23 April 2009


Today I went for a haircut and coloring. I also got, for the first time since August, a facial massage and had my eyebrows shaped and tinted. I guess you could say it's a sort of mini-vacation.

The funny thing is that I could sit beside two women who are far more beautiful than I could ever dream of being, yet I could feel confident. It's funny that I can feel more comfortable and confident around women like them than I can around people who have more or less my level of education and with whom I can more or less hold my own when it comes to scholastic or intellectual accomplishment. Funny, how that smaller gap between me and, say, professors seems like a much wider gulf than the one between me and drop-dead gorgeous women.

I guess in a refuge, everyone is more or less equal. Yes, that's how I'm thinking of Zoe's Beauty Salon now. One rarely, if ever, encounters a man there, so whatever tensions existed between us and them are at bay, if only for a couple of hours. And your professional status, or where you live, count for nothing there.

Plus--and this is something I never realized until today--I don't have to apologize for or defend myself as a trans woman. The owners and beauticians there know about me: The first day I came in, I was still in boy-drag. They have seen me change; they have seen me become more like them, not only in appearance. On the other hand, I feel as if I have less and less in common with my work colleagues, save for a few exceptions.

You might say that I am mentally withdrawing from the college, and from education generally. The more I teach in that college, the less integrated into it I feel; the longer I spend in the class I'm taking, the less I feel I'm learning--or want to learn, at least about the subject of that class. And, to be quite honest, I've begun to feel as if I don't want to be more integrated into the college, or even into the department in which I teach.

As a Nation of Islam minister once said, "Why would I want to be integrated into a burning house?"

OK, that statement goes a bit further than I intended. Maybe this paraphrase is more like it: Why would I want to be integrated into a house that doesn't have anything to offer me--not even shelter. Who wants to live in a house in which one can't interact in any meaningful way with whoever else is in that house? Or a house in which one cannot feel safe? That's emotionally as well as literally true about the college, at least for me.

It's perhaps most ironic of all that I go to Zoe's because they know about me, but I want to find a job in a place where nobody knows me. But, like all ironies, it makes perfect sense: With Anna and the crew at Zoe's, they know why I want the things for which I go to their shop, and that seems to help them in serving me. On the other hand, while at the college, I am continuously prodded to be, well, a tranny rather than someone who happens to be trans. And I am expected to be that person to serve the purposes of certain people at the college.

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