Everyone has emotional places that they don’t allow themselves to go.
These are the things that we just don’t allow ourselves to go near for fear that they will swamp our feelings.
And the place I have never been able to go is the notion that somehow, I can have a woman’s life.
I don’t hold that no transperson assigned as male at birth can have a woman’s life. I know that it is possible for other people. I just can’t afford to believe that it is possible for me, because if I believe it, even for a second, my heart will be crushed when that possibility is again smashed for me.
When you dream every night of something and then have that dream smashed the first thing next morning, learning to not dream like that again seems very, very sensible.
Not going there is the pragmatic, sensible choice. It’s realistic and rational.
It’s also chilling and crushing, leaving you out in the cold, beyond the simple dream that somehow, people will see, acknowledge, respect and even value the simple truth you have always known is in your heart.
Finding a strategy to be in the world where you try and be true while also trying to be safe and appropriate is hard, hard shit. Trying to negotiate it with your heart on your sleeve, well, that’s just going to leave it all torn up, beyond hope of healing.
There is a reason that transpeople lives are like pulsars, apparently on and off, on and off. We need a time to shine, to explore in the light, but that exposure has a cost, so we need a time to disappear, to recuperate, to not have to be battling to show our heart.
When we finally understand our liberation as a political act and not a simply a personal act, that being visible requires a forceful claiming of identity, it ceases to become just an expression of our heart and becomes a battle, a very lonely battle.
How do we go places where we not only have been hurt before but we also have no indication that the things which hurt us have changed enough to create a different outcome now? Hope is one thing, but ignoring reality is another. No amount of magical thinking will overcome the laws of physics, no matter how much you want to actually levitate.
Chasing your dreams and facing your fears is only worth it when there is some chance that those dreams will come true and a good chance that the things you fear won’t beat you to a bloody, senseless pulp. God grant me the serenity to accept those things I can not change, the strength to change those things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I can’t change people’s beliefs, assumptions, expectations, and biases just because I want them changed. Change like that takes time, often time measured in generations.
I have seen many transwomen who have asserted magical thinking over conscious expression and who, after they have emerged, have withdrawn again, hurt and battered. Even transwomen who can invoke the power of passing as having gone through puberty as female often find that the cost of hiding their special history leaves them feeling disconnected, empty and without deep intimacy.
If you can’t go there, if the dreams of your heart are a no go zone, you have to learn to be pragmatic.
And pragmatic, well, while it is reasonable, it is never really thrilling and magical.