i was born into a community of transgendered people. no one identified according to genitalia and in fact it was expected that at some point shortly after puberty each individual would 'discover' their 'true' gender after some sort of vision quest. i knew i didn't fit in because from my earliest memory i had no desire to be other than what i was, but my friends and my family were lovely and so entrenched in the colorful and joyful rituals attached to 'coming out' that i simply fell silent on the issue and let them assume i was nothing more than a late bloomer. as my teen years passed i would occasionally feel my heart and stomach flutter when i met a special boy only to have that flutter drop into a dull thud once he transitioned. i knew without a doubt that i was 'straight' and there was nothing i could do to change it.
i found myself being ushered into a marriage. my bride/groom was a perfectly lovely person but i felt absolutely nothing for him/her. i felt worried that i would ruin the hopes and dreams of the person i was betrothed to once it was known that i was not transgendered and so i began to give voice to the fact that i did not want to be married. everyone kept assuring me that it was just nerves and as soon as i received my 'special package' all would be as it should. finally the wedding day arrived and that morning with great ceremony and smiles all around i was handed 'the package'. as i looked at the bundle in my hands i thought, 'this is it- here is the thing that will put my questions to rest and let me finally look at the world the way everyone else does'. i untied the cord, unfolded the tissue paper and saw in my hand a vaguely phallic hand sewn leather pouch. i opened the flap and found it contained nothing more than a 'new age' potpourri of sage, rosemary, some glass beads and a couple of quartz crystals. i closed my eyes, placed the pouch on the table and said, 'i am so sorry, this is not who i am or what i want.' everyone began to cry. i was filled with sadness and simultaneously flooded with relief. i walked out of the room and into a world where i was a stranger. i felt an unfamiliar comfort.