I was Googling my blog name when I came across this:
Like I said, I’m a bit slow at times. But still…
How absolutely f’ing cool is that! 😀
I was Googling my blog name when I came across this:
Like I said, I’m a bit slow at times. But still…
How absolutely f’ing cool is that! 😀
That is the sound of – inevitability…
For some thirty-five years I have lived conscious of the fact that I am not that which I have been told I am. With the never-ending ‘noise in my head’, I have lived in opposition to what I can only describe as an ‘instinctual knowledge’ of what I should be – of what I am.
To have to fight the instincts — that is the definition of decadence: as long as life is ascending, happiness equals instinct.
A while back, I was out with two girlfriends from work for drinks. We chatted about this and that when the topic of conversation turned to me (yes, they know ‘my story’.) One of them asked me if I was happy. I paused and thought for a few seconds before telling her that I was in a better place than I had been in the past – but happy?
Leaving work the other evening, I ran into a woman with whom I ride the train in the mornings. We have chatted casually a few times – not so much to really be ‘friends’ per se – but enough to be friendly. She was waiting for the E train when I saw her and I stopped and said hello. We started chatting a bit and so began the journey home.
I’m not an especially outgoing individual – quite the opposite really – but once I get past the initial awkwardness of meeting someone I’m usually fine. We chatted the whole subway trip to Penn Station and once there, parted for a few minutes to get supplies for the trip home. We met up again, and boarded the train for home. As I said, I’m kinda shy and I always find it a bit surprising when people want to just talk with me – perhaps I shouldn’t, but it’s just how I feel.
We continued our smalltalk about the train and the people we see there and stuff like that. She tells be she loved getting to know about people and I smile a bit because, well, I’m not really the ‘average’ person on the street, but it’s fine – she’s done nothing to offend me so I continue our conversation. She proceeds to tell me her life more or less (which to be honest has been a hell of a lot more exciting than my own) and I think to myself that this is not the first time for this. I tend to get people telling me stuff and wonder what it is about me that makes them that comfortable with sharing. Don’t get me wrong, I like listening and sometimes offering whatever insights I might have – I just wonder how it happens sometimes.
And so the train ride goes. It was fun seeing as I usually sit alone and noodle around on my Mac. We get about five minutes from our stop when she sits back and says, “So, now I have a question for you…” I smile, knowing what’s coming – I have been waiting for it for an hour or so. A method to the madness so to speak, she jokes afterwards a kind of “I’ll show you mine now you show me yours.” I give her the super condensed story of me and a bit of background as to be identifying as genderqueer. It’s nothing ‘complete’ but I did want to share as well and told her we can discuss more next time we have the chance. We exchange our farewells for the evening and head off to our cars and home.
I don’t mind that people are curious and I have never been shy about discussing being trans. My one rule is that people treat me with respect – which she did. And her willingness to share with me put us on a bit of an equal footing which was nice. I have had many chats wherein it seemed to be all about me. It was nice to not be the sole topic of conversation.
So… Not an especially deep post, but I went home that night smiling a bit – and I thought I’d share. 🙂
This really resonates for me – summing up so much of how I have felt for so long.
The cliffs march on and on, like a wall above me. I start to wonder what’s up there, above the bright rim of the sky. Perhaps it’s just the lure of the unknown – the wall is stout and tall and unbroken, except for the waterfalls, which thunder through gorges like chimneys, narrow and dark and slick with spray.
I have tinnitus. You know, that ‘ringing’ sound some people have in their ears. I have had it as long as I can remember, although I am sure that there was some time in my life where I didn’t. For the most part, it’s not a problem as the normal ambient sounds of every day life tend to mask it to where I don’t even notice it. I go about my day to day activities without even thinking about it. As ‘conditions’ go, it’s seems to be quite manageable.
A member of an online forum I frequent made the following observation…
It isn’t so much a question of essential natures being rigidly dichotomous (they aren’t), as of there being a convenient typology we want to use, and perhaps most of us need.
“Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer then they are.” A great Jim Steinman / Meatloaf song full of over-the-top angst wherein the singer reflects on moments of his younger days. We all have memories we tuck away and all but forget about – but now and then something stirs them and it can feel like only yesterday when they bubble up to the surface of our consciousness.
Please click and read : One teachers approach to preventing gender bullying in a classroom
This is such a great article. Please reblog! 🙂
Shows how gender stereotyping effects everyone and how easily it can be overcome when someone cares. I only wish more teachers took initiative like this.
I’m standing on the subway platform, waiting for the E train – my iPod blasting Pendulum – when I notice a woman talking to me. I turn to her and pull one of the earphones out. Still unable to hear, I remove the other and put my iPod in my bag.
“Your eyebrows look great” she says.
For several months now, I have been going every few weeks to get a Shellac manicure at a salon by my home. It’s a pretty typical place doing hair, waxing, nails, etc. and I have become a regular customer there which is a nice feeling.
I sit down and Dana (the nail tech) commences to ply her craft on my digits. We chat about the kind of stuff you chat about when getting your nails done: our kids (she has a teenage daughter), weekend plans, and – well – girl stuff. I see she has a tube of MAC DazzleGlass lip-gloss sitting out and I comment it’s a pretty color. She proceeds to tell me the story behind it (she does makeup and such for fashion shows and was given it as a gift) and how she’s not sure she’s loving it. I tell her I have the same type in a different shade and she asks me to put it on so she can see how it looks. I feel myself blush a bit but oblige her and brush on a coat.
