Taking The Weight Off

ShamanGal (SG) went out clubbing with a girlfriend and her pals.  The last time she tried this,  SG started talking about dating women and questions were asked and things all got a bit uncomfortable.

This time though, SG and her pal decided to play a little game.  The other women had met her as a boy a few years ago, and thought he was attractive.    Tonight, though, neither SG or her pal would tell them about previous meetings, and they would see if anyone made the connection.

None of the other gals ever did recall the history.  This was kind of a surprise to both SG and her pal and they laughed about it afterwards.

“Oh, no!” SG realized.  “I gave that one gal my number, but what if she tries to put it in her phone and the contact from two years ago comes up!  It’s the same number!   If I call her I might be outed!”   They both laughed at the thought.

Now, SG hadn’t planned this as a strategy, but the game worked well.

It gave both SG and her friend reasons not to disclose history, making them partners in crime.

It expressed the joy of having a performance partner, someone with you who knows who you are off stage, so you don’t need to include tells and hold back, and you have someone to watch your back, always something that makes performers feel safer.

But more than that, the game gave both of them a new understanding of how SG is seen by others.   SG and her pal may know the history, and that may colour their expectations, but with people who don’t know, SG doesn’t come saddled with those expectations.   Both of them now know that SG can just be seen as a woman in the world, something they didn’t have a shared understanding about before.

I was thinking about this tonight as a I went to a networking event for entrepreneurs who are focused around a local technical university.

In that room, people saw me as a woman, and expected me to have woman skills, the confidence of a mature, well put together woman.

I had a conversation with a group of students, just to warm me up.  It’s always better for people to see you in conversation, interacting with others, rather than just playing with your smartphone.

I was rusty though.  I chatted with a woman about the food, but forgot to do the introduction thing, sharing names and details.   Still, having been seen tonight means people will be more open next time.’

People see me as a woman, even if there are tells that my biology might be a bit different.   In gender terms, that means I advertise myself as competent at woman skills, able to act as a woman in social situations.

I was a woman in that room tonight, even if a woman with a trans history.  That means other people saw me as a woman, taking me at my expression until they had a reason not to, just like those other women saw SG at the club.

I know that people who have a history with me won’t see me in the same way as people just meeting me as a woman.  Unless and until they get the same kind of experience as SG’s friend did, seeing for themselves how others see me anew, they will always be ready to saddle me with their old assumptions and expectations.

I have enough of a challenge to relax and trust my own woman choices, after policing them for so many years, that the added weight of a scene partner who can’t commit to being new and present in the moment, or a critic who wants to review the past rather than the present is just too much for me to carry.   I just can’t carry the weight of other peoples rationalizations, theories and fears when I need to be smiling in the moment.  I own the practice, but I also have to own The Moment.

You are never a hero in your own hometown, where people think they already know you, or think you just aren’t special or better than the average.  People who meet you anew, though, well they are ready to take you as you come, and they expect you to make the choices that are appropriate for the way they see you.

In that room tonight, I was just another professional woman in a room full of people who were doing startups, building businesses by being The Crazy Ones, as the host explained when he played that spot as an introduction to the event.

If you are playing a new role, you have to commit to being in the moment.  That’s the point of all my discussion about practice; practice helps us get out of the moment so when The Moment comes we can be more present in it.

SG and her pal decided to leave history in at home to see if it would intrude on the present at the club, and both were amazed to find out that it was the moment that counted, not the past.   It turned out that stick up the bum wasn’t needed after all, that defence was just impairment.

And I just have to remember that when I smile at someone across the room.

Light and free and present, with the past only as prologue; it’s how to be beautiful and potent in the world.

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