It’s been six days of going out in the world, and to tell you the truth, I am disheartened.

On the promos for season four of Project Runway on Bravo, theres a gal who announces “I’m a woman. Of course I’m emotional.”

I too need that heartspace like I need air.

I have a theory that the reason there are so few femmes with blogs is that the act of blogging has to come from some intellectual space. Just the requirement to make sense in writing means you have to think. I got a call for submissions from a femme anthology, and the editor had to say in big letters NO FICTION! THIS IS NON-FICTION ONLY! I guess lots of us wanted to tell stories, felt we communicated best in stories, not in prose.

But after my week in the world, well not enough soft and safe for me. Life turns into just a drag, if you will pardon the pun.

My defenses are in my head, and so when I need to feel defended, it’s my head that comes into play. And when I do that, it’s just too easy to stiffen my spine and snap back into that space where I am not vulnerable, not open, not pretty.

It is the moments, like church on Sunday, where the emotional comes to the surface & I drop my defenses that I feel most alive & present. I know that’s hard for people to understand when they see my big brain surface; if I am so smart why should feeling be so important to me?

When that shared emotional component isn’t present then being invisible seems like a good option. I don’t need to keep up the same defenses, and I can live my private emotional life. Just me in jeans and polo shirt, out and easy.

The flip? Being invisible pretty well assures that shared emotional component will never be present. Catch-22 was my favourite book for years.

How do I be vulnerable enough to be open, and how do I be open enough to vulnerable? This challenge has been the biggest point of resistance to open trans expression in the past, that swell of defense that leaves me disconnected and disheartened.

Some would tell me that the trick, as it almost always is, is time. Let people and yourself wear in, develop relationships by having people get to know you, feel more confident and comfortable. It’s a great idea, but for me, a seemingly impossible one.

The challenge, it seems is how to stay heartened, to not get disheartened.

I was seeing a pastor who did counseling, and he asked me what situations I was happiest in.

I told him that they were the same as everyone else.

This surprised him.  He was sure that people all had different things that made them happy.

“Well, I am happy when I feel seen, understood and valued for my contributions,” I said.

He thought for a second, and then agreed; yes, those are the things that make everyone happy.

I feel heartened when I feel seen, understood and valued.

When I get discombobulated, like I did at the gas station yesterday, and I hear a voice telling me to slow down and relax, recognizing that voice as from the man who fixed my shoe at Perimeter Mall, calming me as I looked for the little pad lost in the Macon Wal-Mart, I am heartened.

When the older fellow in the van offers to help pump up my tyre, I am heartened.  When I fear that he will hurt me if he finds out I am trans, I am disheartned.

When Q Diamond loves my perfume, I am heartened.  When I have to go to earnest places with no-scent policies, I am disheartened.

When I go to United Presbyterian I am heartened.  When they don’t answer my e-mail I am disheartened.

When the democratic leadership in the house wants to take people like me out of ENDA, I am disheartened.  When Tammy Baldwin, NGLTF, Lambda Legal and a host of other organizations stand to fight for the inclusion of people like me I am heartened.

When I feel comfortable and confident in the world, I feel heartened.  When I feel the pressure of putting everything away and maintain the status quo to comfort my parents, I feel disheartened.

Being disheartened is the way I stay small in the world.

But being heartened is the way I walk in my own power.

Gotta trust that heart space to take you to the edge of possibility, the intensity of Eros, the potential of life, eh?

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