Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King
Thou art the King of Glory, O Lord Jesus Christ; when Thou didst take upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's Womb

Friday, March 23, 2012

Taking Off the Veil/Stopping Cross-dressing

So I recently made a resolution to stop wearing feminine clothing and I'm kinda regretting it.

My parents had both called me expressing their concern and trying to be supportive, but I could hear the pain in their voices (both had called on different occasions) and I explained things to them and basically told them that I had to do what was right and comfortable for me, and that I was sorry.

After the fact, I had started thinking about how much I love them and how much I do want their approval, and if that I didn't want anything to get into the way of my love for them, so I sent them a pretty lengthy e-mail in which I told them that I would no longer be wearing feminine clothing out of love for them and because they really mean a lot to me and it seems like it's the right thing and that my problems with gender aren't an excuse to sin.

Woman in prayer with a mantilla
It was one thing to say it and I felt a burden lifted off my shoulders, but it was another thing to actually do it.  I included the mantilla (chapel veil) and hijab in this resolution because technically they are pieces of feminine clothing.

Walking outside and being in public uncovered was very difficult and I felt so awkward and could feel the disapproval of others (even at church) but I kept trying to tell myself that I love my parents and that this would make them happy and with all that they have to deal with, at least they can have peace knowing that I'm being more like God wants me to be.  I figured it would take time to adjust and that I would be fine.  I felt very impious and impure without the hijab, it had been my protection from strong lustful thoughts and to remind myself to submit to God and to be holy and not to be exposed to the world, but to practice humility and curving the desire to be seen (which covering my head full time has immensely helped with) and then yesterday it hit me and even today a little...

I went to church to pray a Rosary for priests and for the Bishop of my diocese and to offer prayers for an increase in vocations of holy, orthodox men and women to either the priesthood or consecrated life when entering the nave of the church, I felt this huge awkwardness...  I didn't feel right, I didn't feel like I should be in there and I was trying to just repeat to myself "Christopher, you're obeying God and you're conforming to society; you're doing the right thing.  Relax, relax!" but it just kept getting worse to when I tried to kneel down and pray and struggled slowly through a Pater (the Lord's Prayer) and an Ave (the Angelic Salutation to the Virgin) and just was burning with this feeling like something wasn't right and then it really got deep when someone else came into the church because we thought there would be Mass and upon hearing them, my natural impulse to cover made me throw my hand on my head and then I tried to as inconspicuously as possible get the heck outta there.  Almost had a slight panic attack, but calmed down at which point I had talked to a friend of mine who offered some support and encouragement and posed the dreaded question of why I wasn't covered...  And it was hard to give the answer, but I did tell her.  She didn't agree with my reasoning and encouraged me to reconsider and I really felt even more guilty as I always do when people tell me how my piety has encouraged and helped theirs.  I had a huge headache.

I haven't told my spiritual director yet, although he wouldn't mind either way, even though I've been trying to meet with him but he's so busy and I have like no one to really turn to, so yet again, I feel like I'm struggling alone.  But it's not true, I know a lot of people are praying for me even if they don't know what I'm going through.

I'm upset that everything that the veil and hijab have done for me seems to have gone to naught.  I was trying so hard to be pious in front of the Blessed Sacrament in church that day when I was about to pray the Rosary, but it was like I couldn't grasp the reality anymore of this central Mystery of the Catholic Faith.  I wanted to be humble and I just didn't feel like I could be, it turned into fear and like I was not showing honor and devotion to God that is due Him, maybe I'm just very sensitive right now because of these changes I'm going through.

As for the hijab, I feel like purity is no longer guarded and that I'm just all out there for the world to see even though my 'guy' clothes, like my girl clothes, are very covering.  I haven't worn shorts in about 8 years and I usually do not wear short sleeves (especially not to church), and I was covered, but I still felt the struggle like I was grasping for purity and then all these thoughts of lust started to come over me again and I went into despair and again I felt isolated from the Sacraments and am having a hard time forcing myself to go to Confession tomorrow.

Another thing I've noticed is now I have a desire to wear shorts and short sleeves out in public in hopes that it will make me seem more attractive to others instead of it just being a thought in the back of my mind.  I feel so vain lately and again want to be seen and am struggling to humble myself in church as well as outside of church.

