Transcend: Transforming Love

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Transcend: Transforming Love

By Trey GreeneTrey

It’s that time of year again, a time when so many people feel assaulted by red hearts and flowers that represent the haves and have nots in the world of romance.  Some look on with dread, fear, or indifference, some excited and expectant of a promised night of passion.  And others feel a rare hope and only find disappointment when their mate fails to impress or improve.

Now, this may seem out of left field, but we talk about assumptions all the time in the LGBTQ community and that we should never make them of others, should let others tell us who they are.  What if we took this approach to all relationships, if we allowed each person to enter our world without prejudice and tell us who they are before we assume anything, before we potentially turn away a best friend or the love you never knew you were searching for?

I’ve found in myself that I have too often fantasized about how things were supposed to be, so much so that I’ve missed out on what could have been.  Maybe it’s watching all the romantic movies with their perfectly construed plots and fairy tale happy endings.   The point is that I am prone to these narrow visions of how things are supposed to look in my life.  I have these ideas of when things are supposed to happen and how they are to play out.  Maybe it’s a way to trick myself into feeling in control.  One year ago, I had no best friend, no partner to speak of, and I made myself miserable because of both facts, all for the thought that things should be different, that I’m 32-years-old and will always be alone.

I think expectations and these prejudices got in my way.  It’s that word “should” that trips me up.   What if there was no should, only I am?  I think I would have gotten a lot more joy out of the last 32 years if I had stopped using that word altogether.  The problem is that any time we are looking forward or backward, we are not being present with what is.

I suppose the same thing happens when we make assumptions about what a certain gender is supposed to look like, how to dress, act, speak, and be in the world as a man, woman, or someone else.  Some would say I’m not a man because of the body I was born with, assuming that genitalia defines something in my brain, that I should be happy being a woman.  But I am no woman, no bearded lady.  I am a man.  And no amount of anyone not believing in me or “shoulding” me is going to change that. It’s scary because we rarely see a Hollywood happy ending for trans folk on screen, and while off-screen there is darkness, there is also the world of wonder and beauty in being trans that only we can show the world.  And there are those out there who can appreciate that beauty and see beyond the veil of expectations who will love us for all that we are, pre and post transition, and in whatever stage you are in or move toward.

If you love someone, you love the whole person.  And you can’t should away the traits you don’t care for.  Love doesn’t work that way.  Attempts to shame or change a trans person into a cis person is nothing less than emotional abuse.  And just as certainly as you can’t change your partner’s gender, you can’t should your partner into being someone that they are not as you try to reform them into the image of that person in your dreams you always thought would be “the one”.   People can grow and change, but your lover will not magically transform into a prince or princess on February 14th.  And that person who we’ve secretly searched for our whole lives or been with for a long time may in fact be completely wrong for us.  Maybe that’s why we are most likely to find love when we stop looking for it.  What I was looking for was the same pattern of abuse and craziness that I’d had my whole life.  I was looking for the same person over and over again and hoping each time that she’d be someone else, so much so that I almost passed up the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Of course, there has to be respect, communication, honesty, trust, and love to build a healthy foundation.  But sometimes we forgo even those things and instead narrow that image too much and make it something too familiar, something that never worked in the past and isn’t likely to do so in the future.  My new partner is unlike anyone I’ve been with before, and in the beginning, that made me uneasy.  It felt wrong because I didn’t feel afraid.

But love is not fear of loss and misery and desperation.  It’s the woman who will hold you when you’re having a breakdown, who loves you enough not to run or judge you when you are falling apart.  It’s the best friend who stands by you when you’re at your worst and feel so unlovable you tell him you want to end it all when so many other friends have failed to stand by you.  It is held lightly and given its freedom.  It’s not that high strung fear of loss that I’ve felt before.  Love is a choice.  Love is a choice that each person in a relationship makes every day.  And when the dopamine of new love runs out, it is their willingness to make that choice day after day that will most test the relationship.  Perhaps I will be single again tomorrow, but in this moment, I can see myself marrying this woman.    She has taken my heart, not with fear or tricks or manipulation…not with flimsy promises but with steady support, honesty, compassion, love, and the willingness to see in the darkest part of my heart and love me despite it.  She has given me a stronger sense of myself, where with other partners I have lost myself to them.

That is the love I want to celebrate on February 14th, whether it be from family, friends, significant others, or simply self-love.  It is the calming connection that brings us together within ourselves and with each other.  It is the place where we leave behind the longing, agitation, and drama of Hollywood romance and settle mindfully into our flawed and perfect selves both together with others and alone in anticipation of the loves to come.

If you need support or want to share your story, please contact trey@visitgaycharlotte.org or reach out to Transcend Charlotte (transcendcharlotte.com).

About The Author

An LGBTQ-tailored travel, tourism, event and community website specifically crafted for savvy Charlotte travelers, visitors, newcomers and residents.

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