I allowed my feminine alter ego to come to the fore yesterday. Anya, the ‘working title’ for this persona (Anya=”Another Person”) is an expression of my unconscious self, the part of us males that Carl Jung termed the anima. Most people discover their usually very repressed anima (or, in the case of women, their mascultine animus) in the eyes of another person. Me being me, I have learned that I can explore this aspect of my psyche when it’s brought to the surface. But I rarely given give space for this–just as I’m very poor at indulging my inner child.
My exploration yesterday involved a trip to a cinema in south London, followed by a quick stop at ‘Frankie & Benny’s’ for a pizza and a milk shake. I was helped to prepare and accompanied by the supportive Cindy, a professional in the art of styling guys as girls. Opening my eyes to take in Cindy’s handiwork in the tall mirror in front of me, I was gripped with a sense of intrigue–there’s something quite magical and exciting about crossing a gender boundary.
Going out and acting out in the opposite gender should arouse deep fear for me. I am very sensitive to rejection and potential ridicule, and prefer to avoid attracting potential threats. But I felt strangely quite at ease (choosing a quiet time of day to venture out, with a cinema that was virtually empty, helped). As far as I’m aware, I attracted very few stares and I didn’t hear any jeers or wild laughter. Incredibly, others seemed not to notice, or perhaps not to care.
in truth–like many–I believe that gender is an imagined construct. I see myself as being on some sort of gender spectrum, at which (say) Barbie-loving, tutu-wearing pretty folks might be found at one end, while hypo-macho, naturally aggressive, red-blooded males may strut their stuff at the other. On this spectrum, I probably usually hover at about 70% on the masculine side, but can (as they say) swing either way, if not ever getting anywhere near either extreme. I certainly recognise a mix of energies within me which might variously be labelled masculine or feminine, and these need to be given expression from time to time. Not that there’s much of a bull in me (although being prone to blundering into things, I do need to be careful when wandering round china shops).
But there’s more to entertaining Anya than mere external expression. When the energies within start to flow, something inside gets unlocked. Strange things can start to happen. The day before my adventure with Anya, I was attracted to a pair of shoes in the window of a shop that I passed by. This has never happened before – I have very little interest in shoes, and generally regard shopping for clothes and the like with disdain. But here I was, feeling a strong desire for those shoes…
I don’t fully know what to do with this great bag of unknowns that’s within me. It does seem that giving occasional expression to what I know is there, just as with my inner child, is important. Perhaps if I can do this more by degrees, I might achieve better balance and wholeness–becoming–and, I hope, a better human being, whatever gender (or none) I may or may not be.