Explaining ourselves

We got to the villa, large and well-appointed, which we got cheaply because of being slightly before the season. The owner welcomed us, and showed us round. He introduced us to the three big dogs- as we walked through the town later to the café, there was a dogs’ chorus. Be friends with your burglar alarm: he wanted them to get to know our smell. “If you have any questions, please do ask,” he says, but we have no questions for him. Really, we want him to leave.  His parents in law are the next house, overlooking the garden. His English seems excellent, with little foreign accent.

We are shy. We do not want to explain ourselves. “They are shy of you, because they have Asperger’s Syndrome,” I could have said. I am shy, because I am Trans. We can pass as normal if we interact as little as possible. Why on Earth would we want to pass? Because explaining does not necessarily make others friendly- they might be put off by our odd manner, but might be mocking or hostile if they knew what we really are. Or even exploit us! And- I am worthwhile to know, but not trusting. I want you to spot that, imagine I might have good reason for it, and work to gain my trust!

Self-hatred is very useful for being able to pass. I have no right to be as I am, and the hostility of others is only to be expected. Or, you despise them, you put on an act for others. The main cause is fear. We pass because we fear you.

One of us ate something which disagreed with him, and as soon as we got home he was copiously sick in the gutter. There is a hose in the car port, and I hosed it down the drain. Later, the father in law came over. “We wondered if you are all alright? We saw he was sick in the gutter.” This could be friendly concern, and I experienced it as checking up on us. What are they doing wrong? Make them stop. Even, punish us in some way. We just want him to go away. No, no, we’re absolutely fine, there is no problem at all, and we say this not meeting his eyes, looking shifty. I fear, loathing the thought, that I come over as submissive.

I did think, later, of going over and asking for help, taking both at their word, getting to know them a bit, letting down my guard, approaching directly not circumspectly. Are there any tourist attractions for our friend, who has huge difficulty with stairs? I am a human being. Every human being has idiosyncrasies. I should not be judged for mine.

There is a large pile of wood, and a fireplace between the living room and my bedroom, with glass doors to each. I get a fire going easily- just call me the Pyromage! It has a strong draw, but we have more difficulty getting heat out of it rather than going up the chimney.

The kitchen is lovely. Twice we had sausage and mash, and twice we had pizzas. The trouble with passing, of living in fear of and at war with the world, is that you have less energy to explore how the world’s beauties and gifts may delight you, or to make it delight you, for you do not realise you deserve that.

6 thoughts on “Explaining ourselves

  1. We can pass as normal if we interact as little as possible. Why on Earth would we want to pass? Because explaining does not necessarily make others friendly- they might be put off by our odd manner, but might be mocking or hostile if they knew what we really are. Or even exploit us!” Yes! A thousand times yes! I was 60 before I knew that what I had been doing was passing. I had no option as I had no idea how I was different. At least now I have the option of attempting to pass or explaining why I’m different.

    I think I have one advantage over you Clare. That is I’ve never doubted my self worth. I think this is down to they way my parents instilled into me that everyone has an intrinsic worth, that is no less and no more than anyone else, no matter how one is treated by others.

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    • Yes. I doubt my own worth. I have known my Wrongness, and anticipate hostility where none is. And then if I appear shifty that might exacerbate suspicion. All I have to do is conquer my own fears: disapproval is bearable, physical violence vanishingly rare.

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      • I think we sometimes mistake making excuses for making explanations. We certainly owe no-one an excuse for who we are – especially if, as Barry said, we recognize our own worth. There are those who would argue that there is no excuse for our behavior, appearance, etc., and, for them, we should not even dignify with explanation. More often than not, for myself, I see passing as letting things be. I simply pass on the explanation.

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        • In more familiar situations, I would agree. The more at ease I am in a situation, the less I fret about being trans, how people are seeing me, etc. But if I am ill at ease, being trans adds the slight tincture of poison, being an additional worry, so making me more anxious. The bravery I require to go to places new to me is greater than most people’s. But practice makes me less anxious.

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          • If I sense that one is antagonistic, any explanation I make to them will make little positive difference to them. It may be more that I am asking their permission to be who I am. Unless I have already given myself permission, though, receiving theirs will make little positive difference to either of us. As a picture of self-confidence, I show more than a thousand words of explanation can.

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