Becoming a man, or not?

Shortly after my father returned home he went into hospital for treatment. About two to three weeks later he was allowed home. The whole thing was still quite strange as neither myself or my mother understood what he had or still was going through. Whilst the medication suppressed much of his internal conflict, he was still very clearly troubled by it all. He continued to do odd things such as unplug the tv ariel for no apparent reason amongst a range of other things. I think this unsettling period had affected me in ways I had not realised. My dressing had diminished around this time, but not for long. I reinstated my secret acts of dressing once again.

The time had come for me to leave school. I chose an Art course that would last fours years that would take me to the grand age of 21. I continued to be quite reserved and lacking in confidence and had started drinking alcohol before the age of 16, going to college encouraged that a little more.

I left secondary school and enrolled into Art College. This really was the one school activity I really did enjoy and indulged in my own time. The first year was a Foundation year, after which I chose to specialise in Graphic Design for a further three years. I enjoyed the whole experience, although I have never kept in touch with anyone from college, or school for that matter. This was between 1969 to ′73, a romantic fashion era when buying satin or velvet clothing, silky shirts etc, was quite acceptable and I did. I also had dark brown shoulder length wavy hair. My liking for alcohol had developed around this time, my friends outside of college a little geeky. Perhaps the drinking was what we had in common that made us friends, but I am not certain. I could probably send you to sleep with stories of drinking but I will spare you that. However, I did manage make myself so ill that I couldn’t get out of bed for a week. When I was finally able to drag myself to the doctor, I discovered that I had alcoholic poisoning, no wonder I felt so bad!  I still enjoy a drink, but I am very much more controlled and cannot recover so easily now. Age changes many things about us.

Discovery of sex with woman…

So, one weekend at a party I met a girl. We dated and eventually had sex which was very good for me at least, but fairly certain that she felt much the same about it too. We were both Scorpios, those of you who follow astrology may raise their eyebrows here. Getting down to the point, she became pregnant a little easily, not surprisingly I guess. We got married and I became a father at the age of 21 and her a mother at 20. For some really odd reason at that time, I naively thought I was incapable of fathering a child, possibly due to the mumps episode! You can imagine my surprise at this point in my life, I don’t think I was ready to be father material at the time, so young and inexperienced in life. We lived in a sort of bed sit flat with a kitchen and bathroom. Our bed was a sofa bed and was well used by us. Somewhere in the early part of this marriage, I had told my wife that I had been cold at night and would like a nightshirt or similar. I wish I could recall the exact details, but I had managed to steer the conversation around to her buying me a nightdress which she kindly bought for me. I wore this in bed with her at night and we had great sex, well for me it was quite extraordinary. This was and has been the one and only time I revealed that part of myself within a relationship, but not totally of course. That aspect of me never arose in conversation again.

During that marriage of 11 years, I continued to dress in secret but not in the first few years. She eventually had an affair and didn’t come home one night; no, she had not discovered my secret. After a great deal of thinking and reflection I realised that I been behaving like my father, which was one of the most disturbing realities I have ever had. He was a troubled man as was I but never sure if it was for the same reasons as myself; I realised that I had been acting in a similar way as my father did and shuddered at the thought.

My parents would have an argument, usually about money I think and my father would slip into a silence that could last for days on end. As a child I never understood this, but knew that I never managed to please him with anything I did. We didn’t have a great relationship from my point of view. The silence from my father was something I grew to dislike greatly as I felt I was being punished for something I had no part of. So what did I do in my marriage without realising? Yes, I shut away my thoughts always and did not discuss problems and dished out the exact same devastating cruel silent treatment myself!

My 13 year old son was very close to his mother and was totally shattered by her unannounced absence from our lives one evening. His little heart was broken into pieces and I cried with and for him. It still breaks my heart to remember that moment when he crumbled in sadness as I explained, that his mother was not returning home that night.

I was 35 at this time and still with sexual desires. So finding myself alone did not feel good at that time. I may have mixed up feelings of lonliness and a sexual need which may not have been the best cocktail of emotions upon reflection. I know I didn’t make a some good decisions at the time and paid the price. Apsects not relevant and I shall not reveal here.

