Field Notes In/On Transition
Whenever I’m in large groups, I often experience a certain kind of “socialization anxiety”…
When you get a group of 2 or more pairs of men and women; the structure of “hanging out” (at a party, or a group outing) very often (of course not always, which is far easier to deal with) gets split into men/women cliques. As a genetic/normally socialized male, I almost always, in these situations, stay with, or go with the men.
I almost always actually would prefer to stay/go with the women. This may be a silly thing to even be thinking about in this day and age, but it’s something that’s always been one of those things that aligns my compass towards being female. Over the years I’ve almost always wanted to keep hanging with the women, when these divides occur. Women in the kitchen, men on the porch, whatever cliched example you prefer, I’ve always felt I was standing amongst the wrong people. Even those rare times that I’ve been able bridge the gender segregation, I felt like as much a spy in the kitchen, as on the porch. Still do.
It’s not an easy thing to change, socialization. I guess it’s just like coming out, you just have to do it. Follow your tribe, learn about your tribe, be part of your tribe.
On a more practical and kind of icky topic: “The Body Hair” issue, has become a real big signpost for me. i seem a bit scared to start stripping off all the hair. It’s such a huge undertaking in my eyes, that I feel like a failure just by having all this body hair, let alone trying to get rid of it all, or most of it. I’m really trying not to get ahead of myself with the physical changes, and changes to presentation that follow.
The chest & back hair have to go, and oddly I’m stalled on doing it, despite having kept my self “bare” at many points of the years, Now that I’m really feeling myself being feminized, there is almost a spiritual barrier/fork in the road that I will be having to walk down soon enough. I’m waiting for the moment with no small amount of reverence. Once I start the more permanent hair removal (Body & Face) I feel I will have passed an important milestone, at least in my individual journey.
Which brings me to the importance of visualization, affirmations, ritual, as building blocks for transition. I’ve read most of the biographies, gender theory books, that you might imagine. in order to find similar stories to mine… And until I read Julia Serrano’s “Whipping Girl”, I never really ever saw myself in the stories. Her understanding of her gender, and how she wants to live her life, outside the gender norm of her preferred gender ID (female), but still as a woman. Our circumstances are very different, yet I grokked her story far more than Renee Richards, Kate Bornstein.
I can’t really even tell you why other than her personal understanding of the idea of “subconscious sex” and physical or genetic sex. Almost all the time these two things jibe in humans. It’s not something you even think to question, unless you are trans…. I’ve always thought of my own gender difficulties as “the White Noise” or “Room Tone” of my life. Always there, in the background, sometimes subsonic, depending of the volume of the world around me.
Thus, visualization, affirmation, and a smidgen of the occasional “positive thinking” have become crucial to me, as I feel the need to be in harmony with the white noise of my existence, to have it be part of the tapestry of my journey, as opposed to something that buzzes in my ear, causing me to fall out of sync with the world around me.
Every morning and night, occasionally during the day, I repeat the mantra of “I am a Woman, I am a Strong Woman, I am A Beautiful Woman”.
The only “higher power” I am in tune with is that part of myself that is in tune with whatever spirituality is out there, I have no need to cling to a concept clearer than that. For me that’s all I need. a mantra, and a clear crisp imagination, I do want to work in more physical exercise, to help centre my mind, spirit and body a little more.
Saying these things out loud, can still bring the fear, the shame, in waves. But now a few months in doing this, and visualizing myself as a woman while out on power walks, or while walking to the grocery store even go a long way to making me feel comfortable having who I am being something that can be said out loud.
For me, transitioning, is as I’ve said already, is all about becoming the best Me that I can be. It seems to me at least in these early days of transition I’m only able to even understand that ambition if i can be present while doing so as a woman/trans-woman.
Obviously I would like to be able to blend enough so that the trans part is moot. That i’m just living my life, writing, and creating art, much as I was before I opened up and decided to take this plunge.
I am trying to stay openminded on my destination, and concentrate on a thoughtful journey. to that end I’m trying to incorporate more long brisk walks into my week, not just for the exercise, but asa a bit of a visualization, and affirmation ritual, reflecting this small leg of my journey.
Here's another "Josie Page" from back in Tha Day: