Terrifying Energy

When I was a kid — and still, today — I abstained from recreational chemicals.

After all, if I was so buzzy just with the spirit my mother in the sky gave me, what would I be like on drugs?

At a very, very young age, I understood that my big challenge was keeping myself enervated, attenuated, suppressed, under control.   Those around me, especially my Asperger’s parents, but including teachers and other kids, found me intense, overwhelming and scary even when I was stoically exerting all the self control I could muster, so how would they find me if I just let loose, let fly?

I am smart and queer, with a kind of x-ray vision that just tends to push buttons, as I was taught early by my dialed back father and narcissistic mother.   Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if those around me engaged and encouraged my stories, but that is as unknowable as who I would be like if I actually had the drive and equipment to be cocky.

What I learned to fear was losing control.   I needed other people, needed to stay connected to them, needed my tender feminine heart to nurture whatever links I could find, so I learned to play small.  I spent years learning manipulation, trying to make others like me, but that path was corrupt, a dead end, and I had to learn to let it go.

I know who my losing control hurts.  It hurts me.

Even today when I start to feel my heart and mind spin, keeping me awake, on edge, excited and maybe a bit hopeful, I know that when I hit a barrier, feel a crash, I am going to have to take care of myself, all by myself.  I am going to have to reach deep down and salve my own splintered soul, bind up my own wounds, attempt to stroke my own broken heart.

As a wounded healer, I know how to be there for others, even how to encourage them to play big, to go for it, but finding the support and mirroring I need has always escaped me.   People tell me to cut back, to be less visceral, to not bounce, to stay within their comfort zone, to be more normative, and that call has always cut me much more than it has soothed or even empowered me.

To be terrified of your own inner energy, of the power that can both cut through knots and slice you away from social love, well, that is quite a daily burden.   To again risk using your gifts is to risk again being destroyed by the social reaction to them.

The number of nights when it has just been me and my mother in the sky, nursing to my own soul in hermetic discipline is innumerable and ultimately draining.  I am worn down.   My low levels of latent inhibition, my inability to slough off what most would rather not remember, my powerful memory means that many, many, many moments of transcendent pain are etched deeply in my soul.

I, like most humans, need mirroring that affirms my gifts and helps me use them effectively.  The most painful thing is not to be able to give your gifts and have them accepted.  Encouragement to risk again, feedback on more effective ways to share and understanding solace when you miss the mark is life-giving, what I work hard to share with those I love and who are committed to change & growth.   Our body keeps the score and the older you get, the more that score mounts.

My stoicism is part of me, a honed discipline I am proud of.   The fear that drove me into that choice so early, though, is also part of me, and it profoundly aches every time I think about my own very deep, very unfilled needs.

Very early, I was taught to be terrified of who I am.   I learned that showing it could easily get me creamed, and that others would see any attack on me as my fault, because I triggered the emotions of others.    I was to blame, stupid me who always, always deserved whatever crap I got.   Target patient, scapegoat, just too everything.

I am no longer terrified of who I am.   Rather, I am terrified of having to heal another wound, of having to pull off my concierge face and patch up my own broken heart again as it is pierced by my shattered dreams.   I am terrified of being alone and lost in my own pain with only my thoughts, my discipline and faith in nature to pull me through.

Like anyone who has learned to self-police, I over control my choices, dialing back too much, staying small and safe while avoiding risk.   We need each other to give us broader vision, to see what is possible and help create.   That’s one reason why women need girlfriends, especially those of us who never had the kind of peers who could help us blossom beyond hard lessons.   The hardest thing about trans is doing it alone.

It is my own heart, my own mind, my own soul, my own divine energy that terrifies me now.   I have been though my own hells, but the hell of other people, well, that still lurks.

Somehow, I have to believe that there is a kind of imperious performance that can this old body can play which can ground me in connection rather than just leaving me in the old, painful internal spinning.   There have to be wins available to me beyond a scarred history of loss, if only I can modulate my own energy in a way that lets me find them.

