Life is a Journey - Make sure you get the right roadmap to the universe

I'm quite sure I picked up the wrong one on my way out the door....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Breaking Ground at a Women's T-Dance

My wife, Joanne, and I Arrived in Newburyport, MA early enough in the afternoon Saturday to be able to check in to our hotel and to get changed and ready for the evening. We had signed on to attend an "All Women's T-Dinner. comedy show and dance" for that evening and were anticipating quiet an interesting evening. Joanne and I both had some reservations as to how we would be accepted in what most likely would be a women's venue but this unknowing aspect was just part of the attraction and anticipation to attend. What I didn't realize at the time we signed on for this was that the letter "T" in T-dance had nothing to do with transgendered!

By 6:00pm, I was fully dressed and just finishing up on a second coat of nail polish when Lida arrived at our hotel. We had offered for her to meet us here so that she could get ready and so that we would be able to all go together. Lida changed, worked on her makeup and chatted with us just as Sheila arrived in the parking lot at the Marriott. I threw my heels on and scurried out to open the outer hotel exit door and let her in. Back in the room, Joanne helped provide some finishing touches to Sheila's makeup and hair, the results of those efforts being impressive to say the least.

Fashionably late, we left the hotel and car-pooled in Lida's car to make the short 10 minute drive to the restaurant and function hall. Pulling up near the venue as close as we dared chance for some opportune on-street parking, we scampered out of the car and onto a brick lined sidewalk. We realized almost immediately how poorly matched a brick sidewalk and tapered high heeled shoes were. Almost every other step was one which saw a heel find a crack in the bricks which would send one or the other of us, sometimes in near unison, into a very unladylike stumble. fortunately our walk was short and we were soon upon the steps of the restaurant, itself a converted church with high vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.

Not realizing that the function was upstairs and not in the lower dining hall, we opened a set of double doors and stood in the doorway of a fully crowded restaurant, several steps higher than the dining room. The patrons immediately took note of us and a variety of gazes were focused upon us as we stood there, all decked out in our fanciest evening wear. "I think this may not be the event", I noted stolidly, motioning toward the stairs which led to a second level. We left the patrons in the restaurant to reflect upon what they just saw and we jaunted up the stairs to the function hall.

After providing our names to the hostess, we were directed into the main function room. It was immediately apparent that we were the only transgendered gals in the room which meant we just spiked the diversity up a notch by bringing some "T" into the otherwise "L" of GLBT in that room. We enjoyed dinner and a two comedy acts before the dance floor opened up. Immediately, Sheila was out on the dance floor, doing her solo dance and luring us out to join in. Next was myself, Joanne and Lida and in short order, we had the rest of the floor out there partying with us.

Initial trepidation which may have existed between the natal women and ourselves was quickly dispelled as we brought them into our dance circle and and showed them more than a few moves. Sheila led some extraordinary swing and salsa steps which took me for quite a few pirouette like spins - all in 4 inch heels and on a glossy dance floor! One woman, Brooke, mentioned to me that I had a smile on my face that entire evening. I simply told her that it's so easy to smile when I have the opportunity to be able to express as my whole and true self!

The dance music finally finished up, and all too early we might add as we extolled our requests to the DJ to keep the music pumping. It was then that we chatted up with several of the women we had been dancing with and with a few other of the tables where the women seemed amazed by our makeup, clothes and ability to power dance in high heels. Where the dancing finished, the deep conversations began. Here we traded stories of powerful similarity with several of the Lesbian women we had been closely dancing with. The relations between what they had to deal with and endure regarding the cost of coming out with their sexuality and the consequences it brought both to themselves and their own families mirrored so closely to what so many of us have had to deal with and endure.

I related that we shared many similarities but for the fact that gender identification was one which was less easily hidden. As transgender, we publicly display our variance which adds a whole level of complexity in assimilating with society. The common ties we developed in our conversations there on the dance floor that evening, quietly chatting as the hall was shutting down was priceless. Perhaps when we entered that room there were some looks and questions as to who we were or what we were all about - but by the end of that evening we were all great friends.

We parted that night with a flurry of kisses between all and a series of embracing hugs. Jackie, the comedian, who seemed to enjoy my honesty, dry wit (and more than a few comments on my outfit and presentation), ended up planting one on me straight on. Truly, I did try to duck for the left or right cheek but she was intent on her set course. Joanne, bless her, understood this gesture as nothing more than what it was - that there was a great appreciation for who we were and how we were able to coalesce a great night in unique ways. And the huge take away for us all from the evening was that we turned an all lesbian women's event into a learning opportunity. We came away from that evening being able to understand each other in ways that brought us all closer in assimilating the common issues we both face. We came in as strangers to be wary of but parted as great friends and in high spirits! Joanne and I were laughing and chatting about this for much of the next day!

