I was visiting the hair goddess yesterday to have my hair restored to the color chosen. As a member of the fair sex I need to do that on a regular basis, yet another female tax. The goddess and I had an interesting conversation about how trans women are perceived.
Some trans women struggle to set aside their years of existing as a man. They still present as male despite the surface details. In my opinion Caitlyn Jenner struggles with this. Lovely plastic surgery, but every movement, and the pace of her speech is distinctly masculine. Hopefully that will improve for her.
Some do come across as women by you can see the bones of where they came from. It never quite leaves them but they’re happy and people are ok with it.
Some seem like they were never men to start with. I felt honored that another trans woman I know and myself were in that category in my hairdresser’s view. My therapist has said something similar as have a couple of people at work, that they basically can’t even remember what I was like before or that it seems like I’ve always been Rachel.
I feel great about this of course, it is somewhat the ultimate compliment after such a journey to be exactly where and what you wanted to be. It leads me to a question: what happened to make this so? What can I tell my faithful readers or my trans sisters? Because being like this is a great shield against anyone harassing us for being trans since even if everything isn’t perfect, you simply aren’t read as trans.
But how to achieve this? To tell the truth I have no clue what happened. Internally it feels like nothing changed at all. This is not true, but it might be that nothing did change at the core.
I’m certain that some of it is the outer trappings. Men stomp, women glide and that goes for speech and other movement too. Move more gracefully, express yourself more liberally with words. Other things are harder, listen more and give advice less, care more, love more.
Yet not all that is true of every woman, hardly so.
Do resist the urge to answer those who want to know your old name or see an old picture. Tell them the truth, you’ve moved on, you don’t want to be bound to who you were and that’s no longer you.
What happened? Oh, right, transition stopped, and life, well, life started anew. I’m just Rachel now. Rachel who’s free to find a new partner, investigate who she is, and live her life in a way that feels genuine. Rachel who no longer needs to tell every person her history or feel awkward about being a lady, a woman or referred to as Ma’am. Rachel who has a frisson of joy when referred to as miss because she’s no longer so young.
My delightful experience last week was being angry and complaining about something at work. As I walked away I realized how ordinary my complaint was. How unimportant the matter was. It wasn’t a chronic illness, a major surgery, the dissolution of a long marriage or a child not willing to be in contact. It was just an ordinary thing.
And so I walked away, and I smiled.
As to having real advice? All I can say is that mostly I think it is a matter of time. More for some than others, more naturally for some than others. Most of this was unconcious for me, some small things were learned but quickly internalized.