Many might assume that when one comes from their feminine energy, they are more meek, self-effacing, compliant, and quiet.
If you look at women in the world, though, that certainly isn’t true. Lots of women, especially mature women, know themselves as powerful people in the world, standing strong and fighting for what they want. They don’t take that power in a masculine way, they take that power in a feminine way, conscious of style, determined of spirit, collaborative and considerate but firm and in charge.
I certainly have seen the misconception that feminine somehow means powerless and undemanding in the trans world, where I have been accused of masculine behaviours when I knew it was just my inner diva emerging. And I have seen it in women’s groups, where some wanted to demand that trans women surrendered their voice to the group, as it was the group that owned womanhood.
In my life, the part of me that is compliant, self-denying and compromising is definitely the side I show in my most androgynous times. It is in that mode that I am playing small for the comfort of others, serving them, trying to placate and defer to them. I damp down the power of my emotions so as not to upset, challenge or distress others.
My androgynous mode is my service mode, my own energy neutered down to serve the needs and desires of others. I used to talk about it as “concierge mode,” where I do what others needed as a gracious servant while submerging my own needs, feelings and desires.
Today, after some lovely affirmation in the form of chick chat, I could feel the difference. The scared, denial focused, playing small attitude shrank, and in its place I could feel the feminine energy of power.
Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, needs to be my mantra, calling forth the fierce femme inside me. Shoulders back, tits high, and meet everyone with a calm, focused smile that tells them that no matter how pretty you choose to look, there is steel underneath.
My strongest side is definitely my feminine side, so when I come from there I come from my power base.
It’s my androgynous side that learned how to take guerrilla power, expressing the feminine while hiding it in plain sight. I knew that people were always less threatened by a shabby looking guy like shape than by a sharp and potent woman of trans experience.
The problem is that you can only do so much in leading from the middle, trying to stay hidden and non-threatening while shaping the process. At some point, you have to get out front and be not just the bringer of wise questions and focused work in the room, but also be the one in the front with a voice that energizes, motivates and makes the hard choices.
People need me to be brave enough to be amazing so that they can feel brave enough to be more themselves. They need to see me be bold and smart so they can feel safe enough and empowered enough to bring out more of the best of themselves.
For people who want to know me as that androgynous facilitator, though, bringing this fierce femme diva energy will be a challenge. So many of those people assume that transpeople are really abject, and that we just have to be nice to the guys who want to dress up, tolerating their indulgences. They assume our trans expression is just a sign of sickness and weakness, not the possibility of us coming from a power place.
I understand the wounded healer role. It has always been true for me; I am pierced by the spikes, I am a powerful daughter of my mother in the sky, and I am both at the same time.
My lamb side, though, isn’t some sweet, fragile, dainty thing who folds her hands in her lap and averts her eyes from those around her, never making a fuss. My lamb side is my androgynous side, bound up in service and subjugation to the cause of care and service.
My power side is a lioness, a mother ready to take care of her cubs, a warrior ready to beat down those who might try to silence and oppress her. Callan , in Gaelic, is a feminine name meaning “powerful in battle.” I didn’t know that when the name chose me, but I have learned it since.
And you know what? I’m kind of scared of her. I fear she is like Pandora; once I let the box fully open, she’s just not going back again. How will I hide and pour oil on the waters if my diva power is in full sight, telling everyone how much of a fierce bitch I really am? Won’t she just alienate everyone?
Well, maybe not. Maybe some people are going to love a powerful woman of trans experience who stands up and boldly claims her own feminine power. Maybe she will get more traction, more affirmation, more support and more love than a bland and hidden concierge. Maybe she will actually smile more, wiggle more, play more and love more when she comes from her own feminine power centre. Maybe.
After all, people can’t see your heart if you hide it under a layer of gender-neutral camouflage rather than showing your style and passion to the world. Not seeing it may have been the point when I was playing small for my family, but somehow, that has stopped serving me any more.
The ultimate trans surgery is pulling the stick out of your own ass. For me, the trick to that is repeating my mantra: Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick. I need to do that to remember that people see me as a chick — a mature, confident, self-assure and potent chick — and that it works better for me and for them when I make chick choices rather than making the choices of a over-wary, over-sensitive and over-controlled androgynous person who is trying to keep their trans nature out of the way.
If I’m going to take power in the world while presenting as a woman, then I need to do it in womanly ways. I need to be bold enough to smile, strong enough to walk up to people and start conversations, confident enough to be the centre of attention, assured enough to speak my truth with grace, and happy enough to be open to love & connection. Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick.
My strength is my strength, and it doesn’t lie in well balanced and deliberately un-tittilating androgyny, no matter how much my family wish it would. I may have learned to modulate my expression, but waiting until people are ready for me to be big is a wait that keeps me small.
I need to believe that some people will get the joke, will see the beauty, will be attracted to the brilliance of a candle no longer hidden under a bushel.
My trans nature isn’t my broken side. My broken side is the bit that needs to hide, centred around the shame and fear when I fail to be nice and keep my nature hidden. My broken side is the bit that learned to comfort and placate my family.
But my feminine energy?
Powerful and intense.
Can I trust that?