TransHaiku (Transgender-Inspired Haiku) by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Some TransHaiku

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Look in the mirror,

The self you’ve always wanted,

The rebirth is now.

 

*

 

What is in my pants?

The question so many ask.

Revealing their fear.

 

*

 

As I shave my breasts

Making them smooth as lilies,

I adore myself.

 

*

 

Walking through the spring,

Flowers and buds are in bloom,

This I understand.

 

*

 

Swallowing the pills,

The moonlight of estrogen,

Supporting my truth.

 

*

 

I am the spring,

A revelation of flowers,

A transgender bloom.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


All donations go towards buying groceries and medicine.


There is No One Way to Be Trans or the Number Three, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

There Is No One Way to Be Trans, or the Number Three

by

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

There is no one way to be trans just as there is no one way to express, well, anything, even, let’s say, numbers.  The number three is a quantitative value that can be expressed with three acorns, three pieces of candy, three pennies, a triangle, a tripod, and so on.  It can be expressed as 3, III, or three—not to mention how it is expressed in the many different languages of the world.  The fundamental value of a three does not change because of how it is written or illustrated, or expressed or in what language it is referred to in.  Transpeople are fundamentally human beings who just so happen to exist and express themselves on a spectrum of infinite variety.

I could care less how “feminine” I look in some respects, in others I do, but the point is, I choose what is right and true and comfortable and fun for me.  I do not base my gender identity or expression on what the world might think is most “feminine.”  Three pencils and three jolly ranchers both express “threeness” equally validly, and “correctly.”  I express the value of “transness” not wearing makeup just as much as another transperson wearing tons of makeup.

I have met transwomen who were trapped (or so it seemed to me) in the traditional gender binary.  And this is sad.  And can be tragically sad.  Some transwomen try so hard to fit in to what they perceive is the “right” feminine gender norm and kill themselves when they perceive they can’t or don’t.  Some transwomen seemingly buy into the same misogynistic impressions of “femininity,” that many cis-gendered people do.

This past year in which I came out, several transwomen have told me I will never “pass,” unless I fix my eyebrows.  Of course, I had no idea my eyebrows were broken AND I had no idea “passing” was the goal. I thought being my authentic self was. If that includes passing, cool; if it doesn’t, still cool.

One transwoman, a few years older than myself, recently said, after looking me over:

“Have you ever heard of the uncanny valley?”

I hadn’t.

“Well, it’s the idea that some robots and zombies and aliens, etc. make humans feel eerie and uncomfortable because they appear to look CLOSE to human, but aren’t.”

“I see,” I said, while inside drifting steadily into a protective dissociative state (really).

“You just need to fit in more,” she went on without mercy, “work on your makeup, your hair is too flat, your clothes, well, your clothes are OKAY, but you can work on those too.  And your eyebrows…they are way too big.  You haven’t feminized your voice or your moves—your walk.”

Later, after much reflection and a healthy dose of needing to be talked down from a highly triggered state of dysphoria, I thought about just how sad it must be to be her.

She is stuck—I daresay—bound–to the belief that the task of a transwoman is to fit into “American” society’s prevailing views of what women should look like.  If I would only “feminize” myself in such ways, this would, in her mind, make me look more “human,”—less threatening to the “normies.”  If I would just toe the line of “traditional,” “American,” “feminine” ideals then I would find a job and a place to live.  I wouldn’t be so depressed.

I also realized later on that I must be a threat to her on some levels.  She was likely told and bought into the idea that she had to look a certain way in order to be a “real” woman, a woman who “passes,” or a woman who, at very least, doesn’t draw attention to herself.  There are, of course, very real safety concerns for some transwomen, but I think in this case, I must have contradicted decades of, what deep-inside she must view as, her wasted time, money, and life trying to “fit in.” Turns out you can be trans and not have to look a certain way, not have to give a fuck about fitting in.  Something she may never have been told.  Something she cannot bear to hear.

