Trusting Within

wondering what I would say to a group of women at a self-help weekend...

I have a question for you.

Do you ever hear a voice, somewhere deep inside you, that whispers you are much, much more than what your friends, your family and the rest of the world sees you as being?

Does it remind you that you have powerful things to share which you tend to keep hidden?   Underneath all that playing nice, that playing along, that taking care of others, there is some real insight, wisdom and magic you keep locked away and hidden?

Does that voice tell you that you aren’t just your mother’s daughter, your children’s mother, your bosses worker, but that underneath you are something more energetic, more spiritual and more transcendent?

Can you remember that you are not your body or your history, rather you are a powerful force in a human vessel with something to share, something that connects and binds you to the universe?

Do you ever hear that inner voice reminding you that you are not as small as you have been told that you have to be to fit in?   Does it whisper to you, call to you, remind you of the cosmic power inside?

I think most of us here have heard that voice.   We are seekers, here, looking for ways to find our own voice, come into our own power, moving beyond the expectations pressed on us to reveal that we are more; more beautiful, more powerful, more magical, more transcendent.

Here’s a little secret that I share sometimes with friends: I heard that voice inside me.

I heard a voice which told me I wasn’t defined by my body or constrained by the expectations other people placed onto it.   From a very, very early age, I knew that the spirit inside me was much more potent than the vessel that carried it.

I tried to keep that truth hidden, to play along, to fit in.  I was told that was the only way I could get what I needed in the world.

What I needed, though, was to blossom, to come into the sunshine.

 It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before…
to test your limits… to break through barriers.
And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
— Anaïs Nin

My journey involved walking through barriers most people are taught are firm and fixed, the wall between men and women.   Going through that wall I found it to be merely an artifact of how we are taught to think in boundaries rather than in possibilities.

Crossing those boundaries requires moving beyond the fear that keeps us small, moving towards the love that opens the breadth and scope of our awesome continuous common humanity.

I am here to tell you one thing: that voice inside you that tells you that you are more than the little person others expect you to be is true.   You are a beautiful child of the creator and that means you have the sparkle of the universe inside you.

Yours is not to seek for love, happiness, enlightenment or power.   Yours is to seek for the barriers you hold to embracing all that is already inside you.

Today we are going to talk about ways to stop resisting the calling you hear, ways to stop blocking the possibilities inside you and instead embrace the jagged, awesome, human essence you already own.

I know change.  I have done the work of change.  I have created a map of the pitfalls I had to go through to own change.

Let’s start making a map of where you find pitfalls to change, where you are frightened and blocked, and then, together, we can share solutions and encouragement to help you claim your own path to all that you can be.

I believe in your potential, in your magic, in the voice that calls you to more.   And because you are here, I believe that you are ready to take a step towards claiming more of that inner truth in the wider world, ready to stop resisting your own grace.

This claiming isn’t easy or simple, I know that.   You have a lifetime of training in how to resist those big, glowing parts of you.

But owning your own heart is possible, I am here to tell you.   You can move beyond your past, transcend your stories, throw off the limiting expectations and reveal the power and beauty which has always been inside of you.

Your wounds can become badges of healing, scars which help you offer others empathy and compassion, marks of the wisdom you earned with your own life force.

I know this is true.  I know that these possibilities exist for you if you are willing to do the work to clear out your old assumptions and claim what has always been waiting for you inside your big, beautiful, loving heart.

That voice you hear, the one telling you that you are more than your body, more than your history, more than the expectations placed on you, that voice has truth in it.

Come with me and lets start the work to claim that magic.

Crap Calling

It feels like a slap upside the head.

At least it does to me.

It’s that moment when someone says something and you realize, “Shit.  That’s the universe talking to me.”

Some people listen to those calls.  Most people, though, they miss them, only listening enough to figure out what they want to say next.

That’s the point of “when the student is ready, a teacher appears.”   The teacher was there all the time, the lessons were always available.   They just were invisible until the student opened her eyes, her brain and her heart.

I got the call to go to a startup seminar yesterday.   It’s mostly for college students and this was the third of four, but somehow I knew I should try.  I haven’t been out for a month, except for a few errands, but this one.

