The most beautiful part of any transperson is inside of them
You can’t see who we are just from looking at the outside. This is true for any human, of course, but for those of us whose heart drove us to beyond the conventions of assigned gender, our story and our vision is always far past current expectations.
This means that the only way we can be appreciated is by being engaged, by taking the time and effort to see beyond our current façade. While we may resist showing you all of us, instead policing our expression to show only what we believe you will like, what will not scare you or cause you to reduce us to some fundamental box, in safety we blossom and reveal our tender trans hearts.
Finding places where we can show who we are, where people are ready to hear and see beyond their expectations is the only way we can possibly get the understanding and affirmation that we need. Any time that it feels like we are just operating inside of the assumptions of normativity, the need to self-police is kicked up, restraining us from offering all that we have inside, stopping us from being our best self.
I know how much of a question mark I am when I walk in the room. Passing by me may leave me just another big woman, but sitting across from me, scrutinizing me pretty easily reveals that my history has some twists in it, some queer ripples under the surface.
Who the hell am I if they can’t tell from my appearance? Am I trapped in my own delusion, am I out to bullshit them, am I dangerous or warped? What can I offer, who will I push on, how can they trust me? So many questions can swim beneath the surface, even beneath the awareness of those who hold them.
The only way to resolve this tension is for me to reveal myself. Showing who I am inside can lead to others seeing me as a full, safe, engaged, valuable and interesting person. It can also lead to them seeing me as odd, different and dangerous, far outside of choices that they would ever make for themselves or even would approve of, beyond appropriate morality. It’s a crap-shoot.
For me, just passing through the world and trying to stay unnoticed isn’t really much use. Trying to convince people that I went through puberty as a female is also unsatisfying, as it demands that I keep my head and my voice down even as my body is still speaking loudly. I gave up on trying to look normative a long time ago, even if that doesn’t mean that I want to be seen as a performer or a freak.
I know who I am. I am not slim, young or cute. I am not someone who really understands how to be part of the party, how to play along, engaging in comfortable small talk about conventional topics like real estate, jobs and children. My life has been awfully queer, from my parents to my theological bent, and while that means I can offer unique gifts, it also means that fitting in nicely isn’t something I have ever, ever been able to do well.
Becoming part of the conversation, a member of the group, one of the community, a player on the team is important. Doing that while trying to keep our inner life & history invisible means we can’t really be a part, a member, a player, can’t be fully present.
Joining a conversation where the the language doesn’t include any words, symbols or concepts that can express what lies inside of us, that can communicate our experience of the world, is a frustration beyond explaining. Worse, people who don’t have any idea what we are talking about have no idea what we are talking about, no structure or context to understand. They often assume that the limits of their knowledge are the limits of the universe, that anything they can’t get must be meaningless, pointless, valueless.
I have spent my life engaging in conversations about what other people know, about how they see the world, about what they need, about their concerns. I know that every business book will tell me that meeting consumers expectations, just with a little twist of innovation and quality is the key to gaining customers.
A conversation beyond, though, is what I need, what I desperately need. A monologue is useful, important, vital, but it doesn’t serve the requirements of a social animal, the needing to be seen, heard and valued. It is what every transperson needs, what we search for, what feeds our growth and healing into the zone of transcendent possibility.
When I meet people, especially transpeople, I usually ask them to tell me a story. I don’t care what story they tell me, because just by what tale they pick they will reveal themselves. I want to have a glimpse into their conversation with the world, want to hear what they value, what they have to say. Unless I listen to them there is no way I can ever get all their beauty, ever understand what doesn’t show on the outside.
The divine surprise is always outside of my expectations. It is most often revealed by conversations that go beyond my assumptions or my comfort zone, by getting a glimpse through the eyes of another and seeing connections that might have eluded me otherwise.
Without a breath of the beyond we are doomed to small routine, to limited vision, to stunted dreams.
I need conversations that go beyond, for beyond is always where the future is, all the love and living that waits for us beyond the limits of our fears.