Letters to the Distraught

To a friend who has found the world a cold and unaccepting place to anyone who is perceived to be different...

Dear J,

Being Transgendered - This is such a difficult realm to exist within I know. I hope that you are seeing your therapist who may be able to shed some light. You truly have all the pieces in place which would constitute the aspects of life which many would envy... wonderful wife, security of job and income, challenging work which allows for some freedom of artistic creation and expression, living in a wonderful part of the country the list goes on.....

It is ironically interesting that I often feel much the same. I have the things which others would envy and feel so blessed to have a fantastic wife and wonderful place I call home, no overhead of financial burden and a seemingly ideal job working from home. With all of these things, I still feel empty at time as if I walk in a scripted daze, feeling detached. I become upset for myself for not feeling this should be enough in life and although I don't desire anything more materialistically, feel somewhat hollow inside. It's a hard feeling to explain and what I feel is missing is the one thing that would upset the very fabric of the equilibrium I have in all things.

Joanie has a way about her and reminds me constantly that the grass is not greener in the other pasture and that it's fine to be in the middle - with a gender that is fluid, malleable and vacillating. I hope to come to this point of comfort but the rift seems to grow wider and not narrower as time goes on. It's not my intent to affirm societies norms by molding myself into one gender box or another - yet I still feel everything is just personally wrong and so walking the walk is just becoming harder and harder.

Perhaps me setting out my materialistic and personal goals was the panacea I thought would resolve the turbulence. Now in sight of a goal, I realize I have not been at all truthful with myself. It's not the glamor, the makeup or the glitz - these are ephemeral in nature but then again, these are the only times I have to make up for the times I feel holed up within myself and so I let loose.

I'm not sure if any of this relates to you specifically as you didn't indicate, but that's where I am - I don't know why I am on PE either - I am like the tidy bowl man longing to sail those seemingly beautiful and placid blue waters knowing that others are getting flushed down the toilet and their lives mangled and destroyed in the maelstrom of transition and beyond.

If I distance myself from here, I internalize the mental torment and it becomes worse. I'm probably glossing all this over with my therapist too - I can't even be honest in how I relate to her let alone myself. I'll probably just end up giving her some of my writings as this is the only time I can really communicate completely.

-Christen

Dear J,

I was rather late in my return last night and so sorry to miss you. I was quite upset to read your reply to my wife yesterday just prior to my departure. The world really is quite two-faced I find. What can seem like support can be quite the opposite behind one's back. Even confiding in someone can lead to their talking with an individual who ends up being the bad apple in the bunch.

I was quite literally in tears on my way down to Electro - and for several reasons - One was for the pain that was being caused through the willful and deliberate ignorance and intolerance of others toward you and the the second was a more general expansion to realize that this sort of behavior extends outward and would apply and encompass myself or anyone.

My thoughts on the road which I coined were... "We are what we are perceived to be... Our identity is determined by the judgment of others and not by ourselves"

That's a pretty powerful thought and one I would not have likely admitted to in the past, I had to pull over at one point to take a break. Then my thoughts turned to the thoughts of how destructive trying to be able to live authentically as how I feel, since it would cause an immediate demise of huge chunks in my own life - the negativity associated with the social stigma imposed by others would certainly be the major factor. It would be a domino effect of major proportion.

Then of course I began to look at my own duality and the times that I have to express myself. You mentioned once about my manner of dress - certainly over the norm of how most women present on a daily basis - and I thought about it - and I realized that my expression was limited to very few times where I could be who I feel inside and of course I condense what I can into a tight sphere. Again, still driving, this caused some stress realizing that I have only windows which I can present and which are "safe".

I thought of a Twilight Zone Episode which was relevant....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaVo2xifmSw

I must commend your wife's thoughts of your going back to Therapy but I must question the idea of HRT as a solution. I see it as a Panacea. How will HRT change any of the situations around you? I don't see it as a magic pill that will transform one into a woman such that they can now blend with ease and be so pleasing magically to the eyes of others such that their jaded thoughts of knowing who we were previously as the shell of a male just washes away. I don't see it as a happy pill either that will make one feel congruent and thus oblivious or able to handle the ignorance around them.

I don't see any of that. What I do see is a slippery road into a world of stark ultimatums which is driven by the realm of others who will continue to take judgment upon us and strive through ignorance to upset our ability to live our lives as we wish. This will be incurred through the strife and economic turmoil which they will inherently inflict upon us.

Basically I am beginning to believe that one must drop out, transition, and re-emerge as our new selves while burying our past - Stealth! I don't like to admit that - but it seems the safest route. Again, if it were myself, I would be hesitant to even consider HRT without some sort of game plan in place to take the idiocy and intolerance of the "sheeple" who inhabit the Earth into account.

-Christen