What I got wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before.  Sure, I took some notes on what the speakers said and what I got, because I burn though content here pretty fast.   What do people in the wider world care about.

And then, in a session about when you know you have a customer, a gent described what his startup was doing.  They are working with the big local hospital to develop a system to help coordinate information between patients, families and the care team.

Now, having had a father in that hospital for over six months while my mother was in hospice for lung cancer, I know this issue.  The product I came up with for Startup Weekend — another powerful call — was to support family caregivers.  I know and care about this market and I have the skills to help with this product.

I heard this guys pitch and immediately thought “Oh, shit.  This is a message for me from my mother in the sky.”

Calls, you see, aren’t moments of glorious joy when everything becomes clear and easy.

No, every call is the call to work.   Becoming new, taking on a new challenge, always requires hard, difficult mucking in.  It is the call to struggle and sweat, merely a sign over the pathway to enlightenment, not the opening of a clear, clean and easy tunnel to paradise.

I did the work of going up and introducing myself to him, even if I had stayed silent with the rest of the milling, networking crowd.   And the contact info he gave me didn’t come through well, so I am going to have to look a bit like a fool if I actually want to chase him down.  Work.

The reward, though, is obvious to me.  Everyone else in that room was on a team, had a mission, something to talk about, something to network over.  If I had that, well, that’s getting back on the grid.

The cost, though, is also obvious to me.  It means pushing past comfort, finding new solutions, taking new blows, being exposed and struggling.  Ick.

I know how I handle this when someone else faces this kind of lesson, the experience of the universe slapping them upside the head.   The humour of how perfect the crack is reveals itself, between the moaning and the delight.

That crack of lightning shows where change is needed, damn and blast, even as you hear the wise and wicked chuckle of your mother in the sky rippling through your head.

It feels like calling to me.  And that means it feels terrifying and exciting at the same time.

One speaker yesterday said that if you want to do a startup, you damn well better like roller coasters, because that’s the experience of them.  That’s why I like people who do startups; you can’t stay in a groove, you have to be ready for anything, always able to sense an opportunity or a crisis, which are usually the same, always ready to pivot.

In my experience, one of the hardest things about those moments is finding someone else who gets the how the exquisite sense of possibility is always laced with dread.   Plunging in and running away both seem like very, very good choices.

In the darkest times, a light appears.   Unfortunately, it is usually shining through a grate down at the other end of the sewer.   Do you sit in your comfortable darkness or do you start to climb?

What do we surrender to?  Current archetypes or our own nature?  Possibility or comfort?   What will we dig through shit to claim?

I wrote that in the car before I went into the seminar yesterday, not intending it for me.   Shit.

Calling is always a curse, so if you don’t want to curse it some, it probably isn’t a calling.   Who in their right mind is really looking for a slap upside the head?

Somehow, though, the wisdom will also be obvious, so if you have the will and the wherewithal to follow, you know it’s something that you should do, dammit.

Resisting calling, well, that’s what humans do.  If transformation was easy, not wrenching, scary and full of loss, well, everyone would be doing it.

The question for me, at least today, is if I have one more molt in me, one more struggle, one more reinvention.

Crap.  What a horrible damn question.

And what a wonderful damn possibility.  Crap.

Contents

Transgender is about what is inside a person.

Transgender is not about dressing up or about changing your body, rather transgender is about the forces, the desire, the knowledge, the need that makes you do that.

Transgender expression is about showing who you know yourself to be on the inside in the outside world.   It is about the attempt to reveal inner meaning with external symbols.

The most important thing any ally to a transperson should know is that when they show you their expression they are trying to show you their heart.

Hearts, as you probably know, are delicate things.   There is a reason we learn not to wear our heart on our sleeve, learn to build a wall around it, learn to keep it closed up and hidden away.

That’s the approach we take.   We share the experience of the closet, walling our heart away with willpower to try and satisfy the expectations placed on our reproductive biology.   For many of us that experience continues even as we change our manner of dress and our body, working to wall off our history and our birth biology so people see our assertions and not our tender heart.

What is inside of us, though, the scars from that experience of being shamed, stigmatized, marginalized, pathologized, dehumanized, and traumatized in an effort to teach us how to fit into gendered expectations doesn’t go away.

