Forest and the trees
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Forest and the trees.

There is an old saying the goes, "You can't see the forest through the trees." I suppose that means we often miss the big picture. However, the opposite is also true, we sometimes cannot see individual trees because of the forest. As we gaze out over the endless forest, all the trees can tend to look the same. OK Kathy, what are you talking about, and why the trite metaphor?

Some of us (perhaps most of us) have conditioned ourselves to see only forests. We have suffered over-and-over again disappointments, contentions or just plane meanness as a result of out T-nature. As a result we have developed automatic responses to comments, behavior or attitudes directed (we assume) at us. As soon as we see "the look," or notice the whisper, or are confronted in some form or fashion - we begin to immediately think, "OK, I know where this is going!" We then shutdown, turn away or even flee. We can view all our relationships (trees) as one big forest and react sometimes in a negative way when it is not warranted. Every look is not always about us, nor every whisper directed our way. Every comment does not have a hidden agenda behind it.

Case in point: When out presenting female I would notice stares, or see someone whispering, or looking my way and giggle. I had assumed it was about me. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't. This past spring I was up in Oregon shopping at a clothing store. I noticed the clerk watching me out of one eye. I became a bit uncomfortable as I shopped. I chose a few items to purchase and went up to the counter. The clerk began to ring me up and then stopped and said, "Has anyone ever told you you look like Stockard Channing? I thought you were her when you walked in." I'm glad she said something, I had assumed a negative reaction.

An experiment: I was once visiting with Jade for the day when she used to live in Sacramento. We had a very lovely time in Old Sacramento, eating lunch and just playing tourist. (Jade was presenting female full-time then while at work.) During the day I thought I had noticed some stares, and overheard (I thought) some comments. When I dropped Jade off at her home, I mentioned this to Jade's wife. She looked right at me and said, "Get over yourself, do you really think it was about you?"

I had assumed so, but thought I would try an experiment to see. I changed back into drab and started the drive home. On the way I stopped at Home Depot to pick up some items. I was now in "male" mode wearing a tee shirt and jeans. As I shopped I tried to imagine I was dressed as female and forced myself to become aware of the stares, looks and comments of others. To my surprise I caught more whispers, stares, and awkward glances then I had before while enfemme! While shopping, a small child began to share with me how excited he was that daddy and him were working on some house project. The father was perhaps 3-4 feet away while the child shared this information with me. I responded to the child politely. The father took the child firmly by the hand and led him off. He said to him, "I told you not to talk to strangers." If I had been enfemme at this time, this would have upset me and I would of made a hasty retreat to the car.

I now notice I get more comments in male mode then I do in female mode. As a result I try now to let things go and not take every comment as a challenge. Just something to think about.

Last modified: 12/24/13