I want so badly just to cover again, but my parents, I can't let them down and I feel like in terms of the Holy Scripture I'm doing the right thing but why am I not getting Actual Grace from it and I hate that I'm going back to how I was before I started covering and am afraid there's going to be a long stretch of me not going to the Sacraments and wallowing in despair or indifference.  I don't want that, but I don't know what to do right now.  I know my decision has upset a lot of people and probably will upset more people and especially after meeting my Bishop again the other day and after the Pontifical Mass, having that lady come up to me and tell me how beautiful the mantilla was (although that has nothing to do with it), and that she felt called to cover and that she'd been praying on it and that she's hoping to find the strength to do so and thanked me and I told her I would pray and shared my experiences with her about how it deepened my spiritual life so much.  I don't know what to say to these priests who see me reguarly, I just don't know.

As for non religious things, I've been getting some very weird and awkward looks from people now and my one teacher was acting funny towards to me and some of the kids in my calc class were a little rude to me after I had removed the veil (although these were guys that you would think would have been glad because they're the jock/preppy cool rich kid types...) and also a couple people didn't really recognize me and made it awkward in public when they asked why I wasn't covered anymore and I just felt put on the spot and in a little malice, I'm so tempted to just e-mail my parents and be like "thanks..." but I won't because I know Mommy has great intentions and Pop doesn't really care either way, he just said he kinda feels embarrassed about it, but it's my choice, I am grown, and that they both love me so much and I love them, but I'm trying to tell myself if God went through ridicule for doing the right thing, then who am I to think I should not?  I don't really know what to tell people and it's just embarrassing with them asking me and looking at me weird, I don't know, but I'm not going to Stations of the Cross this evening because I just can't be in church right now, but I'm still planning on going to Sunday Mass, maybe I'll sit in the cry room or the nave, I don't know exactly how I'm going to tackle this, but I'll figure something out.  I'm definitely not going to receive Holy Communion until I talk to my priest or to my spiritual director.  Please pray for me everyone.

lastly, I do want to mention that these are personal experiences that I have had with covering and I am not implying in any way that any woman who does not cover either in church or otherwise is being impious or impure.  The mantilla and hijab were ways for ME to help overcome sinful passions and to bring me closer to God, a devotion just like everyone has his or her own way of showing piety and devotion.  The Church does NOT obligate women to cover and a woman CAN be a great Catholic and holy woman without.  Some feel called to covering and others do not.  I've read a lot of commentary on the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians and although some see it as a universal law of church and social conduct in prayer, the Church does not say this anymore (although it very well used to be a requirement).

This is just overwhelming, I'm having all these seconds thoughts, I was so confident at first, but then it hit when I went to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.  Satan works in some weird ways.

Please pray and any feedback is appreciated (even though I know a lot of you don't usually comment, but I could use some advice/discussion).

9 comments:

  1. Megan "Marina"March 23, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Hey Christopher,

    I've been praying for you in this crisis. I'm not going to pretend I can understand what you're going through but I can see more clearly now why you wore the veil in the first place.

    So here are my thoughts, take them as you wish:

    The powers of evil are happy to lead us away from God in anyway possible. They convince some people that they can fully experience God without church/sacraments/Scripture and then convince others that God can ONLY be experienced in such and make people turn them into idols. I use that example that because that is what I see evil doing to you. They convinced you that you HAD to have a covering to be pure and holy. They say to you "How could you even think God could accept you uncovered!?" Once you covered, they gave you a false peace because now they had focused your attention on clothing (wearing it, buying it, getting others attention by it) and not God. Now that you have unveiled they come at you again trying to guilt you back to where they had you. Evil can also use other people for their purposes.

    I would ask you to continually pray for God's will (I know how trite that sounds) and perhaps find a spiritual father that does have more time for you.

    One final thought-- even though we may not fully understand the Church's ways they are for our benefit. What good does it do us to say "Fasting doesn't work for me, I'm not doing it" or "I don't see any results from the Eucharist, I'm not communing anymore!" We must obey the Church in faith and hope even if we feel all is pointless and our Father who sees in secret will reward us. There are many stories of saints who struggled for decades before they knew God's peace (St. Mary of Egypt)

    My favorite Bible verse might help you: 1 Corinthians 13:12 -- For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

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  2. honestly chris I think its great that you want to make your parents happy and everything, but ultimately you need to dowhats best for you. Were johnny and I embarassed when we went out to the bar with you and you were dressed like that? absoluely not. Because we care about you and accept you exactly for who you are. If the veil makes you more spiritual, and feel better and closer to god then wear it. And honestly I don't think God really cares one way or the other the fact tht you are doing so much and trying so hard to follow in his footssteps would be enough for him. I hope you can find some peace of mind soon. I'd hate to see you upset over this for so long.

