Creative expression is the only way out of emotional turmoil.
Making something out of your feelings is the only way get out from under them in a productive way which moves you forward.
This isn’t the typical explanation for transgender expression. Instead we talk about realness, about truth and authenticity, about who we have always been, about brain sex and birth defects.
But what if transgender emergence is primarily about the creative expression which allows us to process our feelings by remaking our appearance and role in the world?
What if transgender expression is really driven by the need to create art, to surface and explore feelings and understandings beyond the rational and the verbal?
It’s easy to dismiss this idea with the notion that art is just something frivolous and trivial. Trans is real, after all, not just some kind of surface affectation. Reducing what we have struggled with all our lives to the level of art just takes the power and truth from it.
Art, though, is one of the few human creations that endures beyond our flesh. It is the only creation that captures enduring truth and beauty.
Art has always had power because it speaks of truths far from the everyday and mundane, expressing the deep, resonant and powerful which cannot be revealed any other way.
For people who have gotten used to swallowing their feelings, to hiding them in a closet and replacing them with a kind of socially manufactured erotica, generic porn, the idea that we have to be an artist with our life can seem something to run from rather than to embrace.
Making art is hard. It takes discipline and precision to enter our own, very personal creative energies, to tap our feelings, fight our demons and reveal our deepest energy. Powerful art is about revelation and not about imitation, creating our own personal montage of unique expression by making considered, intense, nuanced and shaded choices
Creative expression is the only way out of emotional turmoil. Most women know this on some level, which is why they have some kind of creative expression going, be it coffee cakes or high fashion.
I don’t want life to imitate art.
I want life to be art.
— Carrie Fisher
Artists live at the front edge of society, making choices others see as daring. Once your daring stops, though, so does creativity.
"You need to realize that searching for validation [of your trans choices] is a waste of time because you will never get it from any source other than yourself. "
Art is as individual as a fingerprint. Primas don’t travel in packs; they have to own their own bold, brazen and beautiful stardom. Being both observer and participant at once has challenges.
Art, though, is often seen to be in the eye of the beholder, so the artist’s relationship with their audience is always fraught. Do we pander, playing the audience, or do we break ground, playing our own instrument to full power? Obviously. the choice is always somewhere between the two poles, being unique and accessible, wild and tame, in some kind of balance.
Creative expression is the only way out of emotional turmoil. And we call creative expression art.
Trans expression is essentially creative, stitching a public presentation to serve the purposes of showing our deepest self in the world and finding ways to smoothly communicate & connect with those around us.
I understand that when I show my trans truth, pulling order out of the emotions that have always circled around who I am, how I see the world, and my experience of emergence, I am creating art.
Do I wish that I had an audience who could get my expression, engage, understand and value it, “getting the joke” so to speak? Sure I do. It would be good to be supported in creating expression beyond words, in asserting a kind of respected truth and beauty.
My truth, though, is in my art, as gracefully as I can make it.
I suspect that other transpeople have their truth in their creative expression, too, even if they would recoil from ever thinking of themselves as an artist.
After all, creative expression is the only way out of emotional turmoil, and transpeople know emotional turmoil first hand.