There are days when I really wish I could believe in the “Law of Attraction,” the idea that simply wishing for and visualizing things can draw them into our life.
There is some truth encapsulated in that notion, of course. If we don’t believe we are worthy, don’t trust in our own grace, we will have problems accepting what is offered to us, missing possibilities that those who trust in their own attractiveness will easily grasp. It is very much true that those who are confident and open about their own shining attraction will be seen as more attractive than the skittish, defended and avoidant.
A pretty woman can play ugly but an unattractive woman will have trouble playing pretty goes one old casting saw. Someone who is confident in her own beauty can show her insecurity and mousiness but one who never felt attractive has much more of a challenge finding her own inner vixen.
Every woman knows her flaws, having them mirrored to her by a judgmental and compeditive culture. This is one reason the “put-down” pickup technique often works, where a woman is challenged by a man who appears to not be struck by her beauty.
Not every woman knows her glories, though. The mirrors are shattered and warped for those women who don’t fit conventional expectations, those who are marked out by not fitting the images of beauty all over the media. We live in a world where trolls all across the internet feel entitled to slam those that they don’t find appealing with whatever horrible put downs that they can muster, cruelly judging women on appearance alone even as they never question the value of their own looks.
“You are the fat girl!” I was told as I posed in a vintage Corvette at a photo shoot in the 1990s. “You need to smile! You need to look jolly!” When the editor of IFGE Tapestry wanted a picture of me, she turned to a premier photographer who attended trans conferences. She quickly called me back, saying “We will go with an illustration,” acknowledging that my big frame just was never pretty enough to catch the eye of Mariette.
“The only way I will be with a man is if he sees me as a woman,” I told a gay guy at a bar. “That’s never going to happen!” he responded. “Okay, then, it’s never going to happen,” I accepted. One reason I have been abstinent for so long is a refusal to play into the roles my body typecasts me into. I can’t be intimate with anyone who doesn’t see and reflect my big and beautiful heart.
That’s why the law of attraction is so ephemeral for me. I know that most can’t see beyond my body and my history, most cast me into roles that they understand and that keep me separate, rather than opening up intimate pathways. I’m smart, sharp and loud, yes, but because that comes from bits that went through puberty as male, my tender heart tends to get trounced in the interactions.
A lifetime of interactions, added to the truth that aging tends to move us away from any ideal of desire, shapes the expectations I have around attraction. Few women see themselves as getting more attractive as they get older; a realistic viewpoint.
To be a more public person, though, requires me to trust in some level of my own attractiveness. If I show myself, put myself out there, what will people see? Look at me! See my heart! Don’t look at me! Don’t see my assignments! I knew the issue twenty some-odd years ago. How has it changed now? How can I change now?
I need the social connection that attraction can deliver, but I have learned not to trust my own image. People are happy when I take care of them, but being present for me is more than they are ready or willing to handle. I am not a beautiful flower but a big bull, ready for work but not for admiration. No one was ever wrapped around my little finger, smitten by my fragile beauty, desperately wanting more of my glamour.
Always depending on the kindness of others leads one to a limited life. Accepting the gifts — the miracles — of the life you have is more important than imagining what you want and finding ways to try and get it. Learning to do the work of growth, change and healing is vital, and not just when the bloom is off the rose and you are no longer the flavour of the month. It is easy to lose yourself in who others want you to be, in creating what they find attractive rather than what you know to be authentic, and that can lead to the loss of inner comfort and awareness.
It’s the balance that counts, and while for many women, learning to find themselves apart is hard, for women like me, learning to find myself connected has always been the challenge. I had to be a strong self from earliest days when even my family cast me out as “stupid,” so never learned to be a strong link, part of the network of women.
Attraction for me is not about finding something sexual, it is about connecting with something powerful. Olympia Dukakis says that when she met a transsexual woman prior to playing Anna Madrigal in “Tales Of The City” she was most surprised when she asked why they had gone through all of the changes. “I needed the company of women,” was the answer, which was both surprising and sensible to Ms. Dukakis, who knew that her power came from being part of the web of women in the world.
My mother in the sky finds me brilliant and gorgeous, I am certain of that. My mother in this life, though, never did. Too many have expressed their own odd attraction to me, seeing me as fire, both fascinating & illuminating while being terrifying & isolating at the same time.
There are days when I really wish I could believe in the “Law of Attraction” but then I flick through the way I have been mirrored in the world, the way people like me continue to be mirrored in the world, and somehow, my faith quickly fades.