ShamanGal thought it would be explosive, unforgettable, thundering, traumatic.
She imagined the moment when her defences would drop and everything would change. She imagined it as cataclysmic, almost apocalyptic, a seismic shift of world shaking proportions that would mark her forever.
It didn’t happen like that, though.
It was her first Monday at the new job, her first as a woman. She looked at the computer screen in front of her and realized she really didn’t know much about what she was supposed to do.
That’s when her life flashed in front of her eyes. All those years of jobs gotten through friends of her father, jobs where she surfed the web, took two hour basketball lunches, screwed around and got fired. Jobs where the pain of having to put on boy clothes after clubbing in heels the night before was the worst start of the day. Jobs where she had to stay defended and hidden, wielding her cool attitude to keep her self-destructive streak going.
She knew how that played out.
But she knew this was different. After two days at work, she had already gone out with the girls on Friday night, feeling like one of them. She got a milepost at the MAC counter when her seven year old account came up, and she remembered the night they started that account, when she was just taking her first steps as a transwoman.
More than that, though, she remembered how delighted she was that on Monday morning she could get up and wear something pretty to work, a lovely business suit just like her mother used to wear.
She looked at that screen and knew she had a choice. She could blow it off again, screw up, or she could choose again.
ShamanGal swivelled her chair around in the cubicle and said to her supervisor, “Hay, what exactly am I supposed to be doing here?”
Blink. Surrender. Change.
He loved showing a pretty girl what to do, so he spent 25 minutes showing her how to do the process of specifying the parts.
By the end of the afternoon, she had worked the sheet, done the process and completed her task.
“That’s great!” said her supervisor. “The last person we had was here for months and never got it right, but yours checks out fine.”
Success. One more step towards being responsible for herself, for standing on her own as a woman with a transgender history.
The week got better from there. A first paycheck. A birthday party at one of the gals from the office’s house, where ShamanGal was one of the gals in the kitchen even when the guys were chased out.
It was an amazing week. And she wanted to know what changed.
The answer is simple.
In that moment where she dropped her defences, the strategies that she learned in high school to cover over her feminine nature, when she dropped her cockiness, surrendered her cock and just said to the universe “Can you help me with this?” everything changed.
In that moment, her defences shattered and her world opened up. She worked the process, was in the moment and took the leap. And after years of fearing it, years of running from it, years of building armour to protect against it, in the end, dropping her defences and opening took no more than being humble and mature enough to say “Can you help me with this?”
Surrender, when it’s the right time, often comes like a breath and not the tempest we fear. We breathe in a little more deeply, surrendering our fear and we are new.
This isn’t the end, of course.
Her analytical self wants to beat herself up for not doing this earlier. She couldn’t have done it any earlier, of course. There was work to do, and now was the time. It may be an incredible pain in the ass that everyone heals in their own time, even us, but it is the truth.
And her fear is stimulated thinking how many more times she has to leap. This was easy, but what about the next time and the time after that? Shouldn’t she fear being out to co-workers, fear what she says to therapists, fear the future? How can she share her success with transpeople who are tied to fear, failure and abjection?
I may tell her no, to trust her own fabulousity, but that doesn’t make the future any easier for her. She has a long way to go until her shaman heart has accumulated a tool kit that she can trust and use to help others, and that path will include some lumps and bumps.
No one can tell her the future, just like no one could have told her exactly how and when she would just surrender her defences and open to new possibilities.
No one could have told her it was as easy as swivelling around in the cubicle and saying “Can you help me with this?”
She was expecting a bigger boom when she shattered the gender barrier in her own mind. Transvestism is about changing your clothes, transsexualism is about changing your body, and transgender is about changing your mind. Boom.
It’s been an amazing nine days, nothing at all like what she could have predicted when she was telling me why she shouldn’t take the job. That’s not surprising to me, knowing stories like my own or the story of TBB, full of twists and turns and surprises. Trans lives are like that, crossing boundaries and full of magic.
For me, her call affirmed my choice not to drag myself out to the local activism group meeting. This was a more valuable story to share.
Boom, in the swivel of a chair, when she was ready, ShamanGal old defences shattered and she found power & joy in her new defencelessness.
And amen to that.