This is meant to be a bit of a reply to a piece over on the Feministing site, which had me slightly puzzled. Also a riposte to what I have been noticing of late: a sort of eeyore tendency amongst some quarters of the trans community which seems to mix gloom and political in-fighting in almost equal measure.
But first of all, its about dancing.
On Wednesday I was out, yet again, zumba’ing. Glorious! Especially glorious this week because about four numbers in I sort of realised that I wasn’t step perfect: but I was doing pretty well.
All those weeks of going over the same moves, feeling like a total two-left-footed idiot, then doing it all over again, seem finally to be paying off. I’m sure I’m still lacking loads in style but: suddenly I’m ahead of the music. Or on top of it.
I can feel what comes next. So I’m moving and dancing and REALLY dancing. Going with the music, floating with the music. Just about competent enough to improvise ever so slightly.
And the JOY! The sheer, blood-tingling joy of that sense: of being there with the music; of being in the middle of a class of women, not the best, not the worst either. For a moment I was overwhelmed. I could have danced with the happiness of it. Except I was already.
I almost cried, and they’d have been tears of utter happiness.
That is what dance is about. And life. And music. And, if you’re feeling especially philosophical about it, just being.
Not that I am that brilliant at dance: I only get to this stage after weeks of practice, and a couple of numbers further on – the one with the peculiar kick-change in it – has me smiling again at my own wrong-footedness.
Though even that is good: knowing that each and every one of us in the line at the back of the class are good at some stuff, hopeless at some, and encouraging one another, rather than trying to be “best”.
Which brings me back, with a bump, to the community. First off is the blog over in Feministing, which seems to be trying to argue that we shouldn’t follow a “tragic narrative”: that there’s a lot for us trans types to be happy about; but then proceeds to tell a sad story along the way.
I’m not sure whether I get that or not. I can sort of see what the writer is doing. She’s trying to say things aren’t that bad really: that we shouldn’t play to the general popular myth that we are all figures of tragedy, to be pitied before anything else. Its just it feels like the author ends up falling ever so slightly into their own trap.
And then there’s various comments I read from time to time from other trans women. “Woe is me”, or “woe is us” type stuff. Or if its not that, its just getting revoltingly po-faced and serious about the nature of who we are and what words we’re supposed to use when talking about ourselves.
Living for the moment
And sometimes, often, when I’m faced with this, I just want to share that dance moment. Because I feel that way often: not just dancing, but every day, now. I’ve said it before. Said it today to the psych person: I am alive.
I am alive in a way I wasn’t before and – whilst I’m not planning to quit this mortal coil any time soon – if I went under a bus tomorrow, still, every single day since I started to transition has been a plus. Even the bad ones. Because I am dealing with each day as me. As Jane.
So I am in love with and in awe of even the simplest of things, from the banalest of banale conversations on the bus, to the joy of brushing my hair out in the morning.
Blissed out? Probably.
Of course I’d rather I wasn’t trans. I wish I’d been born as I should have been. But then life would have been 100% different and…oh, I’m falling into philosophy again.
Sometimes we just need to stop thinking: to kick back and enjoy what we have.
Yes. God, or nature, or society or genes or something played a cruel trick on us. Just as ditto plays cruel tricks on all manner of people, from those brought low by a crippling illness, to those born with some disadvantage of body, or place or family.
And they get on and live in a way that sometimes puts our own eeyore tendency to shame.
It would be lovely if our entire lives had been perfect. They weren’t. But what I have now is life and joy and inner happiness – and I intend to live it to the full.