On Consideration

I’ve tried to take a more considered approach to life. Not just the visceral brand of introspection I’ve tended to use, but to actually thoughtfully consider things.

There might not be much of a difference between those two statements at first glance, but let’s dig in. Introspection is looking inward to yourself, which, is not a bad practice, but it is centered on the self. I think it’s incredibly important to be thoughtful about your actions, to be honest with yourself about your motivations, and to understand who you are.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the consideration with how that self interacts with an external world. I’ve often thought that deeds and not words are what matters. I’ve come to understand that consideration of words is important as well.

Something with good intentions, said poorly isn’t likely to be received positively. There’s value to how you say something, and not only what you do. I don’t say this as a means of manipulation or to influence. Your deeds must still stand on their own, but the reality is that there is an entire social framework to how information is processed.

There’s multiple layers of bias and belief that follows around your actions. Considering these layers is exhausting, and it shouldn’t be your responsibility, but yet, it’s still there. Ignoring an issue does not remedy it.

Taking time to consider the impact of how you comport yourself, not acquiescing to the masses, but holding your head up as a positive influence to those around you. A good thing said cruelly isn’t good.

On Being Trans Professionally

What does it mean to be an out trans professional?

What does it mean to be out, to be authentically yourself?

I’ve talked a lot about how I feel about my situation. I’ve written about what’s happened to me along the way. I’ve written about how I’ve had to become a person who could not just survive but thrive, mostly painfully and generally long after I should have.

Being out is a state of vulnerability. That doesn’t imply a negative connotation, vulnerability is how we grow. It does mean opening up to the possibility of being hurt. I’ve talked before about how ones gender identity can be used against them in numerous ways, but being out is giving that power to others, there’s times that it hurts. There’s times that people will use it against you.

Being out means being vulnerable with others, being open for your own sake and sanity, and not having that openness reciprocated. It means being kind to yourself when others are not.

The reality is that anyone you work with, whether you work in a large or small organization nor whether you deal with the public or not, likely doesn’t have a profound amount of experience with trans people. If you’re lucky enough to work alongside other trans people then maybe you’re the exception, but for most folks you’re looking at being a lightening rod for people’s concepts on gender.

Gender doesn’t specifically refer to transness, or your gender identity, but people’s entire concept of gender, their feelings towards gender norms, their feelings on sexism, their feelings on sexuality and plaster that on to you.

So it’s tough, you’re navigating the expectations of others in a very real way. While likely also navigating your own issues.

In my experience coming out, living authentically, and dealing with my issues has opened up a Pandora’s box of underlying feelings and shortcomings. From a lack of emotional constraint, on account of the not having feelings before, to a lack of developmental milestones that express themselves in unique and interesting ways.

So the short answer to being trans professionally is that it’s complicated, it’s not bad, in fact it’s quite good. It’s difficult to manage the wall of expectations, the weight of bias and judgement that follows you. For which it takes a tremendous amount of patience, it also comes with the talents and skills that come with looking yourself to the depth of your soul and denying everything anyone every told you about yourself. Talents and skills that most people won’t have.

So it’s hard, and difficult, but so is being trans, and the upside is so much better then the alternative.

Trans Day of Visibility

Pretty late in the day to be writing this, but I figured I’d express something for the occasion.

Before I came out I thought I’d be the loudest proudest most out person that ever lived, I’d be uncompromising from day to day. I’d say my piece to anyone, regardless of whether they’d listen.

In retrospect that opinion is exhausting, even writing it out feels tiring. My visibility and out-ness varies from day to day. Passing, a concept I never really gave much thought to because I didn’t think it would ever apply to me, comes and goes. I don’t know if it’s because the thought of my transness is so discomforting to them that they just block that possibility out, or that I appear far more femme then I thought I would. Both are probably true, as well as other options.

I guess this is all to say that I try to be visible every day, sometimes I need to point it out, or a tactical outting for effect when the situations requires the flair. Do I need to fight every battle? No. I need to survive, and every day I hope to look up and see a few more folks like me at the table.

Someday it’ll happen I’m sure.

P.S. When I looked up Trans Pride for an image the boat was the only option, and I couldn’t walk away from that.

