Call To . . .

It’s been a tough few days for TBB. After a sweet 18th birthday party for beautiful daughter, where it felt like family, things turned, well, like family.

Over coffee with a gal from church, TBB assumed the gal knew she was trans. She didn’t, probably because trans doesn’t exist in her inner world, especially not at church, so the frog DNA had filled in with assumptions of normativity.

Pop, bang, trans 101 and fear. The worst part was that there was no other woman there to tell the gal what our position was on people like this, and as a person who wants to stay part of the posse, well, she was lost.

It was then that TBB felt the call to stealth, being small and silent, so as not to challenges those who assume normativity, who get squicked by big & queer. She knows that she has to tell the truth; she spoke to one other person with her same surname, who had heard her boy name and asked if she was related to him, and she told the truth, because obfuscation has limits, but here, well, right back to fear across the table, and she felt the call.

She felt so bad about it she called the ex and said she needed to talk. The ex had planned a movie date with their son & another boy who had been to the party, and his mom, but didn’t want to invite TBB, and didn’t call back after. “So many years I have been there for her,” TBB said, “and she can’t be there for me.”

“Yes,” I suggested. “They know how you take care of them, entering their world, but they can’t imagine that they can take care of you, because entering your world is too hard for them. After all, your ex just wants to stay in good with the posse.”

Next, TBB’s mom started pushing to TBB to find out how much the ex spent on a trip to Italy, how much was paid out of child support, all that.

TBB didn’t like her mother trying to get between her and the ex. Mom may believe that TBB needs to get over it, but like most of us, TBB needs someone to love, and her partner, the mother of her children, well, she has loved that woman for a long time.

“You know why my ex has the upper hand now?” TBB asked. “Because when the fight came between us, my family wouldn’t stand up for me. You ask me to go to dinner with your beau and his kids, but you are terrified I might actually say yes and screw up the lies you have been telling around Del Boca Vista. And where is my brother in all of this? He has offered jobs to others; has he even called me to say he knows I am having a tough time?”

Mom didn’t like the challenge, the clear call that the family didn’t have the courage to stand up for their own child.

All, this, well, it wears TBB down, just like it is supposed to. That’s how stigma works, keeping people marginalized & separated, fighting those close to them rather than being supported in success.

“My friend Rose says that I won’t get a corporate job because of the Thirdhand Fear you talk about, that floating fear that others will have a problem. Gosh, my mother’s friend has had a trans pal for three years, and it’s just now she is suggesting I meet them, surprised that they are not as fearful as she expects everyone to be.

“Rose suggests I start my own business, but I don’t have a partner to do the organizational side like she did. And besides that, I’m not sure that I want to be that visible.”

Yeah. That call to being big bold and bright, out and visible, well that’s hard, especially when faced against a family whose fear means that they can’t be courageous enough to be there for you, can’t get over their fears enough to engage you, can’t get over their damn selves and their desire to be part of the posse enough to enter your world.

It’s far from easy to follow.

“Sweetheart,” I asked TBB, “do you ever think with my big brain and big heart that I can go stealth, just blend in and hide?”

“I’ve been getting that a lot,” TBB answered. “Oooh, you are so smart, so intuitive, so aware, all that. It feels like people are separating themselves from me.”

“Exactly. You are, well, big, bitch.”

“Ha! The Big Bitch! Me!”

How do we be big in the world, start a practice, either a pure self play, like publishing or speaking or coaching, or a secondary play where we use our power to attract and sell books or food or something else? How does working to be the center of attention intersect with the call we have always heard from family & loved ones to stay small and not be visible? How does putting ourself out there intersect with the scars left on our heart from a history as a “too person?”

TBB will think about that.

2 thoughts on “Call To . . .”

  1. it just occurred to me that you’ve said elsewhere that you chose not to transition fully because you’ve seen so many who do so get trapped behind their reflexive armor. but is the separation you currently feel, both from the world as a consequence of who you are (that big brainy queer ass bitch thing), and from yourself as a consequence of your hiding, really so different? perhaps even compounded?

    you seem to have put aside a lot of full self-actualization in favor of brief moments of show-womanship, punctuating very long stretches of brooding.

    is it worth it? is it too late to reconsider?

  2. In my mind, I have put away brief moments of show in favor of attending to those around me.

    Because I am hidden, I am not prepared when required:

    It is better to be
    prepared for an opportunity and not have one
    than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.
    Whitney Young, Jr.

    My question is this: would walking in the world everyday in my work clothes open more opportunities than it would preclude? Is the stigma, cost & drag of trans expression eventually freeing & empowering, or does it actually create the requirement for more defenses & separation?

    Is it worth it? I don’t know. But that is the question.

    And is it too late? Well, I haven’t burned everything, including my body, yet.

    Thanks for the comment.

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