Thursday, December 16, 2010

Afraid to Look at Myself

I've taken up a lot of space on this blog this year writing about not dressing up, and my ongoing struggle to cope. I'd like to think of myself as a low-maintenance woman, but the reality is that getting dressed up is a big deal. I've got to shave, not just my face but any expanse of flesh that might be exposed to the world. Then comes makeup. I don't quite have to trowel it on, but covering my beard is a chore and a half. If and when I ever get rid of it for good, I'll wear the lightest possible foundation. Until that day, I'm stuck on Dermablend and Max Factor PanStick.

For the last couple of weeks I've been meaning to get dressed up for a bit. I haven't been planning to go anywhere. I just want to wear makeup, because I haven't in so long. Not only that; I'd like to update my profile pics, both here and over on Facebook. A couple of weekends ago I took part in that awareness of child abuse thing, and replaced my FB profile pic (taken two years ago) with a thumbnail shot of Calvin and Hobbes. I meant to replace it the following week with a new photo of me, but I just couldn't motivate myself to gussy myself up. I've planned to do it three or four times since - during my mornings after work, when I'm still relatively clean-shaven, or on my nights off, but the energy just hasn't been there.

Back when I still thought of myself as a crossdresser, I didn't worry too much about why, but I thought a lot about what to tell people about myself when their questions arose. And arise they did. It took me a while to compose an answer that made sense both to myself and others. "life is hard," I said. All around us are people who can't cope, so they drink, or use drugs, or engage in all sorts of self-destructive behavior. They hurt themselves, and sometimes others. If putting on makeup and women's clothing is the worst I have to do to be able to look at myself in a mirror, then is that so bad? I didn't think so. I still don't think so, but I've become afraid.

I've had the house pretty much to myself since last week. I'm waiting for the go-ahead to move into my new place, but I haven't been able to get in touch with the owners. You'd think I'd feel free in a place by myself, but I find myself falling into myself. I got used to communal living, with friends and family close at hand, and now I have long, solitary hours with no companionship save a mismatched pair of cats. Cats are cuddly, but they're poor conversationalists.

When I finally work up the nerve, who will I see in that mirror?