Au-delà du placard

I’m in an odd frame of mind right now, after the pub alarm (I live above a pub) went off at 3.30 am, setting off my Inner Meerkat in a cascade effect. It’s now 8.30 in the morning, and I’ve had 90 minutes’ sleep, but I’m not too insane yet.

Yesterday was more stuff about coming out, I think.

I had my second session with a voice therapist, wondering what my voice wants to do (if anything) about sounding more female, whatever the hell that means. The important thing I discovered during the session was that I’m in another of these clefts I get myself into: on the one hand, I’m reluctant to change my voice because I’m afraid of not being accepted by women (because I don’t look sufficiently female to “justify” it); on the other hand, I’m reluctant to change my voice because I’m afraid it will alienate my friends; ooh, a third hand appears… on the other other hand, I’m reluctant to be loud, because I’ve been told to be silent.

So fuck it, I’m going to raise my pitch a little, and change my intonation a little, and not strangle myself in the process. But mainly, I’m not going to feel like I should – or shouldn’t – change my voice, I’m going to let my voice take the lead. I’ve got some exercises so it can feel its way up and see where it feels comfortable. Already, during the course of the session, I found myself comfortable with a higher pitch than I had at the start. I don’t know where I’m going with this!

Then yesterday evening, I went along to meet up with some gay/bi women in Exeter. I knew it was going to be hard to get myself to go out again in the evening – socialising takes it out of me at the moment – but I was determined to get myself there. I was nervous because I was out after dark, because they meet in a new place now that I’d not been in before (which turns out to be really cool and funky), and just because of will I fit in?

15 minutes of sitting awkward and shy while they all chatted to their mates, and then I turned and started a conversation with the woman sat next to me. 2 hours later, I almost missed my train home, getting on like a house on fire with her and her partner. I was fascinated by her partner right from the start, an artist who’s very boyish in looks and clothes. The two of us ended up having a really good conversation about others wanting to label us. I felt this heady blend of kind of wanting her, and wanting to be her. It didn’t get in the way, it was just a pleasant thrum to feel within.

The thing is, I felt so at ease once I started talking (and listening), and felt very quickly simply accepted among them. Which makes sense, because I am one of them. It’s such a bloody relief to spend time with people to whom I make sense, and who make sense to me. And the lovely thing about the dozen of us there was what a diverse bunch we were. No feeling of having to be a certain way, dress a certain way, talk a certain way – sharing the experience of being women who like women. The best tribe is a loose tribe.

Meanwhile: o spirits of the earth and air, protect my heart from lovely short-haired women in bomber jackets…

[au-delà du placard is French for “beyond the closet” – the peacock photo, which is there just because I love it, is by this fella]


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