I am Feminine

Of course, I have been this feminine before. I have expressed it, mostly when first coming out. When I first showed Sheena how I looked, female, she said “I would stare at anyone as feminine as you”. I went out with Carol for eighteen months. SheĀ had considered (and rejected) transitioning the other way, but came to a transvestite dance as “Charles” once, and complained to me about how difficult it was to get a hairdresser to give her a man’s haircut. They would go only so far. On feeling that feminine, I wrote this while I was going out with CarolĀ in 1999, and see that when I copied out all my verse into another book, I omitted it. I have not shared it before:

You don't like me in trousers
you want me in a skirt
but that makes me feel vulnerable
sometimes it really hurts

I want to be all fluffy
(the word "feminine" is taboo)
I want to be all girly
playful and childlike too

Tell me that I'm pretty
and smile at me, I plead
without constant reassurance
I'm crushed. I'm weak. I bleed.

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Statue of Kuan YinActually, Guan Yin is sometimes portrayed as a male, “Kannon”, or as androgynous. Enlightenment has no gender, non-duality precludes it. This statue is flat-chested and narrow-hipped, however feminine the base of flowers may seem.

There is a difference between the femininity of having compassion on all created beings, wanting none of them to have to endure reincarnation any more, and the femininity of passivity, wanting to be asked out, asked to dance, kissed, heard and consoled and cared for. How may I be positive about the latter, see it as Blessing? In one tale, Guan Yin rides on a tiger, like Durga. Perhaps they are two sides of the same characteristic of “Femininity”. You cannot have one without the other. The sensitive flower, vibrating so much she feels with everything, cares for everything, needs to be cared for.

Or perhaps at least they are two facets of me- without both, I would not be me.

Fearing myself and my responses, including that passivity, is the way to hold myself back- I cannot engage, because I might respond in a bad way. What problems does my passivity actually cause?

If I have the unconscious thought, “Oh God, it is that bit of me coming out, that will screw everything up and thwart me” then I go into battleĀ against myself. And I cannot ever possibly win a battleĀ against myself. It is the fighting and the suppression that thwarts me, not the characteristic itself.

Kuan Yin

File:Guan yin 100.jpgHold your right hand up, pinky and ring-finger extended, ring and middle fingers curled, thumb out to the side to form an L. This is the I Love you sign.

I met U by the urn when I went to make coffee. I touched the kettle with my wrist, burning it slightly- halfwit- but did not want to interrupt the interaction.

-Give us a hug.
She will not, because I have asked in that way. It is like an order, a claim, and she does not respond well to orders. -But it is just a way of speaking, I would not order you- No buts. Even though she would like a hug, she will not share one unless I rephrase. Oh, OK.
-May I have a hug?

We hug. We have long hugs in this group generally, but U and I have particularly long hugs. I cannot remember what we were talking about, but she objected to something I said, and tapped me lightly on the back of the head.

-You hit me!
-It was a love-tap.
This time I will not let it go. You can’t just hit people! And neither will she. It was a love-tap. It was completely unobjectionable. I went off to cry in the bunkhouse- where I met S, who listened and cared and shared, and then S came and looked after us both.

I did a share in the large group. I am not here, I said, to have a relaxing weekend with friends. I am here to experience intense human interaction so I can get better at it. It takes courage for me to be here.
Up go the hands, in the I Love you sign. Lots of hands. I chortle delightedly, indicating them. -Ha! A full set!!

Guanyin Lung NuThe day before was a Goddess workshop taster, and I got Kuan Yin, Bodhisattva of compassion. The picture I had was simpler, even prettier and more feminine. Speaking in the group, I felt self-conscious in speaking in a very high voice, and saying that I had met her, and she had put her white robe on me. And it felt right.

“You’ve changed,” said Anna. “All the anger has gone from you.”

 ā™„ā™„ā™„

Daienin Kannon photographed by JpatokalI emailed U, saying “I ask your kindness. I do not feel you were kind to me this morning.” I dare to say that this, and my preferring to stroke Talking Tom than hit him, and other reactions, are “feminine”.

Can you imagine how much hurt and baggage I have around that? I have called it weakness. Remembering the example of Thomas Hardy’s character Christian Cantle, who was weak, stupid and cowardly and called these characteristics the virtue of Christian Meekness, I am wary of naming a weakness or vice as a virtue or positive characteristic. I tried to make a man of myself for 34 years, which took me to ridiculous places- a court solicitor who hates conflict, forsooth! Still I am wary of being this feminine, which feels so achingly vulnerable. And the Radfems would leap on it, saying I have no right to say what is “feminine”, the word is Patriarchal and I am an Oppressor. Being who I am is so wrong, in so many ways!

The compliment which has delighted me most over the last forty years is, “You can be serious, but underneath it all you are a joyful, playful child”. This weekend, I have amended that:

I am a joyful, playful adult.

I am feminine. Please tell me it is alright for me to call myself “feminine”!

That burn was superficial, two days later the redness is nearly gone. And- it was in the shape of a heart, on my wrist.