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  3. I think you have been approaching this matter the wrong way. You have to start asking the basic questions, and the answers will help.
    The most basic question here my friend is the following. Are you a male or a female? Which may be formulated like this as well, are you a son or a daughter if God? How do these questions suppose to help? Well it seems to me you are struggling not only with gender recognition, but also with how God expect you to dress in his Holy presence. Answer those questions, then you'll know what dress code you ought to adhere to. But that is in religious point of view. In a social point of view, how feel comfortable is how you should be. It should not matter if you are male or female, you wear what make you feel good and comfortable.

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  4. To tackle this matter. I think you should star asking the most basic questions. First question is the following. Are you a son or a daughter of God? The way God expect his sons to enter his Holy presence is different from the way he expects his daughters to do so. That is a religious point of view. In a social point of view. It should not matter if you are male or female, what should matter is what makes you feel good and comfortable. Certain friends and family members may not approve thoroughly the way you dress, but at the end of the day you are the one who is going benefit or suffer from you decisions, not them.
    It is a very difficult situation, and I am not going to pretend that I know what you are going through, but I can imagine. You are a religious person; pray on the matter, and God shall give you your answer.

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  5. "Those who tell the Truth love you. Those who tell you what you want to hear love themselves." -Mother Angelica.

    that's one of my favorite quotes, and it has really made me understand friendship and love...a true friend will warn you when you're risking your soul, but those who comfort and console you in your sins are, in a manner of speaking, your enemies...not to say they mean to of course, but we need to be cautious of who we are influenced by, as we are told - "The desire that is accomplished, delighteth the soul: fools hate them that flee from evil things. He that walketh with the wise, shall be wise: a friend of fools shall become like to them." Proverbs 13:19-20

    that being said, and considering you asked for advice, my advice is, stick with the clothes of your God given gender, God made you male, and not by accident, He intended for you to be a man, and you need to respect and honor the perfect will of God, Who knows what is best for you and the salvation of your soul...of course i don't know you and i can't claim to know what is best for you, but God gives us instruction and guidance through His church, and so the best advice i can give you is, get yourself a better Catholic education, learn to overcome your troubles by virtue, and above all, by the grace of God, you need His help always and at every moment, so you must pray very often, or in other words, think of God and speak to Him whenever you get the inclination to do so, pray formally when you can, and especially pray at the times of temptation to sin, it is particularly important to pray then because it is by neglecting prayer that we fall into sin...or even if we do pray, we still must actively accept Gods grace, so again, practice of the virtues...

    i know it's hard, as anything we are emotionally attached to is hard to break away from, but that's why you need to pray, you can't do it alone, alone it is impossible, but with God all things are possible...

    also consider this, you have been told to do what feels good, do what makes you comfortable, etc. etc.
    and yet, Christ tells us to deny ourselves, mortify the senses, carry our crosses, and follow Him...don't you realize that all of those things mean not feeling good? of course by doing so, while you sacrifice your bodily comfort, you obtain a greater prize, namely, love...after all, what greater proof of love is there, than to take what you have and may have, but to instead cast them aside, and say "No Lord, i love you more!"...loving God means keeping His commandments, as He Himself told us, so if we love God, we will do as He says, which won't always feel good, but that's because we are imperfect, our body has rebelled against the soul because of sin, and so our body and soul are constantly at war with each other, but if we were perfect as God intended us to be, then doing Gods will and keeping His commands would be easy and pleasing to us,
    but since man sinned, we are subject to an imperfect body and mind, which is weak and ignorant, and the only way to gain control of ourselves, so that we can actually use our free will rather than be slaves of sin, is by mortification, and of course the grace of God.
    here is a nice little article on mortification to give you an idea of what it is - www.catholicapologetics.info/catholicteaching/virtue/vpenence.htm
    although i'm sure you already know about those kinds of things, but either way, it has alot of good ideas on how we can mortify ourselves.

    well, i didn't want to say to much, but i hope this helps, and i'll keep you in my prayers, take care.

    http://www.audiosancto.org/
    http://www.keepthefaith.org/
    http://www.fultonsheen.com/Fulton-Sheen-MP3.cfm

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  6. Christopher,
    I have no words of advice for you. I only wanted to tell you that I will be praying for you and that I love you. I had an image the other day of you in God's loving embrace. Interesting that you wrote this blog recently because in my image, you had no coverings on your head. I hope to see you soon!
    In the peace and love of Christ,
    Melissa Foote (the one with all the kids!)

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  7. Thanks everyone for the comments and feedback and the prayers, I appreciate all of it and everyone said very important and pertinent things.

    God bless you all.

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  8. Chris,

    You have been blessed with a heavy Cross, which, if you take it well and follow Christ to Golgotha will be only a joy and blessing for you. But you can also let your Cross way you down into the depths of Hades. You what's right and in conformity with Truth. Do it.

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