I am aware, on some conscious level that my trans doesn’t really matter much to other people.   They just write me off as a guy in a dress and move on, holding me at a distance and letting me participate in a public, non-gendered way.

My trans, though, matters a great deal to me.  It is written all though my insides, threaded through the way I see the world.

Trans isn’t about liking to dress a certain way, or needing to have your body modified.   Trans is about who you are on the inside, about what you bring to every experience, every moment of your life.

Who you are on the inside, though, well, it doesn’t matter at all in most places.  All they care about is what you can do for them, what part you can play in the movie that they are making.

Sometimes that’s a shared movie, a team getting something done, pulling together.

Mostly, though, it’s just a mess of individual movies, people doing their darnedest to make the story that they want to happen in their lives.   They carry the draft in their heads, a list of goals and expectations, and they know how the scene is going to go before they even start playing it.

People don’t get up in the morning wanting to be changed by something they experience today.   They want what they think they want.   Change needs to be managed, resisted, limited.   Knowing what they want is the point, not being surprised.

Inner lives, well, only those on the margins really care much about them.   That’s why women often start the spiritual questing once they get past 40 or so; that’s when they feel marginalized.  Up until then, being the whole package is enough, living the attempt to build the life they always dreamed of.

For transpeople, though, just being the package feels odd and always a bit scary.   We know that third gotcha moment when someone opens the package and gets all sniffy can happen at anytime.  We keep our defences up, play small, try to stay under the radar, avoiding the mine traps we have learned are all around.

Most of the time our transness just doesn’t matter, either because people don’t know or because they just write us off as eccentric or abject.

But sometimes, yes, sometimes, it does matter, and when it does, it matters a lot.

Whatever I look like on the outside — and, being trans, I am never sure what people think they are seeing because I don’t get good feedback — my inner narrative is always going, always keeping me at the ready.   It keeps me from taking risks.

In my case, when you add that to my highly sensitive nature, my socialization by parents with Aspergers, my big mind which is full of connections, well, things get tricky.   What is on the inside seethes, even when I am in a room full of people who only really care about what is on the outside, what I can do for them, people who don’t understand the challenges of living a rich and hidden inner life.

For most people, what they see is what they get.   Since they are only looking for components to fit into their own narrative, that’s all they need.   Sure, some are looking for signs of the devil walking in the world or have some interest in trans porn, in which case trans meets their negative expectations, but most people, well, they just don’t care what’s inside.

I am what is inside of me.   I have spent my life trying to find, understand and clarify what is inside of me.   I am spirit living a human life, not human living a spiritual life.  I am not my biology, my history or my packaging.

That’s too much information for most people.   They see what they see, assume what they assume, expect what they expect, even if the shimmering quality of that vision and the painful lack of feedback from others means I never really know what that is.

It would be an interesting experience for me to go into a space and not have to be concerned with my inner experience.  That means not worrying about the third gotcha, not getting bogged down in overthinking, not playing small or safe, feeling confidence that my expression will be accepted, trusting the flirt and the scrape, and not feeling a need to include meta information for protection, comfort and my own inner tension.

I don’t know how to just be participant, though, without getting bogged down in observer.  I have always imagined having a trusted and up to speed wing person who can do the observer for me, but that has never, ever come to pass.

Transgender is about what is inside a person. I know that more than most.

Much of social interaction, though, is about what is outside a person, about the perceptions and projections that others put on us.   They not only don’t care about the inside, they wouldn’t engage it even if you offered it too them.   They just don’t have the experience and archetypes to interpret their own inner life, let alone the complex, queer lives of others.

They want people who appear comfortable in their own skin, whatever is going on inside.  Easy and attractive presence is what counts to them.

Being content without knowing the contents isn’t something that is easy for me.  I am what is inside of me, and that is always on the bubble.

Drip Feed

Doctors need to know a whole ocean of stuff.   They not only need to know about how the whole body interacts, they have to know what can go wrong, and not just the normal things.   They train for years for a reason, learning to think like doctors, swimming in the sea of medical knowledge and practice.

When they get a patient, though, they can’t just dump all that stuff onto them.   The first step in caring for someone is making them feel cared for.   They need to believe you see them, that you are focused on their problems.

