Maybe the worst thing about this blog is how little new there is in it.
The topics I write about in 2015 are the same topics I wrote about in 2005, in 1995 and even in 1985. They are about empowerment and claiming, about transformation and connection, about essence and truth.
Over the years I have written many aspirational statements, encouraging and positive assertions of possibility. Sometimes they are full of hope and other times they are set for contrast, leading to odd incidents like having the ironic parts of a downer message read to a room full of people on the floor doing orgasm exercises.
“The lovely statements of the way things could be are usually followed by an explanation of why they will never be that way for you,” I was told by a blog reader.
So many visions, dreams of a better future, have slipped through my fingers like smoke when I went to reach for them. They seemed only to exist as chimera, impossible to get reflected or supported in the world.
If I have trouble getting my experience mirrored in a way that feels safe and accurate, allowing me the permission to know what I know and feel what I feel, then what chance do I have of having my dreams seen in the world?
A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you forget the words. A therapist is someone who sees something in you that you do not yet see in yourself. To dream big enough you have to go beyond the rules and expectations, which almost always involves finding someone to cradle our dreams, helping believe that we can birth them in the world.
Sabotaging the dreams and aspirations of those you find challenging is at the heart of the social pressure of stigma. How else could society maintain the status quo?
I learned early that being a dream burster was not useful. Nothing humans create can come into existence unless it first exists as a dream. No dream comes true whole, but dreams always are the starting point for new, fresh and wonderful.
Today, today, today, I need to have a dream that is worth grabbing onto, a dream that will keep me buoyant as I chase it to find a new and rewarding reality. I need not to just have my dreams slip through my fingers again, like so many dreams of so many transpeople have over so many centuries.
Is my failure to go after dreams a pragmatic choice, reflecting the barriers to transgender assimilation in society? Is it based in the way my dreams have been made invisible, my experience of being stigmatized in the world, shaping what I believe to be possible?
Is my failure to go after dreams a compromise choice, based in the understanding that to walk as visibly trans in the world requires strong armour? Is it based in my sensible observation of other transpeople, the price they paid and the limits of their lives?
Is my failure to go after dreams a reactive choice, the old tapes and slams coming up again and again, so I avoid what might cause me pain, get the third gotcha? Is it based on the egos desire to avoid discomfort? Is it just self sabotage?
Whatever the reason, smart or scared, habitual or environmental, the result is the same: I scrape for dreams but when I try to reach for them, the momentum goes away as I feel them slipping away.
This isn’t for lack of work. I learned early how to do the work in my family, being the target patient, scapegoated for making the limits & twists visible. As a transperson. I learned early that it was my job to understand & accommodate other people, not their job to be there for me.
Assimilation escaped me, never finding a way to feel seen and supported as one of the gang. I wasn’t one of the guys and I wasn’t one of the girls, not really being one of the kids and not one of the adults.
How do you participate in the system of desire when you are unable or unwilling to play the role assigned to you based on the shape of your body? What happens when potential partners cannot see, affirm or even understand your heart?
If I wanted to be alone, strove to be a loner, I would be a very different person. I wouldn’t have tried so hard to connect and stay connected, wouldn’t have such a broken heart from being caught between my integrity and my love.
Alone struggles take a lot of work. There is no one to share the momentum, to transfer it back to you when you stumble for a moment. In group projects, we pull each other forward, keeping up speed, but individuals who get stopped have to start again, losing energy with each bump.
I may have been working the same ground for a long time now, but that is very human. We often go in spirals, going deeper or higher with every turn. Knowing the ground intimately offers us knowledge we can get in no other way.
That knowledge, though, doesn’t always translate into energy. The enthusiasm to throw yourself into the unknown, not imagining you can be hurt badly, takes a certain kind of innocence and naïveté that rarely endures the fall to earth.
I know how to create energetic, hopeful and encouraging dreams. Finding a way to grab and hold onto those fragile dreams, letting them lift me, is much more difficult. Without reinforcement from other people, they seem to slip right through my fingers.
How much struggle do we put behind change until we turn a corner? How do we know if we are just throwing good resource after bad, pursuing a goal that will never come true, and how do we know if it is more effort and more persistence that will actually get us to a better, more rewarding and more comfortable place?
The challenges to build a life, learning discipline and moderation, finding new ways of accomplishment are always worth the effort.
The effort to build a dream, though, some idea of how get what we want, often ends up with less results and more lessons, coming to a more sensible idea of what is possible for us in this world. It always makes sense to find moments that are good and learn to extend them, but pounding towards a fantasy without acknowledging the feedback you get can be just boneheaded.
We need other people, need a kind of crowd understanding, to test our dreams against. Good mirroring lets us not only see what looks good on us and we should work on more, it also lets us see choices that aren’t working, giving us the information and support we need to change those behaviours.
Dreams coming true give us the vision to meld reality with visions, creating an more effective presence in the world.
Dreams that don’t leave us with the hard, hard choice of committing even more or of smartening up and compromising more.
Is this the time to go full out, or is this the time to understand more about a compromised life?