For one moment there, just one moment as I saw myself in the mirror, my hand moved across my body and I was surprised it had no nail varnish on the fingertips. Surprised.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, of course. I haven’t used nail polish for a very long time. But something about the new wig ($18) and new bra fillers I made ($8) made me feel good for a moment, made me feel possible, made me feel present.
That feeling left soon. I got a phone call from someone who needed a brother, looked desperately on the interweb for someplace to go, felt the stresses of what I put off and the energy went away, as it has for decades now.
Carrying all the pieces alone means I quickly get pulled out of the zone. Alone is the big, big cost in the trans experience. People around you see what they expect to see, see what they want to see, see what they need to see and that is rarely your possibilities.
A therapist is someone who sees something in you that you do not yet see in yourself. That could even be a dog; how many of us would be better people if we became the person our dog thinks we are?
Two thirds of all help is giving encouragement, finding ways to help people overcome their own internal resistance. They can see their past, can feel the weight of the corrections dumped onto then, but they have trouble seeing their future, holding onto what is not yet revealed, not yet blossomed inside of them.
I know how to say yes to other people. I know how to support and encourage them to be the best them that they can be, beyond fear and fracture. Finding someone to do that for me, though, is problematic.
I have reached out to performance and style people over the past years, searching for affirmation, but they have stumbled in front of my big, multifarious mind. They see my challenges as around correct thinking rather than around confident belief. I may need to have the confidence a 16 year old girl is seeking, but they think I need clearance.
I know who I am. Carrying that is a challenge and always has been.
I also know who I am not yet. Getting those flowers to bloom beyond the dumping cold expectations of those around me has always been a problem.
The local G&L center may think that what I need is being inculcated in groupthink, but what I have seen transpeople needing is the belief that a leap beyond history and biology can be beautiful and vibrant on them.
It is easy to see transpeople fall back into old patterns they used to stay small and defended, resisting the exposure and vulnerability they would need to let go and become new. We do this over and over and over again, even when we get small jewels of affirmation for our new expression.
That moment came to me in the mirror where polished nails would have just been right, proper, appropriate, true, but then, oh so quickly, it went again, lost in the sloshing of my mind. No one was around to help me pin that feeling, to affirm and support that feeling, to bring me back to that feeling, to hold in for me in a place where it was venerated as real and powerful.
We make performances come to life when we commit. All in and supremely confident is the only way to sell the bit. You have to make the leap with intensity and precision.
Knowing this is different than being able to actually leap, though. You can still start to leap, get worried and then stop abruptly, which tends to leave you in a kind of freefall, just anticipating hitting the ground hard. Some of us might be the Road Runner, yes, but most of us are just Wile E. Coyote.
I hold onto moments of transcendence, grabbing them and keeping them close. Holding onto moments, well, it’s something I do well, though, so I also have moments of despair and isolation in the mix. Holding them apart takes help though, help I find difficult to find.
I have a spark. I resist kindling it into flame. I was trained to resist, trained to tamp myself down, to pee on the embers because I was told my heart is too queer to be shown in public, told that no one will get the joke.
Will people see what I need them to see or will they reduce, laugh, erase and stigmatize? Now that I no longer have the resilience of youth, my broken bits holding me back and limiting my recovery, my popping back up again, is finding any kind of love probable for me anymore?
My reasons for resistance are smart and well thought through. I have found ways to be out everyday, even without the desire to accumulate and please an audience as I refuse to play down, play simple, play small.
There are moments, though, when the flicker of possible connection dance in front of me like the vivid colour of phantom nail varnish. The spark becomes visible and hope is present, but it never gets reinforced, never gets celebrated.
If you just leap into the future, people will get you and your life will find synchronicity, opening the pathways to new and unimagined delights. I tell that to others all the time and I really believe it will happen for them.
Someone needs to see the possibilities inside of them, has to encourage them to bring them out.
If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
— Jesus Christ (Gnostic Gospel Of Thomas, Saying 70)
I am big, queer, overwhelming and stupidly don’t play the way others expect. I have been told that for a long time.
Is there anything else there, anything pretty, charming, and lovable?
Sometimes, well, I think there is, but holding onto that in the face of the expectations and assumptions of others, well, that has always been a hard, hard, impossible task.