I have alluded to many things that are themselves allusive over the past months. Most fundamentally, I am picking up on things, on messages, on ripples that are all way more complex than my brain used to be able to handle. I don’t know if this is common in the m2f trans-female world, and whether this is a gift of oestrogen. My theory? Yes and no.
First, what am I actually talking about?
Things are happening to me that really test the boundaries of what coincidence actually is. Taken in isolation any one of them would be utterly unbelievable—the kind of “what are the chances” experiences that make anyone incredulous when telling stories. But they are happening to me almost daily. Sometimes several times a day. And they are mostly happening when I allow my instinct to guide me.
Take for example that I am at an event. There are perhaps 200 people present. I know perhaps 20% of them. It is a cocktail reception. I ask my brother, “who is that gorgeous woman over there, do you know her?” He had no idea, but suggested, “why don’t you go and talk to her.” So, I did. And in my slinky dress I butted in on the conversation she was having with some man who was hitting on her, and who quickly peeled out when I sidled up. And you know what? Out of 200 people there that evening, I ended talking to one person for the entire time. What are the chances that the one person I speak to that evening happens to have written her thesis on transgender witches through the ages? Are you surprised that we went out for lunch the next day?
What are the chances of all those coincidences?
I can see the sceptics rolling their eyes. Hey. I know. You can’t make this stuff up. And it is happening to me over and over again.
My real therapist has said to me when I reported a whole string of such random occurrences that this is one of the gifts of womanhood. Gosh, you ladies sure hide the best stuff. It’s like, ‘if men only knew!’
Why yes and no
First off, as a young boy, I felt I could see and feel things before they happened, could “know” people’s minds. And I am not speaking literally and clearly, but more about feelings. That I could see things like something being knocked over before it happened. This has translated into occasionally freakishly fast reaction times to falling objects. But also to a “skill” at reading people, reading rooms, and one that has helped me in the working world and what I have been doing for a living—negotiating deals.
But none of that means anything to me. What mattered then and what has begun to matter again now, is that little-boy-me could feel energy. And one of the happy accidents of stepping into being a transgender woman, is that I can feel this energy again. Only I begin to understand it, hone it, direct it, and can tap into it more freely.
I have begun training in a kind of somatic therapy that involves energetic touch. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called, I’ve been running the houses on different kinds. Nor does it matter that I find it is great training but also incomplete. The greatest practitioners of the method seem to blend in other methods with the core teaching. I am doing the same, and finding my own “voice” in the healing that is associated with this.
So, the ‘yes and no’ part has to do with having this feeling of connectedness already. It is clear that oestrogen is stripping away layers, and I believe my therapist is correct, that this is certainly more common to women than men, but having a propensity or sensitivity to something doesn’t actually mean it happens. You still have to work for it.
Is it arrogant to wonder if everything has meaning? I don’t think so. It is not to say that God has a special plan for any of us, though at times, I do believe that the universe bends to accommodate certain situations, ones that have nothing to do with rational human agency. No, it is rather that every human is connected in a web, connected by etheric threads. Some of us feel them, some not at all, and the intensity of feeling and seeing them can vary. We can “listen” to them or pull on them if we wish. It is this ability or willingness to follow instinct that dictates fate. Nothing is pre-ordained–that would be arrogant, but we have agency at every moment. Whether and how we choose to exercise it is what is in question.
The title of this post manifests itself physically in my body as core strength. Working out the belly muscles. It is a spiritual version of the same. It is one thing to show tough love and discipline to the self, and applying that to others is not okay, but one can apply the same philosophy towards treating others with compassion.
What kind of work?
How do you listen for energy? I don’t know, but I begin to feel that I have eyes in my hands. When I lay my hands on somebody, it often feels as if I see inside them. What I see is meaningless if they don’t see me back, and this mingling of energy, this meeting of two souls in the body of one is what is so powerful about the work.
