So, in the end, we are all just humans. Like ice cream, humans are all fundamentally the same, made out of the same stuff, but each is essentially different, with our own unique flavour.
The fundamental human nature that connects us is much stronger than the differences in essence which separate us.
In cultures where gender is rigidly bi-polar,
rituals of gender crossing remind us
of our continuous, common humanity.
— Anne Bolin, anthropologist
No matter what the essence in my emotional, dramatic, feminine heart, I was sentenced to a life gynandrous — that’s just androgynous with the feminine first — where I had to learn to eat the fear and pain of those around me. They erase my essence to focus on fundamentalism.
My life became about fundamentals, about getting down to them, though determined discipline and creative study. It was the best I could manage.
It is comforting to know that the worst of it is behind me now, that there isn’t much more I need to navigate.
If a tranny screams in a crowd, will anyone hear them? In my decades of experience, the answer is no. People only hear the frequencies and patterns that they already know; beyond that, all else is noise, no matter how articulate or consistent you are.
My dead father showed up this morning — my mother told him to come — and can’t understand why I would want things to end. Understanding, well, not something that they did well.
There are things you can never be, bits that serenity hits limits on. Sure, young and differently sexed are two of them, but for me, heard and understood are the more difficult. Nobody gets the joke, and while I know that I can attenuate myself, be the concierge and enter other people’s world, asking people to walk into mine, no matter how clear or inviting I am, has proven to be well neigh impossible.
I go to professionals and they want to talk, explain how I need to follow them, rather than to listen. Who can really live in their head like me, they wonder, assuming that my thoughts must be twisted, defensive, some kind of mental illness.
If only I had the wherewithal and the resilience of youth I could keep trying, take it on the chin, search far and wide, kiss a lot of princes, do whatever is needed. My own youth was consumed by a family and a world that was challenging to me. a place where help, understanding and support was just not available.
I tried. I tried. I tried. And the best I could get is some kind of service, some kind of guy-in-a-dress tolerance, some kind of erasure of my tender humanity. Ouch, she says, to put it politely.
“How does that make you feel?” was the question no one wanted to ask, or at least that no one wanted to hear the real answer to.
The answers were overwhelming and tiring, too much for too long, so they found a way to put me in the “too hard” place and continue with their lives. I understand.
But I can’t walk away from me and my experience. I have been immersed in it with no way out. It is what I wake up to and what I fall asleep to. It is my everything.
Yeah, it would have been good to change that experience, but I couldn’t do that by myself. You don’t learn trust in relationships by yourself; it takes someone to meet you, mirror you, hold you dear and be present.
Attenuating myself to appear more normative was never effective. Who I “really am” always leaked out, probably because who I am is who I needed to be to survive my own life.
I know how to be reduced to just a human. It is a version of the truth, sure, going to the base of what connects us all, but the reduction squeezes out my essence, that unique spark that offers my special and very authentic flavour.
Being denied the possibility to share that essence means being denied the possibility to have my intense and sharp bits mirrored and contextualized, leaving me alone at the spark. Talking to people who don’t understand, value or respect the spark, people who want me to fit nicely within their comfort range, demanding I reject anything that confuses or frightens them, leaves me cold and isolated.
Communicating my essence to others in a way that gets me compassion and understanding is being forced to diminish my essence to the level of expectations and attention of others. Only my facade can be made smaller; my heart and mind never compress for the ease of others around me.
"If only they hadn't been so stubborn, so defended, so isolated, so cerebral, so pig-headed, so stupid, so queer, so intense, so overwhelming, so resistant, so demanding, so trapped by their own needs, so unwilling to compromise, so resistant to simple pleasures, so apart from normal people, so prickly, so stuck up, so brittle, so weak, so unreasonable, so touchy, so all that, then we might have been able to save them. Too bad that they just wouldn't work with us, but whatever happened, it's on their weird choice to be separate."
As long as I am willing to be iconoclastic, gynandrous and dehumanized, there will always be a place for me to serve the “normal” people of the world. They are willing to accept what I offer as long as I always respect and honor their comforting expectations.
The price of having my essence stigmatized and reduced, though, has always had a cost, one that adds up over decades and decades of wear and abuse. Every pass through the pain gets closer and closer to the edge, more cutting, with much less margin of safety. I have been here before, yes, but never this close to the precipice.
"Jeepers! Just cut through all the self pity and folderol, and get down to connecting with real people. If you would just drop all the crap you carry, just let go of all the intellectual barriers you hold to letting love in, maybe then you could finally find happiness in something other than mental masturbation. We are all right here waiting for you; why don't you just come out from all that blah-blah shit and join us?"
(and, yes, I have had people read out those skint bits from my writing to me, choosing not to understand how they are stating a problem, not a solution. i hear the challenges, i do, always engaging them, but the ones i leave here are reductive, erasing, insensitive, rude, disrespectful and hurtful, at least to me.)
If the point of trans is not that what is inside people is much more important than what their outsides look like, that we are defined by our choices and not by the assumptions laid on our biology, that people are who they are in their essence, then I don’t know what it is.
I am sure, though, that I have been sentenced to a gynandrous life, doomed to be a guy-in-a-dress, having what I share dismissed, reduced, ignored and stigmatized in the cause of simple, reactionary divisions.
Sure, all humans are fundamentally the same. Erasing someone’s essence, though, doesn’t turn them into who you expect them to be, someone who fits neatly into the boxes in your mind.
It just crushes their heart, making them fundamentalost.