The fact that I don’t wear makeup must fly in the face of her “traditions” about what women should and should not do.  The fact that I don’t care about covering my five-o’clock shadow might make her upset for all the money and time she spent on electrolysis or expensive makeup, not to mention the time she spent shaving, and so on.  The fact that I don’t care how fluffy my eyebrows are might make her resentful at herself for all the countless hours she spent plucking, waxing, trimming, shaping, or threading her eyebrows—and here I am—a whipper-snapper transwoman—who comes along and says: “Um, I’m trans, and I have fluffy eyebrows.  Fuck you.”

Of course it is completely possible she looks the way she does, and does the things to help herself look the way she does, because she likes it, because she chooses it consciously, thinks it’s fun, affirming, liberating, and so on.  And that’s all totally fine, totally acceptable, totally trans.  And when I dress the way I dress or choose not to “feminize” myself in the ways others think I should, I am also acting perfectly, acceptably, and totally, wonderfully trans.

So let’s get some things straight, because there are some things in the world that need to be straight, and these are a few of them:

 

1). There is no one way to be trans.

2). There is no right or wrong way to be trans.

3). Transgender folks are human beings just like everyone else.  We do not belong to any uncanny valleys.  Uncanny valleys are stupid.

4). There is no one way to be a woman, a man, or genderfluid, genderqueer, asexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, a child, a dog, a puppy, cat, whale, moose, tree, or sky.

5). There is no need for transgender policing in the transgender community.

 

Those are eternal truths just as the number three will always and ever be a three.  A thousand years from now you can hold three pieces of stardust in your hands and they will still represent the number three. A thousand years from now the idea of uncanny valleys will still be stupid.

A penis is most commonly found on “men.”  A vulva most commonly found on “women.”  But that doesn’t mean they are the only places for those organs to be found, and further more they do not define the gender of a human being any more than an arm, leg, nose, liver, or knee cap does.  I am a woman with a penis.  And I don’t like wearing makeup very much.  And further-further more, I just divulged a very personal bit of information about myself because I chose to.  In actuality, what anyone has or does not have in their pants, skirt, spacesuit, etc. is none of your business, and if you think it is, then perhaps the idea of the uncanny valley IS valid because it would then apply to you.

I am a transwoman with fluffy eyebrows.  I am a transwoman who still likes her voice.  I am a transperson who doesn’t believe in “dead names.”  And I am still perfectly, wonderfully a number three, a person, a transperson, a woman who just so happens to be powerful, creative, and full of life.  I am a person who just so happens to be fed up with the policing that goes on in some trans communities.  A person who cares deeply about the young transfolk coming up behind us.

They need to be accepted completely and fully for who they are and how they want or need to express themselves.  They need us.  They need us strong, together, and smart.  They need us to have their backs.  They need us to look in the mirror and at one another, and at THEM, and see love—pure and simple expressions of infinite variety.

 

me again 2

 

 


 

 

 

 





Reflections on Clothing, Body Hair, Shaving, Joseph, Mowgli, Spirits, and My Spiritmother from Home, By Radiance Angelina Petro

Reflections on Clothing,

Body Hair, Shaving, Joseph,

Mowgli, Spirits, and My Spiritmother from Home

By

Radiance Angelina Petro

 

mowgli eye

 

I remember, before I came out, going to work wearing a tie, stiff slacks, dress shoes, and getting called, Joseph and Mr. all day; and then, coming home, shedding it all—dropping it all—like unnecessary armor—the clothes, the name, and then putting on my comfortable clothes–the ones I had started buying and wearing in secret, the ones I have always wanted to wear but didn’t know it—the ones that made my body feel alive; and finding myself suddenly breathing again.  I hadn’t realized it, but I had been holding my breath in a very real sense the whole day.  In my silken night gown however–beard and all, hairy everything and all–I felt at home in my body.  And then, add to this wonder, the discovery that I could choose my own name, and I felt like a queen—well, more like a sorceress brewing her own life.

