Out Like a Lamb: Day 1: Introduction

by tigermanifesto

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March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This phrase is a commentary on climate, since in Northern Hemisphere temperate climates March ushers winter into spring. From snow to rain, from numbing wind to flowering trees. The trajectory of March, as idealized in this phrase, is the transition from the stasis, undeath, and danger of February into the uncertain and rainy warmth of April.

For the latter two thirds of March, I will be reflecting on my own experiences being “out” as a trans woman. I am hoping to use this phrase and wonder in what ways my life has blossomed since coming out publicly last summer. Tendencies in myself that lay dormant have now sprung to life, though unfortunately accompanied by choking restrictions and new limitations. Escape is always relative. Free movement, while more limited in the closet since every action, every bodily hiccup, has to be excused and limited, remains un-free in the world outside. Living truthfully does not always mean living freely, even if, in my experience, it has been a more liberated state of being. Even I, who was able to choose the circumstances of coming out and stage-manage the whole affair, faced enormous difficulties and growing pains. These pains expressed themselves literally in the form of bodily changes (or lack thereof) and figuratively in the widening distance between myself and some who are supposed to care about me.

These entries will inevitably be personal and vulnerable to some extent, but my intention is to leaven darker aspects of my experiences with humour in order to make it both more palatable (to me) and more comprehensible (to my audience). Many of the posts will address aspects of my life I rarely or never talk about, meaning some elisions will have to be made. Of course, when my own stories intersect with those of others, their names will be omitted or anonymized in some other way to minimize gossiping and needless social speculation. These are meant to be entertaining, educational, and organizational posts, not platforms for snippy commentary or bickering. A heavy-handed comments policy will therefore be used at all times.

Another aspect of the ethos or spirit behind my writing will be to avoid unnecessary analysis or academic criticism of my own experiences. Doing so will require a more careful approach to composition and editing since the words will be undigested, or even unexamined, but I think this is a necessary sacrifice for a sense of immediacy. Not that this will be more authentic than a belaboured, academic retelling of the same stories you’ll see as the days wear on. Rather, it implies that I want people to grasp how I deal with experiences as they come up in the present, rather than deep in retrospect. I admit this will be difficult since I am self-conscious to a painful extent and have an endless desire to critique myself, but I expect this limitation will produce better content that I can look back on with pride later.

With this ethos in mind and a schedule set, I’m ready to engage with the reality of being an out trans woman in my particular context. I have a set schedule of prompts and themes, but will only show the next three days’ worth of posts. Given this structure, I can adjust and reorganize my posting schedule if I choose while still baiting my audience to keep them coming back (hopefully). No one said that transparent hucksterism was pretty, but it pulls in eyeballs.

Without further adieu, then, here is the journal entry schedule for the next three days:

  • March 12, 2017: Describing the coming out process as I experienced it and how it continues to shape my relationships to this day.
  • March 13: Stories about getting clothes/wearing clothes and my terror of dressing rooms. Scavenging free feminine clothes from fellow students.
  • March 14: A general description of my process of getting ready each day and how I move about in the outside world.

So we start out relatively mundane before deepening and moving into more complex territory as we go. I’m nervous but excited about this and expect that everyone interested in my stories will benefit at least somewhat from this exercise.