What Mattters

To a correspondent:

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 You say that you wish you were dead.

It sounds like what you really want is someone to care deeply if you are dead or not.

Maybe you even want someone to understand how you have had to be dead, to kill your own girlself, to try to kill your own heart.

I care, but I also know that I can’t be there for you.

That’s why I always talk about making girlfriends, but you can’t have girlfriends until you can be a girlfriend.  That’s the way it works.

Then again, it only works if you work it. 

But you know that, don’t you?

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I guess the question, in the long run, always comes down to what matters to you.

Is what matters that others validate your claim, that you are now a woman, have always really been a woman, that womanhood is the only reality of you?

Or is what matters that others see you as capable, compelling, attractive, and loveable?  

When your therapist affirms that you are cute in boy clothes, is she telling you that you are really a guy, or that she sees something vulnerable and true in you, something that resonates with her?

The ultimate question about trans expression is always this: Is trans expression about concealing our true sex, or is trans expression about revealing our true heart? 

I have to believe that it is the latter, about revelation rather than about hiding.   When I dress in clothes that speak to me, that speak of me, I do that because I want to reveal my own choices, want to advertise what I know to be true about myself, want to express my own fundamental nature. 

What is bad, of course, is when people decide that the symbols we put out mean what they think they mean, rather than what we meant them to say.    That’s when we feel labeled and pigeonholed.   It’s one thing to look cute in boy clothes, another for someone to believe that means we are really a boy.   It’s one thing to look cute in girl clothes, another for someone to believe we are really a fetishist or liar because we are wearing them.

What people believe they see in others usually comes with a raft of canned assumptions to which they are oblivious.  It’s those assumptions that pile on us, pinning us down, crushing us and leaving us broken & in pain. 

So this is the question I put to you.  What is more important to you, people seeing you as female, or people seeing your tender transgender heart?   Would you rather they miss your history and assume you lived a normative woman’s life, or would you rather they have the open mind and open heart to engage the truth of your transgender history, the reality of a life lived a hard way?

As a brilliant tranny once said, “Everyone needs to be known.  Can anyone know you as other than trans?  So how’s that going for you? Are you not trans yet?”

What matters to you, that people affirm the image of who you always wanted to be, the image you try and project by concealing your maleness, or that people engage & embrace the trust of who you always have been, the tender two-spirit heart searching for balance and affirmation in a world of extremes?

What mattters to you?

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When I see you trying to pull the walls up around you, to create separations, I speak against that.

And when I write, I always tell you that the only thing that can make you feel better is connections, connections beyond your defenses, connections with humans who you care about and who care about you.

You have the possibilities, kid. 

But finding a way to reach out and connect, rather than being choked by your pain and separation, well, honey, only one of us can do that for you.

And it’s not me.