gentleness II

Not knowing yourself does not mean you can escape yourself. You are still you, even if you think you are somehow other. Other people may see you better than you see yourself. That woman, and how I was with her: I have been thinking of her and her father. He was a man old before his time with a mild, ingratiating manner, a white beard, and a very soft, low voice. She was in her twenties but appearing much younger, very quiet and timid before me. I asked her if her husband hit her, and she replied, “Only occasionally”.

“You were so gentle with her,” said Beate, wonderingly. She once asked me why I always used horrible, dismissive words for people.

I saw her several times over several years, to try to get her benefits, usually sickness benefits. I was gentle with her. I spoke softly and explained clearly, with an attempt to demonstrate respect- inabilities which might make you entitled to benefits may seem shameful to some but are not.

I don’t know. I- took a lead from her in how to conduct the interview. Or I found a way to work with different responses: with people who were angry I would be practical, model a practical approach to the problem, and with people who were scared I would be gentle, to try and make them no more scared, to let them open up.

When she was single, she invited me to eat with her family. I took people up on such offers sometimes but not her. It seemed to me that she desired me as a partner, which I may have projected onto her though I did not think such a partnership would work for me.

I could be soft and gentle with a client. I could be as much that feminine self before transition.

I said to Moira, “I am quite resilient”. She said, “Actually, I think you are very easily hurt”. Resilient was the manly way I wanted for myself.

And at another time, it felt like when presenting male I was in a defensive posture all the time, tense, expecting attack. That tension is ineffectual as defence as it is not responsive.

Here am I debating. Was I fooled? Is transition just a con, as you can be the Real You without all this faff? It did not feel I could be. Sometimes I was. Sometimes I wasn’t. It felt better, expressing myself female, and so it is not just a con, there is some basis in reality. Transition may not be the perfect solution, but it is close enough to be tempting. There may be no perfect solution even in some radical feminist utopia. Where women could be like men without contrary expectations, would anyone be feminine, or would it be more disrespected than now?

In meeting it seemed that the state of awareness is a sensual pleasure. I get to a state where I am present in the moment, and my senses are precise- I can pay great attention to a knot in the wood of that bookcase, and it seems I am seeing beauty in the thing, but perhaps it is that I am delighting in being in that state of sensual awareness. Calm your mind and be present in the moment. It is pleasureable.

It could just have been a good day with that woman- she is receptive to a way of dealing with clients which I am good at, and like, so I enjoy it, the melting feminine Mes Larmes me fits that particular situation. There are a range of human responses, and perhaps telling myself that I particularly like one or two makes me less competent with the others. Yet- my friend deprecates herself, and I immediately respond gently- it delights me, and is a good response.

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