It’s been a bad week.
I’ve been feeling really low for many reasons and it got to the point yesterday when I realised that other than my 30-Something nephew J who gives “brotherly” hugs, and who I don’t see often enough, I haven’t actually had a hug for almost 3 years.
Sure Danny and I hug in Second Life, or at least our avatars do, and knowing that he’s there for me wanting to be with me and holding me close, that’s the highlight of my day even though we’re only in simulated physical contact. I share “symbolic” textual hugs with S, Z and other close friends in Second Life too.
But what my innermost self needed was to feel that squeeze when you and someone else really take hold of one another, hug, and mean it.
While Danny and I were discussing my low mind set at about 2am Thursday night (or was it last night?) he encouraged me to try to cry my feelings out, and had I been living alone I most certainly would already have done so, but with wifey asleep only a room and a half away I had to keep things tight and nothing more than a sniffle was possible.
A large part of the reason for feeling the need for a hug is down to reading so many lovely stories on other peoples’ blogs about trans women going out with their friends and having fun together, and I know there is a huge jealousy factor there that has affected me greatly. It really struck home with me as to how isolated I am in my present environment.
I don’t know of any other trans women in my area, although statistically there must be some. Following the recent efforts of LGBT Health & Wellbeing in Edinburgh to reach out to the trans community in Fife there is a possibility that when I can get to some of their group sessions next month, while wifey is away, I might find new people from my area there that I could befriend. I live in hope.
So I awoke this morning still on a downer, lonely, and unsure of what to do for the day; go down town as planned to take back that lovely pleated black skirt I’d bought in a Charity shop last week only to find it was about 4 sizes too small (!), and if so whether to even bother to femme up or just go as the male slob who dominates my exitence at the moment, or just pleb about here at home as I have been doing so much recently, wallowing in self pity, and stressing out over my GIC appointment next week.
I began my usual morning ritual of trawling through the WordPress Reader for Transgender and Trans Women posts, initially with the intention of tracking down a (subsequently disappointing) video post that I had spotted late last night, and then came across something which totally blew me away!
I’m not in the habit of “Reblogging”. To me it diminishes the authenticity and editorial integrity of the original post, so if you haven’t already seen the post “Perspective” by Ronda Churchill on her blog “Making the Cut” I urge you to go there now and come back to me when I’ll talk about the effect that the picture of “Michael” has had on me today.
I think I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a more potent image of a human being in my whole life.
That top photograph resonates deep into my soul on so many levels.
As I gaze at it, as I have done for a long time today, I see both a street-weary guy with a myriad of stories and experiences, many of which I’m guessing we would rather not hear of, and a beautiful, effeminate woman full of joy, vitality, joie-de-vivre and with her whole life ahead of her.
Michael’s eyes, which Ronda defines as “quiet”, actually speak to me in so many ways.
They follow me around the room as I reposition to try to gain further insights into Michael’s character and his world.
In them I see a life torn by confusion about his identity; years of turmoil and despair, misunderstanding, prejudice, possibly even violent abuse. But I also see ambition, acceptance, an inner recognition of self, and most of all … hope.
There’s an old saying that goes, “Never take away a man’s hope, for it may be all he has left”, and I believe when I look at the picture that Michael has been in that place, that dark pit where only the faintest flicker of a distant light keeps the heart beating and the lungs breathing.
I also believe that now with the help and support of The Salvation Army, and others, Michael has started on a journey of recovery which, I sincerely hope and pray, will enable the woman inside him to flourish and bloom in all her glory.
The picture, to me, tells a story both in the past, present and future tenses.
In one image I see all of us, transgender individuals of either direction; the struggles we have to go through, the pain, (both physical and mental), the periods of self doubt and also the successes we achieve by being true to our inner selves, by projecting our true selves when all around us seems desolate and worthless, when we ourselves seem worthless but we carry on, striving always to be understood and accepted in a world of hatred and misogyny.
I don’t feel the need for a physical hug today; seeing Michael, posed and dressed as he is in that photo, has given me renewed determination never to be beaten down by society, never to give up on my dreams, and never to let anyone tell me that nothing is worth fighting for.
I shaved, showered, did my hair, put on a bright red feminine swagged top and a black skirt, earrings, did my make-up, and I’m writing this feeling happy to be alive … happy to be me!
Michael’s eyes may be quiet, but they speak volumes in whispers if one takes the time to approach and listen.