Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Stop at Willoughby

James Daly in "A Stop at Willoughby"

I enjoy being feminine; a trans-feminine person.  There, I have said it.  Maybe a long time verbalizing. However, every time after a fantastic or mundane escape, the peacefulness is there.

What is there to not like? The beautiful clothes, feminine enclaves like salons/boutiques and most relevant - being treated as a fellow sister. I love the way women interact and I feel apart of a society of sisters as we talk / connect.
I am recognized / accepted as being female. I have a social network that is accepting, and I am comfortable in this role. Maybe my version of transition.      

I have compared my expeditions (escapes) into the land of femininity to beautiful flights of freedom. I have been visiting there for well over 40 years. I am still in awe of the costumes, customs, serenity and wonderful environment that the land of femininity provides.  Recently my stays have been more extended.  Even when I reluctantly returned to my natural (born) habitat, I take with me apparel and mannerisms that are foreign to my home territory.  

I am starting to feel less at home when back and long for the return escape. I look in a mirror and see remains of eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. I blink and the traces are still there. Should I cleanse more or allow these elements to betray my dual citizenship? 

For years I have been torn between two very different worlds. However, now I amaze myself with how effortlessly I maneuver myself while on escape. A happy destination. 

I remember well a Twilight Zone episode from season one; “A Stop at Willoughby”.  A troubled man falls asleep on the train commute home and is drawn into a beautiful dream/place.  

Outside the train window Mr. Williams (I am not making that up) sees a town called Willoughby. He eventually learns that it is July 1888. He learns that this is a "peaceful, restful place, where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure". 

The next week, Williams again dozes off on the train and returns to the Willoughby stop where everything is the same as before. As he is about to get off the train carrying his briefcase, the train begins to roll jolting him back to the present. Williams promises himself to get off at Willoughby next time.  

Once again he falls asleep to find himself in Willoughby. This time, as the conductor warmly beckons him to the door, Williams intentionally leaves his briefcase on the train. Getting off the train, he is greeted by name by various inhabitants who welcome him while he tells them he's glad to be there and plans to stay and join their idyllic life.

In Rod Serling's famous storytelling style, there is a tragic twist. However, the escape to “Willoughby” has remained in my memory for many years. Serling, who wrote this short story, cited this as his favorite story from the first season of the series.

Mr. Serling's closing narration: 

Willoughby? Maybe it's wishful thinking nestled in a hidden part of a man's mind, or maybe it's the last stop in the vast design of things—or perhaps, for a man like Mr. Gart Williams, who climbed on a world that went by too fast, it's a place around the bend where he could jump off. Willoughby? Whatever it is, it comes with sunlight and serenity and is a part of The Twilight Zone.

Am I nearing my Willoughby destination on my trips into the land of femininity?  Shall I get off my duality train and stay - maybe

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