I’ve been doing some readings with Performance Guy recently, working on that material rather than writing here, and he often gets excited about something I say and says that I would write that down.
I laugh. I have been doing trans theology and healing for a long time now, going around in that big spiral quest that takes you past the same ground again and again, both going deeper and getting more elevated with each pass.
And I keep writing what he asks and coming back to a fundamental document, What You Need To Know About My Transgender. (We are working on point two from that document.)
Frustration Pighead ended up being about point five, The most painful thing about trans is not being able to give your gifts and have them accepted.
Baggage Porter ended up being about point four, The most difficult thing about trans is negotiating others fears.
And now I feel called to write about point three, The hardest thing about trans is doing it alone.
See the tagline this blog has had since November 2005: The Loneliness of a Long Lost Tranny.
“You deserve love, connection and support,” he tells me.
“Yes,” I reply. “It’s not too much to ask, but I have learned that it is too much to expect.”
Getting clear for me has meant getting unentangled from desire, letting go of expectation that can twist my choices and not let me work the process.
“Getting clear for me has meant learning to live life alone.”
My koan for this process is simple. I was with the love of my life and I said to them “I have been learning to trust myself, but I really need to learn to trust others.”
“Can’t you learn to do that on your own?” they replied.
From the earliest days when I learned to play alone as a child, to today, when I am so apart in this basement, doing it alone has been the essence of my experience of the world.
My parents and their narcissistic or autistic brains could never teach me how to make emotional connections. My iconoclastic nature mixed with my shaman telepathy meant that while I could enter the worlds of others, others found it difficult to enter my world, as entering it required changing the way they saw their world.
I learned quickly how to live with scarcity, scraping every drop of understanding and support from whatever scrap of connection I was offered.
What do I want? I want a girlfriend who can offer another set of eyes, doing everything from helping pick out clothes — “That looks great on you!” — to encouraging me when I get a bit off track. I want someone to share dinner with, to be my pal when I go to an event, to give me someone to care for and chat with.
One of the most challenging bits about a trans life is that our first adolescence is one of denial, never learning to be one of the girls (or boys.) Where are the boundaries of fighting, of jokes, who is there to gang up with and act boldly, who is there to move beyond my own anxiety and fear?
I know that my choices stay constrained because I have only my eyes, no one watching my back, no one whose vision I trust to encourage a more assertive or dramatic choice. Doing it alone means I have to use the eyes in the back of my head, and they tend not to work so well, leaving me always waiting for the third gotcha.
I know how to use every scrap of connection with reverence and frugality, but knowing how to trust that my own energy reads well, with excitement and grace? Not so much.
The hardest thing about trans is doing it alone. That’s just another component of the price of stigma, the weight of being ostracized or cast out, the challenge of never feeling safe in a group because you have your pals to back you up.
The Loneliness of a Long Lost Tranny, indeed.