I have learned to live as a transcendent and brilliant guru in the world, combining my power of seeing with long experience in doing the right thing. I know how to be in the moment, analytical & gracious, modulated & appropriate.
My heart, though, is my heart.
In recent times, I have been using the heart metaphor to talk about trans. I locate the essence of what has been called “gender identity” in the place where they know what they love, in their heart. People may be male bodied — identified as a male at birth or soon thereafter, based on their reproductive anatomy — but with a feminine heart. They may then assume the gender role of a man, of a woman, or some other pattern, living neutrally, switching roles, or finding a between position — but that is just part of their attempt to be effective in the world, to find a performance that works to get and express what they need.
In the end, it is our bliss that defines us, our bliss we need to follow. And we know our own bliss by knowing our own heart. Our brain just ends up negotiating between social, physical requirements and the needs and desires of our heart, trying to work out solutions that help us make better choices to build a better, more potent life.
The brain without the heart, well, it is like a car without a driver, prone to going around in circles and getting lost in arguments. Even the most cerebral among us need those flights of imagination and creativity to short circuit old patterns and deliver the light that is brilliance.
What I know about this blog is that people like well thought out insights, taking them away as tools that help understanding and communication. These are easy to value. What people have more trouble with, though, are the cries of my heart, les cris des coeur, which express my deep, underlying emotion.
In my experience, this is the norm for transwomen. We learn to become icebreakers, leading with our mind, because our emotions are baffling, confusing and even distressing to people who are fixed in the gender binary of heterosexism, where genitals define role, not heart. We end up not letting go of our defences — that broomstick in our bum — because we just don’t believe people will get our heart.
In the end, the only real justification for our transgender expression is “because God told me to.” This is often softened to “because I was created this way,” but in either case, our expression reveals our understanding of what our creator put in our heart.
It is easy to meet people on the ground of the mind, but as strong as my mind is, it is not what informs and powers my life. It is my heart that drives me. It is my heart that I want to be seen and affirmed, even if I know how to use my brain to service the needs of other people.
Now, when I am a caretaker, I get secret affirmation. I know I am coming from my heart, even if others can’t see it because I am staying in invisible mode. That’s a real conundrum for me, as I have found that being visible makes people wary of accepting my gifts. This is just another facet of living in a world where transgender is either everything or nothing, either the huge freakin’ deal or is invisible, rather than trans being just something.
I know that this trans invisibility can happen when we are hidden as a man or hidden as a woman. People like the conventional assumptions about gender, and the struggles of a transgender life are just too odd, too queer and to scary to ask them to engage.
I know people see me as a mature and authoritative person, someone who has transcended gender to have a whole, humanist viewpoint. I know how to enter the worlds of others, even as they have little idea of how to enter mine, know how to touch their hearts even as mine stays occluded to them. I feel like I am doing all the work to translate what I hold into what they can understand while what I do and value, while my heart is invisible to them.
Older women become more invisible as they become more androgynous and neutered. For women who own their girlhood, that is part of the process, but for women who never owned their own girlhood — transwomen like me, for example — that is a very tough haul.
The fact that it is very hard for me to get my heart seen, affirmed and nourished, even as I know how to act the wise crone, leads me to unravelling. There is a whole list of things that I should do that I am not getting to as my energy — the energy of my heart — is depleted and not replenished.
People often suggest that I can use my brain, my smarts, to find solutions to overcoming an aching and empty heart. They have seen me transcend feeling, so want me to find new ways to do that. The problem is that I have used up all the energy I have to do that, leaving me skint. Doing what should be done is a very heavy lift, because I don’t feel I have the heart for it anymore.
I never learned how to communicate and connect with my heart in the world. That is the experience so many of us had growing up trans; we were stigmatized every time we happened to show our own heart in a way that conflicted with the gendered expectations piled onto us.
We learn to live in a socially induced form of depression, learning to inhibit and suppress our own heart, the heart our creator placed in us. Our bliss — our life force — is deprecated, forcing us to learn to hide and deny it, leaving us without energy and exuberance. We may buy the red shoes and replace our energy with the erotic, but finding space for engaging our own bliss again becomes terrifically difficult.
I am telling you that I am straining to find the energy of my heart, and that strain is leaving me crippled and hurting. That may not stop me from finding shards of my transcendent guru energy, but it really limits this girl from engaging her life.
Caregiving filled my heart, even as it depleted my connection with self. My connection with self depletes my heart as I cannot find the means to pulse and renew my energy. Just another choice where the cost of each direction tears against the other.
My answer? A bed, warm coverlet pulled over my head.
At least there I can dream of beauty.