I found Margaret so charismatic that I was prepared to believe her claims of psychic powers. She told me that when she did not keep them under control, light bulbs would fuse in her presence. Just starting to explore new age wisdom, I found her particularly grounded, level-headed and wise, gentle, empathetic and generous hearted, and found it hard to believe she would lie or be mistaken about such a thing. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but she would know that.
I never found out one way or the other. After the week Community Building, where I presented male but wore women’s slippers and one day expressed myself female, we hugged goodbye, and then she asked for a hug “from Clare”. I softened and relaxed. It was a particularly memorable hug, perhaps my first which was properly woman to woman.
I do not like A-frame hugs. Chins touch shoulders, hands pat backs, and it is barely more intimate than a handshake. In a proper hug, thighs touch thighs. An A-frame is a routine gesture, a proper hug is heartfelt with time for appreciation. An A-frame is a greeting, a proper hug a blessing.
Worse is that embarrassing moment where in a group of people men greet women, and kiss their cheeks, but shake other men’s hands. I look at them nervously. They look at me nervously. Shall I insist on cheek-kissing? You will not physically misgender me. I have insisted, and made a man dreadfully embarrassed, and at other times I have held out my hand to shake and hated myself for it. And I have shaken hands with a man who kissed every other woman’s cheek, and been miserable, then wondered whether he created that situation, or I did.
I softened and relaxed, and now like soft hugs. It is slightly side on: chin over shoulder, so crotch to thigh- crotch to crotch is too close to a cuddle, too much for anyone who is not a partner. We hold each other. It is important to be in the moment, present and aware of the other, not just do a gesture for form’s sake, while thinking of something else. Eye contact- hello- moving together, clasp, breathe, appreciate, disengage, eye-contact again. It is a friendship hug, not sexual but intimate. We are animals together, enjoying each other.
A trans woman should hug like a woman, gently and openly.
Probably Margaret did not make light bulbs fuse through psychic energy. I am not sure whether she claimed that without believing it, or believed it, and have no idea why she would do either. Her claim is a fact I know about her which does not easily fit into my understanding of her. It is an outlier. I could say I know her, but there is this fact which does not fit. Everyone is essentially unknowable, but with Margaret I have a clear reminder of that.