Listening for energy, seeing energy involves melting away from the world of the rational, and tapping into the wispy and ethereal nature of energy fields. And the more I do it, the more I can “see” it…when the seeing is more a form of knowing. Knowing what colour someone’s aura is, what shape it is, how far it extends from someone’s body, how it might intermingle with your own, whether it is shy or forthright.
But I also know that you don’t see it when you are just out and about. You don’t see it over dinner. You don’t see it with even a little alcohol in the body. Or even after the comfort of a meal. At least I don’t. My reflexologist, and soon-to-be-real-life domme has talked to me about this, the body as a listening instrument. She describes it as heaviness. When we stress our bodies inappropriately, we make our bodies have to work and heal itself. But when we condition perfectly, it can focus on being light and feeling energy.
I only see clearly when my body is taut with curiosity, a kind of body-energy feeling that arises after physical exercise and the mental clarity that brings, a state of low-calorie living which is facilitated by intermittent fasting or days of a broth-based diet—nutrient dense, but forcing the body to burn off its excess. I think of this as keeping our machine finely tuned…for without it, we may not hear quite as clearly. This is also why before seeing a Mistress, or an FSSW, I spend a day meditating, being contemplative, eating well, taking care of me, doing my ablutions. To be in the presence of such a person is like entering a temple–we bring our cleanest and most primed selves.
My Inner Geisha
My thoughts have turned to full-body tattooing. This is something that I have desired for a very, very long time. Teenaged-boy me associated the full body tattoo as something transgressive but also quintessentially female…the markings of a slave girl…something I have long wished for myself. How strange to get there and find that though she may be selectively a slave, she is anything but submissive.
In conversation with a tattoo artist about just such a project—and there are a great many over the years that I have spoken to with this brief in mind: “you are an artist, take my body, all of it, as your canvas.” But I never found anyone that even remotely seemed to get it. I got awfully close a few times, but always balked in the end, as, well, it’s permanent.
But the quest has continued, and one day I ventured into a studio and looked through the work of the artists working from there, and one of them really jumped out at me. I eventually booked to meet her (good tattoo artists are booked way out in advance) but had to wait several months until we could actually sit down and talk. And boy, she got it. For the first time, someone heard what I was saying and understood it.
She asked me to take a few months to gather images, to write things down, and to send it all to her. Something to pass the many months waiting to get onto her roster. When we finally did sit down to discuss design ideas, she had one word for me. Geisha. “I see you as a geisha,” she said. Of course, dear reader, you have no idea what I put in my briefing document to her. It was 8 pages of a lot of things, but geisha was not what was there. There was stuff about femininity, Goddesses, female empowerment, slavery, feminist iconography, her particular talent of water brush style…but nothing about geisha. At all. And yet, if there is one word to describe how I feel about my female self, geisha could very well be the best word for it.
Service. Entertainment. Exoticism. What’s not to like?
And in keeping with the weird coincidences of my life, I went to visit a somatic therapist who I have been seeing for the past 18 months, in a large building in midtown Manhattan, and after our session, a particularly powerful one, I walked out of her studio to see that the office door across the hall was open, and there was a kimono hanging there. Given the way that the word “geisha” was bouncing around in my head I decided to poke my head in, “hello” I called out. A young Japanese woman emerged from behind a curtain and informed me that yes, indeed, they were kimono wholesalers.
What are the chances?!
I browsed, and whilst I was doing so, in walked a blonde German woman who in a little bit of witty bavardage between us, revealed that she taught Shibari.
What are the chances?!
She was shopping for a kimono for one of her rope bunnies. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, I soon found the perfect kimono, black with gorgeous white silk and light pastel blues of a Phoenix, that mythic bird that so represents my condition. I found a lovely matching obi, the 30’ long belt that wraps around a geisha’s midriff…I say it was matching, not literally, but it was a symphonic pairing. You can bet that a few minutes later I was having her tie me in.
