A Strong Woman
For as long as I can remember, I have found myself drawn to women who exist outside of what our patriarchal society would deem ideal. Women confident enough to have full sleeve tattoos, wild hair colors, Goth or eclectic clothing, and yes even bald heads have struck my fancy. For years I thought this was about sexual attraction, but since I began my transition I began to realize that there’s nothing sexual about it.
What I have come to realize is that the qualities I find myself innately drawn to are qualities I desired to exhibit myself. These are not simply aspects of a physical representation, but also aspects of personality. In that regard, I think my maternal Grandmother became my first role model. She stood all of about 4'10" tall, but her stature did not define her. She’d raised 4 kids, while pursuing a college education, and eventually went on to become a school teacher. She was the type of person who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, but she also had the sense that once the air was clear, a matter need not be readdressed. It was a quality I wish many of us had in today’s social-media-driven browbeating society.
Of course, many of my Grandma’s qualities were passed down to my mother, and as a child I was very much a shadow for her. When my father took ill, my mother was left to care for me and my brother on her own. She worked long hours to take good care of us. It was one of those things that as a child you are mostly oblivious to, but as an adult you can appreciate it infinitely more. When it began to appear that she was being pushed out of her employment by way of younger women, she went back to college in her early 40’s and basically reinvented herself. I admire this quality in her; she always rose to a challenge.
I lament that I have never been a very good student, but what these two women taught me about work ethic was still invaluable. You have to make ends meet, afterward you can take a moment to relax; be hardworking, and honest and you will have a good life.
This idea that a woman can be intelligent, and emotionally strong, was absolutely a quality I had come to admire; so much so that it’s those attractive qualities I would seek in relationships. But there has always been a fixation on women who don’t adhere to any traditional standards of beauty.
Women who are statuesque, and possessing physical strength have always appealed to me. The TV character Xena: The Warrior Princess comes to mind; but also the late professional wrestler Chyna. While I can’t really weigh in on the content of the programming that they participated in, I know their strength and presence was admirable.
There was always this magnetism towards a masculine female. This has a lot to do with why I settled on the name ‘Kira.’ In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine there was a female officer by the name of Kira Nerys. This character possessed physical strength, strong personal convictions (like my mother and grandmother), and yet still maintained a strong visage of femininity.
As I got older, I had long forgotten my childhood fascination with transition. The concept was so buried that I didn’t even have a behind-the scenes-version of myself (like crossdressing). I was going full “Dude,” and this girl was - for all intents and purpose - frozen in carbonite like Han Solo. I simply took my refuge in the presence of strong willed women (when possible), and any media (usually video games) that broke with male-lead narratives.
Eventually I would meet my wife by way of LiveJournal. She was forward in her approach, and I really like that. She struck me as a woman who knew what she wanted, and absolutely wasn’t going to take any shit from a man. This of course is a quality that I quickly fell in love with. Over our years together, I found myself prodding her to make more bold changes to her appearance. A sign to the world that says “I am me, and I do not need your validation.” I suggested that she get a sleeve tattoo, or shave her head. But, as I said she knew what SHE wanted, and she would do neither of those things.
Then I began transitioning and it all began to make sense to me. My attempts to influence my wife’s appearance seemed to be an attempt to channel Kira by proxy. It was actually me who sought to proclaim “I am me, and I do not need your validation.”
This tall, physically strong, emotionally resilient, bold, tattooed, bald, but still feminine woman was looking back at me everytime I looked in the mirror. It took the emotional strength to thaw Kira’s metaphorical body and the will to see her live, before I could realize who it was that I have sought for decades.
My fixation wasn’t one intended to lead me to another person, this fixation existed because I needed to realize that the woman I’ve always been attracted to was myself. And now I can see her for what she is…
A Strong Woman!
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