Don’t Get

Kiki likes to shout it out in her own disquieting way:

“DON”T!  GET!  TOO! COMFORTABLE!”

It is her message to the world, part of what she feels she was born to shout out, a trumpet blast to break through entrenched assumptions & expectations.

To Kiki’s fans, those of us who have never felt too comfortable in this world, we immediately connect, wishing we had her power to scream out this soul opening call at our next family gathering, shattering the walls of normalcy that most keep around them, the walls that keep queer at arms length.

To me, not being too comfortable is waiting for the “third gotcha.”   I know how to stay off balance and scared.

But, I have to ask myself, does not being too comfortable mean not being comfortable at all?

I remember zipping across Mirror Lake at sunset in a zippy little in-board, singing “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles at full volume.   “It’s my world, and it’s not a place I need to hide in, my world, that I want to have a little pride in.”

My life has been a struggle against comfort.    To me, comfort was something for the straights, something I couldn’t afford, much like I believed I couldn’t afford drugs.  I needed to be smart, alert and irritated just to keep control.  No methadone for me; I need the pain to remain aware, vigilant and open.

But yesterday the question did come to mind: what if “not being too comfortable” isn’t the same as “being uncomfortable?”  What if some comfort is a good thing in a life, giving standing and power?

Being comfortable scares me.  But yesterday, I just sort of went with it.

It was a trans meet and greet at the local center.

I wrote before I left; funny to me, but too strong for the crowd.  Ms. Rachelle reminded me that Shakespeare said “Audience is all;” sounds like the theme of my life.

But when I got there I made sure to help make connections, between young and old, black and white, transsxual and crossdresser, all the boundaries that really are not important.  Kim, a black hairdresser who has moved beyond her drag show days, said she saw me across the room and knew she wanted to talk to me.

I stopped for a taco with Marcie, a police officer who transitioned on the job, retired and is now with a university public safety team.

The kid at the counter called me sir.  I just gave that mommy look, a bit of a squint with a raised eyebrow that says “Really?”, and he immediately corrected himself. Ah, passing as transsexual.

I had the power because I was comfortable.  I was with Marcie, my backup, and I felt safe, like a leader, and well, comfortable.

I know there is power in being uncomfortable.   Being open, aware and attentive, always looking for that beyond expectation, well, there is power there, the power of doubt and sensitivity.

But there is also power in being comfortable.  Being relaxed, assured and grounded, always trusting your own capabilities & your connection to the universe, well, there is power there, the power of confidence and grace.

I know how to not be too comfortable.

But do I trust being comfortable enough to believe that this is my world?

Trans Pride

Trans Pride
Callan Williams © 2009

Say it loud!
I’m trans,
and I’m, uh,
passing as normal.

I’m here, I’m dear,
and I’m definitely not queer!

Of course I have trans pride
Just locked deep down inside
Stuffed down in there with my history
Where both remain a mystery.

I stand tall and strong
just not for that all that long
as someone might notice,
Before I sit down and blend in.

Let me tell you a story
My therapist helped me write
about my charming girlhood
all archetypal and true
a proud creation
in my own special fashion.

I have invested in my future
with surgeons and beauticians
and at long last
I have completely erased my past
Isn’t that something to be proud of!

People around me
see what I want them to see
a lovely vision
a simplified rendition

Ambiguities
have no place in me!
I’m proud!

I stand proudly trans and alone
since because around other trannys
my difference might become known.
Keep your distance please
since I am proud of me
and not you.

I march in my own parade
every special day
proud and strong
nothing to see here,
just move right along.

Listen to my head!
Without fixing my illness
I would be dead!
The universe made a mistake
making my heart ache
Now I’m fixed and free!
No one should notice me!
I’m just who I claim to be
there is no more to me
so I will thank you to refrain
from invoking my name
ever.

Pride is never something
to be ashamed of
as long as you keep it
on the down down-low.
All those freaks in the parade
must be really sad
why else would they be dancing?

I show my pride by hiding
what others wouldn’t want to see
too much information
would be the death of me
so just shut up!

Be proud enough
to be respectful.
Don’t bring messy attention
which brings out my shame
again.

You have an obligation
to everyone else
to help us be proud and invisible
staying, in, in wherever we are!

Yes, I am trans and proud
just
not proud of my illness
not proud of my differences
not proud of my desire
not proud of my body
not proud of my freedom
not proud of my voice
not proud of my choice.

I am proud of how I swallow
playing along and staying shallow
I am not one of the freaks
Everyday I transcend their squeeks
by staying proud and strong
hiding everything that came along.