This is a fictional interview with a transwoman. I'm trying on a new form to improve my craft.
Q: Can you tell me something unconventional about yourself? Something that others might find shocking?
A: I suppose it depends on how easy it is for a person to feel shocked. In the beginning, I routinely stole women's clothing from public washing machines and dryers. In the days before the anonymity of internet shopping, I felt that petty theft was justified. After a time, I became skilled at knowing what size was mine simply at a glance. Before then, I'd often come away with clothing that didn't fit.
Q: What about stealing appealed to you, beyond the obvious?
A: The adrenalin rush, mostly. Like any impulsive act, the risks are high, but so is the payoff. It's like gambling at a casino and risking every last cent with the next hand dealt to you. You could easily lose everything, but if luck shines on you, the final payout will be astronomical.
These days, it's fashionable to talk about concepts like gender non-conforming and every term that falls under the transgender umbrella. This was not always the case. Since I've been open about myself, I've had the chance to speak to many others who identify as such. And what I've learned from my own informal study is that there are usually one of two ways people react to who they are.
Either one internalizes the idea of being different and sees himself or herself as a misunderstood outsider, or one compartmentalizes the trans part of who they are, fully divorcing the rest of themselves from it. I've always believed that thinking of oneself as being a misunderstood misfit is self-defeating and really not helpful.
Q: What life experiences led you to that conclusion?
A: I think it was observing friends and relationship partners who were stuck in their own ill-suited bodies, if you will. There's nothing worse than observing the behavior of someone who doesn't learn from his or her mistakes. I resisted transition for a while, but eventually I did something about it. The sort of romantic pessimism I've viewed in others is slightly ridiculous, but mostly unfortunate. It's wasted energy.
Q: How do people escape that trap, that way of thinking?
A: I think it takes courage, first and foremost. Recognizing who I am and making strides towards self-discovery gave me the courage to move forward. Since I underwent surgery and sought to pass as a woman, I've had a lot to learn. In fact, it seems as though I'm back in college taking classes.
Sometimes I feel resentful at how difficult it is to undo the way I was socialized, but to be self-actualized beings we must do our homework. This is just a different form of that radical self-awareness, even though I concede it is difficult for me, probably more challenging than is true for other people.
Q: Any final thoughts?
A: Don't pull the wool over your eyes. Listen to your fears, because you will never conquer them otherwise.