Doctors need to know how to do a drip feed of communication.   They have to take all that stuff they know and very selectively share it with the patient, reaching into an enormous bag of tools and choosing only what is needed in this interaction.

Until and unless someone starts asking smart questions, showing that they are ready for more information, it’s easiest to tell them what they need to know now and not to overwhelm them with too much information.  Why do people need to worry a lot about improbable risks when their energy can be much better spent in healing?

Spiritual healers have the same challenge.   You can’t just have one solution, one approach for all, but neither can you dump a lifetime of knowledge and work onto someone and expect them to use any of it effectively.

One on one, in conversation, my caring is focused on you.   I listen closely, staying aware and present so that I can tailor my conversation to where you are.  I find language that echoes yours, ideas you already understand and very specifically select techniques and assignments that should help you find your own healing.

This kind of bespoke attention isn’t really doable in writing, unless you are very specific about defining your audience.    Assuming that people fit effectively into group identities, though, rather than being individuals with a unique and special essence, well, that doesn’t really fit with my understanding of humans.   It’s vital to me that you become more you, the best you that you can be, not just one of the followers trusting your growth and healing to some external system.

When Marianne Williamson did her talks on ACIM, she divided the session into two parts.   She started with a lesson, but then opened the floor to any questions.   Many attendees said that while they would never work in text, the interactive parts of the event were the most useful and insightful to them.

We start learning by listening to other people’s conversations when we are very young, eavesdropping on family.   Humans know how to follow a chat, know how to read what is important in it.   Understandings are always more powerful when we figure them out for ourselves, putting two and two together to make six.

How do I share conversations with seekers in a way that exposes my hard won knowledge in a drip feed other people can get their head and their heart around?

The work of facilitating healing is mostly around helping remove the blocks to healing.   By getting rid of what resists healing, be that microbes or mental choices, we open the space for change and transformation.

Confronting resistance is the most important part of that drip feed.

Most resistance is hard fought, based in choices that we believe have survival value, even if that value is just comforting us emotionally.    Being soothed after the battle is something that humans need desperately if you want them to get up tomorrow and fight again.

Somehow, it is always easier to see someone else’s resistance challenged than it is to have your own resistance confronted, no matter how much tenderness and wit the examination includes.    Even when their issues mirror yours, you can see them with a kind of compassion and objectivity which is beyond what you can offer to yourself.

As much as it might seem like a good idea to wash away resistance with a flood, people heal in their own time and in their own way.   A drip feed respects that truth, wearing away what blocks us from healing one droplet at a time, eroding what took a long time to build.

No one can change everything they believe and understand in one fell swoop.  Healing and growing takes time.   If you run out of time, or the life force that lets you push through time, before the healing occurs, well, game over.  That’s why it is so important to take the medicine while you ca, finding a bit of healing everyday.

The more you can take, the faster you can move forward, so building up the practice of engaging what can teach and heal you is vital to becoming better.   It takes a while to build an ocean of understanding, but it is possible, one drop at a time.

Finding a way to help people overcome resistance by offering them a droplet of knowledge at a time is important, but it is impossible to do without feedback.   I need to know where they are and understand what they need and can take today.

Being ready to give that feedback, to engage healing, to overcome resistance is at the core of this process.  Are you ready to take the drip feed, ready to let it wash your resistance away so you can reveal yourself, so you can learn to swim in the ocean of knowledge and understanding?

Or do you just want to dry up and blow away?

Blossom Rot

For one moment there, just one moment as I saw myself in the mirror, my hand moved across my body and I was surprised it had no nail varnish on the fingertips.   Surprised.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, of course.  I haven’t used nail polish for a very long time.  But something about the new wig ($18) and new bra fillers I made ($8) made me feel good for a moment, made me feel possible, made me feel present.

That feeling left soon.  I got a phone call from someone who needed a brother, looked desperately on the interweb for someplace to go, felt the stresses of what I put off and the energy went away, as it has for decades now.

Carrying all the pieces alone means I quickly get pulled out of the zone.  Alone is the big, big cost in the trans experience.   People around you see what they expect to see, see what they want to see, see what they need to see and that is rarely your possibilities.

