Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 30 October 2017

In Role

A recent little debate in a Trans Facebook Group got me thinking, the original post, from an actor, was asking something about how we got into the gender role we are playing. Of course this triggered a lot of complaints from members pointing out that they were not playing a part, but honestly expressing themselves, and equally predictably I agree.   However it did get me thinking about how, over the years, I have managed to convincingly fill a variety of roles.

Looking back it feels as though all my life I have been playing roles, musician, rugby player, salesman, clerk, refuse collector, piano mover, professional, gardener, committee member, activist, husband, father, friend, man!. by no means is this a complete list, and by no means are any of them mutually exclusive, but they do present a variety!   In all these cases I was always playing a part, I have written before about how I always had a fear of being "found out" but of course the other side of that is that I was playing a role.   I always had to dress appropriately for the role I was playing, so a nice suit for offices and meetings, Jeans and work boots for emptying dustbins, dinner jacket and bow tie for concerts.   These props helped me get into role ~ and a lot of the time I was acting a role.   I loved playing rugby, I loved the physical aspects of it and being part of the elegance and beauty of the game. But, afterwards in the bar I was definitely playing a part.

Every time I got on stage to perform I had the fear of being "found out" that somebody would call out that I wasn't a proper musician and I would be thrown off the stage to be replaced by a "real player".   Having the right jacket and shoes helped my confidence, not so much as a musician but as an actor playing a musician, just as having the right suit gave me confidence to act the part of a business man.   It's only really now that I am beginning to understand that I was doing this in every factor of my life, work, play and home.   My cross dressing was no different, sure I felt comfortable expressing the female me, but in all fairness I was still acting a part, using my props to help me get into role.


Since I started my transition a few years back a lot has changed, more recently as my medication has stabilised, physical changes are allowing me to abandon the props that used to be so essential when I was cross dressing.  It is only over these last couple of years since my self confidence has become more real and less of an act that I have realised just how much I actually was acting.   Now I am acting a lot less often, I have enough confidence in the person I am becoming that I am happy to reveal her to people.   I have now abandoned most of my props, I don't need to get into role, I can just be me, whatever I am doing.

This struck me again on Saturday playing in a concert, I was a little out of my comfort zone as I for much of the second half I was the fourth percussionist!   First time I have ever played crash cymbals and gong! and I had so much fun doing it.   I wasn't "In costume" I wasn't acting out a role, I was just me having fun making music with friends.
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