"Oh, brilliant one, so wise, calm, centred and authentic, powerful because you are comfortable in your own skin, what is the answer to ascension? How can I own my own life, become gracious in the world? Just tell me and I will do it!" Telling stories about making hard choices, about taking responsibility, about finding courage, serenity and wisdom, the mature transperson offered their hard-won lessons about growth, healing & transformation. "Wait! That's a crap answer! That would take way too much work! Too hard! "Apparently, you didn't understand the question: how do I become like you in a way that I find easy, comfortable and normative? "If you can't tell me, I'll just find another bleedin' guru. There are lots of people with easy answers on the internet, you know!"
After twenty five years, Holly Boswell doesn’t go to meetings of the trans support group she founded anymore. When she started hyperventilating as she heard new transpeople spew out the same stuff about oppression, how the world was against them, and how they should be able to just be normative, she knew it was time to leave.
Everyone wants their life to be like a Hallmark Channel movie, pretty and witty, where you end up finding a home and a perfect partner after a lovely meet-cute and a whirlwind romance with just a touch of drama, but even most normative people understand that is just a fantasy.
Complaining that your life hasn’t turned out that way while you try to figure out just which of you externals you can change enough to have people see you as you want to be seen has been found, in the end, to not be a very successful strategy for building a whole, healthy and happy new life.
Transvestism is about changing your clothes.
Transsexualism is about changing your body.
Transgender is about changing your mind.
To grow, you have to face loss. Most of the time, that loss isn’t of something you already owned, rather it is the loss of the way you imagined that you wanted your future to be. You want to change that one magical thing that will make all your normative dreams come true, find that special relationship that will complete and heal you with ease, grace and immense wish fulfillment.
So many are looking for shortcuts that eliminate loss or at least the risk of loss. They want no hard choices, no letting go of their own abjection. The cruel world should change to embrace them, being as they wished, rather than asking them to change for the world.
Transpeople who have done the hard work of healing, of emerging to become new, are usually willing to share the answers that they have found, willing to coach in the techniques that helped them integrate their inner and outer life, becoming authentic.
Those answers, though, are always about doing the work, about leaving the Lucite bubble that seals off a fantasy world, filtering out anything that challenges us to transform, and engaging what is. Just sitting around, eating fish tacos and complaining about how the world sucks has never created real change, not changed choices that make you more present, more aware and more powerful, not in a changed culture that includes your voice and your participation.
Walking beyond the limits of conventional heterosexism always means walking beyond the promises of conventional heterosexism. The easy, simple dreams aren’t part of the plan for someone who claims their own unique expression.
The truth is, though, that those easy, simple dreams are rarely fulfilled anyway, with plenty of divorce, pain and loneliness among those who tried to follow the rules. If those promises had worked for us we wouldn’t have had to walk away and claim our inner truth, following our own Eros to personal liberation.
The lesson that you have to shatter your ego, that inner voice that complains when life isn’t as you wre promised it “should be,” in order to find peace is well understood in spiritual teachings, but it is a hard pill to swallow in a culture that promises the more you buy in, the more you buy, the more happy you will be.
Letting go of “should” to embrace what is is the way to becoming empowered, becoming comfortable in your own skin. Your fears, even the fear of looking too strong, too loud, too powerful to be loved, block the way of the love that you seek.
So much of the world is and always will be out of my control. I can’t change others to be who I want them to be. Everyone heals in their own time and in their own way, even me. Until I engage the process, let go of my ego, I will suffer, and my suffering will never let me open to blossoming, to shining brightly.
This is not the answer that you want to hear. We know that.
Yet, no matter how much you act out your pain, spewing your distress on others, wanting to hold your breath, turn blue and quit unless the world hews to your demands, giving you what you know that you are entitled to, no one can help you find peace, growth or happiness until you are ready to let go and become new.
There is nothing magic that you can buy, no simple procedure to change your body and your history. The only thing that can be changed is your choices, and the only force that can make those changes is you.
When all the answers you want to hear don’t work then you have to start evaluating the answers, the solutions that you didn’t want to hear, the ones that involve work, trade-offs and costs.
Finding the answers, though, well, in the end, it’s the only thing that’s worth the effort.
And that’s the message that grown-up transpeople want to share with you.