Transgender and Not in Touch with My Feelings

I Still Belong to the Episcopal “No Touch” Massage Club

Saoirse George
Photo by Russell Ferrer on Unsplash

I am a transgender woman. I have no doubts, but sometimes I wonder if I will ever fit in? So many of my sisters are in the midst of their own personal sexual revolution, while I sit on the poolside still afraid to dip my toe in the water.

Am I a prude? Am I just so scared from growing up during the AIDS epidemic? Am I just a victim of my upbringing, unable to let go of my bindings?

I read an article by Kitty Whitemore today, and my earth shattered. I realized once and for all that I am not the liberated transgender, transexual woman I imagined. It has always been obvious. I resist exploring identity with extreme provocative dress. I enjoy the girly talk but refrain from joining in the deep end. I am inherently refined.

No, not refined, I am sadly unadventurous and boring. 🥺 I am not a risk taker, I have ever been so.

I guess I am still living vicariously. Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. But I have reached the point where I believe that you have to take chances or be ready to live with the regret of not having tried. Still, even though I have now climbed the ladder, I am afraid to jump off of the high dive!

Unsplash+ In collaboration with Getty Images

I live in three worlds. 

In one, I am a teenage girl leaning into finally becoming the woman she imagined she would be as a little girl. That woman is strong, sensual, and confident in herself. That woman enjoys life’s adventures and can cut loose with the crowd. But she also knows her own boundaries and keeps them. These boundaries may adapt as I learn, but they will always be necessary to protect my inner sense of self.

In another, I am an older woman. I am integrating in groups and finding acceptance. In friendship I share interests in the arts, spirituality, and travel to name a few. None of these interests are gender specific, yet in the midst of girlfriends, our passion and approach certainly is. Even though we often are very different, we share things in common on a level I never experienced living as a cisgender man. This part world might be favorite, but it cannot exist in isolation.

In the last, I am a transgender woman. No longer an infant on my path but hardly an elder. Still, I have come so far that my words can now sway others. I must be careful to be supportive and encouraging but not to present my experience as a goal for others to pursue. I must always share context with my stories of self discovery and growth, so it is clear that my experience is not a guide or map for others to follow. I also find that while in connections with other transgender individuals there is community and acceptance, I have less and less interest in the role playing that can, sometimes, verge on the stereotypical projection of a woman. If I could carry it off, I might feel differently. But in the back of my mind is that my steps in that direction feel more like parody than self affirmation. Am I limiting myself for no good reason? Time will tell.

I have come so far! But I have much growth yet ahead of me. I expect I always will. The only way to truly stop changing is to stop living. I will continue to explore my existence as these three incarnations of womanhood. They are not antithetical to one another. They are aspects of my lived life that are real and open to me, when before I believed I had no options at all. That is so exciting and wonderful! In that sense, I am actually in mid air still approaching the water!

So, will I ever take the plunge?

I don’t know what the future holds. For now, I will stay on the diving board, enjoy the view, and then climb down to splash around in the shallow end. There are parts of my life that would change forever if took the dive, and in that change I would lose someone. I would regret that loss more than anything. I would regret the pain that my plunge into the deep end would cause to both her and myself. 

Meanwhile, I have three worlds to explore. I think that is going to take a long time. Perhaps it will take a lifetime? I don’t know anything except that my decision to live in each world is something I will never regret.

Do you face a similar quandary? Or are you climbing out of the deep end, like Kitty, with no regrets, thankful for the self knowledge and confidence you now have? 

Wherever you are, and whatever path you choose, it is your own. I applaud your courage, zest, and joy. I commiserate and share your pain and failures. We are sisters, siblings, and cousins. Each of us must find our own way, but while your way is yours, still we are all together. Be well!

Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash
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