Am I doing all right?
From where I sit, seeing the world through my own senses, it is often very difficult to know.
When we get off kilter the systems we use to monitor ourselves also go off kilter. We don’t have any objective ways of understanding who we are, only subjective ones, filtered through our own mind.
Objectivity is a canard anyway; it is only a goal that can be attempted by comparing our own observations with how others have seen the same thing, calibrating what we experience using the techniques, references and benchmarks that exist as standards. That’s why in science, repeatability of experiments is valued as a way to eliminate bias, a way to agree on what is objectively true.
Flying by the seat of our pants, without either well calibrated instruments or clear reference points, can often lead us very much astray, into dangers we just are unable to perceive. Our senses fool us all the time, limited by our perceptions, assumptions and lack of processing bandwidth.
I know today where it feels like I am, but I also know that my awareness is constrained and I can easily be fooled. How far off the track am I? What does my sliding lack of capacity mean? Am I offering anything valuable to the world or just pontificating from a place of erratic self-delusion?
Thinking well is useful, but the limits of effective thought have always been undercut by the way the mind can start to fade, leading to error and deficits.
Trying to get an objective external assessment of those failures is very hard because others can only come from their own subjectivity and they would have seen me as baffling, mislead and crazy in my most competent times because I challenged the assumptions they believed to be fundamentally true. Wasn’t that a mark of insanity?
I know that I am stuck, declining in function and agency. I try to imagine what kind of conversations would be worth the effort to find, appealing, affirming and nourishing, but the more I scan what I have found before the less I can imagine what would be useful. Even examining the media and other trans narratives for what they have found that would be beneficial in my life leads me to naught; even the best of interactions just seem fraught with unhealed fears.
I don’t need anyone else to try and tell me how doing it their way was good for them and so would be good for me. Drugs and faith and rationality and simplifying and attenuating and playing smaller games and on and on are all good answers if they work for you, but they are not outside of my experience. Shouldn’t I lose my ego by becoming embodied with exercise and vegan discipline, all yoga and meditation? If it doesn’t work for me, isn’t that just proof that I don’t understand anything, that I don’t have the sense to embrace the real, healing practices?
Questioning is what I early learned to do to calibrate my own internal gyroscopes. I knew that just taking inputs from my parents left me with a skewed and less than useful view of the world around me. I needed more and that more came through all the media I could consume, first television, then magazines (I read Time at age four) and then books, so many books.
Without a wider family or anyone who understood my situation, teachers, ministers or such, internal guidance was all I had to go on. The risks that came with that were always clear to me; after all, how could I trust a heart that called me to cross gender bounds, leaving me with dreams of the feminine?
My wariness, my questioning about finding my own references, defined my own path, shaping my resistance and my exploration rather than juicing up my boldness and performativity. I clung to my own self-correcting algorithms, always searching the skies for reference stars rather than striking out to trust the winds and the kindness of others, rather than trusting that my creator had given me the goods to make good wherever I landed.
The limits of that approach are clear to me now, even as I wonder how far off the rails I have gone, how much I have lost my edge and my way. How would I know how much capacity is gone, how my own perceptions are skewed and dulled, leaving me lost and in precipitous decline?
Going back to denial is not feasible to me, but going towards a place that feels full of the rocks of social interaction feels terrifying. I have been bounced and breached in that place many times before, scraped and scuppered, left broken and hurting to repair myself by learning to live without expecting love and loving care.
Am I so broken and off course that I cannot see the destinations which lie right in front of me? If I need new vision, corrective inputs, who can I trust to understand & value the needs of someone like me rather than just simplifying me to be just another version of them?
How can I know and trust what in this mental state I cannot know or trust? Am I doing all right, just riding the ridges of fate until another turning point becomes obvious or am I so far down, so far off course that no correctives can ever find me?
Humans are subjective creatures, so only the diligent and open use of our minds can move us toward rational, objective thought (as millions of voters are ready to prove.) Personal objectivity, though, can only get us so far; we need reference points and effective calibration to keep us grounded and connected.
Am I doing all right?
How the hell should I know?