The day came when I found myself shaving my arms for the first time.  I couldn’t believe how freeing it was.  This may sound hard to believe, but the day I shaved my entire body (well, what I could reach, that is), I hadn’t planned on doing it.  I just stood there naked in front of the full-length mirror, took the clippers out, and started.  Some of you may not know this, but I used to be hairy as hell.  When the tufts of hair began to fall from my arms, chest, legs, belly, my…well, other parts—I laughed and wept, and then laughed and wept some more.  I was so incredibly happy.

I wasn’t shaving to try to look like some feminized image in my head—nor was I, nor am I now, against body hair on anyone—but for me, it was a moment of liberation and revelation, and shaving felt like shedding, molting—stepping out of bearskin and becoming human.

Same as when I wore “women’s” clothes for the first time.  Of course there is no such thing as men’s or women’s clothes—I know that now—but those first few weeks I started wearing clothes I thought were women’s, were among the most innocently sweet times of my life.  Yes, you and I both know I am prone to hyperbole and just a touch of drama—but who cares?  It’s the truth.  First time I wore a woman’s blouse and skirt I felt euphorically happy. And when I put a dress on for the first time– hiding up in my room late one Friday night in late winter– I admit I felt aroused, but much more than sexually–I felt blessed, validated, home—a kind of arousal I had never experienced before but that would soon be eclipsed by the watershed moment when I realized what all of this meant (not that it needed any meaning)—the moment I realized I am transgender.

What I saw in the mirror that night was right and good, even though, as I said, I still kept a beard—which in those first few months, felt like an incongruency.  I now know many gorgeously handsome men who wear dresses and sport beards and they look (and are) amazing. But then there came the day the beard had to go too.  And for me, I have done my best since that day, to look and feel as shaven as I can. That is my preference.  Somedays I put on my skirt and a t-shirt, eye makeup and go out without shaving—occasionally I won’t shave for two days, but that is rare.

The thought of wearing a tie now, or the old clothes I used to wear, sickens and saddens me—or rather, makes me feel like it’s a violation of my being to even think about wearing them.  And I know that is still stinking thinking—that it doesn’t matter what I wear—I am a woman through and through—fuck what anyone else thinks a woman should or shouldn’t be or wear—I get it—intersex complications all rolled into one me—I am a woman—no matter what I wear, how I dress, or how much body hair I choose to keep on or not.  And yet the feeling remains that to wear those old clothes would be like wearing fire.

And today, alone in my house, but not alone inside—for I have you and others—I no longer have to hide anything.  This is me (of course, yes, there are still things I hide just for the sake of the joy of mystery).  For the first time in a long time, I am OK with me—with who and what I see in the mirror.  I am not where I want to be in many ways with regards to my physical appearance, but I am moving in the direction that feels right for me.

Wednesday, at therapy, I had the most profound sense that Joseph was ready to leave—that he had done his work and was ready to go back into the light.  He had protected me; did his best to keep me safe.  Even as the abuse piled on—he hid me, sheltered me from the blows—he took me into his soul.  And when I told him I was ready to give birth to myself he acted as midwife and wept with joy the hardest when he saw me standing in front of the mirror all dressed in satins and silks holding a little girl in my arms.

His spirit remains in me, but his soul has gone home.  This may be hard to understand—this difference between spirit and soul.  All I know is that spirit is like another mind—another voice or breath, while soul is the like the essence behind that mind or breath.  It is like the music of the voice and its meaning.  Spirit is mist, soul water, body earth holding all of the above.

I live with two spirits with my own soul in one body.  It’s hard to explain but it makes sense to me.  Yes, each spirit has its own, individual soul, but their souls are their souls and have little to do with me.  My soul is my soul, like your eyes are your eyes, and this body is mine—a woman’s—even if it has shades of Joseph shimmering through.

