My search, I suspect, has been for understanding. I want to be able to hear stories from people and see the connected truth between them, to parse out meaning beyond the surface and reveal continuous common humanity.
My failure, though, has been in finding a peer group, a network of people — not a big network — where I can feel at home, relaxed, seen, understood, connected and valued.
The choice I felt compelled to make so many decades ago was between being liked and being respected. Which was my priority, which was achievable for me?
I didn’t know how to be liked. For so many reasons, I just couldn’t imagine myself as one of the gang.
My primary relationship was with my creator and my mind, not with my pals and my heart. I was taught from a very, very, very young age that my heart was untrustworthy, too queer and too intense to trust with my choices.
I have never doubted my connection with the universe, but the connection with other people in the world has always felt tenuous, dangerous and fraught.
After learning to trust yourself, how do you learn to trust other people once you are in your twenties? By that time, things are set, between your behaviours and their expectations of other people. I wasn’t choosing partners who knew how to be connected, who knew how to help, I was choosing other loners like me.
People like me, especially for what I can do for them. They just find me, at least a bit, overwhelming, too much, too challenging, too whatever. They wonder when I am going to lose the edge and just be one of the gang.
As I write these words, I remember sharing the same thoughts, ten years ago, twenty years ago, thirty years ago. Identifying the problem, though, doesn’t always lead to a solution, especially for someone who is bound up in their way of seeing the world.
Breaking the cycle is not simple. There are real benefits from being a thoughtful hermit, even if they come at a severe cost.
While I have the power and skills to break the cycle, I don’t have the support, nor have I been able to find it, wherever I have looked. It is easy to find someplace where I can serve other people, much more difficult to find someplace where I can the understanding I need.
After being out as trans since the mid 1980s, with a very unique family experience before that, coming to know me is not usually a quick matter. Just going through the number of approaches and permutations I have tried can be boggling, as people offer solutions that worked for them and that they hope are new and effective for me, too.
I tossed trough the workshops at the upcoming First Event to try and find presenters who offering something new and smart. Of course, the sessions tend to be introductory, moving beyond 101, but not into advanced graduate studies. We do learn so much by teaching, by having to collate our knowledge in a way we can share it with others.
Finding a peer group, well, that has been hard for me. I am, apparently, a shimmering creature like no other (2008).