Okay, yes, she is beautiful. Statuesque, elegant, successful, articulate, self-possessed, a woman fully in herself, fully empowered. Such women have always intoxicated me. Only sad loser men don’t love that.
But these are not the things that have led me to this feeling. She is also my princess in shining armour, protecting me, coming to my rescue, saving me from a rapacious and rather vicious soon-to-be-ex-wife. It isn’t that either.
No. It is none of these things, which on their own, would all justify these feelings. It is something far bigger.
She is encouraging me to hear me.
What do I mean by that? Well, not a day passes where GAHT (gender affirming hormone therapy) does not affect me in some new way. There are physical changes, both good and bad. There are mental changes, both good and bad. There are emotional changes. And there are spiritual changes. We’ve talked about them. Not lot’s. Just enough.
She is wise. And in this instance, she has used her wisdom with me to encourage me to listen to myself. To take the time to observe the changes. All the beautiful changes that are happening to me and my place in the world.
Once upon a time, the best advice that came to me from one of my old friends was to take lot’s and lot’s of pictures of my children as they grew up. To observe them, to be with them, to cherish them. I am blessed to have been a stay-at-home father for most of this time and had the time to develop a bond with my children that many working fathers never have. This was a conscious choice.
What my lawyer is telling me is that I am no different. She is saying (not literally) that what I described in Ayahuasca as giving birth to myself, was just as much about becoming a mother as it was about being reborn. These things that I am going through need to be lived, to be enjoyed, to be felt.
Right now, I cannot possibly keep up with my responsibilities. I cannot possibly take care of everything on my plate. Deal with the emotional and financial untangling that a divorce represents. Build and fight a case. Take care of the family business. Try to work in a world that has suddenly become extremely difficult to navigate. Imagine for a moment that the only challenge you had in a Zoom-based world was hiding that your nails are painted. Wouldn’t that be nice, but even that is quite hard.
In other words, it is so easy to let daily life overwhelm us, take away from our chances to stop and smell the flowers, to notice the play of light through the trees, to feel the warmth of the sun on our faces, to admire the snow-capped peaks in the distance. Unless we consciously make effort to take time for ourselves.
And for this, my lawyer deserves my deepest gratitude.
Gosh. The changes are utterly delectable. And while I know that I have this hulking great big body that is not reflective of my inner world, but whose is? It’s like listening to a recording of our own voice, maybe only weirder—’that isn’t what I sound like!’ The most exquisite domina/shibari master who trussed me up on the living room floor of a friend of her’s house took a video of my lying there as I was in a trance-like state. When she showed me after, I thought, gosh, I looked nothing at all like I felt. I looked a bit like a blob trussed up like an elaborately tied Christmas present, but as I lay there in my mind I was embodied grace, I was soaring, I was in space, and I was so small and delicate and so utterly obedient that every cell, every electron of my being was oriented to her and her energy like metal shavings align to the pull of a magnet. Such is the life of a ballerina giraffe. Those things are rather hard to see.
Have you read the children’s books of Olivia? The little girl who dreams of herself as a ballerina? That’s how I feel. And when I close my eyes, my freaky exterior falls away and I soar. I am acutely aware of my failings as a human being. Of my ugliness. And no, I am not ugly. I am not. But we all are. There are diminishing returns to perfection, and every step closer to the sun comes at greater cost.
When skating on thin ice, our safety lies in our speed.RALph waldo emerson
I think of this beautiful statement and revel in the many ways to interpret and to apply it. My favourite is reflective of what this journey is about for me. Becoming the best version of myself. Whether embodying a more explicitly female path is what is leading me to a deeper spirituality, or whether my life’s purpose is to embody spirituality more deeply, and that this is abetted through this path is simply two sides of the same experience. It is that old saw, ‘people who live in glass houses are advised not to cast stones.’
I have to admit that there is a lurking fear in that sentiment. A skulking insurance policy. Give people less ammunition to hate you with. Admittedly, being trans is exposing. We speak of putting our heads above the parapet. But when you are a ballerina giraffe, there’s a lot of neck. We are, so unmistakably, out. And insurance is self-serving, slightly toxic, hesitant. But I can’t help that. What I can help is to embody the goodness that stepping into all of these feelings is all about.
Becoming a two-spirit
I am conscious of the potential accusation of cultural appropriation. As someone who tramps around NYC dressed as a geisha, however, I am clearly willing to push the boundaries. And showing up for a tryst with an FSSW dressed in full geisha is most certainly a spot of fun for both of us, the prelude to shared laughs.
My use of the native American and aboriginal term of two-spirit is simply intended to evoke. There have been cultures which have celebrated the rarity of the ballerina giraffe, have recognised just how special we are. Statistically, transgender people are one in 200. That is 0.5%. In contrast, black Africans and those of their descent are 17% of the world’s population. No, there are roughly as many transgender people in the entire world as there are those who identify as native-born Irish Americans, about 40 million. Rather rare.
And while some bigoted elements of society vilify us and cast us as perverts, corrupters, groomers, predators or other horrible things, they are simply voicing their own fears and weaknesses. Those societies which saw us as shamans, as spiritual people, were onto something. At least, that is what feels true to me.
I have written at times in a rather tongue-in-cheek way about my own journey as a witch, as a shaman, a healer. This is my truth. It is not a brag. It is a recognition of extraordinary power. It quite possibly resides in all of us. I feel it very strongly.
The school of somatic therapy that I am training in is very strict about going out and practicing. They recognise that we know just enough to connect with someone, but not enough yet about how to heal with it, how to control it. It feels like a fire hose on full blast with nobody to hold it—spraying wildly hither and thither.
All these threads are the same. Each one has the potential to be a fire hose. The threads are multiplying with every passing day on GAHT. The threads are multiplying as I master one or another or familiarise myself with them. In other words, the female tapestry that is revealing itself to me is of infinite complexity.
Thus, I am full circle. My lawyer’s wisdom is that I learn this, experience this, and pay attention to it. My friends ask me all the time to write it down. To talk to them about it. To live at once as an embodied male and female is heady. One of my favourite transgender bloggers, Alokvmenon, is super articulate on the topic. “Non-binary itself is defined in opposition to the binary. What if I just am?”
And yes, this blog is called “Beyond Non-Binary”. That is also one of the roots of our malaise as a society. The binary begets toxicity, whether male or female, begets performative sexuality. The binary serves nobody, not even those who ‘benefit’ from it.
My privilege is to be put in service. I have an obligation to stand out. An obligation to speak up. I also have an obligation to behave. To do my best to be above reproach. To fully embody all the goodness that comes with being a ballerina giraffe. The awkward grace.
Teetering, tottering, and living.
wow you have an amazing lawyer – as you say who wouldn’t love the type of woman that she is – statuesque elegant clever overall super to look at – but more she is such a clever person to protect you (and I am sure all her clients) and look after you. she obviously understands what you are going through and is full of encouragement and positive thinking (such a wonderful thing in any person) – So Ballerina giraffe I wish you every success as you go down this difficult road – you have obviously seen the glimmer of the light at the end of this long long tunnel. Best wishes from across the pond. Alan
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Thank you Alan, that’s very sweet. I appreciate it. Warm wishes to you too. I am picking up a new friend from the airport, someone I have never met, but who is working with me on a creative project and who has been talking with me on the phone for a while…”how will I recognise you?” she asked, and I replied, “I’ll be the only ballerina giraffe there, I am sure of that.” She laughed, and said, “you’re right, how would I miss it.”
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very good 🙂
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