It would not surprise me in the least, by the way, to find out one day, sooner or later, that I am not two-spirited—but many spirited.  Just as there are many genders made manifest in our waking conscious lives there are many gender-spirits swirling about us—and they are all—each and every one—beautiful and scented with earth and dappled with stars, and, with my luck all looking for a home (for that is what many spirits do—they look for homes to dwell in while others are content to travel through the trees and across ponds never settling down anywhere).

Last night, Joseph sent a firefly into, and then out of, my room.  I know it was him checking up on me.  And when I blew him a kiss I felt myself grow taller into my own being.

I know too that it was my mother—my spiritmother—who sent Mowgli to me (well, she is more than my spiritmother, but that is another story—she is also more than my most recent earthmother, but that too, is another story).  Spiritmother wanted me to know I am loved and that I needed to allow myself to be loved by people here.  She wanted me to know that freely accepting and giving love with vulnerability, joy, and wisdom—is OK—even though it will always mean heartache at some point or another (there are worse things than heartache—there is heart emptiness, heart sickness, and heart rage—I have experienced all of these and at very least heartache cooks up along with it poetry and the longing that pervades the best poetry). Spiritmother sent Mowgli to me to let me know she was thinking of me, and that I am with her always, and she with me, and that, unlike I had been wrongly thinking for so long, I can bewith her whenever I wantneed.

Looking at pictures of Mowgli today, his eyes betray the source of the mystery that is the love of my spiritmother.  And, even as uncertainty swoops and dives around my head, I am safe—here—in my own true self, together, with you.

When that watershed moment came when I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am transgender, everything I knew and didn’t know, bloomed into that one divine, precious moment, and the joy from that moment echoes today through my entire being—right through my fingertips and toes.  Yes, the watershed moment caused a mud-slide and many houses turned on their foundations and careened down the hillsides of their lives. Yes, the watershed moment flooded the streets of many hearts and preconceived ideas of who I am or was.  Sure, the watershed moment washed out many old yards littered with the shells of old cars and rundown sheds.  Nature is like that.

That moment though was the single most soul expanding moment I have ever experienced thus far in this life, and I stand today in deep gratitude and humility that I was picked to experience a second birth in my own being, my own body—that my own soul got to realize itself while in a body—that the spirits within me have a chance to sing, dance, to revel by the fires of passion and purpose.  They get to live as freely inside of me as they want—which, is a lot—is totally—is completely—is without reservation or hesitation—is without shame—is without malice towards anyone—is with utter simplicity and fullness of breath and room to explore and to wonder and simply be.

There is more to the story, of course.  It is still writing itself in the sand and on the water and in the wind and in the fires and bones of the world. This is where I am at this moment, Friday, August 05, 2016.  As I go about my day today, looking for work and a place to live, I am also playing detective trying to piece together the intersex narrative that has been running through the pages of my life like an unseen river which is only now beginning to rise, spilling forth over the banks of the ideas I used to think held me—even as a transwoman.  The mystery continues and more shall be revealed.

 

 

mirror 1

 


 

 

 




Thank you for supporting my ongoing transition.  Yours, Radiance

The Ever Unfolding Rose, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

The Ever Unfolding Rose

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

rose

 

 

I weep in gratitude as I write these words.  Many of you know the many challenges I am facing in my life right now all as a result of being transgender.   And yet, despite these, and the near-constant struggles with dysphoria, I look in the mirror and am amazed—not at the beauty or how “feminine” I look—but that I am who I want to be.  I am the person I was meant to be.

The soul looking out from my eyes is tender.  She is also ferociously strong.  As the years of living under the weight of an imposed masculinity, she rejoices in the freedom that is finally hers.

