“Piano intro: (J. Cole) she’s knows, she knoooows baby
(Amber Coffman)Bad things happen to the people you and you find yourself praying to the heaven above but honestly I’ve never had much sympathy because those bad things I always saw them coming for me.
(J. Cole) Oh I oh I-I-I ……….well alright Oh I Oh I-I-I
(Amber Coffman) I’m going to run run away away run run away away run away and never come back
I’m going to run run away away run run away away run away and show them that your color is black .
(J. Cole) Well alright….”
Last summer I met this guy who was a friend of a friend, a straight cis white man if you didn’t already guess and over the past year and a half he and I have become friends. For the purpose of this I will call him H. I enjoy H and his presence: his smooth shiny hair, warm brown eyes; square face and even those thick ass eyebrows of his which look like they’re drawn on with a sharpie marker.
The reality is H has a girlfriend and has been with her for some time since before I’ve known him, but knowing H has a girlfriend doesn’t stop the way I feel. Early on in our relationship/ friendship, I laid my cards on the table during lunch with him and told him I was attracted to him, but I knew he had a girlfriend. It was my way of being authentic, but setting the respectful boundary since she was there first. I didn’t think this “infatuated little girl” feeling would last but it did, 16 months later I don’t feel the same way but even more intrigued than I was the day I met him. I try to blame the “infatuated little girl” syndrome on the loads of estrogen pumping through my blood dragging me through a second puberty and clouding my judgment.
The feeling is guilt and frustration. H’s girlfriend is so beautiful, sweet and amazing. I don’t know a whole lot about her and, a huge part of me doesn’t want to know because I feel guilty enough. The last thing I need is to make me feel worse is to find out she works in a soup kitchen four days a week and, fly’s to the golf coast to wash oil off of baby ducks during her spring break. I’ll be known as the woman who lusted after the man of the modern day Mother Teresa, which is not what I need. She’s been so kind to me and I don’t even know her. What I do know is during a vulnerable moment in my life she helped me – a woman she does not know – a woman whose only link to her is her boyfriend. I can’t measure up to her I am so far from the picture perfect persona of her. I feel my transness makes me inferior to this already perfect woman even though I know H doesn’t see me as inferior I can’t help but to feel incomplete.
“Damned if I do damned if I don’t. You know I got a girl back home, you got a man, whatchu want whatchu want, what these bitches want from a nigga on some DMX shit I know them other niggas love trickin on some BMX shit but not me, Now I’m sure you’ve done heard about me, a black star, Mos Def, Kweli, good southern bad hoes they try me” (J. Cole, She knows)
Talking about – let alone – publicly writing about your romantic feelings for someone, is weird. For the most part unheard of, especially knowing he has a girlfriend. I am setting myself up to be the target of slut shaming; labeled a home wrecking whore; ultimately, it will be blamed on my black trans skin and probably the fact I am a woman, who is seen as the weaker, emotional and, foolish sex when juxtapose with the male counterpart. I know there’s a woman he already loves, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting him; it doesn’t stop me from thinking about him and envisioning myself in her shoes. It doesn’t stop me from shaming myself. If only I’d been born into this world with a vagina, love and companionship, then this wouldn’t be so difficult.
“This Martin Luther King in the club getting dubs with a bad bitch in his ear sayin’ she down for whatever, in the back of his mind is Coretta” (J. Cole, She Knows)”
I don’t know if I’m alone in the way I feel, but for his sake I probably should be. I’m not sure if he even knows I think about him as much as I do because I’ve never voiced anything to him beyond “I find you attractive”
This sort of silent cat and mouse game frequently reminds me of a song…….You guessed it, She Knows by J. Cole. Whenever you hear me playing She Knows, H is the one I’m thinking about. Sometimes I only play it once or twice a day, or five to six times a day. This song is serving as my silent symbol of reflection and obsession for him.
During those awkward pauses when we are staring at each other with the squinted eye wide grin, not knowing where to take the conversation next. I can imagine in my mind, he’s saying to me, “she knows deep down she knows and I know she knows/ well alright, Oh I, Oh I-I-I/ can’t give you what you want from me but alright” And I’m looking back at him with the lyrics of ZZ Ward playing in my head saying: “If I had her heels on I would never do you wrong, She treats you like a patient with the lies she’s got you on, Turn the lights off, Cause I’m all yours, Cover you in my curves, Give you what you deserve, We can get lost, Get the lines crossed, Run ya like a fever Woah IF I COULD BE HER”
Not only did I not think my feelings for him would last as long as they did, but what I also didn’t expect was to find a real companionship in him; Our relationship has developed beyond the “you’re cute, and I think you’re cute too” into a real and effective friendship. I found real solace and comfort in H and I feel his support especially in the quest of exploring and developing my layered identities. Because of his empathy and genuineness I regularly forget he is younger than I.