The worst day imaginable.
I went to the Big Market in my new lemon pinafore. Aubergine lipstick. A white beaded necklace. Mushroom eye-shadow. I’d been looking forward to it for days.
What a disaster! People laughed at me. Pointed at me. Children skipped after me laughing and throwing stuff. Calling me ‘queer; and ‘tranny’ and ‘pervert.’ Shouting ‘hey! Miss Piggy!’
When I was trying to buy fruit the stall holder said “We don’t serve transvestites here. Get lost!”
I ran home. Crying all the way. I fell over twice. Tripping on my high heels. I cut my knee. Ripped my expensive stockings.
I got home and looked into my mother’s oval mirror. I fell apart. I was supposed to look beautiful. Feminine. No-one was supposed to notice I was a man; but I looked like a horse who’d been ridden hard and put away wet. It had rained hard and all my make-up had run. Long black steaks of mascara. It looked like I had put on my lipstick with a gardening trowel. My gorgeous lemon pinafore soaking wet, clinging crudely to my skin. Blood running from my knee. My hair – my pride and joy – limp and listless. I looked pathetic and ridiculous – like a gin sodden two-bit hooker. Like Miss Piggy.
My perfect day ruined.
But you know what. I’ll learn from this. I’ll come back stronger. I have to. I am human, and I am African, and I am a minority, and I am oppressed, and I will not concede to being a transvestite. Yes! I am a Cross dresser. Cross dressing is not new in our culture. In the old days our leaders, our tribal chiefs dressed in women’s clothing and smoked strong herbs from a pipe to connect to the spirits who would lead us into a stronger future.
I’ve learnt this:
Putting on make-up is an art.
Applying mascara and eye-shadow is an art-form.
Coating lips with the right shade of gloss is a special skill.
Walking serenely in high heels. Wearing the right stockings. Clutching a purse. Hairstyles. Plucking eyebrows. Brushing on nail varnish. Jewellery.
These all require skills. Flair. Aptitude.
I need to start learning. Learning to be a cross-dresser.
It isn’t going to happen overnight.