A Creative Woman
Art has and continues to be my trusted companion in life, it is what I’ve known from early on and is how I cope and express what I feel and understand about life in general and specifically about who I am. Art is a powerful tool and I have been able to express my angst, tears and joys through its manifestation. This is especially notable since my transition as I felt a powerful need to speak out visually on topics near and dear to my heart such as finally being more whole physically, more aligned with who I am. I have created a series of paintings and drawings revolving around vulvas, partly inspired by Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and specifically because I came into my own after bottom surgery, and decided to celebrate mine by sharing with whoever would view these paintings, I wanted to shout loudly and with pride that vulvas were beautiful, strong and something to be loved.
I did this and had many exhibits where I showcased them to the public and for the most part, received positive reviews. I then realized how I could explore other aspects of being a woman through painting and went on to create other series like one on queer women, feminist views, vampires, and yes, some erotic pieces as well. I just found my voice as a woman creative.
Some of my paintings depicted trans women, from waving a pride flag at the San Francisco Dyke March to being tied to a stairwell and damned to sitting isolated from a community of other women in a bathhouse and finally as a wonder woman marching at a women’s march. Bottom line is that I came to understand what it was that I felt an urgent need to speak about, to share with the world and I loved that this is who I am.
For me, the act of drawing and painting lost some of it’s attraction, I still love it but no longer have the passion for it as I once did, now I have come across another form of art in which I enjoy expressing myself in and this is writing. I wrote, with the precious collaboration of Dawn Renee Greer, my memoirs “ Breaking Free: 45 years In The Wrong Body “ and I’m presently at work on a Bench language translation of it as well as slowly putting together a coffee table book of my art since transitioning and how it related to who I am.
I find myself attracted to seeing my art, my story as possible in a variety of mediums and it is my hope to see it evolve into other art forms. I do think that my identity, who I am as a woman of trans origin and queer impacts how I create, it is a constant source of influence as to how I perceive my environment and the world at large. Throughout my youth, I felt as if I was an impostor, that I simply existed as the reflection of other people’s perception of me, that I was a lie.
As a child and all through my adult life, up until I finally transitioned, I hid who I was, afraid of losing everyone and everything I had, I feared being ostracized and worse. I kept searching for people like me who seemed happy, who were flourishing but they were few and far between, at least this was how I was seeing things. After I began transition, I did begin to notice successful trans people out in the world and that gave me hope. I was not alone after all.
I remember how I would, when visiting some girlfriend’s homes, check out what they used in their bathrooms, things like brushes and cleansers, lipsticks and so on, because I just had no idea and needed to learn. I studied them in their movements, ways of expressing themselves with language and airs. I learned how to cook, give myself manis and pedis, even apply nails on my own. Still, this also serve to re-enforce how I was feeling, like a pretend woman, a fake, an impostor. What slowly brought me from this feeling and into being me was when I realized how much of these things were fabrications imposed on women and not actually anything truly innate. I was liberated to be me. And I was empowered and began to thrive.
In everyday life I guess most would see me as rather ordinary, I am usually busy around the household, running errands, viewing some show on the television with my wife Dany, playing with any of our five cats and preparing seedlings for the outdoor garden. When out and about, I am right back dealing with misogyny, transphobia, rejection because I am a woman of trans origin and queer, I am accustomed to this and have a fairly decent coping mechanism. Expressing myself creatively is really where I excel I think and it is how I survive much of the trauma and stress. The purpose of my writing this is simply an quite honestly to convey to you that creativity is what I have held on to when things got bad and it’s also how I express joy and happiness to be in this world. Find your creativity, it doesn’t need to be any one artistic field, it can be all of them or just you being you. Carve out your space and own it, you are worth as much as anyone.
Who knows, there may be more coming in terms of creative endeavours beyond drawing, painting or writing … time will tell.