“Oooo – I like that!” is her reaction. 🙂
And so for the rest of the time, we chat about make-up. She compliments my eyeshadow and I tell her it’s a loose power type. She confesses she has no idea how to use it and always makes a mess, so I explain the technique I use – a bit of information she is happy to learn. And so on and so on for the next twenty minutes or so.
I’m sure there are people who will dismiss this as wholly vapid exchange, but is it any more so than say a discussion about golf, or a reality TV show? I don’t think so. People have all sorts of ‘meaningless’ conversations all the time. What made this interesting (to me at least) was the fact that I was having it.
There was an ease to the conversation: nothing forced or uncomfortable about it. There was nothing about being ‘trans’ or any kind of ‘why’ to the conversation. In a word, it was all quite natural and it felt nice – and, dare I say, fun. 🙂
I love moments when all the nonsense fades into the background and I get to just be me.
It’s December first and that means a new monthly train ticket and a new opportunity for the conductor to play “Guess my gender” wherein they decide whether to punch my ticket as either male or female. I have discussed this here in the past – how I have been read as a man or (more often) a woman, but today was a first for me.
I hand the conductor my ticket today and he asks me “How would you like me to punch this? I’m not trying to be rude or disrespectful, I just don’t want to offend you.” It takes me a moment to reply: “Female is fine, thanks.” He punches my ticket and hands it back to me. “Just trying to be respectful. Have a good one.” – and he moves on the the next seat.
All totaled it was about twenty seconds of interaction – but it was an important twenty seconds to me. One of only a handful of times anyone has ever asked – as opposed to assuming – how I want to be gendered.
A rather nice start to the day.
Friday morning, second week of January 2010 : I’m in the cafeteria when I see her. She is in her early twenties, jaw-length bob, perfect makeup, wearing a bright blue cowl neck sweater, leather skirt coming down just above her knee, a wide black belt, dark tights and classy heals. I can hear her as she chats with her friends – a sweet girl as far as I can tell. As I look at her, a flood of feelings washes over me – feelings I have managed to (largely) avoid for the past year. As I walk past, I catch a glimpse of myself reflected in the glass of a display case. I am filled with a feeling of self loathing as I study the image of the ersatz woman it reflects. I know that no amount of wishing or hoping or appeals to greater powers will ever give me what she has. As I look at my own reflection, I begin to consider the entire exercise to be an effort in futility…
“So you transitioned on the job?” That was the question I was asked by one of the transgender panelists after the meeting the other night.
I wrote about this about three years ago. I have a rather narrow definition of transition as it applies to transgender people. It is a definition, really, of transsexual transition – one with surgery and legal name changes and the like. It implies things about me – about my identity and my intentions – that I don’t know are correct. And because of this, it do my best to avoid using the term in reference to myself.
So I went to panel discussion I mentioned in my last post. It went pretty much as I expected: two transition stories and a discussion of the hosting firm’s policies. There was talk of ‘transition teams’ and the all important ‘bathroom concerns’. (Yes, using a bathroom is important – but I have never seen the reason for everyone to get so concerned. We all do the same things in there – and usually in a stall. Why this is such a traumatic thing still eludes me – but it is and it needs to be addressed, so there you are.)
There is a panel discussion coming up on gender identity and expression in the workplace. It is being hosted by a large investment bank and should be interesting. I was asked if I had any suggestions for the panel and I offered to ‘tell my tale’ if they thought there was some value in it. I like to think that what I did and where I did it is something a bit unique, and as another investment bank was hosting, it seemed like a good fit.
n.b.: I first wrote this in October of 2008 and it’s been kicking around my drive since then. Six months later, things are only marginally different. The anxiety I felt then is still there – I am simply learning to live with it.
It was never my plan – this thing I do at work: it just sort of happened. One day, about eight years ago, I just started dressing ‘differently’ at work. It was small things: pants, a shirt, my shoes – nothing dramatic: one thing here and there. But as time went on, I pushed things more and more – and my appearance became more androgynous. I waited for someone to comment, but they never did. And while I never openly discussed what I was doing, I knew it hadn’t gone unnoticed. Somehow, I managed to ‘express my gender’ in a way that made me feel good – and I did it in one of the more conservative of corporate environments: at a Wall Street investment bank.
Here it comes, another lonely day, playing the game. I’ll sail away on a voyage of no return to see if eternal life is meant to be and if I find the key to the eternal dream…
I could find hundreds of lyrics and quotes to express my feelings and still it would only scratch the surface. I feel at times to be buried so deeply that there no surface through which to break – Or, it is there, but covered with a thick layer of ice – allowing glimpses of a sanctuary, all the while keeping it well out of my grasp.
My wife and I don’t talk. Not that we’re silent around one another, but we don’t talk about important things – things which when left unsaid only serve to widen the gap between us. We don’t talk about sex – who’s satisfied, who’s not. We don’t talk about my transness – at least not seriously. I consciously withold on this for fear of upsetting her – for fear of losing her. Every day, in the back of my mind, is the thought that today might be the day when she tells me she’s had enough of this and that it’s over.
There are many things about which I do not allow myself the luxury of contemplation. I keep these things tucked away in the back of my thoughts, covered with whatever I can find in the hopes that they will remain forever hidden from me. I do this because to consider these things – to bring them into the forefront of my thoughts – is simply too painful. They become too much of a distraction – to the point where they will occupy the majority of my thoughts. They become an almost deafening noise in my head – and once released, they are difficult to re-capture and once again tuck away. And so I bury them – as deeply as possible – in the hopes that they never again see the light of day.
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