A therapist is someone who sees something in you that you do not yet see in yourself.   That could even be a dog; how many of us would be better people if we became the person our dog thinks we are?

Two thirds of all help is giving encouragement, finding ways to help people overcome their own internal resistance.   They can see their past, can feel the weight of the corrections dumped onto then, but they have trouble seeing their future, holding onto what is not yet revealed, not yet blossomed inside of them.

I know how to say yes to other people.   I know how to support and encourage them to be the best them that they can be, beyond fear and fracture.   Finding someone to do that for me, though, is problematic.

I have reached out to performance and style people over the past years, searching for affirmation, but they have stumbled in front of my big, multifarious mind.  They see my challenges as around correct thinking rather than around confident belief.   I may need to have the confidence a 16 year old girl is seeking, but they think I need clearance.

I know who I am.   Carrying that is a challenge and always has been.

I also know who I am not yet.  Getting those flowers to bloom beyond the dumping cold expectations of those around me has always been a problem.

The local G&L center may think that what I need is being inculcated in groupthink, but what I have seen transpeople needing is the belief that a leap beyond history and biology can be beautiful and vibrant on them.

It is easy to see transpeople fall back into old patterns they used to stay small and defended, resisting the exposure and vulnerability they would need to let go and become new.  We do this over and over and over again, even when we get small jewels of affirmation for our new expression.

That moment came to me in the mirror where polished nails would have just been right, proper, appropriate, true, but then, oh so quickly, it went again, lost in the sloshing of my mind.   No one was around to help me pin that feeling, to affirm and support that feeling, to bring me back to that feeling, to hold in for me in a place where it was venerated as real and powerful.

We make performances come to life when we commit.   All in and supremely confident is the only way to sell the bit.   You have to make the leap with intensity and precision.

Knowing this is different than being able to actually leap, though.  You can still start to leap, get worried and then stop abruptly, which tends to leave you in a kind of freefall, just anticipating hitting the ground hard.   Some of us might be the Road Runner, yes, but most of us are just Wile E. Coyote.

I hold onto moments of transcendence, grabbing them and keeping them close.  Holding onto moments, well, it’s something I do well, though, so I also have moments of despair and isolation in the mix.   Holding them apart takes help though, help I find difficult to find.

I have a spark.  I resist kindling it into flame.   I was trained to resist, trained to tamp myself down, to pee on the embers because I was told my heart is too queer to be shown in public, told that no one will get the joke.

Will people see what I need them to see or will they reduce, laugh, erase and stigmatize?   Now that I no longer have the resilience of youth, my broken bits holding me back and limiting my recovery, my popping back up again, is finding any kind of love probable for me anymore?

My reasons for resistance are smart and well thought through.  I have found ways to be out everyday, even without the desire to accumulate and please an audience as I refuse to play down, play simple, play small.

There are moments, though, when the flicker of possible connection dance in front of me like the vivid colour of phantom nail varnish.  The spark becomes visible and hope is present, but it never gets reinforced, never gets celebrated.

If you just leap into the future, people will get you and your life will find synchronicity, opening the pathways to new and unimagined delights.  I tell that to others all the time and I really believe it will happen for them.

Someone needs to see the possibilities inside of them, has to encourage them to bring them out.

If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
— Jesus Christ (Gnostic Gospel Of Thomas, Saying 70)

I am big, queer, overwhelming and stupidly don’t play the way others expect.  I have been told that for a long time.

Is there anything else there, anything pretty, charming, and lovable?

Sometimes, well, I think there is, but holding onto that in the face of the expectations and assumptions of others, well, that has always been a hard, hard, impossible task.

Anxiety, Brokenness and Me

I don’t get anxious about what other people are going to do.  I get anxious about how I will respond in my own highly sensitive way to what they do.   I fear that my defenses will kick in, that I will stiffen up in a way that lets me keep standing but is sure to crush the tender hope and small needs in my heart.  I know the price of becoming armoured up all too well, know that I have a limited ability left to use sheer willpower to keep from being smashed to shards.

My doctor just doesn’t think that transpeople should transition.  A patient of his even had a vaginoplasty with Brassard in Montreal and he still has challenges.

