Inspired by a tiny bit of discretionary cash and the realization that a better voice would help my career, I started looking into voice coaching. I get called “Sir” way too often over the phone, and I hate it, but the remedy is: sound like the girl I am.
I’ve made much progress from the days when I sounded excruciatingly, embarrassingly horrible, and some wonderful people have helped me kindly and effectively, but much work remains.
Someone wonderful and helpful pointed me to a very savvy singing coach. I swapped several friendly emails with the coach. I was impressed. But, before signing up for classes, I explained nicely that I’m a trans girl, and what that means, and how part of my intent is to simply speak as the girl I am. Singing would be a bonus. It was a long and carefully-crafted email. I sent it … and waited. There was no reply. Maybe the SPAM monster ate it — though that seems highly unlikely after all the other emails had gone back and forth safely. Maybe she got eaten by a bear. Maybe she joined the Witness Protection Program. More likely, maybe she just doesn’t want to deal with a trans girl, not even enough to say “no, thank you.”
I could mope or move on. I chose to move on. I found another voice coach, and the first session involved a VERY intense yet positive getting-to-know-each other conversation, during which she learned what my trans girl experience was like. The gentle-yet-mutual candor in the question-and-answer session still jars me when I think back at that conversation. It was soul-baring. I’m fine with who I am but I’m very intense. The few people who get to see the deeper layers of who I am … they tend to get overwhelmed. This girl didn’t. I greatly appreciated that.
Anyway, very soon we ended up being friends. Recently some difficult events came at her in rapid succession, so she was feeling a little glum. I knew in advance that I was going to be in her neighborhood anyway, so I offered to come visit and maybe the two of us could spend a couple of hours watching a chick-flick together or just chatting. She liked the idea, and I planned accordingly. She told me the front door would be open and to just come on in, and into her studio.
On entering the house, I heard a lovely song being sung, to piano accompaniment. It was a clear, high female voice singing, and the piano had the sort of energy that some of Elton John’s work radiates. I love that style. I’d never heard that song. I listened to it. With all due respect to my friend, I knew she could sing well but I never suspected she could sing that well. The song sounded like something that was coming out of a professional-grade CD being played on a very good sound system. When I approached the studio door, I realized it was my friend’s voice singing the song. Wow. When did she record that … no, wait. The studio door was open. It was her singing that song, right there … live, in the moment, sitting behind the piano and singing. Wow.
I cautiously approached, not wanting to ruin the mood for her, but she stopped when she saw me, and she smiled a bright sort of “I have a surprise” smile that I’ve never seen before. She announced that she’d written this song … for me and about me. Wow.
It’s called “Butterfly” which (unbeknownst to her) is the analogy I like to use for myself … first feeling and being very unattractive while trying to live as a male (caterpillar phase) and then feeling and looking much better living as the female I am (butterfly phase). I actually have butterfly-themed art in my bedroom.
She played me the song, and pretty soon I was reaching for the box of Kleenex on her shelf. The song is beautiful, moving, powerful and delightful — to me, anyway. The lyrics contain some of the wording of our conversation. One of the candid parts of our intense conversation included her asking me a question to which I’d replied “because [as to that subject, by now] I have a chip on my shoulder.” That part is in the lyrics too.
Next, she showed me a YouTube video about a trans girl (not me) telling her story, in a beautiful, moving, powerful and delightful way.
As a trans girl, I’d settle for just being able to live non-violently. Fortunately, that’s so far been the case (albeit with a few close calls). Absence of malice is the next step up. For the most part, I have that too, from the people around me (and I avoid the rest quite effectively). A big step up from that is when people are downright nice to me. That’s also almost always the case nowadays, yay! However, I tend to sense pity in some of the benevolence, sort of “wow, you’re struggling bravely, I see, good luck with that, I feel sorry for you, and may I take your order today, please?” I’m not complaining but … the ideal is where someone views me as a strong person albeit a trans girl, and is nice to me in that context. It’s happening more and more often, and that’s the ideal for me. That’s the premise of the songwriter, and I love that.
Moral of the story: if you’re a trans girl and you don’t like how someone treats you, replace them with someone nicer. But wait, that’s actually a recipe that hold true for anyone, anywhere. If you have to mourn your loss, I understand … but how much of a loss was it when the person was mean to you? The energy you put into dwelling on negative people, you can spend on finding positive people. There are MANY of those around, only too happy to be found by someone appreciative.