Today I see the wonder of who I am as a transgender woman.  Imagine carrying within you the seeds of an entirely new person and then sprouting with every step.  Imagine being a human, living egg, or a walking cocoon continuously unfurling and hatching as one moves through the world. Imagine being asleep all your life and then suddenly waking up to a reality that is both delicious and calming beyond compare.  Imagine having amnesia all your life and not remembering who you really are until, one day, the scales fall, the fog lifts, and you remember—you are an angel, you are majestic, holy, noble—you are yourself as your soul remembers you to be.

Today I embrace the native tradition of being two-spirit.  Today I embrace the wisdom thrumming through me and the insight and understanding I have of myself and of the world.

Yes, there are challenges.  Yes, I am often raw with tears, and the changes I am in the midst of often feel paralyzing, but I am me—a transgender woman.  And I loved.  I know that.  I know too, that I am love made manifest in a being emerging like a blossom in spring.  Whatever lies ahead will be met by a soul living in her deepest truth.  Whatever I have to face—I face it knowing I am myself.

I am myself in a way I have always wanted to be and could never dream possible.  I am myself with a life and identity of authenticity that is helping change the world for the better.  I am myself with an awareness of my spirit that is as profound as it is humbling.  I am the ever unfolding rose. I am transgender, and this being transgender is my greatest gift.

 

 

 

 



Please help support my gender reassignment surgery.  Thank you.

 

 


 


Thank You, I Want You No More, by Jennifer Angelina

Trigger Warning:  This poem is about deep gender dysphoria.  It contains references to tucking, self abuse, self-mutilation, sexual abuse, rape, and gender reassignment surgery.   It is about my continued effort to sort things out, and to heal.

 

 

 

Thank You, I Want You No More

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

me

 

 

Even before the abuse started

I would push you in everyday as far as you could go

And pull the extra skin over you,

Making you disappear;

I would tuck you tightly between my thighs

And hold you there hoping to make it look

Like I had a vagina.

Of course, after they gave me pornography

(Trying to make me a man),

And the other abuses—the assaults, the molestations, the rapes,

I hated you even more.

I abused you and got myself into situations

Where others would abuse you too,

And when I grew pubic hair I would tuck you away

Even more—hoping to make you gone,

I fantasized of removing you myself with a knife.

Yes, years later I got married.  Yes, I sired three children,

Yes I learned, to the best of my ability,

To allow you to feel pleasure—but the line connecting you

With my heart and mind would always trigger

A leaving—a drifting upwards into the ceiling

Or else far back into time, or even deep into utter nothingness.

I know, I know, I hear people say to be grateful for what god gave me,

But I look at you like a deformity—something I was born with—

Like blindness or being unable to walk—something that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Maybe it is possible to give thanks

For one’s handicaps, but I have not yet evolved to that place.

No, I do not hate my sons, or men, or masculinity—

I simply want you gone.

And now, the little blue pills

Are causing you to retreat more and more,

And planning for your surgery is utmost in my mind.

I do not hate the idea of you–it’s just

You were never supposed to be there in the first place.

OK. Thank you.

There, I said it.

Thank you for siring my children, thank you for all the times

You let me pass urine, thank you for all you endured all these years,

And yes, thank you for letting them one day transform you

Into the parts I really want.  Thank you, I want you

No more.

 

 

 