“She still has challenges, don’t you mean?” I asked.  It didn’t seem to get though.   I knew nothing would.  This patient, assigned as male at birth, was “he”  even after we had a round of clarifying terminology.

I have gained about 55 pounds in five years.  This isn’t good.

The notion that part of this is the cost of denying my nature, playing small, being unable to participate effectively in the world and stuffing myself with comfort food isn’t really accessible to him.

I knew when I came out in the mid-1980s that some pills and surgery would not make my life magically different.  Bones don’t lie and mine clearly show the effects of going through puberty as a male.  I am going to be identifiable as trans with just a little bit of observation, and that means I am going to have to live inside people’s assumptions, like my doctor, who calls a transwoman patient “he.”

To make a dent in my weight and my fitness I have to eat and live consciously.   I have to make deliberate choices to focus on being the best I can rather than just seeing comfort.

Asking someone to live with authority while denying who they know themselves to be, well, that’s just bullshit.

How do I go to a gym and own my body, for example, when I don’t feel safe in it, resisting being seen as a guy working out?   For someone who has practiced deliberate androgyny for years, even if people didn’t see that because of their assumptions, how do I start to work a male body in the exposed premises of a gym?

How do trust that I can move beyond my own anxiety and not shatter, the way I did when I realized how insulting and dismissive he was about what I first shared with him five years ago?

The assistant who took my blood pressure and I shared stories about the failure of the Catholic health agency that recently took control of this practice.  I noted how they misdiagnosed my father and left him a paraplegic, she told how she was sent home from the emergency room after an arm fracture that a surgeon said would need fast attention.   She ended up going to the other hospital in town for her surgery, even if she had to pay out of pocket because her insurance is through that agency.

I know, I know, I know how easy it is for me to shatter.  After leaving that doctors appointment the last thing I should do is eat more junk food but it was the first thing I wanted.   What else could help me get though the experience of being erased and dismissed, of being told that the same shit I have been going through is going to continue and get worse, that there is nobody to help?

I’m not anxious about what other people will do.  My doctor is just an old school, limited guy doing the best that he can.   I can’t tell him what to think, can’t get him up to speed if he doesn’t want to do the work, can’t heal him on my schedule and in my way.   What he said was completely understandable and expected, even if it did hurt me deeply.

I’m anxious that I will run out of the limited tools I still have to patch myself up and keep running.  I know that many of the health challenges I have today are directly related to way I had to swallow my own sensitivity, tamp it down and use the force of brute willpower to keep going in the world.

I was anxious to go to the doctor and I survived.   I did, though, at the cost of feeling erased and slapped in an old familiar way, the ignorance and assumptions of another just playing in a system that fails its users often, but that we just have to take as it is.    We know our highly sensitive nature will be disturbed and we are anxious about the cost to stay stable, anxious about the long term damage we have to live with.

Going out into the world exposed and as vulnerable as I can is a great thing, at least until those old airbags go off inside, protecting me from collision with the stubborn prejudices and assumptions of other people.  The third gotcha kicks in and I feel myself shrink away, wanting nothing more than to take a shower and hide in bed, not coming out again until there is no other choice.

So many things I “should” do or “should have” done but I resist them because I understand how much internal damage can come.   The cost of resistance is high, but it is one I know how to manage after having to resist my own heart and nature for so many decades.  I got to choose my damage; resistance which I felt gave me agency as it destroyed me slowly, or exposure which I felt left me out of control, promising unexpected insults and demanding more armour.

Anxiety has always been a partner to my sensitive nature.   I know I resilient and durable I have to seem to take the place I was assigned in the world while also knowing how tender and fragile my heart really is.   I know that there are no safe spaces for me, no zone where my deepest archetypes are shared and people get the goddamn jokes that my broken heart makes.

If doctors can’t offer healing spaces, if therapist don’t know what to do with me, then what hope do I have with civilians, let alone with bureaucrats?

My anxiety kills me slowly, while my exposure kills me fast.  Either way, though, the result feels the same.

Did For Love

My mother needed help getting into the house, stepping over small, windbreak fences in the driveway, so I patiently stood by her, held her hand, and in the view of my father, helped her get her leg over the obstructions.

