She was huge. I don’t mean fat or obese, I certainly don’t mean it in any derogatory way, it’s just fact that she was so large. Tall, must have been at least six four, large hands, large feet with pretty and delicately varnished and decorated toe nails with what seemed like a German or possibly an Austrian accent that might explained her natural size, or may be she was from a more Polish region; I just couldn’t tell. By comparison I felt like a short person in a tall persons land and, I expect, the even shorter Chinese barista in the cafe even smaller. Yet this woman, who as far as my apparent in-built radar concluded, was not trans. At that moment when I saw her in the queue struggling to find the price of a Starbucks cup in the basket and even my suggestion to check the bottom of the cup turned up no clues, I felt foolish.
I thought about all my hang ups and worries about passing and give-aways, hands, feet, nose, shadow, voice et al, and here is this woman. No question of a doubt a woman. Going about her business. Despite everything about her, that most of us male to female transgender people worry about, she doesn’t even register these things as an issue, or the people in the queue, the barista, the busker outside with his guitar playing solemn classical music. It’s proportions and mind set. Most of it at least.
She asked if it was okay to sit on the soft window sofa next to me and within a few minutes was talking to a couple next to her about some make-up tips from the woman next to her with thick black Winehouse mascara eyes and fantasy hair style to match. After the couple had finished their expensive lattes she turned to me with just a few minutes of my lunch hour left.
Milovska was her name. She had a registration page open on her mobile phone and needed help. She couldn’t read the text. “The library gave me my details.” she handed me a small sheet of paper with details like an email address, a password, a username amongst other things and placed her mobile in my hands. “Can you help with this, only if you have time.”
I gave it a go and tried many attempts but I think there was some kind of confusion. It was a registration form she was filling in for some kind of service but it didn’t work and I got the impression she already had some sort of account. I felt bad that I couldn’t help her any more and directed her to the library and started to pack away my Kindle that I’d stopped reading for the conversation with Milovska. “Well I have to head back to work unfortunately.” I said politely though I really would have liked to have a proper chat with her. She was forthright but pleasant and a beautiful character.
“Where you do work?” she asked. I tried to explain the street but didn’t hold out much hope of her knowing where that was given her recent arrival in the country and settled on a local landmark. She had some office work in an industrial park somewhere. I stood up and dropped the Kindle in my bag, “Hope you have a good day, nice to speak to you.” I said. She looked at me and in a manor of surprise and warmth, “Thank you. You have a good day too.” she said in her European flavour.
I left realising that it isn’t our size, clothes or voice that shapes us as women, and only in part how we carry ourselves but it starts with how we see ourselves. Our own self belief. Our inner image of who we think we are. Without this we only end up projecting our hang ups.
Until next time.