Last month, I made a promise that I would launch this ‘Petrafied’ blog on March 24th, 2020, the 52nd anniversary of the day my Dad died.
“A Promise is A Promise“
If you’re reading this I have launched already which means its too late to save me! 🙂
They say, the memory of some things, like the day someone special in your life dies, never leaves you. Some say you get over it but others believe you simply get used to it. Either way, I believe, the event itself, will not only hugely influence you but will actually shape and define everything you do in life. It’s as if you are the sum total of all your experiences, especially the ‘big ones’!
I was feeling a sense of panic as the 24th approached.
Telling the world what it’s been like to be a man who ‘Loves to Dress in Frilly Things’ is not as easy as I had hoped! I was doing my usual ‘deny and run’ stunt, as I have for years. The only difference today is I know I’m running. Not much progress you might say, but at least being able to see what I’m doing gives me a ‘fighting chance’!
Then today, I watched a YouTube advert. I always skip the adverts and this one was long. I was just about to click ‘Skip Ad’ when something said “No. Watch this one Peter Petra! Just watch it and see” I watched it from beginning to end. The guy told a great story about how his Mum became ill when he was just four. It pretty much robbed him of what was, up to then, an idyllic childhood. I was captivated. He became a ‘good boy’ and naturally, as you might expect, looked after his Mum for many years. But then, when he turned 18, he ‘hit the road’. His life spiraled quickly downwards into a decade of ‘drink, sex, drugs n rock n roll’ and for many years he fell deeper and deeper into a black abyss, until one day, it all became too much. Quite suddenly, he came to his senses. He ‘was thrown from his horse‘ on the road to Damascus, as it were. He didn’t go too deeply into the why of it all but spoke more about what he did after he realised and accepted that his childhood experience of grief was a gift that enabled him to make a difference in a world gone mad!
He found his passion and dedicated himself to serving others.
He started The Sring Water Charity with the aim of providing 785 million people with freshwater worldwide. His story brought tears to my eyes but more than that it told me that even my ‘frilly story’ has a purpose. Being the way I am, being me as I am has a purpose. All I have to do is ‘have the courage to have no courage at all‘ by accepting myself 100% as I am now and let the Universe, Love, Whomever or Whatever show me the way. It’s all any of us has to do! I’m not religious but I am what they call ‘Spiritual’ as in, I believe there’a beautiful purpose to everything and if we can just ‘go with the flow‘ and play our part, all will be well not just for us but for those around us.
It was not ‘Wearing My Frillies’ that stifled my life.
In the mid-1990s my partner, the mother of my two beautiful children, gifted me a book called “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ by Deepak Chopra. There was a Law on how to live life, for every day of the week. I couldn’t put it down. I devoured each it. I read a chapter every day for two whole years. I knew it by heart and could quote long passages. In fact, that’s what I did – I quoted long passages to those that would listen. I had no idea how ‘preachy’ I had become until a close friend suggested I follow my own advice. I was telling everyone to follow the Law for Saturday, The Law of Dharma, which according to Deepak had three components. The first was to know that you are Spirit.
You are a spirit having a human experience, not a human having a spiritual experience.
I knew I wasn’t my body or my mind so that was easy enough to embrace.
All good so far!
The second part of the law advised that I should find my passion, my true calling as it were and the third was to follow my passion in service to my fellow man. I knew that if I could find my passion, following it in service, should be easy! But I had no idea whatsoever what my passion was or might be, never mind follow it!
I was living in our new house, on top of the hill, looking out over the Great Blaskets Island, west of Dingle in Kerry. I was married to a beautiful woman and I was father to two delightful children, Genevieve and Robert. I loved them very dearly but something was missing. I knew I wasn’t ‘firing on all cylinders‘ as it were and my life was hurting. I remembered the Law of Dharma and the advice my friend gave me to follow my own advice! If I could only find my passion or even a sense of it, doing it in service would be easy. Or at least I thought it would be! For the life of me though, I could not think what it was I loved to do. Nothing at all ‘blew my skirt up‘ if you know what I mean! I was happy, in a ‘keep your head down and get on with your life‘ sort of way but not really alive! My family and those around me were suffering. I was half the man I could have been if I could only find my passion and be myself! I racked my brains for two full weeks but could think of nothing.
There was nothing I loved to do. Not really!
I wasn’t religious and I certainly didn’t believe in a God that was separate from me. And yet, I was so frustrated, I screamed at God to show me what it was I loved to do. I needed help. I even promised God I would happily serve my fellow man in my passion if he would just let me know what it was! But nothing was coming. Absolutely nothing! In the end, I gave up and it was then that I saw it. The only thing I loved to do, the only thing I was alive and passionate about was wearing Frilly Panties.
I died with embarrassment at the mere thought of it!
“A Promise is A Promise“
I came out as a gay transvestite to my family shortly afterwards and everything I had feared, came to pass.
My life fell apart.
As you can imagine, nothing was ever the same again! I had spoken the Truth to myself and I had made a promise. I was panicked! I wandered the streets of Ireland for ten years in a daze. But here’s the strange thing… if I had it over, I would do the same again!
That was twenty years ago and I’m still humming and hawing. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made a “ProperFool” of myself and yet I still dither!
I have yet to fulfill my promise to serve my fellow man.
So last month I took a leap of faith (again!) and promised my beautiful friends in our ‘Artist’s Way’ group that I would stop the talking and start the walking by launching my Petrafied blog all about what it’s like to be a crossdresser in Ireland for nigh on 60 years.
During the height of the ‘Frilly Years‘ as I now call them, whilst wandering the roads and streets of Ireland, telling the world to ‘Wear Their Frillies’ and follow their passion this verse, came to me. It’s called Sweet Bliss and is placed beside a picture of Antoinette, the mother of my children, in my poetry book ‘Ode to Coumeenole‘.