My sister needed a cell phone configured after dropping her last one out of a pocket into the the toilet, so after she dropped one I told her to buy off, I configured it for a few hours, then I drove to her house on Sunday evening, stopping at two grocery stores tying to find something quick to make for dinner.   She sat on the couch as I found an adapter for the SIM, struggled to configure the APN to support MMS and then started playing shows I copied onto her computer and made her a cheese omelette.

I did both these things in the past 12 hours, but the first happened only in my dreams.

In Todd Rose’s “The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness,” one of the most powerful books I have ever read in relation to the trans experience in the world, he talks about the mistaken assumptions which underlie the avergarian view of the world.

People are all jagged in their skills; the assumption that being excellent in one area makes you excellent across the board is provably untrue.  There is no normative pathway to mastery; instead there are many ways to achievement, each effective for a different, jagged set of skills.

And measuring attributes without taking context into account will always miss someone’s real strengths and weaknesses.   We are not just strong or weak, for example, we are strong in some contexts, weak in other contexts.

As I got up from the vivid dream of helping my mother, which followed the vivid experience of playing the brother role to help my sister — a role that ShamanGal noted I was also playing in 1988 — a song came to me.

Kiss today goodbye, the sweetness and the sorrow. Wish me luck, the same to you, but I can’t regret what I did for love.

I’m a femme. I can’t regret what I did for love.  And that means, in the context of my family, I played a role that I polished to a T.  In that role, my own T was put to the back burner; I was who they expected me to be.

I twisted myself into pretzels to give and to get love, just like we all do (2006).  I never imagined being able to have my own family, being the mom, so I did what I could in context, because context is so powerful to human behaviours.

Alone, I am a thoughtful hermit.  In love, I am who my beloved need me to be.

That’s an archetype that is hard for most people to grasp, because their averagarian thinking assumes some kind of false consistency beyond the jagged, unique and context driven reality of real humans.

You know, just like I have been trying to explain since I was seven or so, the thinking I was called “stupid” for holding.

The context of denial is the context of denial.  As long as we ask transkids to deny part of who they know themselves to be, we continue to deny them their own strength, their own possibilities, deny them the power of their own love.

I don’t love the idea of grunting through and being seen as a guy in the world, even a guy in a dress.  I tend to avoid what I don’t love enough to commit to.

I did love taking care of people who needed me, even if that meant denying the call of my own heart.  I was forced into a choice by society: pick what you love most and have the rest shredded.

You may love others enough to do the very hard work of leaving your comfort behind, but that doesn’t mean they will love you enough to leave their comfort behind.

If the context the world gives you is that showing what you love in a vibrant, exuberant, joyous way will just get you dismissed, marginalized and shat on, then you need to find ways to love in covert, isolated and constrained ways, even if that concealment, separation and denial ends up destroying important parts of you.

In trying to claim my love in a new way, the price of what I did for love keeps coming back, offering constraints, leaving damage and pulling me back into the form I took in a way that keeps me small and hidden.

If there was one thing that could pull me into committing to a future, it would be the probability of love.

This time, though, just giving my love to others isn’t enough.  I need to believe that, somehow, they will return my love, not just for what I do for them but for who I am, even the queer, overwhelming, intense and awesome parts of me.

It is that test that keeps me isolated, doing my theological work and taking care of myself.   If I show myself to you, if I am present, is there any possibility that you will see me, value me, love me?   Or will I have to bend myself into a pretzel just to get a whiff of what I need from you?

I know how to deny myself, to serve others, to deliver what people want to try and get a bit of love.   I just know that I don’t have the wherewithal to keep up that game; better to blink out.

I don’t know how to be a fascinating, glitter subject of fascination, a person other people will do the work to get close to and admire.   That’s not in my experience, and that means it doesn’t appear to be in my future, either.  A cold view, indeed.

What I did for love cost me dearly, though, with the chilling constraints on transpeople in the world I grew up in, I seemed to be the best choice I could make at the time.   It still costs me as I get pulled back, playing the role I played for love.

I can’t forget, can’t regret what I did for love in the context I was forced to live in.

But what love can do to warm me in the future, well, that’s not something I can see, either.