Power Leveling

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

— Bene Gesserit litany against fear

So a week ago I’m standing outside a bar in NW Portland, about as scared as I’ve ever been in my life. (See prior entries for scale.) Inside there’s a meetup group, a whole gaggle of lesbians from the Internet who have gotten together to get drunk and talk. I desperately wish to make more friends. But I’m terrified of going in there, introducing myself, and sitting down for a drink. It doesn’t help that I don’t see any other trans girls in there. I look like a boy in a dress. I know I can’t back down. I will feel like shit if I do.

I trade some panicked text messages with my ex, and she convinces me to step up and take my chances. I do. It is painful. And awkward. Terrible, really. But eventually I feel not so self-conscious. The whisky helps a lot with that. Some nice women from Seattle make an effort to make me feel safe and included. I spend a pleasant, but no more than that, two hours in their company. It’s too far out of my zone to be truly comfortable. At the end I go home, drained and shaken and glad I went.

I feel like shit for the next three days. Tired, withdrawn, nervous. You can’t do this stuff for free.

I’m looking for another group to go to, to do this again. And again, and again. As many times as it takes until I can do it without needing someone to reassure me. As many times as it takes until I can do it with grace.

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7 thoughts on “Power Leveling

  1. I spend my life wanting to meet up with various groups – knitting, philosophy (I tried that one, and felt utterly out of my depth), local history… anything really just to socialise. I never go though; I say I will, but inevitably end up panicking and backing out, spending the next few hours hating everything and everyone for my inability to cope.

    So I think you’re very brave for making that move. You did much better than I ever could.

    • I’ve chickened out before, too, and yeah it feels awful. It’s that horrible feeling of self-loathing that drives me to do it.

      The hooch helps. Next time you see a meetup that is being held in a bar, go for it! Pregame a little if you have to, and remember, if things go poorly, you never have to see those people ever again!

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