I draped my tie loosely over the back of the chair after a long day of performing for an audience. Only, this time, the audience does not know that they are watching me. Are they watching intently without knowing? Are we all just watching intently without knowing?
I see myself as creating desire with every movement I make: when those who watch, subsequently will then wish. This then leads to desire. When I perform, I create something from nothing.
I slip on my bra, finally after a long day of being saggy and limp; breasts pressed against my chest like a crushed loaf of processed bread. I slip my nightgown on, let my hair out of the intricate hairstyle I have created to mimic a sort of `metro-sexual` male, the only male whom I could in fact mimic convincingly. I am tall 5 foot 9 inches, so that helps, and my hips are on the narrow side, allowing me to be admired for my apparently masculine litheness.
Let me begin from square one. I am a woman, born a women, and very happy to `be` a woman. I am trying on an experiment for size. I wish to `be` a man. To feel what it is like, to understand through the eyes of others how a man is perceived, a man feels among others, and how a man copes with these perceptions. It is not only an experiment of experience; it is an experiment to prove a theory: that we are shaped by perception, by our mirroring out in society, not so much by whom we are inside.
I have been an actor for 22 years, more in fact if you count the years that I dreamed of working as one, and even more if you count that fact that I am an actor and was born as one. I live for my career and do not mind sacrificing myself in order to embrace another character. In fact, I revel in it: the ability to feel how others feel, to enter their psyche, to feel their pain and pleasure.
My experiment has just begun. I have convinced everyone, No one has given me a sideways glance at all. They have all treated me with respect and manly acknowledgement. It is different. It is more of a solid treatment, therefore less soft, less warm. Do I miss the warmth? Sometimes. I am now moving on to the next step. To attempt to seduce a woman, or at the very least, connect with one as a man. To understand the difficulty in walking the line between masculine strength and power and that ever-elusive union between two people without gender. I want to hold masculinity in the palm of my hand, feel its texture, but then drop it in an instant.
As I hurry to leave the next morning, pulling another tie off the rack and swiftly looping and tying it carefully, I notice one thing a little off with myself today. I am feeling weak. I have lost that initial feeling of aggression that was so exhilarating at the start of my experiment. I feel reluctant to begin another day again, but quickly collect myself and my things to exit the haven of my apartment.
My shoes feel snug and a bit too clunky as I march down the hall to the elevator. My limbs feel heavy because of it. I pull my shoulders up strong and ready to face that sea of faces in the city below. I must remember that this newfound persona of mine should not be so conscious. If I am to live as a man, I must feel comfortable within my own skin and not think about the fact that I am only playing a role. I must rid myself of the awareness that I am feeling. As an actor, this is the ultimate challenge: to just drink in another life.
I plunge forward into my day, one life consumed in order to fuel me.