The award asks four questions which, on their surface, seem innocuous but, as applied to me, are significant. I've actually been wanting to talk about these subjects for a while and was looking for the right opportunity. That chance just arrived, courtesy of Sheila.
Here are the four questions.
1. How long have you been blogging?
Just over two years now. I started New Year's day in 2010, initially on (dinosaur) LiveJournal; my blog later migrated here because the picture-quality on LJ sucks.
2. Why did you start blogging?
The simple answer is I wanted to grow as a woman -- which may sound unremarkable if said by most people, but my circumstances are different. I was raised as a boy and lived a full adult lifetime as a man. Until recently, I was known to all as male. Harboring the idea of being female and wanting to be feminine was a radical act for me. A socially-transgressive, life-alterring, radical act.
Despite my public gender-identity, I've always had a kernel of femaleness inside me. It was there before I even knew what gender was. As a small child, I strove ceaselessly to get adults to recognize me as female and none did. Their reactions were either confusion or condemnation.
Thus, I learned to suppress who I am. For decades. Of course, my true nature surfaced regularly, in hidden dressing sessions, secret feminine activities and concealed cultural preferences. (I'm a big fan of chick-flicks.) As I got older, I became less secretive and more open to those close to me about my core. My closest friends grasped this aspect of me, even if it wasn't put in gender terms. I often received comments like "how nice it is to have a man be interested in this" or joking remarks like "what a good wife" I'd make. (I actually enjoy housework, grocery shopping and caring for others.)
Recently, I reached the stage where I no longer want to deny myself. I no longer care about society's negative reaction to my lack of gender-conformity. Having lost family members at early ages, I know our time here is short and uncertain. I don't want to die before knowing what real life is like. So I'm exploring life. Life as a woman, or as close to that as I can come.
While searching for a way to do this, blogging emerged. I quickly recognized it as a vehicle for my effort. Blogging could, I hoped, bring me closer to my dream. And it has.
Blogging has given me a forum for expression. A place to explore women's clothes and female experiences. Best of all, blogging connects me to you. Real women, with active minds and life experiences, who inexplicably want to help me. And are nicer than teddy bears. Blogging has transformed my life. For realz.
All types, not limited to fashion. What I look for and care about is the blogger. Her personality and personal qualities means more to me than her blog's subject-matter, which can be fashion, sewing, cooking, movies or anything else.
One of my All Time Favoritest Blogs In The Whole World is ostensibly about motorcycles but really about the cheery, loving attitude of its creator, Fuzzy. Fuzzy looks for the best in people; Fuzzy spreads good cheer everywhere she goes; Fuzzy takes pictures of naturally-formed heart-shapes whenever she finds one. Fuzzy is the kinda gal you wish you had as your friend.
And it was from reading her blog that I, amazingly, became her friend. Fuzzy invited me to her wedding last month and I'm blown away that she likes me. The real me, whom she sees with accurate vision. I always hoped for (and never thought I'd have) a friend as true and wonderful as Fuzzy. Blogging gets credit for that.
4. What is the one thing you'd like to improve on as a blogger?
Whenever I set a goal and reach it, I set another goal. I've come so far so fast that I can't even predict where I'm going to end up. I have a direction (toward further femininity) but am reluctant (from a lifetime of squashed dreams) to say out loud what my ultimate objective is. Perhaps you can guess it. *wink*
At first, the idea of doing an outfit post scared me to death. I knew I'd look awful and worried about people's reactions. Readers were caring and supportive, which meant so much to me. That encouragement allowed me to try doing it again. And again. All the while, I improved my skills at selecting clothes, wearing them, photographing myself, applying makeup, finding a hairstyle, etc. I'm now at the stage of looking "not embarrassing" in my outfits -- a goal I truly did not believe I'd ever reach.
A second goal I'm actively working on is learning how to interact with women -- as a woman. This isn't easy and it isn't intuitive. Women, in our time and place, are socialized from childhood on how to relate to others. I didn't get that memo. I was taught how to be a boy (e.g., reject femininity; be strong; endure pain; climb over others and show superiority). None of those lessons are helpful in being a girlfriend to another woman. You guys operate differently -- and I prefer that. I enjoy the emotional openness and intimacy women have.
I'm learning this and enjoying it. Women fascinate me on every level and having access to your thoughts, feelings and inclinations makes me feel more connected, less alone and more true to myself. So, I guess my answer to the question posed is that my goal as a blogger right now is to learn how to be a better friend to other women.