Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for August, 2008

Tapestries of Struggle

As we get to know people there will often be issues that might surface that seem like things that preclude us from getting close to them. In my dating-lingo, I call them “deal-breakers.” They’ve changed in the time I’ve been single. There were things that seemed like deal-breakers months ago, that now seem like trivialities.

I’ve been trying to broaden my perspective, and see people as whole individuals, instead of getting caught up on specifics irrespective of context. Afterall, we are all intricate tapestries; if we are viewed too closely our flaws can dominate the field of vision. It is only from a distance that our true beauty can be appreciated. A wise man once said to me that everyone can be scrutinized. If we’re too busy looking for flaws, they’re all we’ll see.

Something that used to be one of those deal-breakers was that if a guy was attracted to transwomen, I instantly ruled him out as a possibility. Now that I write it down in retrospect, it seems so obviously self-defeating. I basically said that I didn’t want anything to do with any guy that found me attractive. Wow. That’s dumb.

And yet, I am sensitive to the fact that some men fetishize transwomen. At what point does attraction for a group of people turn into unacceptable objectification? I was chatting with a friend the other day about this Asian woman who talks about guys having “Yellow Fever,” which is an attraction for Asian women. My friend and I were confused about where the line is between sincere and appropriate attraction and objectification. I think it’s a hard thing to quantify. So I’ve been talking to men about why they find themselves attracted to women like me. And the answers have been telling; most of them can’t explain it at all. They are just sincere folks with an attraction to a certain type of people. And so this has gone from a deal-breaker to a mildly interesting topic of discussion as I get to know someone.

Finally, I’ve been starting to look at everyone’s lives and see struggles and hardships and I’ve been able to relate to them in ways I never could before. As I adapt to my new life and settle more and more, I’m amazed at how similar the basic elements of our struggles are. We all feel isolated and powerless and like no one will understand. And if we can just take that step back, we see that our pain and fear could bring us all together. We all struggle. We all suffer. We all fail. We all succeed.

And the tapestry of each unique soul is a special creation, and deserves to be appreciated on its own merit irrespective of any group that it does or does not belong to.

The tapestry that is me is mad cool! 😉


I didn’t mean for it to turn into a defense of men, but…


One of the things that occurrs to me over and over again is the difference of my situation and single non-transwomen.

I know, right? I talk about it all the time.

One of the things that felt weird was that when I told people about the guy I hung out with the other day, almost universally their first question was: “Does he know [that you’ve got a penis]?”

I don’t know. I guess I understand why, but it kind of made me feel like asking me if he knew that I’m deformed. And it reinforced the vibe that it is the single defining element of me as a person. The most important thing for guys to know about me, in my friend’s eyes, is that I have a penis.

No one asked if he knew I was a drummer.

Which is more important? My drumming, or my penis?


And the rationale that I hear a lot is: “I just don’t want you to get hurt.” Okay, great. But I worry about my friends a lot, too, without always bringing it up as the most important thing. I have friends that engage in all sorts of dangerous and risk-taking activities. I don’t constantly ask them if they’re aware of the risks they’re taking. I trust them. I’m here if they need me, but I’m not going to bug them about risks we both know they’re taking, either.

I can’t fucking wait till next year.

And then there’s all the mixed fucking messages about guys that like women like me. If they see me as a woman (who happens to have a penis), I guess that’s okay. But if they want to even touch my penis that gets mixed reviews (from both my friends and myself, actually). So, I’m encouraged to look for men in places where men that are attracted to women like me hang out, and yet I am discouraged from actually giving any of those men a chance to just be people. Wow, I’m fucked either way (and not the good kind).

I can’t fucking wait till next year.

And so it seems like I’m supposed to act like myself, which, in the very vulgar vernacular, is to say that I should “act like a girl,” and yet it seems that everyone wants me to be screaming at the top of my lungs that I’m a tranny.

I can’t fucking wait till next year.

And I’m amazed by how much negativity there is about men, just in general. I used to think I had a pretty low opinion of men. Um, no. I have been met by an amazing barrage of vitriol directed at men from my friends. Thinking that “men suck,” or “all men are pigs” will not help me. If I really felt that, why wouldn’t I just get myself to a nunnery?

Seriously, men are people too. They’re all flawed, because they’re human, and we’re all flawed. But most of them (yes, ~MOST~ of them) are good and honest people just trying to live a good and happy life. I don’t need to think the guy that stayed over the other night is an asshole just because we didn’t do anything more than fool around a couple times. We just didn’t hit it off. Why do I need to turn him into something worse than me?

I love men. That’s like the whole point, yo. Vilifying men is not helpful. It will in no way help me reach my goal.

Hey, I’ve experienced the effects of testosterone. I understand a little bit of what men’s issues are (surprisingly, I understand less than I would think, given how long I spent trying to be one, but…). They’ve got they’re issues, but they don’t deserve the complete level of disrespect that they get.

Seriously, I want to get married again, and my husband will be a man. How is it helpful to think that all (or even most) men suck?

I can’t fucking wait till next year.

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