I sometimes imagine what experts would say about me. I think about going to a gender clinic to start changing my body, where either they would ask me the newbie questions or they would be smart and just say, “Why the hell didn’t you start this years ago?” I imagine my family asking therapist reading this blog after I am gone and saying “They had remarkable coping skills, but in the end those same skills blocked actualization and healthy development.”
Of course, as Ms Rachelle would remind me, that’s just my fantasy of being seen, even when I am gone. When people tell you what the right thing would be for you, rather than asking what the right thing would be, without even listening, well, that can piss me off and make me feel alone.
After two and a half years of this blog and 900 posts, I still think about many things. Today I have been thinking about Abby’s comment “denial has never worked for me because I experience it as deprivation.”
It is clear to me that my training has always been about denial, and by always I mean since I was two years old or so.
When I hurt, my habit is to impose more pain on myself to get more focus and more fury. It’s great training for being a hermit, hidden in the basement of a semi-detached in a development, and being a hermit, away from desire, brings the same rewards it always has, a clarity of vision, but not much else.
Let me give you a little tip to help your relationship with people you love: Celebrate them.
Don’t celebrate who they could be, or how they satisfy you. Don’t tell them how they are doing it wrong or are failing.
Instead, celebrate who they are, all of who they are,
When I was hiring people, I knew they would all have flaws. And as long as those flaws were the flip side of their strengths, well, that was OK with me. Beancounters get too picky, creative types get too wild, social types talk too much, well, that is all sensible and manageable.
I know who I am. And I know there are ways I am “too much.” I just wish those were areas in which I was celebrated.
But this is not a family for celebrating, and especially not for celebrating the challenging and potent parts of our humanity. There are people who celebrate — I think of Sarah and Rachel and Abby — but it’s almost impossible for me to enter that exuberance because I know that at any moment I will be called back to the mundane and soul-killing, requested to serve and expected to be who they expect me to be. And that service means negotiating what my parents cannot speak for themselves, what they have no words for, what they resist saying. That requires me to be in their world, requires keeping my own world silent.
I was thinking about taking the struggle back here — the hardest part is returning — to go to the TransMarch in Northampton. I see, though that now Kate and Leslie will not be attending, and I remember challenges with Bet Porter many years ago. I have recently chatted with a young trans “guy,” just really out this semester, who is full of big dreams — he is documenting everything for a movie of himself — and was lead to remember how invisible the lives of parents are in a gathering of students.
I would want to go and celebrate myself while celebrating those like me, but I suspect that I will be invisible there too, though for different reasons than I am invisible here.
The Sex And The City movie opens this weekend, and women across the country are looking to celebrate their kinship with those four friends who live women’s lives, from suffering pain to loving Louis Vutton. They will dress up and play and drink and immerse themselves in their frivolous side, their beautiful side, their connected side, their loving side. They will go to a romantic place for a few hours, where what they often have to hide is exposed to the world, and do this in the company of friends & soul-mates.
And my thread, well, my thread is threadier than that, not having the place to immerse in celebration, not, as Gwyneth reminds me, having found the damn audience.
But some of you are there, spread out, and I know the need.
So on this two and a half year anniversary, I take a moment to celebrate myself.
Gosh. That was over quick, wasn’t it?
Oh, well, back to the grind.