Subject: Time and Betrayal and Healing
Date: Mon 01 Jun 1998 - 02:44:51 BST
With Michael's story here, I have been thinking about betrayals.
The hardest part about transgender is simple: we become a screen that other
people use to project their own issues with the gender system, what they love
and what they fear, how they were abused by gender and how it entrances them.
The worst thing about this process is that it happens in thier time, not our
time. We each want so much for our parents, our family, our friends and our
coworkers to come to a new understanding of gender quickly, to process their
own issues fast, so we can get on with the process of just being in
relationship, of growing together.
It rarely, if ever, works that way though. People have their own issues to
deal with in their own time, and that means we end up as the subject of
projection and transferance, cast as a professional tranny in a world where we
just want to be one of the folks. We have enough challenges working out our
own issues that having to be the object of issues for so many people around us
I know that, for me, learning to be compassionate to people who have to go
though their own challenges and end up using me in the process has been one of
the hardest things I have ever had to do. My needs are so clear and sharp, my
pain so present, so that when they are combined with the isolation that comes
from being a "phobogenic object" as Jake Hale says, or an object of any kind,
I get frayed and tattered.
I just know that I bring up stuff in people, and I have to hope that they will
engage it rather than try to erase me, try to simplify their world by
eliminating the truths that I embody. Unfortunately, this engagement is a
messy, human process where people do messy human things, like tell stories,
act out and go though deep emotions, concealed so long ago.
What do you do when you bring a storm with you wherever you go, like the cloud
of dust that followed Pigpen in Peanuts? The only solution that seems to make
any sense to me is to find a way to be the calm eye in the storm, to keep my
head when others all around are losing theirs. Hard freaking magic, I tell
I have spent my life trying to keep my head down, to stay hidden, so that I
would cause as little storm as possible, but I clearly haven't been sucessful.
I'm smart, verbal, fast, insightful and transgendered -- any one of those can
draw attention and challenge people, bringing up their issues. After all,
it's not just transgender that people have issues about, it's lots of things
in this world that will make them have to find copaing mechanisms that may not
be pleasant, like women babbling to friends, seeking feedback, approval,
understanding andeven status by speaking into the mirror of theor friends and
seeing what comes back.
I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of people who said they
didn't want to hurt me and then ended up hurting me, often badly, were being
truthful. They really didn't want to hurt me, rather they just ended up doing
what they needed to do. It wasn't really about me, it was about them, just
the way I hurt people in my past was about my own fears and pain, not them.
It doesn't make the pain any less to know that, but it does put it in context
for me, and that seems to be enough, at least on good nights.
What it has come down to for me is working on my own issues, my own deep
wounds, and as I heal, the actions of others don't rip me open, exposing the
raw emotion underneath. It has taken me more years than I want to count, and
II keep findinge new challenges, but I do what I have to.
I know how hard it is to be the center of attention, the Maguffin that drives
the exposition, as Hitchock used to call the object that drove his movies.
All the unhealed wounds of a transgendered life, the daily abuse and
indginities, the isolation and pounding to be normative, it's all so hard,
especially for those of us who have the sight, an ability to see deeply and
well. We fall into the wells of others emotions and we have trouble finding
our own stability.
I can't tell you how many times I have gone to bed dreaming that the people I
loved would get it, work though their own issues and finally be able to engage
me, and how many mornings I woke up to find that I again felt betrayed and
erased. I so wanted the world to heal so I could feel safe, but now I know
that it's only my healing that can make the world safe for me.
In my own mind, you know, I'm normal. I'm so used to who I am and how I see
that I can't imagine why other people don't get me, can't see though my eyes
like I can see though theirs, can't just make the connection with me. Yet,
after a number of decades, I have figured out that I am special, and that I'm
am going to to bring up other people's stuff, and that's that. I juat have to
be gracious, mature and sensible about it, listening hard to figure out what I
am doing wrong so I can better, and what is other people's stuff that I don't
need to take personally.
It's hard and lonely to be TG, to watch people have expectations about us, to
watch them flail and throb in their own pain, often hitting me in the process,
But it is who I am, and what I do, so I guess I have to learn to live with it.
But that sure doesn't mean that it is easy.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2a23 : Wed 21 Jul 1999 - 18:21:11 BST