What do I so passionately want for you?
Old lady at the bus stop. Browny-cream coat, black slacks with no spare cloth, practical handbag with lots of zips. Perm. Gloves with button detail. She’s going down the butcher’s and the mini Mart. She has a practical mask for the world. You put your face on. Though she has joys too- you only exist in my imagination, the real woman has joy-
Or W aged 24. Seeking to belong, and happy to conform. It’s conforming I want to save you from- save myself- I realised she wanted to conform when she told me something which must bore her had been interesting. Who does not want to belong?
Something strikes and moves me in my perception of these women if it is particularly important for me. I desperately want it for them only if I want it for me. I hardly know them, yet am moved.
How is it for other people? For me, being authentically myself, and fitting in a community, seem diametrically opposite goals, and equally impossible, and equally unbearable without the other.
Another woman told me she had been dismissed after two months on a zero hours contract. Why would that need a zero-hours contract? An office should have regular hours, surely? Because it was covering for sickness and holidays. She had been told a few times that she needed to work quicker, or that she should do a task differently, but was shocked when she was sacked, as she had had no warning of the possibility.
I thought, well, you would not necessarily warn, would you? Would such a warning make a person more efficient, if telling them to work quicker did not? Would they just be depressed and resentful? I told a friend, and he said, of course you would, because it is fair. She has a right to know. He was shocked I might contemplate otherwise, considering it from the position of a purely selfish manager, rather than one having some consideration for the employee. How cruel is your world? How atomised do you imagine people are, or should be?
Of course I will not revert. Conforming to what I see around me, what makes sense to me because it makes sense to people important to me, I consider that “femininity” is a patriarchal, oppressive social construct. No, I am not a “woman trapped in a man’s body”, I don’t have a “female brain”, women can think like men if not restricted and judged and oppressed. I walked along the high street and passed three young women, laughing together, full of life and energy, and thought, I have nothing in common with them. “Aged male pervert” says my inner critic.
I could not say “it is authentically me,” not really, because we change and I am not sure of an unchanging core, it could just be a story we tell ourselves to comfort ourselves and all such stories are false. All I have is the desire, the same now as fourteen years ago when I went full time female at work. The desire, the immovable object. All my arguments, the consideration of my interest, all the pain it causes me, never change it.
This was Friday morning. I am not there now- see tomorrow’s post- I could not write this if I were there now, but then I wanted an entirely different person to occupy the space I occupy, just so’s the pain would go away.