Thursday, September 30, 2010

Peeling Layers Away

It has been said that to become the authentic person we know we are, we must first peel back layers of our existence. Much like the preverbal caterpillar that must spin its chrysalis that become its chamber of change, we decide what we must let go to become the female image we see in our minds.

As we find ourselves moving along our self appointed path, discarding bits of our male persona, we watch with wonder and joy to see our feminine selves emerge. We joyously toss the male behaviors, the gestures, the drab male clothing that was responsible for our old person being recognized as part of the male society. And we do everything to create the female person based on our experiences with women I believe some of us do. As I was trying to reshape my behaviors and hand gestures to more appropriate ones, I was building my wardrobe and accessories.

I realized that my idea or image of myself as a woman was based on my Mother, and how I saw her dressed every time she went out with my dad. I was 15 in 1960 and I would say that my Mother was a very fashion conscious woman of her day, wearing jewelry, and heels always with dresses or skirts. I believe that she also wore the required slip, hose and undergarments that women of her age wore. So of course, as I transitioned when I was older it meant that I still passed through some puberty stage of female development. Which meant that the dresses and skirts were above the knee, the heels had to be 3 inches or higher; I thought that I need to wear bracelets, earrings (clip-ons), pantyhose and foundation garments with full makeup, always. One had to dress appropriately, modestly, but fashionably.

I learned to quickly assimilate a feminine walk, gesturing and movements which I thought helped me pass as a women. It took a few years to realize that just as I peeled back my male persona, layer by layer, I could let go of my stylized image. The first change was realizing that I could wear dresses with no sleeves, as I had thought my arms were too big. Also the length of my clothes dropped to my calfs or floor length. Gone was the foundation garments and slips, gone was the higher heels, (sigh). I needed some jewelry, just not Everything I wore before. Maintaining my own sense of style and dress standards, of course was very important to blending in with the female population. Realized that after an especially hot summer, that I didn’t need to wear pantyhose and that was a big relief.

I peeled off my male persona and after some years living comfortable as Sarah, I began to peel away those mental ideas of what and who I thought a woman should aspire to and soon knew that I could present myself without long sleeves, wear lower heel or flats, no hose, even going out with no makeup.

So, life is more simpler with the layers peeled away and our existence free and transparent.


Lori D said...

Isn't it amazing how we often come nearly full circle in our definition of what it means to be, and especially, live, as a woman? If I could tell people today, I'd want them to understand it's important that you take transition slowly and allow yourself the freedom to let the pendulum swing from one side to way on the other (i.e. the heels, dresses, heavy makeup, etc). Then, once you've realized and established how secure you can be in yourself, you can allow the pendulum to swing somewhat back a little...and know that it's quite alright.

Veronica said...

This makes perfect sense. A girl would likely get some of her first impressions of womanhood from her own mother. She might well imitate how her mother dresses and acts -- at least until peer pressure changes that! And then, as she grows up, she discovers what is right for her.

I'm thinking it's not wearing pantyhose in the South during the summer. :)