If you have not ever worn a kimono and obi, the traditional wear of a geisha, you will not know that getting tied into a kimono is not dissimilar to corseting. As she and the proprietor, an enchanting, burly, Caribbean man whose parents worked for Toyota and turned their passion into a thriving import business, informed me, “if you can still breathe, it’s not tight enough.” Well, when I walked out of there, I certainly felt seriously constrained. My steps were little giggles of steps, not strides. I had to mince along the street. Pure bliss.
When I got home to my friend’s flat, there was a Japanese man standing there. What are the chances?! He eyed me up and down, “that is a Japanese kimono,” he informed me.
“Yes, it is,” I concurred.
“You know what it means?”
“Yes, I do,” I said.
“I am Japanese,” he said.
“Yes, I know,” I said and walked inside…ah the whiff of enigma…the geisha passes.
Pretty soon I was trundling down to see the tattooist who would be suitably enamoured of my new attire. You can bet I was having fun. But I planned to have even more.
You see, I wanted to meet the FSSW that I have mentioned before dressed in this new outfit. I loved it. I wanted to come to her as a geisha…and indeed, when I think about my sexual future, it can only be as a source of pleasure. I’d say that is a reasonable goal for me to have.
Well, as it happened, in the end, I had a lunch date with a rather remarkable woman, and that is not going to be a story, but a woman I have had a sustained crush on for 2+ years but never acted upon because, well, I’m a “good boy” and never strayed in marriage. But now, I am free! I agonised over what to wear—and consulted far and wide, both men and women. Should I come out to her, should I just be totally dressed, etc? Well, the differences between what men’s advice was and what my women friends advice was were instructive. I followed the women’s advice.
My nails were painted. All of my clothes were women’s, but not obviously so. I wore trousers, for instance. Elegant, understated, androgynous. I was a perfect foil for her, dressed beautifully as always. She is my ultimate female archetype, though my divorce lawyer’s words were bouncing around in my head [yes, I even get pep talks from my lawyer]—”don’t marry your wife all over again. That’s what they all do.” Okay, there are some similarities, but not many. This woman has more in common with ex-Mistress than soon-to-be-ex-wife including initials, first name, nationality…actually, that isn’t much. Because in truth, this woman is my archetypal woman.
Incredibly driven, incredibly successful, achingly gorgeous, totally put together, plugged in, a CEO, and for once, totally comfortable with herself and her power. I came out to her towards the end of our lovely meal, and that just seemed to be the icing on the cake. As trans. Slave me can be patient. Sometimes. I did tell Mistress over lunch the other day that I am a slave. “Are you?” she purred. Uh oh.
Well, I had so much fun with this woman over a rather scrumptious lunch that there was not enough time to go home and tie myself into the kimono. I was rather bummed about that, but figured it was no big deal to be rocking androgynous mode instead of the whole sexy outfit I wanted to wear to meet the FSSW. That’s life.
But get a load of this. The FSSW had asked me where I was going to be, and where I was staying and said she would choose a venue for us to meet in–someplace convenient. She sent me the address of where I was going, and it was, frankly, not convenient to either place. Do they do this on purpose? No matter, what I didn’t realise literally until I rocked up 30 minutes early was that the bar we were intended to meet at was directly across the street from the office block where my somatic therapist has her studio. And the kimono wholesaler!
What are the chances?!
And I thought, ‘no way’, and then thought ‘maybe’, and ‘why not’. And since I was early I decided to go up and see if the wholesaler was for some reason still open. They were. And because wholesale means not very expensive, and because I hadn’t bought the kimono that had first caught my eye, I ended up buying it this time. And then, the owner came out and told me that the obi I was choosing had belonged to a rather well-known geisha who left to Japan and moved to New York.
Not long after I was fully and tightly bound into my new kimono. And that evening, I had the full and unmistakable pleasure of being undressed by an enchanting FSSW.
How do you open the kimono?