers are the same for what I want to do and what I need to or have to do. These are the things that cause minor or major conflict in me and the things that I continue to struggle with.
As I mentioned in my previous article I spent many years denying my true self and true feelings. I thought I was perverted, sick, ill, a sinner, etc. I knew how I felt and I felt it was wrong so didn't really get into any deep thoughts about it. Once I finally broke down and started questioning the "who, what, why, when and where's" I started to understand myself better and eventually I became at peace with it. It was a great feeling to finally get to the point where (internally at least) I am able to be who I am and love myself. I still need some external work on my physical appearance and on my ability to express myself more often but I guess Rome wasn't built in a day. :)
Since we're talking honesty here… that is my biggest problem right now. I want to be moving forward and improving every day. Right now I am kinda stuck in a place where that isn't happening. I don't know what the solution is at this point but I'm going to keep plugging away and have faith that it will all work out in the end.
That's all I have for now. I hope you got something out of this that you can put to work to improve your life today.
Until next time…
If you would like to suggest a topic for a future column feel free to write me through my URNotAlone Profile or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, don't hesitate to post any comments below. I certainly appreciate any feedback and suggestions.
You can also follow Allie's Journey by visiting her websites:
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