Discover Me

In the erotica of my people we were always discovered.
Discover me.

The tall red-haired actress drops to her knees downstage center. 
She looks up at the audience,
her face framed in an amber spotlight. 
“Tell me what it’s like to know you’re a woman,” she says,
her voice barely raised above a whisper. 
“Tell me what it’s like to know you’re a man. 
Tell me please because
I never went to bed one night of my life
knowing I was a man. 
I never went to bed one night of my life
knowing I was a woman.

Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaw: on men, women and the rest of us,
©1994, Routledge, P223-224 

Hard to believe I typed that in almost 14 years ago, in June 1996.

TBB said she thought I sounded like I was in a fight to see how far I can go without having someone discover me.

I laughed.  “Like how many times can I hit myself in the head with a hammer before someone notices?” I suggested.

TBB laughed.

“Problem is that I already know that.  A few years ago, March 21, 2005, I cut the tip of my right index finger almost completely off on the crumb tray of the toaster oven.  I asked my father for help, because there was no way I could bind the wound alone, with only my other hand.   I told him it was the worst cut I had ever had.

“He came up, saw me rinsing, and then went to check if I had damaged the toaster oven in any way.  He then proceded to tell me how I should have avoided the cut.   

“He waited for a bit, and then went to pick up my mother at the pool.   I sat on the porch, holding my finger, wrapped tightly in paper towels, to keep pressure on the wound.

“He came back, and it was not until my mother, who was less lethargic two years ago told him to go look at my wound.

“When he saw it, he wondered if I needed to go to the emergency room.  Emergency Room!  This is a man who never thinks you can’t do it yourself, be that car repair or court.  Myst have been bad for him to suggest that.  But I have big debts because of blowing out my ankle picking up their mail, and no way that would work.

“I told my parents that I had the worst cut I had ever seen, and it took them an hour and a half to take me seriously. 

“Now, everytime I look at my finger and the big bulge, I know that I can hit myself with a hammer many times and no one will notice.

My Finger

TBB laughed.  What else could she do?

 We had previously talked about her friend who hit a patch of sand while they rode their new motor cycles.  She slid out, bruised and scraped, but safe.  Her bike, though, has a scraped up tank.

“That’s good,” I said.  “Now it’s really her bike.”

TBB was dubious, but for me, once I need to repair something, or change something, I make it my own.  After all, the scars on my body and psyche are all mine, marking my history, the falling down and the getting up, why shouldn’t the scars on my objects mean the same thing?  My left hand still has the scar tissue between my two last fingers from the scrape where I hit the sand in sixth grade, and that is a history, just as much as the big stitch marks from my fourth grade glass slice at the base of my first finger on that hand.

In the erotica of my people we were always discovered.
Discover me.

We agree, TBB and I, that at least until I can find a space to walk in the world in my own expression, and maybe not even then, I will keep feeling the deep need to be discovered, and the deep sadness when I am not.

Being discovered is a romantic notion most people my age have long given up, some would remind me.   They have learned to settle for being one of the gang, taking the role into which they were cast and making it their own.

Maybe I just have too much scar tissue, too many challenge for anyone to map.

But isn’t that the cry of the moment; It’s never too late?

Will Love You

TBB is on her way to the funeral for the wife of a friend.  This isn’t unexpected, and TBB did go out of her way to see them both a few months ago, before she passed.

“It’s always a bit scary for a transsexual woman to go back and meet childhood and family friends who she hasn’t seen since transition,” she told me.

“I called my mother, who still hasn’t told the people in the condo her aerospace engineer son is now a woman — you remember, when I was there over Thanksgiving, I had to be in the shower if neighbors stopped by.

“I was worried she would lead with fear, with what might happen if this got back to her, how it might affect her life.

“She told me ‘Wear that black pantsuit you have — you look good in that — and people will love you.’

“It wasn’t what I expected, but it was great. 

“Only goes to prove that the only way to get past others fears for themselves and for you is to take the time and energy to get out and become yourself, to let people see you after you find your smile. 

“It is only then that they can believe that if you love yourself and the way you are in the world, if they love you and your happiness, then others will love you too.”

Difference Is Not Dissent

Just because someone’s point of view is different from your own, challenges your own, doesn’t mean they are fighting against you.

This is the hardest lesson to get through the minds of fundamentalists, who believe, for example, that if you hold views that don’t properly acknowledge the sole divinity of Christ you are anti-Christian or if you hold views that don’t properly acknowlege that transsexuality is a birth defect with a cure that you are anti-Transsexual.

Now, they know that they don’t want to have to properly acknowledge your beliefs, as that would be anethema to them.   But that doesn’t mean they don’t want you to properly acknowledge their beliefs, as their beliefs are true and perfect.  In other words, they violate the golden rule: Do not do unto others what would be hateful to you.

In a pluralistic society, the best we can ask is that people respect our beliefs and choices for ourselves, just as we respect their beliefs and choices for themselves.   If we don’t have to properly acknowledge their beliefs, they don’t have to properly acknowledge ours.

But for people who are too invested, every challenge can seem like a slap, and all too often that means they feel they have the right to pound back in ways they would find hateful if done to them.

Ah, The Golden Rule