I am terrified of my own energy.   Yet, as the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas reminds us,“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.”

Another new choice, another attempt?

Is there really any other option?

Lone Voice

We join a group by assimilating, by showing that we share the goals, characteristics, values and history that bring the members together.

I listen like a girl, listen like a woman, listen like a mother.  Listening is the essential receptivity of femininity, even more than the sexual receptivity that is so often seen as basic.   Whoever we are, we spend much more time communicating than we do copulating.

The problem is that I don’t speak like a girl, like a woman, like a mother.   My content is feminine, laced with reflection and consideration, but my style is quite determined, authoritative and sly.

That style comes out of figuring out what works for me with this body, this history and this energy.   Being cute, for example, never worked for me, nor did looking for kindness.   The heavy expectations of manhood were dumped on my broad shoulders and I was never, ever allowed to forget that.

When I was a kid, I craved the feminine, being sent to therapists in 3d, 5th and 8th grade.   I tried to compartmentalize, but as in my 30s, I started exploring androgyny, the beginning of a journey that lead me to my current understanding and expression, which is unique, individual, assimilated and queer.   I found ways to own my own power which meant not surrendering my voice to any group, not staying small, at least in my vision and knowledge.

This lead me to “The Loneliness Of A Long-Lost Tranny,”  which has been the tagline of this blog since I started it fourteen years and over a million words ago.

It’s not that I want to be lonely & lost, it is the problem of finding community.

I am told is what part of me I need to suppress to fit in to any group.  My reduction is not based on clinical depression, rather it has always been based on demands & expectations of suppression, having to hide, to deny, to kill off the parts of me that do not easily fit in society.

Moving beyond suppression demands finding a group that allows me to assimilate as me, as all the parts of me, yin and yang.

 

And I just have to say, I’m grateful to be working. I’m grateful at 50 to be getting the best parts of my life. And that’s great, but in my heart, I’m so sad. I lost my sister Alexis. And trans people are still being persecuted. And I’m in mourning every day of my life, Alexis, and I will be the rest of my life for you, until we change the world so that trans people are not persecuted. And give them jobs. They’re human beings. Let’s give them jobs. Let’s get rid of this bias that we have everywhere. Thank you

Patricia Arquette, Emmy Acceptance Speech, September 21, 2019.

 

The price of a lifetime of suppression is very, very high.

Today, there is much focus on trans-kids, young people who claim their gender in new ways.   Yet every transperson was a trans-kid at some time, and the vast majority of us were not embraced, not acknowledged, not facilitated in finding our unique heart and individual power, but instead were required to fit into moulds that eased community expectations rather than let us find ways to be seen, understood and valued for our unique contributions to the group.

Learning what we need to hide to fit in rather than what we must reveal to own an authentic queer voice is life destroying.    And having people around us who need us to stay small and simple, just as we need connection, is so lonely that it is soul destroying.    They may need the beasts of burdens they have come to expect in their assumptions about us, but we need liberation beyond, affirmation of essence, transformation emergence and trust.

Having to be both far enough ahead to be healed and far enough behind to not be challenging, the one who negotiates and quells the fears of others even as they cling to the small talk, small thoughts and small terrors of normativity is too much to ask of any individual.

We join a group by assimilating, by showing that we share the goals, characteristics, values and history that bring the members together.  The smaller those expectations are, though, the smaller we have to appear to be to pass through the screening.

People who found that being constrained by the demands put on them based on their genitals just were too confining, people who have the experience of moving beyond and are able to share the experience of that journey, well, we have trouble playing small enough to just fit in at the local senior centre.

The price of suppression, playing small to fit in, is crushing,   And the price of claiming, facing down the dragon with “Thou Shalt” on every scale to claim the gift of a lifetime, who we truly are, is desperately isolating.

Trying to do both at the same time, to stay connected as a woman and stay free as an individual is just totally exhausting, without any place to feel safe, to land, to be fed and cared for.

I listen.   I speak.   I am deemed “too much.”

And all I have left is my lone voice.