Another list post from today:
I have been watching a lot of the chat on this list about the differences we have — differences in age, in origin myth, in expression, in level of outness/closetedness and so on.
For me, the big breakthough on this was when I stopped judging others choices based on my criteria. As soon as I kept in mind that their choices were about them and not about me, well, that turned my view.
If transgender isn’t about accepting diverse unique expressions so others will accept our unique and indvidual expression, what is it about?
Look at the diversity of women born female. Twenty year old women most often have different interests and expressions than fifty year old women. But even while a twenty year old needs to be immersed in the stuff she needs to be immersed in, she knows that if everything goes well for her, somewhere down the line — far down the line, it seems to her — she will be fifty year old woman and be immersed in the stuff a fifty year old woman needs to be immersed in.
Transwomen, though, often don’t see that throughline. We are who we are, and what could ever be important to us than what we are immersed in today? I certainly know that hasn’t proved true for me, My needs, interests and expressions have certainly changed over the years, even within my trans expression.
One of the big discussions in the women’s community is always about the right way to be a woman. It’s so easy to look at someone and think that she is doing it wrong, that she would do better if she did it more like we do it.
Problem with that line of thinking, though, is that it’s her life, her expression and her choices. You might be able to offer a little different vision, letting her see herself though different eyes, but that’s it. You can’t change anyone else, you can only change yourself.
Of course, this is the primary frustration in life. If people would just heal on our schedule rather than on their own, everything would be easier, so much less trouble. And that even applies to us; if we would just damn heal faster, life would be better. I mean, I can see what they need, so let me just help them move past it, now.
We know this is crazy, of course. As much as we want our new child to skip the “terrible twos,” well, that’s just something she needs to do to grow up, dammnit.
What I have found is that I am much better at helping people when I don’t come from the perspective of telling them what they are doing wrong, but rather tell them where I screwed up and where I found solutions. It’s their learning, their emergence, their change, their own unique path, but sharing experiences from the road can help.
We don’t all come from the same place in understanding class systems, the obligations of womanhood, what is attractive, or anything else. That can make it frustrating if we believe others are missing the simple point, screwing it up and getting it wrong.
I find, though, that if I just assume they are where they are now, and they still have work and healing to do, just as I do, then I can meet them without judgement. If our interests are too far askew, well, we may not become fast friends, but when did you ever have to like someone to stand up for their right to make their own choices?
Yeah, sometimes I wish others would heal faster, would get it and be able to be there for me, but I also know that their time is their time. I can’t change their process any more than I can make a baby in 4.5 months, and I also know that if I try, I’ll screw it up, maybe even slow things down.
All I need to do is affirm that their choices are right for them, that they look good and express their own beauty, not judge that those are choices that I would never make for myself. For me, that’s the essence of being queer, affirming choices that others make that you would never make, even if those choices seem scary, baffling or just plain ugly. As long as they come from truth, their truth will be in those choices somewhere, ready for me to find it.
Now, this is just a note about what I learned, the breakthough I had to make.
It it means something to you, great.
But whatever, you gotta make your own choices, create your own healing, and do your own path,
That much I get, and getting it has made my life much easier.
It was a breakthough.