On Not Belonging

There’s a tremendous amount of pressure that I often feel when interacting with others. Call it a weight to carry a burden to bare. I often think of it like friction. There’s a feeling of difficulty that goes into just existing in this world.

The concept of intersectionality is one I think of often. There are often moments where I feel like I’m straddling three different sets of rules and expectations. Rather then high wires each feels more like fishing line. Impossibly hard to balance on and even when you succeed it pierces your flesh.

The intersection of my femininity with my queerness and my transness often creates huge potentials for this friction. My transness makes my femininity conditional and more heavily policed. My queerness is often difficult to express because it’s so intimately related to my transness that it’s off putting or difficult to understand by cis queer people. So each element works in concert to further restrict my range of social acceptability.

It often leaves me in a position where I feel tired. The burden is heavy. The conditions of my existence in this world are limiting. Every action I take needing to be applied through multiple filters to consider not only the impact on me but the reception of others. Often the expectations contradict. Expressing transness often comes with the effect of losing the conditional acceptance of my womanhood.

It’s difficult to say but I often feel like my emotions and expression is too difficult for others to handle. No one likes when you make them feel bad and when my humanity causes others to feel uncomfortable your very presence causes that negative reaction in others.

I’m a walking reminder that the world isn’t as simple or as easy as we like to pretend it is. Rather the. Folks taking a second to question their own biases thoughts or feelings on the subject. The usual response is to put the responsibility for their discomfort on me.

Which gets back to the friction. When your existence makes people uncomfortable and the responsibility for that discomfort falls on you. Then your life is spent wading through negativity, which grinds you down.

There’s no grand solution here. if you’re wondering if there’s anything you can do exposure and understanding do work but incredibly slowly, slower then you might like. But know that you’re not alone and together we can make it through.

Remembering Without Wallowing Pt. 3

Practicing Gratitude is a phrase that would have made the first two parts of this sound less pretentious. They’re Here and Here if you’d like to get caught up.

Yet the point stands. It’s hard to overcome the negative feelings from your past, while also trying to sort through them. Which brings me to the next scary step I’ve had to reconcile.

How does it feel to be comfortable currently, but also carrying trauma.

I don’t mean completely financial independent or perfect emotional stability or anything crazy like that, but how do you reconcile the negativity in your life when your current world, your day to day living, has dramatically less negativity in it then the previous parts.

I won’t say things are perfect, but I’m in a position where things are far easier then they used to be.

My problems are far more, nuanced and difficult. Less existential or survival based but some are even centered around thriving and healing.

Terrifying stuff.

The position I find myself in now is one where the ongoing trauma generated by my current situation is less then my capacity to handle trauma. Which actually means in net terms, healing. Which has really helped in the practicing gratitude thing.

Being able to appreciate your past and the trials and tribulations that go into it is a complicated question and it strikes into the very core of your being. It’s hard to dislodge the hurt in your heart that comes from a time of utter dependence. Especially as I’ve gotten older and I see kids now and you can see the potential trauma they’re walking either into or already carrying and it’s hard to watch. There’s an inherent lack of responsibility for the trauma we face from our childhoods. It’s not our faults, which makes it all the harder to deal with.

Rather then being a freeing idea I think that shows the roots of it. Begrudging your lost innocence, feeling regret at a life not lived. It’s a theme I’ve talked a lot through these, and having come back and reading through them I’m somewhat shocked but what I’ve said.

Because even now that pain that I was talking about both feels real but removed. Which is a sign that it did start to heal. I’ve had an issue throughout my life where I’ve held those around me to the standards I held myself to. Ones I generally failed at, but was willing to accept my own failure at, but also failed to recognize how ridiculous it was to apply my own standards to other people.

Looking back is about dealing with the negative thoughts you continue to carry as much as finding a home in your psyche for the things that happen to us.

Sometimes things do get better and sometimes those better things start to stack up, when it comes crashing down from time to time it’s hard, but it does happen again. It’s okay to mourn what’s missed but not letting it blind you to the goods around you are more important.

I’ve had many things happen to me but none of the pain was anything that didn’t happen within my mind, and that’s the time and energy that was the worst spent.