The Kind of Love That is Exhausted and In It for The Long Haul: A Trans Femme for Femme Daydream

Ok, time to get up.

She takes a breath and looks outside at the sunlight illuminating the front yard through the somewhat inefficient blinds. The last hour was spent lying in bed half-sleeping and half-awake, conjuring up a familiar daydream.

The stories she conjures up are all along the same theme: falling in love, romance, sweet dates, maybe raising a family. Think of a movie tinged with nostalgia, tenderness, and scenes with golden hour lighting. To be honest, they’re the dyke movies of her dreams: they’re sweet and tender and hot and steamy and people fall in love and no one dies. For all of her talk of hating the heteronormative romantic comedy trope of ‘the One’, it’s still the basis of these daydreams she creates.

This time, she finds herself sitting by a river next to a femme named Lauren that she met the night before, just a few hours earlier. In the story, she’s housesitting in a new town for some friends of friends and came across a bar a few nights ago on the outskirts of town next to the river. A small rainbow flag peeks out of a window.

Turns out it was an old butch/femme bar that’s been around for a long time — most of the folks there were a couple decades or more older than her, except for the femme singing on the stage. She’s the only trans woman in the room, but she’s used to that at this point. They catch each other’s eye and smile — and Lauren continues with her set. Later in the night, a slow country ballad comes on the jukebox — there’s been a few folks dancing here and there, but for this song — damn near everyone gets up to dance. She feels a tap on her shoulder and turns around to see Lauren extending her hand: “Wanna dance?”

The rest of the night turns into a magical blur of sharing stories, making out, and sex in the car. In this fantasy world, Lauren knows how to have sex with trans women — it’s safe and easy and wonderful. Lauren turns to her and says, “It’s my last night in town. Wanna watch the sun rise with me?”

They’re cuddling, watching the orange-red of the sun rise over the water. It’s quiet, except for the songbirds and the water trickling by. Lauren turns to her and gives her a kiss on the cheek. It’s time for her to go.

She remembers it, smiles, and then shakes her head. As beautiful as daydreams like that are, they have a vicious side — they keep on pushing forward the stories that romance and sex and sweetness are fantasies for her. It’s been so long since she’s been with anyone, sometimes the stories feel pretty real. In this weird way, the daydreams help and hurt, all at the same time. She also knows that those stories aren’t true: it might not be her current reality, but she’s lived sweet stories like that in her life.

She gets out of bed and shaves her face. The prickliness of facial hair still activates the dysphoria that got much quieter after hormones. After washing her face, she and smiles at herself in the mirror — looking back at herself full of a complicated, messy love that works its way through her body alongside trauma, alongside all of those stories and fears, alongside fantasy and memory. A love that is woven with heartbreak and hope, a love that is exhausted and still, yet, in it for the long haul.

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