I Am A Feminine PersonBY BLAIRE CORTILLA
From the time I was little, I wanted to be close to women. I want to begin my story with that, because that’s tied into everything before I came to OM as well as where I am now.
I remember when I was about nine, I broke into my mother’s makeup kit, and I painted crowns on my nails. My father was furious with me. He had grown up in a very homophobic, macho culture, and what I was doing was unacceptable. After the nail polish incident, he became intensely critical of how I walked, how I dressed. Over and over, he warned me that how I stood or carried myself made me look “gay.” I knew what the word meant, and it confused me: I wasn’t attracted to boys. By the time I hit puberty, I knew very well that I wasn’t into men sexually – but in my father’s world, and in the wider culture, the only men who were drawn to women the way I was drawn to women had to be gay. It was very confusing.
As I grew up, I saw my friends having relationships, having sex, falling in love. I was jealous and resentful. I couldn’t seem to make it happen for me. My depression made it hard to put myself out there, and my lack of success made my depression worse. I felt broken, like I didn’t have the right stuff to make someone want to be with me. What I realize now is that I couldn’t separate my attraction from women from my own sense of myself as feminine. I just assumed that there was no way any woman would want a man like me. I’m a man who wants to be a woman but still wants to be with women. How does that even work? I didn’t have any role models for how that could happen.
I was still in that state of hopelessness when I first heard about OM. I started chatting with a girl who was sitting next to me on the bus and she asked me what I did for a living. I told her I’d just started a new job as an IT guy. And I asked her what she did, and she told me that she was a relationship coach. She paused. “Actually, I’m an orgasm teacher.” I was curious, and she told me all about it, and I thought, that’s cool but didn’t think much more of it. A few days later, I was on my lunch break exploring the neighborhood around my new job, and I literally bumped into that same girl. She pulled me into her office, and told me more about the practice, and asked me to consider signing up. This is a big city; I figured it wasn’t an accident that I’d met her again. I decided to try it out.
I was very nervous at my first OM. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. My partner was an experienced OMer which was reassuring for me. She calmed me and directed me. It was a very calm experience, nothing sensational happened. Yet when I got to my feet afterwards, my body felt like melted butter. I felt so relaxed, and energized at the same time. I felt like all I wanted to do was talk about what had happened. My friends thought I was crazy, but I was so into it. I went back for more, and before you know it, I was OMing three or four times a day.
As focused as I was on the women, as always, I made an effort to connect with other men who were also practicing OM. I saw the success they had with women, and I paid attention to how they spoke. I realized that I was so focused on me and how I appeared to women that I came across as very self-centered. I needed to be more interested than interesting, as the saying goes. So the men modeled this for me, and the practice deepened it for me. Stroking creates feeling and it creates this deep connection with another person’s feeling. It gave me the tool I needed to be genuinely aware of what someone else wanted or needed. I had a common vocabulary for sensation and feeling, and that changed my relationships with women completely. I was finally getting what I had dreamed of getting. I had energy, so much that I stopped drinking coffee. I had more confidence, I got better sleep, I had an ease in finding sexual partners and wonderful friends. It was as if everything was finally falling into place.
My family didn’t approve of the changes in me, even though I didn’t tell them about OM. I’d always been this very nice guy, never the kind to pick a fight. Now, I was speaking up more, calling out toxicity where I saw it. I told my father to his face that he needed to set a better example for his nephew than what he’d set for me. I wasn’t rude about it, but it still upset the family dynamic. I wasn’t this sweet and submissive boy anymore. I was going to call things as I saw them.
Once you start making changes, you never know where they’ll lead. One day, my girlfriend and I were at brunch, and our server was this amazing non-binary person. They had long hair, a full beard, and breasts. They were wearing the most amazing clothes and seemed so full of contented, happy energy. It hit me, watching them, that I could have this for myself. And I told my girlfriend what I was thinking. “I’m a man who feels like a woman on the inside, but I’m still attracted to women romantically and sexually.” I was starting to realize that I was a trans person, and I wanted to start to live that way outwardly. “I am a feminine person, and I want to be more feminine, and I want to be with you,” I told her.
I won’t pretend it was easy. Without the tools of OM, I don’t know that we would have made it. We flew up to Vancouver for the weekend, and then, because our flight was canceled, we took a bus all the way back to San Francisco. We talked and cried throughout that entire ride, but by the end of it, we both knew we could do this and do this together. It was only because of OM that we had a common vocabulary that allowed me to name what I wanted, and allowed her to hear what I was saying. We had the framework to get through together instead of breaking up. We’re still together.
I’ve been actively transitioning for a while now. I’m on hormone replacement therapy and I’m dealing with all of these feelings. Honestly, I feel like a teenage girl a lot of the time: they call the first few years of your transition your second puberty. I’ve been rediscovering what is possible for myself and for my life. I’ve been redefining my relationships, not just with my partner, but with everyone. That redefinition applies to OM. I’m still stroking, but I’m not just stroking as a man anymore. I connect differently to women’s energy now. I’m able to give more than ever to my stroking, but I’m receiving something richer in return. The energy to keep going with this transition process, wherever it leads, is sourced in OM.
Above all, I'm living in my truth. That's what's important to my loved ones. That's what's important to my partner. It’s what central to me. If I hadn’t struck up that conversation with that girl on the bus, none of this might have happened. I’m so grateful it did.