Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why I Blog

My newest follower, Sheila, just gave me an award.  Sheila has a lovely blog; you'll find it here.

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.

3. What type of blogs do you like to follow/read?

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.

Thanks, Sheila!


  1. Wonderful post Ally! I enjoyed reading more about why you started your blog and your thoughts. I always enjoy your posts and hearing about your journey, you are an inspiration!

  2. Awesome answers, Ally! It's been great to have been there along the way as you become more "you."

  3. wonderful post, i enjoyed reading. the blogosphere is a great place to test the waters. i, too, have received nothing but support from everyone.


  4. Lovely answers. I remember when you were back on livejournal. I remember you stopping by my blog and going back to your LJ. I might have even commented under my LJ name. You've definitely come a long way and I've enjoyed your journey. I hope it continues to be a success and that you meet all your goals eventually. Life is precious and short. Live it to the fullest!

  5. Great answers. We always enjoy stopping by and reading your posts. So glad you have found support and friendship through blogging. You deserve to be happy :)

  6. Hi honey! I'm so sorry I've been absent but I'm trying to keep up. Just know that I love you and think about you ALL the time.

    Great answers. I'm not surprised at all that you were nominated.


  7. You are a true inspiration to all. Your confidence in who you are and your determination to follow your dreams is remarkable.

  8. Hi Shy B. I see from other comments that your name is actually Ally. Well, Hello Ally! I'm glad the award gave you a forum to express yourself some more and thanks so much for the accolades.
    Life sure is short. So every opportunity you get to enjoy it you should.
    Loved reading your answers.

  9. This is such a great post and really inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing your experience with us all. What I like most is that you are not afraid to be who you really are. I agree that life is very short and we have to make the most of it.

  10. I really loved reading this. I love that you blog and are very consistant with it. You always have something awesome to share, a bit of history, fashion, a funny story, something. And you are an amazing friend! I am glad that you have found a place to express yourself, and I am glad that you are so accepting of us (expecially this crazy girl) :P

  11. Thank you for sharing this. Whether you know it or not, you really are one of the girls.

    1. Thank you, Audi. From the bottom of my heart.

  12. "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."

    You are doing a fabulous job! You're one of the most caring women I know.

    I just loved your comments about Fuzzy, which were so true. Of course, I still haven't managed to meet her in person. But her blog is so much fun, and she's such a goof (in a totally good way) that I feel like I know her anyway. Anyway, men don't think that way. So I think you are farther along the curve than you know.

  13. Such a wonderful post. It makes me feel soooo good to see others acheiving freedom and happiness in their lives. I crossed over to a whole other life a few years ago and felt myself be free to be me and enjoy the most happiness and peace I've ever experienced. Although, my journey and freedom may come in a different way than yours...breaking free of bondages (in whatever form) and experiencing joy is a beautiful thing to behold.

  14. Ally -
    I am truly humbled. I got choked up when I read this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Thank you for being kind.
    Thank you for giving love.
    Thank you for caring about people...
    for sharing yourself...
    for being unapologetic...
    for being brave.
    Thank you for being an inspiration to me.
    Thank YOU for being my friend.

    "..I'm blown away that she likes me."
    Girlfriend, please. Who WOULDN'T like you?

    Reading your reasons for why you blog and what you hope to come of it - those things speak to me. I feel like it all comes down to connection. We all hunger to be understood, to be felt on some emotional level, don't we?

    Being able to connect to a person who may be half a world away, right in your very own living room has to be one of the greatest achievements of the century. Though it's all technology - it's strikingly human at the same time.

    I hope you know that I think you are wonderful. Without your blog, I might not have discovered that so easily. So, I'm glad you blog, too :)