Fun Defenses, Powerful Defenslessness.

So, you may have met the glib, charming TBB, who loves to talk to the other people at the bar, strike up conversations with passerby, and always chat with service staff.

But do you know the secret TBB, whose secret identity is still set as a model railroader (HO and Super-O gauge) and wants to create a hermit hideaway on a tract of land her uncle used to own in the Catskills?

Probably not.

That TBB, who even as she preens in the mirror in a new halter top cocktail dress and new jeweled heels, thinks she is just not pretty, well, that TBB is kept well hidden.   So well hidden, in fact, that TBB chooses not to write, in case someone else catches a glimpse of her.

TBB identifies with what she sees in so many transsexual women she knows: she just wants to be able to be seen as normal.

She doesn’t want to always have to walk around in armor, defended, always being the one who has to be big and gracious even as other people see her and fear her.  After all, they know that she is powerful enough to do what would scare the hell out of them, walking away from their group identity to claim individual expression.

It was in a workshop fifteen years ago now that I explained how it felt to see the fear in someone’s eyes when they saw me, as they thought “If this person is disconnected from social control enough to walk into here in a dress, what else are they capable of?”

A therapist who works with transpeople opened her eyes wide.  “That’s it!” she said.  “That’s why people are scared of transwomen.  I never thought of that before.”

In 1994, TBB and I did a skit about two transpeople driving to a meeting.  We both played out our fantasies and our defenses in a concentrated way.  She was glib with everyone, and I had to explain everything.

Things may have changed in 15 years, but not much.  Defenses are defenses.

As ACIM tells us, though, your power is in your defenslessness.

I told that to TBB.  She got it on a spiritual level, but on a practical level, when I suggested new strategies, she needed to tell me how she had tried them in the past and they had caused problems.

Yeah.  We don’t have defenses because we didn’t need them, because we didn’t found out that they worked.   Our defenses are there for a purpose, tried and true.

Problem is that every time we build a wall to protect ourselves, we also build a wall that blocks potential connection.

Your power is in your defenselessness.

Eeew, that sounds horrible.

TBB doesn’t want to always have to walk around in armor, defended, always being the one who has to be big and gracious even as other people see her and fear her.

That just sucks, for her and all the transwomen she knows.

But how do we trust that we can be naked and vulnerable and people won’t get all freaked out, all weird and nasty, acting out?

After all, all it takes is one person who feels blessed by their church to attack the immorality of queerness to do a hell of a lot of damage in our lives, causing us a lot of pain.

Transpeople, well, as I have said many times before, maybe we can most easily be categorized and grouped by the defenses we choose, and not the identities that we claim.

And our power is in in getting out from behind our defenses, in that final trans surgery, pulling the stick from our own ass.

But God, that is so hard.

Lies, Lies, Prison

My family lies.

Well, maybe not.

But they don’t always tell the truth.

My mother said I didn’t have to take her to Senior Expo at the mall yesterday.

But she told me what the schedule was, and then expected me to drag her around, take her through five or six other stores, all that.

Her intent was to give me time with TBB.  But the reality was the demands ended up with TBB saying goodbye early, and me not even getting a hour with her yesterday.

My mother really wants me to be happy, to be free.

She just wants what she wants more.

I invited my sister to meet TBB for breakfast at Panera.

My sister was weepy very soon in.  She was weepy that she hadn’t thought to schedule a time to meet the day before when I dug holes for her and my father.  She was weepy that her boyfriend is cranky about not having enough attention and empathy.  She was weepy about the demands of her job, which have been hell for over twelve years now.

And when I got back from the restroom, TBB asked my weepy sister if she wanted to speak alone.

So I didn’t sit down, I moved on.

And I was pissed.  My sister was pulling weepy crap and expecting to be taken care of by me and TBB.  But if I pull weepy crap, she just gets cold.

My net net on my sister is simple: until she can be present for herself, she can’t be present for anyone else, including but not limited to me.

TBB wanted to tell me how my sister was caring and worried and weepy.  She loves me and wants me to be happy, to be free.


She just wants what she wants more.

TBB thought I would be delighted, doing the old support thing.

Problem is that I do that all the time, and I know my sister gets this all on a conceptual level.

She just doesn’t change her choices based on her knowledge.

TBB needed to call me defensive.

I needed to clairfy: I was emotional and tender on this, and that may have read as defensive, but the core was a history.

You see, I get to have emotions too.  It’s not just the person raised as a girl who gets to have them.  And I don’t have to always be above it.

“She just needs you to tell her exactly what to do,” TBB said.

Problem is that I have and she hasn’t followed through.

Sure she makes gestures, but those gestures, like the $100 birthday knife, often cause more problems and pain than solution.  She can’t engage my life until she can engage her own.

Now, I know all the newage stuff.  I shouldn’t let my ego expecting what I suffered in the past block change.  But then again, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.  One needs to be prudent and have a realistic view of what is actually changing.

I acknowledged TBB.  “Maybe this event with you is a catalyst, and she will be able to change,” I said.  “And if she does, I promise to accept that change.  But my experience tells me that her intention is very different from her actions, and in the end, it is her actions that count.”

“But, but, but,” TBB replied “you need to hear this.  She sees three people she cares about dying.  Do you get that?  She sees three people she cares about dying.”

“I am one of those people, and the one who has to check if my parents have died or stroked out,” I said.  “I get it.  And I have to handle it.”

“I just saw her being weepy about her own life,” I continued.

“Well, when you left, she was weepy about you.  You just didn’t see it,” TBB said.

“Oh,” she said.

“Right,” I replied.  “I just saw her being weepy about her life at my table, seeing her bring her crap to my table.  And I didn’t like it.”

I don’t doubt that my sister means it when she says she wants me to be happy, to be free.  I just think she, like my mother, want that to happen because that will make them less weepy, and if it means more challenges for them, well, that goes in the too hard basket.

But TBB bought the claims, and I felt dismissed and unheard.

I ended up taking care of TBB, with a big support session about her life the night before, and then shopping and a bar event that ended with me having to cancel her help me mount the big TV here.  And a quick McD drop off next morning, followed by a kiss-off when she saw how stressed my mothers demands had me.

I’ll write about TBB’s issues in a blog post: she wants to be seen as normal, even though she is secret model railroad geek who is stuck in a cycle of performance that both defends and limits her.  Our protection is our prison, and we have to jailbreak.

But I didn’t want to put this out on the blog.  Grace is peeved at me, wanting to know if I think we are pretty, and when I answer yes, but we have to get our bitterness out of the way to show it, she decides I am saying she is not pretty because she loves her bitterness.  Our protection is our prison, and we have to jailbreak.