04 May 2012
A friend of mine is teaching me Tai-Chi.
I'll admit I'm a terrible student--in most things, not just Tai-Chi. Really, I am: I'm a very slow and very poor learner. I'm neither proud nor ashamed of that fact, for it is simply that: a fact.
Anyway, this friend has come to my place for the last couple of Fridays because, as small as my apartment is, I can clear enough space for us to have our "classes." She cannot do the same in her apartment.
Notice that my instructor is female. She's a trans woman. I really don't think I could learn Tai-Chi any other way, at least not at this point in my life. It's not that I think being a trans person makes her better than other instructors, although I think she's pretty damned good. Rather, I feel that my ability to learn the moves, and the ways of thinking and visualizing that underlay them, could only be tapped by someone who has had to relate to her body in much the same way as I have had to relate to mine.
For all of the training I did when I was younger, and especially considering the high level of physical fitness I enjoyed for a time in my life, I really felt that my body was entirely graceless. I have always felt clumsy, and believed that my ability to pedal or run fast (at least, relatively speaking) for long periods of time was in spite, rather than because, of my body's (in)abilities.
My friend insists that Tai-Chi moves are "natural." They don't feel that way to me. Perhaps they will, with time and practice. She says that the body, my body, really wants to make the kinds of moves she is teaching me. I want to believe her--no, I do believe her. I somehow understand that those moves, and the ability to move through the world with more confidence, is within me, much as Michelangelo's David was, as he said, already within the block of marble he sculpted and all he had to do was find and bring it out.
I can say something like that about my femaleness. I am sure that no one besides Michelangelo saw David in that block of marble before he started chipping away at it. In fact, I'd bet that no one could have seen David until Michelangelo's work on that piece of rock was well under way. Likewise, only a few people would have guessed that I was about to undertake a gender transition before I started; and it took some time before strangers addressed me as "Ma'am" or "Miss" even when I wasn't wearing makeup or feminine clothing.
Perhaps those Tai-Chi moves are within me, and my friend is trying to help me clear away all of those things that are keeping them from coming out. At least, that's what I hope. Could it be that underneath everything, there's a Tai-Chi Tranny just waiting to enter the world?