Wow. I was in the North Carolina Department of Licenses, and I got scared. I was out of context. I was there with my over-long cutoff jeans, famous argyle polo, fabulous Kenneth Cole Unlisted leather sneaks and my unmistakable androgyny and I, for a moment, became terror-stricken. There was no one there of my socio-economic class and no one of my gender - whatever the hell those things are when one has been raised, nay, inculcated distinctly middle class but has not actually been middle class except in aesthetic and personal habit since leaving the parental nest, and one feels distinctly, nay, freakishly middle-sexed, standing uncomfortably albeit fashionably in the center of the DMV in Chapel Hill North Carolina.
I experienced the fear that I might be assaulted for being an outsider.
Here’s the thing: I have come to a new assimilation, a recent acquiescence, to my manlitude. I have really struggled with this transition. I did not care for it, no not at all, and I did not, for a time, wish to do it. Now I own it. I want it.*
This palimpsest of identities, this Rosie O’Donnell craft corner of identity decoupage: who am I? Artist, rocker, lesbian, heroin addict, performance artist, activist, writer, bon-vivant, alcoholic, mystic, body-builder, vegetarian, mentally ill, musician….all tried on, with greater and lesser degrees of comfort, most ultimately discarded, with greater and lesser degrees of success, and now Transgendered, which means what exactly?
These things tell me everything and nothing about who and what I am.
Nonetheless, those things, I fear, may speak harshly to the fears of others, particularly the tranny identity. What am I so afraid of? I never got too much crap as a dyke, or at least, I never attached much to it. I’ve been chased, by drunken men, by drunk men in cars, for being with another woman. Honestly, that’s more about being a woman than anything else. My perceived lesbianism was a threat to someone’s mistaken identity as heterosexual man-god, rightful owner of all things woman. I’ve been raped and I’ve been beaten. Same thing, same source of rage: this belief that if one is contained in one’s identity (male, ruler of all things), the world (oneself) is manageable and secure. Doesn’t ever happen, that security. Challenges to human ego structures start wars, dude, and on a personal level wreak just as much havoc, I’ve observed.
But why am I scared? I’ve already been chased, I’ve been assaulted. As a woman. The “worst” has already happened, for me. In fact, I have never been better equipped to defend myself than I am now. My street-level experiences taught me some things about other people and how to handle them, and that’s all I’ll say about that. So where does the fear of the threat of violence originate?
I think I’d just gotten to a level of comfort with my outlier-ness. Like with the tattoos, f’rinstance. That set me apart, for a while, but in recent years, in recent cities (like
My own ego, my mind, wants me always to feel apart from, lonely, isolated, misunderstood. This way it can avoid the pains of relationships, of interactions with other humans – the pains of betrayal and abandonment are the things it fears most. I think my fear is about being perceived as an outsider, but it’s me that set myself up that way. My true, deepest fear is of being alone, unlovable. Sometimes I’m scared that I’ve set myself apart for good with this one, this tranny notion. But the truth shines a warm hard light on that lie, and dissolves it into dust motes in its beam. By speaking and living my truth, whatever the fuck that is, I have never experienced more support, more love, and more liberation than I’m living RIGHT NOW.
*Manfirmations, I tell you what. This crazy new-age technology WORKS.