We are indoctrinated, from our earliest moments, to behave and present ourselves in a manner that is expected of us; to rebel against these tenets means taking a risk of disappointing our families and being ridiculed by our peers. It takes a lot of courage to be who you really are inside.
This is my mantra these days because as I spend time out and about as Joanna, I realize how anticlimactic it all is. No one really cares about how you dress and present. If they see a happy and comfortable individual, most people will respect you and even find a reason to admire you for your courage.
I now don’t believe there is a setting where I would fear presenting as Joanna. There might be some nerves in the case of some big event I have never attended as a woman, but I am sure I would adjust relatively quickly.
My first purges began as soon as I was able to buy my own clothes. This was in my early twenties when my guilt and shame were as strong and healthy as they could be. I indulged my dressing desires and no sooner had the spectre of eroticism reared its head that the merchandise was swiftly disposed of at the nearest dumpster.
I don’t remember exactly how many times I have purged in my life but I can assure you that it was on a great number of occasions; a lot of wasted money and effort all for naught.
There is no value in purging because ultimately you go right back to buying things. You are deep in denial and each time you promise yourself you will be stronger but you will break that promise again and again and again.
I would have best served myself by examining why I found my dressing to be such an objectionable sin but I was not ready for the type of analysis at that time. The programming I had been subjected to was far too invasive and my ability to analyse and dissect those absolutes was not yet honed to the level it should be. This was to come at a later time.
Thirty years after those first purchases were made, I now know better.
I know that most young people today are far less indoctrinated than I was. They live in a more tolerant world than I did but we also live in a world where there is more of anything goes. That is not always a good thing either.
I feel the key is to strike a balance between living a genuine life as the person you were meant to and respecting your obligations as a member of society. Do right by others but do so by doing right by yourself first. Love the person you are even if that person contravenes what everyone else calls normal behaviour.
There is no such thing as normal. Everyone has their own story and there is only your normal.
Needless to say, my desires to purge are at an all time low these days.