Friday, February 13, 2009

13th feb 2009

I remember how I used to make all these resolutions to keep a diary during the rehearsal process.
Resolutions I never kept, because the whole experience was so crowded and intense, and me so exhausted at the end of the day, that I simply could not even begin to keep track of it all.
My whole life is rather like that now...
Perhaps I should just think about one thing at a time.
Wednesday I was talking at a conference organised by Stonewall Scotland on transgender rights in the workplace.
I was supposed to be there at 9.15, so I laid out the clothes I was going to wear, and changed my mind three times, and dressed and undressed as many times, and swore at the whole process, and decided this M to F malarkey was just too complicated, and yes, i was speaking in a business environment, but no, I would not wear a business uniform.. and ended up in black trousers, black jacket, red top and boots.. rushed through my hair, rushed through my make-up... all the classic 'I haven't got a thing to wear' kind of stuff.. and maybe I needed to go through all that to get my nervousness out of the way.
Because when the time came, I felt very calm.
There were, I guess a hundred people there, couldn't tell for sure, in the usual corporate meeting place.. chairs in rows, a desk at the front behind which the speakers were supposed to sit, and to the side, in a terrible position, a lectern kind of thing with a stand for your computer.
And a huge gap between you, the speaker, and your audience.
As one of the speakers admitted, this was not about being in the best place to cmmunicate. This was about being able to hide behind something, and hold onto something, to shield you from fear.
I wasn't having any of it.
When my name was announced, I got up very slowly and walked to the table. I poured myself some water, turned to face them, and rank the water in silence as I looked them up and down.
I was trying to judge the acoustic and the sightlines; judged my voice would carry; and began to speak.
My voice, like my presence, seems to have strengthened.
I felt powerful, I felt at home, I took great pleasure in speaking to them.
This strength sems to have come from transition.
The other wek I was in Glasgow, in a crowded bar, trying to get a drink. There was only one bar person on duty, totally overwhelmed by the demand.
I so remember when being a man how this kind of situation would always intimidate me and fill me with the greatest anxiety.
And at that time, the idea of standing at the bar of a Glasgow pub, dressed as a woman, waiting to be served, would have just seemed unbearably frightening.
And yet there I was, feeling very calm; and radiating something that enabled a lovely woman standing next to me to engage me in pleasurable conversation.
And get served.
And suddenly as I think about my life now, which I was so frightened would be closing down, is actually opening up in the strangest ways....

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