Please help support my Gender Reassignment Surgery.  Thank you.  All my love. <3


On Wanting to Give Birth

On Wanting to Give Birth
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 
Your rippling cloak of ocean and sky
Flows from your arms and shoulders,
Your mantle of universe-blue
Barely contains your night colored hair,
Your tunic of woven white presses against
The roundness of your breasts, nipples clearly defined—
This is how I saw you when I was supposed to be staring at Jesus.
Oh, to be chosen, wanted, ravished by holy desire–filled with god’s seed–
To be able to lay my hands on the globe
Of my belly months later, and feel my child move–
To surrender to opening the mouth of my sex
And spilling my baby like dozens of roses and waves of song
Into the open air–to feel the utter relief and fulfillment
Of her being placed at my breast where the milk begins dripping with joy–
To have my baby suckle– to have my baby swaddled to me–
To know she came from me and through me–
To know I carried her—another human being—
In my womb—
Mary, Mother of All, tell me why
I will never know this blessing? Tell me why I know
I am your gender and yet will never bear a child?
Tell me why I will never nurse? Why I will never be earth
For the seed of a man to take root?
I know, sweet Mother, I am giving birth
To my true self–a little girl of radiant beauty–
I know–and I am beyond glad–I am in ecstasy–
And yet you know this, you understand–
I want to bear a child–I want to grow an ocean within me,
I want to feel my insides rearrange, making room for another,
I want my blood to bring sustenance to another,
I want to give birth and to nurse and to stare down
As life flows through me into the mouth of another–
And I never will. Please—
Mother of All–wrap me in your mantle scented with sky
And rock me in your arms of mercy until this aching
Dissolves, until this longing eases, until this grieving
Turns into yet another surrender of gratitude in being who I am
Right here, right now—and then kiss me–tell me again
How we are sisters of grace.

 

 


 

 

 





All donations go to my transition and keeping the Wonder Child Blog running.  Thank you.  <3

This Being Transgender

This Being Transgender
By
Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

Dear Autumn,
This being transgender reminds me of what you must face;
People who haven’t thought of you for ages
Suddenly find themselves thinking of you and lamenting your arrival,
Others find you a fascinating anomaly in an otherwise endless summer
Of sameness and dreamy afternoons;
Others force themselves to stop thinking of you
With hopes of postponing an imaginary, apocalyptic winter,
Still others think about you so much they stop talking to you
And pretend you no longer exist, they fear
Your blazing changes will rub off on them,
They think your very appearance signals a heresy
That will send summer reeling—
Which it does–but not in distress does summer
Go tumbling through the leaves and out of town, it rolls on
Joyous of your presence and relieved
To finally be able to breathe fully and see spring’s children
For who they really are. And the heresy? It is there–
It signals the living fully what love stands for–
And that means comfort zones expanded,
Walls removed, and doors opened into the reality
Of the here and now, 2015.

 

Dear Autumn,
I see your graceful letting go,
I see you casting gold with trembling fingers,
I see your swaying vulnerability against a stark blue sky,
And I know I let go far less gracefully,
I cling to what must be tossed away,
I flail about believing
There is nothing gold about me
To even bother sharing;
I begin believing those who can longer look at me
Or who dread how I will influence their children—
I know better though, I know they only fear
How I will influence them—how I will magically
Nudge them away from the summer
Of their inner, thinly-hidden discontent
And out into the blazing colors of enlightenment,
I know better, but I cling to brittle branches
Of self-loathing.

 

Dear Autumn,
So many people tell me they need time to be able to just see me,
Some still believe a death has occurred, and yet, here I stand in my autumnal truth.
You and I both know nothing dies when you arrive;
Summer cartwheels over the hills and warms
Another place happy to be free to think new thoughts,
The leaves you share feed the soil and fertilize the seeds of spring,
The harvest of apples feeds many with mulled sweetness,
And if they could only see you in my soul
And be awed at the revelation of color and the arrival
Of gold and my ability to finally stand in the fifth direction
Of my journey, with all of the certainty of wonder and hope
Of voyaging further into the sky, the streams, the purple mountains,
The heart of love, and the ground of being;
If they would only look in the mirror of their deepest fears—
And see love looking back at them,
And how the faces of spring infants and angels of flamenco
Gather around the edges of their vision, then maybe they would get it—
Their reflection looks like us and them—it looks like every single tree
To ever wave in the wind and sleep bathed in moonlight,
And just rest easy knowing we are not signaling the end
Of all that is warm and held sacred,
We are heralding the beginning of freedom,
We are taking the leaves of sacredness
And casting them where they truly belong–
Into an infinite sky of infinite variety.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All donations go towards my transition and to keeping the Wonder Child Blog Up and Running.  Thank you <3