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  • Posted on June 28, 2014 at 9:00 am

Because you were the one with whom I knew the need
to scream, and cry, unfathomable, come to you to feed.

Like the one who had been there, when rich, in health—
and now such sickness of this heart, diminished wealth

because yours were the breasts I held, loved, blessed
and envied, reliably, faithfully, each night at rest

because you were the one whose girls’ nights out
meant anything but me—at home alone in doubt

changing, glamorous, unnoticed, pearl in shell,
waiting to be pierced, for the wand, the spell.


Because I wanted you to be the one to say
that I look lovely in my dress and pearls

because I wanted you to see the change in me
that makes me wholly one of all the girls

because I wanted you to be the one to hold
my breasts, admiring how they’ve grown

because I wanted you to be the one just there
bonded, welcoming, to this my home.

Like our babies you bore, whose unnerving screams
and unfathomable nights destroyed our dreams.


2013 © Andie Davidson

Maid of la mer

  • Posted on June 28, 2014 at 8:41 am

One finger tip one thumb
and a pinch of finest sea-dust
fallen in an age, storm-stolen, stilled

where was it when I was drowning?

Calm now as the silence depth brings
unvoiced and needless of air
reprieved not of towering waves

but the fear of breathing.

You have no idea how much noise
a drowning person adds out there
all arms, all legs, all desperation

and the relief when they are gone.

Imagine them half-sunk, tossed
slowly filling, absorbing ocean
in all their life-filled spaces.


Be honest, you tired of flailing limbs
since you turned back to safe shores
we both forgave the futility

imagined debts we never owed.

One moment we were laughing
swimming in a widening world
the next my feet seemed caught

grabbed to a gravity, a floor.

Now here I swim, gilled, serene and
reach to marvel at sea-dust in my hand
oblivious to white horses and sanctity of sky

this is my tail, and the scale of it.


2014 © Andie Davidson

Mirror, mirror …

  • Posted on June 28, 2014 at 8:05 am

Last week I told how it felt to see a photo of me from only two years ago, and not recognise myself easily. And how I look forward in the next step, to seeing myself naked in a mirror, to seeing myself as I know I should be.

Mirrors and gender dysphoria are a nasty combination for some, though never a terror for me personally. But that doesn’t mean I even liked my face before; I didn’t. I used to think of myself as ugly, but accepted that was what blokes my age had to be like. I am not beautiful, though. Just acceptable as a woman of a certain age, with slightly craggy features. I have considered a future plan for a slight tuck under the ears though: it would make a difference. We shall see.

This is not about mirrors and narcissism, but about being at peace with oneself after a lifetime disliking and living in some hate of some parts of what you are. Not all, just important parts. So what do I see differently, and why is the way I see myself so different from how others do? You may (possibly rightly) groan inwardly as I revisit yet again the idea of identity and relationships of any kind. It is just the awful irony that the more I see myself change, the more I want to be seen as the same person but more fulfilled. I mean, don’t you like me better as a happy person, with no self-hates and fears? No?

When you look at a trans* person, and reflect

You too are a mirror to a trans* friend, partner, divorcée … When they look at you from the same heart, through the same eyes, but at peace – what do they see in your face? Fear? Disgust? Coldness? Distance? In fact those things they always felt, looking at themselves as they used to appear in a mirror. I would surmise that you have also thought that we shouldn’t have had these thoughts about ourselves. After all, you liked us as we were, inauthentic and pained as it was. You wanted us to stay that way.

For us, this is about sense of self. We covered up a lot, we got by, but we knew all along that we were not living our whole lives, in full recognition of who we should, and could, be. Much of the time, we were probably doing it for you. And I wonder how you reflect about that, when the trans* person has transitioned, and stands in front of you, so different, and yet so much the same inside. What was it that ever made you close? Their commitment to being what you wanted, as a kind of devotion or loyalty? Perhaps they gave you the identity you wanted, as the normal spouse or partner or friend.

It’s such an irony isn’t it? I swap my old mirror reflection for a fresh one, and in the process, your loving smile becomes a cold and fearful one. I became authentic, and now you protect your identity by shutting me out. (This is not just about spouses, by the way.)

So why do we think our identities are at risk from each other at all? It is because we are, essentially, quite superficial? I mean, let’s actually be honest. It sounds awful, and it’s the last thing we want to think about ourselves. Superficial sounds mean, shallow, unconsidered, uncaring, and certainly unloving. It feels derogatory, but what I mean by it is layered, reaching only down a short way, rather than to the true otherness of a person. I have concluded that we tend on the whole to think that love is very deep – but practice it is something rather less. We have a belief in love as something big and beyond ourselves, a greater than, and we actually do want to belong in that place. But in practice, our real love is tipped off the scales quite easily. The things we say, the sweet nothings, the chemistry of romance and being in love, the vows and promises, are very fragile in reality. And so are many years of harmony and mutual loyalty. We love saying these things, but …

Imagine promising when you are twenty-something: ‘I promise to support and love and cherish you even when you lose your looks, or become impotent, or disabled, because I truly love you and commit myself to you.’

Yes, we say ‘in sickness and in health’ and ‘forsaking all others’ because it sounds very grand and deep. But saying it in the above terms instead, is a bit raw isn’t it? Why can we not be more honest from the start: ‘I promise to love you so long as you meet my expectations, whereupon the deal is off.’? Because it would spoil the fairytale day?

A plea for an honest mirror

That’s why so many partnerships involving one being transsexual, hit the rocks. You might have found your true, happy, fearless and blissfully happy self … but baby, you’re on your own, because that is not what I want in you. I would rather have honesty, looking back. Then maybe I would have been able to face my own identity long ago, knowing that any commitment to me was humanly fragile in any case.

Really, the trans* partnership is no different from the husband running off with ‘a younger model’. No, really: ‘I don’t want the old, unattractive one any more, I need the right stimulus to feel alive, to feel wanted, desired as I feel I deserve.’ I mean, doesn’t that make pragmatic sense?

But when I say an honest mirror, dear Queen, I mean one that says ‘Snow White is OK!’ – not because the Queen is ugly, but because Snow White’s heart is in the right place, and should not be hated and rejected for her appearance. My bedroom mirror tells me now, not that I am the fairest of them all, but that I am real and authentic as I never was. Now I want someone who, as a mirror to me, reflects what they see in me as a person, not as a ‘man gone wrong’ and therefore no longer to be desired, but who I am inside: authentic and true to self. A mirror without fear that my reflection in their eyes changes everything.

You see, the question to the mirror was wrong. I never wanted to be the fairest, and I never wanted to compare myself. I wanted to know from my mirror how on earth I could be more fair. I wanted my mirror to show me how I could be more authentic, and in its dumb response, I could not find a way.

Learning from the trans* mirror?

What I would like others to see in me, as their mirror, is that nothing is fixed. That a person can change their appearance and be even more loving and generous, even if their body-sex is unexpected. I want someone to look in me and know that their identity is unchanged by mine, that they are safe, and I am safe, and that real love lies under the skin, and outlasts the changes all our bodies experience.

Do you fear becoming unloved simply for getting older?

Are you afraid that your friend, family member, partner, will walk out of your life and find you quite untouchable, just because you are ill, or disabled?

If anything, my trans* experience these last few years has taught me to re-evaluate what we mean by ‘love’ completely. Disillusioned? Yes, I am, but I have a much clearer idea of what real love requires. I still love someone who no longer loves me, but I mustn’t let it stop me finding someone who can.

And I shall not.