“I absolutely hate speaking in front of people. It makes me want to cry for my mommy,” says Chef Vivian.
There are things that I hate doing too.
They don’t make me want to cry for my mommy, though, because I learned at a very, very young age that would only make things worse as I embarrassed her and failed to do my duty.
Men aren’t really allowed to hate things, or even to suggest that they do. Strong and silent is required to avoid being shamed, as Brené Brown tells us.
The choice for transpeople felt like it was between doing what we hate or doing what other people will hate us for doing. We learn early that doing what we love is off limits for us, that we will be hated for doing that, so we are going to have to do things that we hate.
Ms. Vivian has a network to help her when faced with doing something she hates, from mommy to Ben, her partner in life, in parenting and in business.
More than that, when she does what she hates she does it in service of what she loves. She speaks about her food, her business, her staff, speaking as a part of building something that she is passionate about.
Vivian fights to thrive, to increase her success.
Transpeople, mostly, fight to survive. We don’t do what we hate because we think it will help take us to the next level, we feel compelled to do what we hate because we are backed into a corner, alone and threatened.
The fight for us starts from the moment we know who we are. Do we choose to fight to compartmentalize ourselves, policing our choices against revealing what is verboten for the gender role we were assigned, or do we choose to fight for freedom, facing down stigma, expectations and pressure to claim our freedom to express ourselves completely in the world?
It is a fight either way, to lie or to be called a liar. We learn early that we cannot expect other people to understand and assist, to affirm us, learn that our journey is solitary and full of struggle.
You fight too long, being forced to do what you hate but know you have to do, without reward or healing, and eventually the fight goes out of you.
Facing another challenge, even one that is standard and simple by everyday rules, is just too much to engage. We want to cry for our mommy, but we know no one will be there, and anyone who does show up will just tell us to man up and get it done, not to be so bloody weak.
I understand my calling as duty. The moments spent fulfilling it, the writing and the speaking, are good, satisfying, useful.
The human time between, though, facing the battles of everyday life, well, much of that I hate, most of the rest I tolerate, and a few bits I enjoy. The blessings of a sunset lighting the trees or a lovely moment are joy.
The conventional comforts of a social life seem to have escaped me, replaced with struggle and exhaustion. My potential partner pool (PPP) is infinitesimally small, consisting only of those who have done the therapy work and engaged their own queer humanity. I tend to see through people, their fears and limits shining, and while I know I can help them move forward a bit, I also know that they can only heal in their own time and in their own way.
Getting to the point I am at meant letting go of desire to get clear, working to make the ego small. I let go of dreams in favour of acceptance of what is, released fantasies in order to more effectively be present in the process. When there was a choice between comfort and clarity, I chose clarity.
This renouncement makes me incomprehensible to most humans.
The Lady Bunny, for example, is confounded on how the families of churchgoers who were killed in a white supremacist attack can so quickly forgive the attacker as she would not be able to do that. TLB’s life is sensational, lived in a club based world of sensation, so the actions of those who strove to do the work of devotion seems fake and unreal. Why don’t they rage and seethe?
I find it hard to do what I hate unless it seems part of my calling. Yes, I understand that doing the basic human stuff keeps one active and available to do the work, but that doesn’t make it easier for me. My context is very alone, very individual, very singular, and that means my life is like a long distance runner, all momentum lost when I stop, no one else to take the lead or to pace me.
I hate engaging systems and power, hate engaging the authorities, and that means I resist doing it. There is no mommy for me to ask for, though, and there never, ever was.
In the new Disney/Pixar film “Inside Out,” people are operated by five basic emotions — joy, sadness, disgust, fear and hate. The area of abstract thought is terrifying and weird, especially to an 11 year old girl. For me, by the time I was 11, abstract thought was the only place I could feel safe, as my emotions were marked as corrupt and perverted. The five emotions model seems fake to me, so phony I would rather see someone die than be trapped by it.
I know that to move forward, I have to do things in the world that I absolutely hate. I have to do them not to move to the next level, but just to try and survive in a world where what I have to share is erased and denigrated.
Being a hermit, to me, is avoiding what I absolutely hate. It is, however, avoiding the possibility of things that I might love, those bits of grain in the chaff that bring reflection, success and love.
A lifetime of having do do what I absolutely hate just to survive, though, has left my willpower depleted.
And other than my mother in the sky, distant and a bit chilled out, there is no mommy to cry for.