Voice matters

I’ve been doing a lot of work for my wife lately, she’s in the process of starting her own business. As I’m a business person I’ve been helping her a lot on the back end, writing, planning, designing etc.

One of the most satisfying things, has been the writing. I am an investment professional mostly, I work in finance. Finance is meant to be boring… it isn’t and that’s what I like, but especially when writing there’s a tendency to present it as dull because it can be very mathematical and technical, again it doesn’t have to be, but unfortunately a lot of boring people tend to unsurprisingly write in a very boring way.

Writing for my wife’s business has been one of the most pleasant experiences with writing I’ve ever had, it’s still professional, it’s still business. Yet the levity and the excitement pour out of me while writing things even as simple as job ads.

Getting to experience writing in this way has quickly changed my opinion on writing and given me a whole new avenue to express myself, professionally and if the quality of this blog improves, then personally too.

Often business can be stodgy, a lot of people can feel suffocated by an office. hierarchy and tradition can be a huge weight on your soul. Getting to experience the whole start-up/different industry/actually fun thing is something I recommend to any professional. Even if you’re not trans, yeah you heard me, even the cis folks should get outside of their comfort zone and spend some time finding their voice, nay I insist cis folk do it. In talking to a lot of cisgender people I often hear that they don’t understand being trans, well, for me at least a huge part of that is self discovery, discomfort, and yet ultimately joy and reward at the end. So Cis folk, take a chance and write with a different voice, do something outside of your comfort zone, experience life in a different way.

If I can get excited over writing memos you can at the very least live your life a little differently today!

The only people without

The only people who fell never near

The only people without fear

Living softly, hollow, shell cracking

The only people lacking

Turned and twisted, reduced with mud

Souls heavy steps, shallow thud.

Sun has broken, clouds subdue

In heart of hearts, hope does renew

The only people without fear

Sing silently their story’s near.

Losing Agency is the hardest part of being Trans

I’ve talked about the letter you need to move forward with medical transition before and how hard a process that really is. I want to delve deeper into a what is unfortunately a core facet of being Trans that I never really hear about. It’s losing your basic agency.

If you’re not sure what agency means its basically the ability to make your own choices. We’ll call it free will. For the vast majority of people, regardless of their struggles, still get to exert free and unrestrained agency. Even the poorest among us still get to make basic decisions about themselves.

One of the most mortifying realizations about being Trans, and looking to transition, is how woefully dependent you are. You do not have agency over your body once you come out as Trans, you do not have the right to make decisions about your body. That’s the whole point of that letter, you need to be proven capable first, by someone else.

The only real choice you get is whether or not to come out. Once you’re out, in many places you’re exposed to legal discrimination, being Trans isn’t protected by law in many places, on top of the social discrimination everyone likes to remind you of constantly.

Once you come out as Trans a funny thing happens. All of a sudden it becomes acceptable to those around you to ignore your wishes, while simultaneously policing your actions. This is usually done as advice to protect you from the ‘others’ that don’t accept you. If someone does this to you, it’s because they’re uncomfortable plain and simple.

So you don’t get to make your decisions when you’re Trans about your own body unless proven capable (a situation that hasn’t been medically acceptable for anyone else since the 70’s) if you do come out as Trans people will immediately stop respecting you as much as they did, and then be rude enough to pretend its in your best interest. This all culminates in a feeling of bitter helplessness. I’ve told the story about the flag my boss made me take down, as hard as that was, the conversation thereafter where we discussed his right to know about my transition to protect me was worse.

Yet what can I do? An asshole that knows they’re an asshole is probably better then one that is but doesn’t know.

I am a professional, I have accreditation and licenses. I am responsible to my clients and their interests. I make large decisions and provide critical advice daily. Yet forever I will know that beyond all that I wasn’t assumed qualified to know if I was ready to be myself.

Am I really?

Am I really just some parts?

Am I really not allowed to start?

Am I really just a laughing stock?

Am I really key to hatreds lock?

Will I really feel the pain?

Will I really be treated sane?

Will I really be a nanny?

Will I really always be some Tranny?

I am more than your insanity.

I am risen above your animosity.

I am more then any part.

I am more within my heart.

Each step is exciting

I got a package in the mail today, inside are some new clothes. Those clothes are decidedly, pretty androgynous. The big thing is that they are for me, and they are for public wearing.

