Strength….. part 2

Not really a followup to the last post entitled “Strength”, but that’s what this is all about

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Mara says that I’m the strongest person she knows, and that is a big part of her love for me

I don’t often feel that I’m very strong, I’m me not because I feel strong, but because I needed to survive, and that other version of me wouldn’t have lasted too much longer…… is that strength?…. I don’t know

At the beginning of this year I was dating a man, and socially, it was easy. People saw us, and unless they remarked on our height (he was 6’3″ or something like that, I’m 5’10” flat footed so even when I wore heels I was still shorter), we were essentially invisible. We fit the expected narrative, a man and a woman, they had no need to look at us closer. It was easy to feel like we fit into the world.

I thought back then that it was a possibility, and I know quite certainly now, that this was / is a large factor in my attraction to men. When I spend time with a good male friend of mine, who is also quite tall, I also feel that cloak of invisibility upon me. People take us for a couple, because after all, that’s what men and women are if they are spending time alone aren’t they?, and never look twice at us. And it soothes me, helps me feel like I fit in this world

I sometimes feel like an imposter….

But I’m in love with a woman, and I hope to spend my life with this woman, and I never in a million years thought that her gender could have such an effect on me

When we’re together, we’re a lesbian couple. People look longer, or look twice, at non traditional couples. Then they notice me, as if they are seeing through me. They see her, clearly cis, clearly…. normal…. so they expect to see a man next to her, and they look deeper at me, and they stare, and they wonder, and I feel it all

even she is starting to notice it, and it brings her pain for me, because she loves me

she feels I’m strong for living my truth every day. I feel she is the strong one for voluntarily entering my truth, supporting me in it, going through it, seeing this darker side of the world through my eyes and my pain, something she never needed to see or to know. It may affect the way she feels about people close to her, it may affect the way she connects with some members of her family as our lives intertwine more and more and she finds that perhaps, some of them will not accept me, will laugh at me, at us, behind smiling eyes. I don’t feel right in affecting her this way even though it is her choice, and she does choose me, choose us

“not loving you is not an option” she says to me

she is remarkably strong, she has to be to be visible with me, and it seems that I need to find a new strength as well

because being with a woman, as a trans woman, can often be a reminder of how the world still doesn’t see me as an actual woman. Especially when it comes to men, and how they interact with us. I have to put up with so much less shit than she does in many ways, I’m not objectified in the same way as she is, subjected to drunken pick ups, men don’t automatically assume I’ll sleep with them if I talk to them. All of this of course assuming they know I’m trans, and if they don’t, well, then there is real danger and fear for me, they treat me like they would treat any other woman they are sexually interested in, then they *figure me out*, and anything could happen at that point, including death.

I should be happy that I’m not subjected to the same patriarchal bullshit shouldn’t I?, but I’m not. Each time the the world treats me differently than it would any other (real) woman, and now that I’m with a (real) woman I’m reminded more often, that the world doesn’t actually see me as a woman. The world treats women like shit in so many ways, and many of those ways are not applied to me, because I’m not actually a woman in their eyes, I’m “other”, or worse, a man dressed as a woman, pretending

something to be feared

it’s a (real) woman’s cisgendered privilege to suffer true misogyny, how fucked is that?, and how even more fucked is it that I want to feel what she feels, what all the other (real) women feel…. so I can be reinforced by society that I actually am…. a woman

I want to be able to flirt and accept flirting without fear for my safety, or my sanity. I want to be able to make light jokes about sexuality, without having people recoil from me as they picture themselves actually *touching* someone (something?) like me. I don’t want to be the only woman in a circle that a man shoots his hand out for a handshake, when he has given all the other woman our classic french kiss-kiss thing that we do (and this has happened too often to me), or have the only other girl in a group that I happen to be in referred to as the *only* woman present. I want to be able to feel safe and accepted in a sexual space, especially a queer one, yet even in the queer spaces, I’m still othered. I want to be able to have everything that she has, that I see her enjoy, yet, I can’t. Even though she accepts me fully as a woman, and truly and honestly knows me to be one, the way that the world treats the two of us differently, especially when we’re together, is a reminder that I’m not the same as her, a recurring, gnawing, reminder. A slap in the face, a knife to the heart

I want to be completely accepted as a woman, for who I am, and what I am, in all situations, but let’s face it girl, that’s never going to happen in your lifetime. Maybe one day, and maybe I can do what I can to get us to that point, but I’ll never get to benefit from it

For the first time ever this morning, I felt dysphoria about my body. I am firmly in the camp of genitals do not equal gender, yet when I looked at my naked body in the mirror, I winced, I didn’t like what I saw. But this is a symptom of all the microaggressions I’ve been experiencing lately, as the tall somewhat-more-masculine part of a visible lesbian relationship. After all, if I got that surgery, it wouldn’t make any difference in the end, people don’t look in your underwear before deciding how to gender you, but seeing myself in the mirror this morning was kind of tough, and I didn’t like that feeling. I could sink tens of thousands of dollars into facial feminization surgeries, yet there would always be that person that could clock me, could remind me that yes, I am different, wrong, to be feared, an other. Plus, my mental and spiritual well being would become tied into not being seen as trans, and as soon as I’m seen as trans, I fear it would destroy me

That’s not the strength I want, because it’s not strength, it’s hiding, it’s avoiding the problem all together, which is entirely my right to do so, but it’s not the path I want

but at the end of the day, even with the extra challenges that it brings, I love being her girlfriend, and she loves being mine, and she’s there for me as much as I am for her. Neither of us will be able to hide, and my truth will affect her, and change her, and she knows this, and yet, she still chooses me

chooses us

and that makes me one of the luckiest girls in the world

 


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