To be happy, all we have to do is change our relationship with the world.
Sadly, the comfortable way of doing this, changing the world so it caters more to us, isn’t really practical.
Instead, damnit, we have to change ourselves to be more effective in relationship with the world.
For transpeople, this usually requires twisting ourselves into pretzels to fit in.
Of course, this is the way relationships always work. We shape our expression to become the person others expect so we can get what we want and we need from them. We merge our own history & nature with the conventions of culture, trying to create an attractive package that is authentic enough that we can maintain it without too much stress.
The gender system is a system of norms, of imitation for which there is no original, as Butler said. To be outside that system is to queer our relationship with the world.
There are lots of noisy transpeople nowadays, most of them in the process of emerging, of exploring and claiming their identity.
There are many more quiet transpeople, those who try and keep the noise down so they can get along with their work and their relationships in the world.
For me, changing myself to change my relationship with the world is a real challenge, The guideposts and markers are missing, the basic training is non-existent, My growing up with two Aspergers parents was just, well, weird and very, very difficult.
All I need to do to be happy is to change my relationship with the world. That means changing myself or finding a new world where people like me fit in more easily.
The best marketing plan I have for myself is to start using my voice more, becoming the nucleus of new community. By attracting people who resonate with what I have to say, then having them spread the word, I stand the chance of finding people who get the joke, who see and understand me, who can be there for me in a potent way.
An obligation to stand up alone and try to draw people is tough.
I speak for healing, but any place of healing is also a place of sickness. Hospitals and AA meetings wouldn’t be much use if they didn’t attract sick people who want to get well. People who know that they need what I have to offer are people who know they need change in their lives, people who seek growth and healing as if their hair is on fire. Acting out, resisting, fighting are all part of the dynamic, and not a part that feeds me.
I may understand the need to walk into the fire, to thrash through the conflict, to release the pain and burn away the armour, but that doesn’t mean I want to be the one that keeps people sweet while they do that work. There is a very high cost for me to be the one who pulls people off the ledge and helps them fight their demons, fighting me and resisting change in the process.
It was in the 1980s when a counsellor jokingly offered me a lobotomy, asking me if I would choose to give up my gifts to fit in more nicely, to be cuter and more tolerant to loss & mess. I knew the answer then, I know the answer now.
Changing my relationship with the world by dumbing down isn’t really an option for me.
Changing my relationship with the world by taking ownership, getting out front, and inviting in those who seek what I have to offer feels like a choice I do not have the wherewithal to pay for. People want what they want, healing and growing in their own time and their own way, and getting them to the point where the return is higher than the cost is a long shot bet.
Building a life is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time, will, persistence, endurance, resilience. Those feel beyond my ken.
Still, I offer seeds to the world, sharing what I can share and giving to those who come to me, whatever the cost or return. These are trees whose shade will never protect me, but they are gifts to the future of a world that has given me so much growth and knowledge, even at the cost of plenty of torment. Thank you, God.
To be happier, all I have to do is change my relationship with the world. That means changing my own choices to reach out and build relationships over time, enduring loss to develop intimacy and sharing.` It means giving love and caring, finding gratitude and blessing for healing, even your own.
That’s what I thought I have been trying to do already, of course, though without support, mirroring and feedback. The journey of the lost is lonely, says Kali, the goddess of empowerment, change and destruction, says Callan, a rock who is powerful in battle. I may have a great relationship with my inner world, but my relationship with the outer world is stretched to the breaking point.
For you, though, there is still time to get over your own damnself and change your relationship with the world to find more happiness. The love you take is equal to the love you make, or so they tell me.