“It is amazing,” ShamanGal told me, “how much my experience of the world has changed just because I think differently now.”
Transvestism is about changing your clothes.
Transexualism is about changing your body.
Transgender is about changing your mind.
After a special, personal weekend intensive workshop with a 19 year old cast member at Esalen, SG was clear that her experience of sexual intimacy has changed drastically. Her hormones haven’t been changed in the past few years, but her thinking has, dropping defences and opening her heart.
An open heart, though, is a challenge. Open hearts tend to get gooey and romantic, seeking sensation over sense, falling in love with the feeling of love.
While many would like an easy solution for this sensitivity — only being open to good and enjoyable emotions and not being open to bad and unpleasant ones, for example — feeling your emotions is always going to put you on a bit of a roller coaster ride, taking you places you don’t always want to go.
Every woman knows that she has to come up with her own balance of being romantic and of being sensible. Gals who are just romantic find themselves with broken hearts, unwanted complications or worse. We have to be able to say no, to set boundaries, to be sensible.
Like any balance, it needs to be dynamic. We must constantly adjust between our rational brain and our emotive heart. Become too sensible and we dry up, losing our connecting energy and passion. Become too romantic and we get too wet, losing our footing and stability. We
Every woman whose life is too sensible dreams of romance. That may involve reading a trashy novel, checking into pop culture drama, writing fan fiction or a huge range of other escapes into emotion.
Every woman whose life is too emotional gets lessons about sensibility from all around her. Mothers, sisters, girlfriends, the woman behind the checkout stand all want to help her protect and value what she has, pushing her to sensibly take control of her life and relationships.
Changing your mind always means taking down the compartment barriers that seem to separate your feelings and your thoughts. For transpeople, this means learning to come from the power of emotion that we were taught was too corrupt, too dangerous, too dramatic and altogether too romantic for us to trust, trusting that part of our makeup is there for a reason.
There are some who argue that the entire historical goal of religion is to constrain the passions of women, setting them on the straight and narrow, so that they serve the desires of men rather than challenging them. The goal was to keep glamour in check, transferring it to the church, to keep women in thrall only to their reproductive role.
Finding the right blend of romantic and sensible is a challenge for every woman. Transwomen, who have had to bury their own emotions deep under heavy compartment walls, have a great deal of mind changing to do to shift their own balance of assertion and emotion, creating a new blend which engages feelings rather than denying them.
Changing your mind, though, reworking your choices to be more integrated, more balanced and more authentic, always changes our experience of the world. We create a new balance, opening our heart and brain and the same time to dynamically be in new possibilities.
The world needs sensible choices, yes, but it also needs romantic passion. We start engaging that balance by changing our mind.