Haecceity or We Are What We Hide

By Lisa P.

The word haecceity (HEK see uh tee) is one of those words you can use when you want to sound erudite, or snobbish or a bit overeducated. It refers to the quality that makes a thing or a person what they are (i.e. what makes them uniquely them). The latin “haec” is the feminine form of the word “hic” or “this.” So, another way to define the word is “thisness.” What is the quality that makes you what you are? What is your thisness? Could it be your femininity? I’m pretty sure it is for me.

To continue along this mental path, the French novelist Andre Malraux (died 1976) once said that “Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.” Little did he know how true that is for many of us. You probably see where I am going with this — what I hide is my femininity. That is my haecceity!

Of course, our webmistress Kandi doesn’t hide her feminity. She shouts about her feminity to the roof top (or at least from the catwalk!). I would do that more, and better, if transphobia didn’t hold me back. Out of fear of what others will think I too often hide the true quality that makes me what I am. When I am honest with myself, I know that I identified as a crossdresser (instead of transgendered) for many years because I just didn’t see myself as a “woman trapped in a man’s body” (as was often said on The Phil Donahue Show about transsexualism forty years ago) and I didn’t have the vocabulary to refer to myself in any other way. If I was just dressing in women’s clothes, then I was simply doing the same thing women have done for years in reverse [and gotten away with it, I might add, because it is OK to seek power – never to give it up]. If women could enjoy pants, I could enjoy skirts. If women could enjoy male boxers, I could enjoy women’s panties. What’s the big deal about that? Ok, admitting it to my close male friends (or anyone else for that matter) wasn’t possible, but did it really matter? Wasn’t I just a “normal” man doing what “normal” women do all the time?

Well, hold on to your horses cowgirl, because my mind has taken me for a ride over the years, and perhaps it has done the same thing to you. I am over sixty years old now, and only recently have I realized just how much I identified with women all those years, from the youngest age onwards, and how different I felt from other males. Let me count just a few of the ways. As I have mentioned before, it only recently hit me that when I watch movies, I am completely focused on the female lead: the way she dresses, the way she acts, the way she speaks, and the way she moves. When I was young, I was fascinated with the movie, “Goodbye Charlie” (1964) starring Debbie Reynolds, Tony Curtis and Walter Mathau, because Charlie is a philandering screenwriter who is killed by his lover’s husband and reincarnated as a woman, with all the memories of her former male self. She completely ruins this second chance at life. When I first saw it in my early teens, I remember distinctly thinking to myself, “I would never ruin that chance – I would live life fully as a female!” Similarly, watching basketball games and football games and spending much of the time (even though I liked the games just fine) focusing on the cheerleaders. In all of my high schools (I went to three different ones), cheerleaders were always girls, and I envied them their cute outfits, long flowing hair and dance routines. It seemed like a silly fascination at the time, but now I realize that what I was doing was probably much the same as many of the other women in the crowd who were living vicariously through the cheerleaders.

I also remember praying to God before bedtime asking the Creator to turn me into a girl when I woke up and to let me stay that way for as long as I wanted and then – my “deal” with God would continue – I would return to being a boy if I ever wanted or needed to do that. It is good that I matured in my faith, because that allowed me to finally come to terms with the truth that a god who is a fairy godmother (giving us what we want) is someone we control. If we are in control, then we are God and not the other way around. I had no cause to be angry that I wasn’t magically transformed into a girl.

But I digress (as my thinking on this subject has done oh so many times). I finally have come to terms with who I am, difficult as that has been for me to understand or accept. It has become harder and harder for me to see myself only as a crossdresser, because I don’t simply want to wear women’s clothes. I do everything possible not only to wear the clothes, but also to look, act and speak like a female. If I wear a bra, I make sure I enhance the bra so that I appear to have cleavage. When dressed, I become the woman that I always wanted to be. That doesn’t need to be (and at least so far is not the case for me) the desire to give up on my male self entirely – but, I have to admit that when I am my female self I just feel so much more me – sort of the real me versus the me in costume. I don’t hate the costume as much as I love not having to wear a costume. Lisa is me – she doesn’t need a costume, so I am extra happy when I am her and I love for others to see her in me. Most importantly, people who are comfortable with the gender assigned to them at birth don’t think about their gender all the time – they live their reality comfortably. I would expect crossdressers to do the same. But, that isn’t me. I think about my gender so many times every day that I can’t even count them. I feel like I have gender radar that I can’t turn off.

