My life as a transgender woman has been an ongoing search for validation, acceptance and inclusion. Do the women I know and interact with see the same thing that I do when I look in the mirror?
Most days I am strong and confident and stride through my day without a care for what others might say; although I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that some days that construct is so fragile. On those days simply being referred to as he will wipe the smile from my face for the rest of the day. So it is, that I endeavor on the good days to add additional layers to my personal armor.
One way I have found to do this is by putting myself into emotional harms way. My thought process evidently being that each success, each time I survive will help to prove that good things can actually happen to me. No guts no glory as they say.
So naturally when a friend said that she had taken a role in the latest performance of “The Vagina Monologues” and suggested I take one of the transgender roles myself I said, “No Way.” So much for taking a chance, courage is such a fleeting thing…. I explained that I can’t memorize lines so it was out of the question! She patiently explained that the lines are actually read from cards. Well then, putting on my most confident bravado, I said sure count me in.
Fast forward a few weeks, It’s now the day of the performance. They’re expecting a sold out show, 500 + people. I stand on the stage before the doors open looking out at a sea of empty chairs.
It’s time for butterflies and deep philosophical musing. Do I belong here? Is this a sacred space for CIS women? Will they resent my presence? I have faint feelings of being an imposter.
What will be the reception by the mass of faceless individuals hidden by the lights.
The answer of course, was that my mind in it’s effort to sabotage my confidence, failed miserably. The cast, 25 women, were all amazing, welcoming, gracious in their acceptance and generous with their compliments. The audience was effusive with their praise, enthusiastically clapping for the humor and obviously moved by the serious personal stories.
In the end, I was pleased with my performance and feel that the inclusion of transwomen added an important part to the the narrative, and most importantly reinforces our truth that trans women are women, period.
So much for not feeling that I belonged, and I think I looked good too. Onward to the next adventure, stay tuned.