Moving to another level

In hindsight, I did get involved with another woman far too soon and so, my pattern of life continued as before. On the whole, I don’t have regrets about my life, that would be far too negative an outlook for me to have long term. I like to think that we only make right decisions. Naturally, later we can be self critical and disapproving of our actions if they turn out to be not the best choices that we’ve made, and bad and negative habit to get into.

The new woman in my life moved in with my son and I and life was back to a normality again. Both the lady in my life and myself, enjoyed drinking and our nightlife was good. However, although she had been in a fairly long marriage and had explained that she had been unable to have children, after 6 months of us living together she fell pregnant. I had been working freelance for about eight years and had decided to find an office, due to the spare bedroom no longer being an option. My growing amount of work and space required for computing equipment was making me consider renting office space. A new need for a bedroom for our daughter concluded the choice.

Within a year or less I entered another phase of dressing. I began to buy myself beautiful lingerie and keep it at my office where I spent the rare free time I had fulfilling my needs. We had moved house a couple of times and I had enjoyed buying my wife lovely clothes, underwear, nightdresses, blouses or a coat, for her birthday or Christmas. Things that I liked myself, but knew that she would too, but never wore these myself out of respect. As we had moved to a house, far away from my office, I had to relocate my business somewhere nearer. As it happened and luckily for me, very close to a shopping centre. My dressing had taken on a new degree level of shopping. I began to buy nice dresses, shoes, makeup etc and made the occasional trip to the shopping centre fully dressed in my new outfits. I bought an electric epilator to remove the hair on my legs, arms and some chest hair. Oddly my wife didn’t notice, so there were no issues at home that I was aware of. She would have spoken up if she knew something, she was a direct kind of person and I envied that about her. There were many days I would arrive at work, do my legs, get dressed and put makeup on and then work as usual. If anyone called at the office, I would simply ignore the intercom as if abscent. The dressing was at times an experience that aroused me which has since ceased. I was enjoying my freedom and things were going well. During that perioid, I got very close to becoming involved in a group for like-minded individuals in the area, but pulled back after reflecting on the potential fallout of coming out and chose to avoid chaos.

One of the many evenings I worked late, I took the opportunity to get myself dressed and applied make up. My office was equipped with a fidge, microwave, toaster and kettle, but I decided to order myself an Indian takeaway; this was in the days when you had to collect it yourself. So, off I went in my outfit with handbag, purse etc., I took the money out of the purse with my painted nail hands, paid and returned to my office with my meal. As I walked towards my office, I realised that one of my clients had decided, that as he as passing nearby he would stop and say hello. There he was, standing at the entrance to my office building entrance and close to my car. My heart started beating quite fast and I had a brief moment of panic. Realising that he wouldn’t recognise me with long flowing hair, makeup, lipstick, heels and stockings I could walk straight past him and down a side alley by the building. I waited for a few minutes by which time he left and I was free to enter the building unnoticed.

This was also another time when I became overcome by feelings of guilt. Feelings that I was a sad person who had to do these things to find pleasure. All the usual shame and guilt, things that entered your head when you do something you have been brought up to believe is not socially normal or correct. As a consequence, I threw everything away, my dressing came to an abrupt end.

The second marriage wasn’t to last either. Eventually, after 11 years of our lives it began to fall apart, I had a period of depression and sought counseling. Things between my wife and myself were fraught with tension and bickering and the counseling never took off. I was asked to request that my wife joined me in the counseling. Often, if only one of the couple participates, the on ein treatment can move forward and other does not. She did not agree to participate and it stopped there. One particular day, I left home early as usual, only with hodall full of clothes and drove to my office, not quite knowing what I was going to do. I spent the night at a friend’s house and then back to the office. After a week or two of living in my office, a cousin of mine offered her house to me, saying that she would go and stay with my mother for a while, giving me time to sort out my head. I am indebted to her kindness and unconditional love.

I stayed there for about month until I found a house to rent about 15 minutes from my office. My work continued to keep me busy and I had a little bit of money in the bank, so life was comfortable for the time being but very strange and unsettled.

I wish to end this chapter by saying that, being married and having two children was something in my life that added richness and love to it which I am eternally grateful of. I have always loved both my children, but being a parent is always difficult. I always tried to do my best, but sure it wasn’t always seen as that at times.

to be continued …

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