Monday, December 8, 2008

Au'voir Tristesse!

I was kickin’ it with a pal last night, an especially alto lass – one of those glamazon uberfraus who’s 7 feet tall in her Chucks. We threw our weary dogs up on the rickety, but oddly substantial wood of my coffee table. “Look at your little feet!” she side-eyed wickedly. I sensed it coming. I’d felt it before, from her, from others – this discomfort with my transition, which often translates in a need to knock me down a peg, either by dismissing my process, “it’s just menopause!” (meaning: I don’t actually need to transition; hormones are simply confusing me about my gender), or by commenting on how something I am doing, or not doing, or wearing, or not wearing, is not up to manly par. I get this from other transguys too, you know. They’re even more invested, more prone to feeling threatened if I’m “not doing it right.”

“You have little woman feet!” Well, actually, for my height, they’re pretty proportionate. This is not the first infraction from her, and so I leap from the corner I’ve trapped myself in: “Why do you always feel the need to emasculate me!?” Why indeed? I'm reminded of being 13 and having a crush on this Jewish girl in my Public Speaking class. One day I was sketching next to her, showing off and giddy with love, when I had this perverse and delicious compulsion, and I put the Star of David in my doodle. I can't say why, exactly, but I did know it would be provocative and arouse ire. Maybe I just wanted some kind of reaction from this girl who separated herself from me in what seemed to me to be an arbitrary, unfair way.

At the very least, transitioning allows for some interesting conversations, if you’re willing to delve the murkier waters at the bottom of a well you’re not sure hosts a fortune in coins or a face-eating troll. I actually almost long for these kinds of exchanges; having grown up in a family that shared nothing that had even the faintest whiff of fear or vulnerability, I have become almost eager to do so on my lonesome.

I can only speculate that a friend’s insistence upon something of mine being “womanly” means s/he feels shaken, unnerved, disturbed by my equally, seemingly obdurate insistence upon it being “manly.” My feet disappoint me – as a woman I thought them deliciously large, and shod them in even larger, bulky man shoes. As a dude? They’re small. Girl can’t help it. But what is it about transitioning that is threatening to other people, people who insist they “love me?”

One friend tells me, “I think of you as maternal. You’re a mother figure for me.” I, in turn, reply, “That’s beautiful! I won’t lose that; I love that quality in a man!” She avers, saying her own father is just such a man.

Maybe it’s just a general need to control – I am drawn to opinionated, controlling men and women. Hell, I’ll just gaze in the old gilt mirror, shall I? Why do what others choose to do with their lives impact me like a…a…an impacted thing (nothing good can come from impaction. I can only conjure teeth, and anal sacs.)?

I sit ‘round a fire in the cold, dank Raleigh drizzle. It’s 10pm: do you know where your trannies are? I’m sucking a cigar, and feeling not a little like Papa Hemingway, pretending I’m at the end of a dock in the Keys, storm passing over a turbulent sea, far far off in the horizon. I don’t feel lonely, at all. This is a miracle, because the ache of loss has had a bully’s grip on my head and my heart. Grief is solitary territory even when you’re standing on common ground with others. It’s always a peninsula threatening to detach, get swept into that selfsame sea you can see the storms over. I pull on the stogie and thank the Thing-That-Made-Me. “I’m finally settling into this transition.” I state aloud.

She left, and Clay died, and Keith got really scary sick, and I went to school full-time and moved twice and had and lost two jobs and got a crush on a girl and didn't care for it, and painted and wrote, and cried and cried and cried and laughed and laughed until my face hurt with sea salt coursing into the cracks of my fattening visage. The testosterone only makes me a little crazy now. My upper body continues to thicken, bursting out of last year’s winter coat, my favorite hoodie, some tee shirts but I keep slouching because of the breasts. Hair here, then there, my gaze averted by cleavage waaaay more than BT; anger, resentment, spitting curses at traffic and now saying “Cunt” and not in a nice way like I used to.

Something’s finished, or is it just the holidays?

I dreamt you took me by the hand and said “we need a lint brush.” My clothes are covered, in dreams and in day-life, by long fine peach and white cat hairs. You wanted me to look fresh and clean and new, for my new part. My new role. I’m moved by your attentiveness; I remember that about you. I walked down the aisle of the dream CVS full of a deep, deep, satisfaction and love, for you, for me, and for all of us.

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