Dancing around the edges doesn’t do much. You have to go through the flames to burn away the false and mistaken, to test your own choices and focus your own energy. It is the struggle that forces clarification and enlightenment.
Kevin McCloud understands this in the context of design projects, the process of creating buildings that need to take imagination into reality.
Transpeople understand this in the context of creating a new life. We dismantle the habits and expectations we are issued, see what to keep, what to throw away and what to add, then consciously and deliberately struggle with convention to build a bold new way to be who we are in the world.
That struggle, though, is exhausting.
It is supposed to be exhausting, of course. That’s the way the system keeps the status quo in place, by resisting change, by making change expensive on very many levels. The conventional path is the easy path, and if you really need to stray, breaking new ground is always hard.
I am exhausted.
So is Chelsea Attonley:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2776090/Transsexual-10-000-surgery-NHS-wants-man-again.html I want a sex change... again: Transsexual who had £10,000 surgery on NHS wants to become a man again - because being a woman is exhausting By Amanda Williams for MailOnline Published: 03:40 EST, 1 October 2014 A transsexual who had a £10,000 sex change on the NHS seven years ago to become a woman now wants the taxpayer to foot the bill for a further £14,000 of surgery so she can become a man again. Chelsea Attonley, 30, ... said: 'I have always longed to be a woman, but no amount of surgery can give me an actual female body and I feel like I am living a lie. 'It is exhausting putting on make-up and wearing heels all the time. Even then I don't feel I look like a proper woman. No matter how much make-up I put on or how I dressed, I knew people would not know me as a real woman. 'I was fighting a losing battle. When people found out about my past, they treated me like a liar and a fake. I suffered from anxiety and depression.' She said: 'I thought the surgery would make me feel complete, but it didn't. 'I knew deep down that, even though I had had surgery, I had still been born a man. 'It was draining to constantly think about how to walk and speak like a girl. ''I could not keep up the act of pretending to be a woman any more. It was making me miserable. I suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of the hormones too. 'I have realised it would be easier to stop fighting the way I look naturally and accept that I was born a man physically.' 'I had to go back to living as Matthew.' 'If people criticise me for wanting treatment on the NHS, it does not bother me. I don't feel bad about the NHS paying for the surgery as I don't consider it a choice. 'I know I need these changes to make me happy and no one should deny me that.
Why didn’t someone tell her that no matter how much surgery she got that she would still have to walk in the world as a transwoman? Why didn’t someone tell her that sex changes aren’t really sex changes, at least not at our current level of technology.
Someone did tell her, I’m sure. But she wanted magic, and now that she didn’t get it, she has “no choice” but to stop the fight and go “back” to being a eunuch. I wonder if over the long term she may find some downsides to that role, too.
She’s not the first transsexual woman who has been unhappy that the magic they thought was promised by a “sex change” didn’t quite work out and then looked for someone to blame or some new role. Going back to who you were before, though, well, that magic doesn’t exist either.
Revolution is exhausting. Never underestimate the cost of daring to be different.
Revolution makes demands, demands of you and demands of the world that others are not willing or able to deliver. When you start to show signs of being uppity, even your friends will urge you to modulation, attenuation of self, using up your scant will power, by reminding you that it isn’t fair to hold others to the same kind of quality standards you would hold yourself to, no matter how exhausted you already are.
Revolution is exhausting. For transpeople, who are often visibly different in every moment of their life, pushing against the simple sex/gender link that lets people think we are defined by our reproductive biology and not by the way our choices reveal our heart, that revolution never really stops.
Never underestimate the cost of daring to be different, which for transpeople simply means the cost of daring to follow their heart and tell their truth in the world. We pay a continual, grinding cost that people who have never had to pay it and even those who have tried to deny it will ever really understand.
I’m exhausted, but even now, the message that comes back from the world is resistance.
“Why don’t you try to fit in more, play smaller, go along to get along, just accept being seen as a guy-in-a-dress? Why are you so challenging to people who just want to turn down and compartmentalize their trans nature? Wouldn’t it be better if you modulated and compartmentalized more? After all, you are a real pain in the ass when you challenge us, so we see you as being exhausting to be in relationship with.”
One gift my crackpot engineer father gave me was the commitment to march to my own different drummer. It is something I value.
But yes, Kevin McCloud is right.
After a bloody exhausting life, I am bloody exhausted.