Sorry for setting such a miserable tone for last weekend with my previous post. I hadn’t experienced a major funk like that in ages. But, as I hope this post will attest, I made it though alright. Things are quickly shifting back toward the optimistic side of life. And all I lost in the process was an extended weekend of blah.
The thing that struck me most as I was going through this mood was how deeply my emotions are driven by my perception of social opinions about me. It’s not that I need to be loved and accepted by all the world. But I don’t like feeling singled out and excluded either. There’s a huge difference between being a rebel and being a pariah. There’s not a single thing exciting or fulfilling about the latter. And when I’m feeling extra sensitive about everything, I feel like a pariah. Every little glance my way feels like I’m being “read.” Every whisper is surely mocking me.
I’ve always considered myself an introvert. But when I feel like all the eyes that turn my way in a given day are judging me – harshly – I retreat deeper and deeper until I’m the modern equivalent of an unwashed and isolated little hermit. That’s not a personality trait, it’s a dramatic retreat from facing a society I presume will reject me.
And let’s face it, most trans people discover during their transition that they have good cause to fear social rejection. If (in the male to female case) we only lost the privileges that feminist theory ascribes to manhood, we’d consider that a huge success. Very often we experience something a lot more like total dehumanization. We’re frequently cast out of our communities and families – sometimes literally, sometimes as more of a social death. It’s easy to jump from this realistic understanding into a mindset where exaggerated fear and paranoia rules your life.
However it is important to note that paranoia isn’t reality either. Sure, bad things happen to trans people. But so do good things. Yes, family and friends abandon trans people, but new family and friends enter their lives afterward. Yes, some people will look at a trans person and see nothing but their old identity. But others will come along who see nothing but the new identity. What it takes to make it through is a persistent and stubborn effort to live as one’s authentic self and time.
The time aspect is the thing that usually gets to me. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never be through with transition. But all it takes is an honest review of the progress I’ve made through the past couple of years to show this as simple impatience on my part. I’ve moved mountains within mere months. Give me years and there’s no telling what I may achieve.
So, yes, I am feeling better about things. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more tough days ahead. But they’re all just milestones I need to pass on the road to something better.