I don’t know about everyone but I’ve grown a bit of stack of clothes that fit me and I like, but they were never purchased with the intention of being seen by anyone. Some are fun, some are racy, and some are boring and dull. I’ve stopped buying clothes for me to escape to a feeling of normal. In the last few months I’ve started buying clothes normally. It’s a big step and I’m already a lot more comfortable.

I bought new work clothes. Awkwardly, men’s clothes don’t fit as well anymore, I’ve started to take on a more feminine shape and on top of being bigger means that there’s just not a lot of room extra space in these shirts around my midsection, while simultaneously there’s an awkward amount of fabric loosely hanging off my back.

I didn’t really know that there was that much of a difference.

A big part of this process is discovering yourself, I’ve never really had cause to figure out what kinds of colours I like to wear because men’s clothes are boring and come in unappealing colours and patterns, the trouble was usually finding something interesting.

There’s a whole new world out there for me now and Each step forward is a another in which I feel like I have a place in it.

Finding Strength

I’ve been pretty damn negative lately, so nows about the time I talk about something positive. Finding inner strength is hard. Whether its passion or conviction or stubbornness or something else, everyone everyday needs a reason to be awesome. Because frankly, not every day is awesome.

I’ve tried hard to find a reason to be awesome over the years, The honest truth for me for a long time was that I didn’t think that I was worth experiencing that. IF you don’t have any self value then being awesome for the sake of being you is pretty difficult. Yet I had to continue on, and did so.

For a long time I don’t think I really had a vision or idea of what I wanted, All I could hold on to was that at some future time i wanted to be happy. I didn’t know what that meant, but that didn’t matter. It was about becoming happy, because I didn’t know how to be happy as things were. There was no settling for me.

Eventually I became a flurry of activity, some people would say I still am. I’m a busy person because I crave stress because then I know I’m working towards something. When my wife and I have too little to do we usually make decisions that will add stress, sometimes permanently to our lives.

So where does inner strength come from? It’s about going back to the original premise of, what makes me happy? If I can answer that question then I can move towards it. Well I never found an answer but I did find some philosophy. I started reading into stoicism. The idea of working towards virtue and accepting what you can’t control and changing what you can. Knowing the very limits of your mind and harnessing it to your will. This was a great source of strength. I’ll start talking about this in other posts. There’s a few tenants and ideals that I rely on when life gets me down.

I haven’t figured out how to be happy yet, but I have found a way to be content with who I am. More then hormones or authenticity, strength of character and conviction give me the motivation I need to push towards that most elusive goal.

Being Happy.

 

 

Planting the flag

Last week I put a flag up in my office. It should not surprise any of you that it was the Trans pride flag. I have said before that I have an odd relationship with Pride, and most of it comes from a pretty big lack of being proud of who I am.

So I put up my flag, it was bigger then I wanted it to be but finding the damn thing was difficult enough. So I get it up, I’m feeling good about it, Gotten some compliments. It’s becoming part of the background.

If you’ve read a couple of my posts you should know the hammer is about to fall.

One of the partners calls me up to his office.

“You’ve got to take the flag down.” He said other things to justify it but really, what matters is, flag comes down, heart goes with it.

Whether it’s the hormones, or letting myself feel pain. I cried in the bathroom at work for the first time in my life. Like full on red eye, stinging tears, hacking breaths, sobbing. I’m not easy on the eyes on a good day, and I was looking extra rough.

I’m a believer of stoicism, I worked to control my emotions, this wasn’t the time. Its tough, but I sucked the tears in. Let what calm I could find run out the day.

The flag came down.

I put it in the closet.

The poetry of that is grade school at best but I still enjoyed it.

I spoke with that partner again yesterday about this event. I was, and am still unhappy about it. I think its cowardly, I think his fears are legitimate but that they perpetuate the same problem. In business it’s often difficult to know what innovation will lead to success. BlackBerry created the smart phone, now they’re a bloated app service. Not everyone wins all the time, it’s what makes it exciting.

I don’t want my identity to lead my life, but there is a certain aspect of my career where I am going to have to fight for oxygen, and create a space for myself. I understand that. Fear and concern over the feelings of our clients reduces us. I have to believe that there are more people in the world that want to live in a freer more open society then don’t. It’s not fear that creates that world, it’s courage.