To go beyond my transphobia, I realize now that I need to (i) fully accept that I am trans, (ii) fully embrace that I am trans, (iii) fully love the me that is trans, (iv) find a way to be in the world as a trans person, (v) live fully in whatever way I am presenting and (vi) quit hiding from myself. I think I can do that without needing to become a full-time woman. Those are my personal goals. How about you? Are you trying to understand why you crossdress? I don’t think any of us should get too concerned about the particular words we use. Everyone at Kandis-Land is here to explore who they are. Each of us must figure out our individual journey. We are traveling a similar road, even if our ultimate destination is unique to ourselves.

For me, it is enough to stop hiding and accept my feminine self – I am finally aware of my haecceity.

12 thoughts on “Haecceity or We Are What We Hide”

  1. Lisa, I know for me that my feminine side caused so many issues for me, I just could not hold her back anymore and it eventually cost me my marriage
    If I could I would change that in a heartbeat but since I could not I am now moving forward and trying to figure out that I am who I am and want to do my best to help other trans folks be who they are and not be afraid of that
    God Bless Lisa

    1. Rachael,

      Thank you for your comment and for being so supportive of others. It certainly is hard, as the sacrifices are very real, and it is wonderful that you are not letting your own pain stop you from helping others. We spend a lifetime building up a reality based on expectations. Figuring out how and what we need to leave behind to be our true selves can be tricky!

      Lisa

    1. Mark,

      That was a very kind thing to say. May you discover even more about yourself in 2022 — that is something I want for myself.

      Lisa

    1. Susie,

      I am grateful for your comment. We write not only as a catharsis, but also in the hopes of speaking to the truth of others.

      Lisa

  2. Lisa, fantastic post, much of which I could have written about myself. Self acceptance, as you quite rightly say, is the key but it’s a real toughie and, proud though I am of my female side, I know that I still have a long way to go.

    And the challenges of self acceptance breed secrecy. If ‘this’ is nothing to be ashamed of (which it isn’t ), why don’t/can’t we talk about it? Of course, we all know the answer to that and the need to consider those around us is a big consideration too. But, if we’re going to lead a fulfilled life, there comes a point when we have to cast our doubts and prejudices to one side and your words beautifully illustrate that.

    And I’ve learned a new word too!

    1. Amanda,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. One of the things that I love about Kandi’s Land is that it gives all of us the opportunity for a few minutes each day to cast our own doubts (and prejudices about ourselves) to the side. At least it works for me!

      Lisa

  3. Wow!

    Thank you for all of that, but especially the Latin – I am totally stealing that and using it in my everyday life from now on. You definitely speak truth – the wider and more objective truth as well as a personal one – and it was an amazing read. I am slightly offended though, I didn’t give you permission to write my experiences before I had words for all of them! 🙂

    I made that deal with God too, and understand why it means that I am not angry at God for not delivering. I do believe that God made me, though, and so I was made as I am. That, for me, was the eventual source of my acceptance of myself.

    Sorry, I am babbling now, trying to say complimentary things and tying myself in knots!

    1. Joanna,

      You weren’t babbling, for sure. I love that you said, “I do believe that God made me, though, and so I was made as I am.” You are SO right! Whenever someone would put another person down because of some aspect they didn’t like, my father would quip, “God doesn’t make junk!” We are all beautifully and wonderfully made, even if (as is the case for me), a bit quirky.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Lisa

  4. This is a great post and I can relate to it. I am in my late 40’s and 2 years ago “came out to myself” as a crossdresser. It was tough to admit. I had been dressing since I was 12 but never questioned it, afraid to ask the tough questions. But I got to a breaking point and came out to myself and then to my wife (which went great).

    I thought of crossdressing as a hobby. But a year later I started to see it was not just a hobby. I started to feminize myself with shaved legs, arms, style my eyebrows. I wore feminine clothes every day at home. I started look at myself as “gender fluid.”

    But then over time I felt there wasn’t as much fluid. In my mind, I felt I looked at things from the female perspective. That my “guy mode” was more of a costume.

    I was afraid to admit I might be Trans mostly because I was afraid of transition. Like I thought all Trans people HAD to transition. They don’t. I feel I am Trans. But it is impractical for me to transition. So, I just dress at home and someone androgynous in public. This seems to satisfy my gender dysphoria.

    I think there might be a lot of people in the same predicament.

  5. Christina,

    You are definitely not alone! Thank you for sharing your own personal truth. We are not all the same, but we are all alike, especially in our need to be real to ourselves.

    Lisa

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