TBB called this afternoon, on her way to SCC.
When her name came up on the caller id, my father said “Shit.”
Anyway, I told her this story.
A few years ago, I found some time & money and went to a local therapist who advertised that part of her practice was transgender clients. I know the other therapists in the area who deal with trannys and it would be hard to have a theraputic relationship with them. After a session, one even told me she didn’t know how to help me.
Anyway, I went to this woman and talked for an hour. I mentioned I had been at the local college when Kate Bornstein spoke, and she said she hadn’t seen me. I wasn’t surprised, even Kate didn’t recognize me there, with a shaggy beard.
At the end of the hour she said that I was compelling enough that she could listen to me for hours, but she knew that what I kept saying was that I was in immense pain, and looking in my eyes, she believed it.
I didn’t set a follow up, left it to wait.
In a few weeks I called. There were limits — she was leaving on maternity soon, and she really hadn’t worked with someone like me. But she was femme in partnership with a butch, and the best I could get around here.
I was sobbing one night, as quietly as I could, down in the basement. Problem is that the heating ducts go straight up, so my father could hear me in his bedroom two flights up. He came down to try and calm me, which of course meant that he wanted me to be silent, somehow.
I sucked it all up, but it was still there, of course. The next day, jangled and aching, I clipped a car in a parking lot, a mess still messy.
On the cell phone, my father said “You aren’t going to be driving again for a while!”
I called and cancelled my follow up.
Of course, I kept driving. Who else would do all the required marketing, from bread to disposable protective underwear?
But I was lost, again.
TBB says that it’s her experience that people tend not to believe what you say, only what you do, so the only thing that convinces people you are serious is GRS. “Well, if you cut off that thing, you must really mean it,” she offers.
She spoke of her experience, going to a check in at a psycheatric hospital to prove she was serious, to get a doctor to tell her family she needed to change. The admitting nurse heard her story and told her “Get yourself out of here. You don’t belong here. This is a place for sick people and you aren’t sick, just trans.” That affirmation of not being sick was meaningful, even if only started a long and continuing journey for her.
I try and talk to her about the details of my experience, which are not so much about coming out as transsexual but rather about coming out as prophet and she humors me. “One step at a time, honey, one step at a time.”
She noted that she heard “Can’t” from me too much, and that I needed to believe in “Can.”
I asked if she remembered one of the first calls of this contact cycle, where I wanted us to echo the word “Yes” to each other. She did.
“I know, sweetheart, I need to believe in possibilities, to hear yes, and I also know you are good at saying it.”
She still doesn’t get the sweep, but she was there and does care. That counts; thank you.
But I had to hang up to take my father to soccer and then to serve the parents dinner.
“Remember what women do,” TBB said. “They ask for help.”
I don’t think that I don’t ask for help, but I do admit that I am very suspect of being able to find it, not after seeing churchpeople and medicos have their own limits.
I told TBB that I know I’m near the end of my rope, but on the other hand, I have been there for years.
But that’s just my story.
One thought on “Story”
Two other notes:
TBB noted that I was able to understand & speak about my feelings at the same time I was feeling them, which she noted was rare and probably the reason I’m not dead. Yes, all that monitoring and control equipment I installed as a kid is still in use, but I have to admit, it’s showing signs of wear.
TBB has joined the chorus in town, joining about 40 other people. She tried to sing alto, but it was too high, but was relieved when she was reseated in first tenor, with some other women.
People have been nice to her, she said.
In a small town with a big retinue of whacky trannies, the nice thing is that most people have met a number of trannies. When people have only met one, you are the biggest, most scary, the wierdest one they have ever met, but when they have lived with a bunch of them, they can see you as one of the healthy ones.
The problem, of course, that growing up tranny is growing up stigmatized and isolated, and no one makes it out of that environment unscarred. The best of us just learn to use those scars, rather than just to indulge them.