“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw
Having been a while since the last post on this blog I felt it was time to come back. My absence was purposeful for several reasons. When I started writing this blog I promised myself I would only post when there was something to say. Many people who transition will know about the waiting stages, there had not been much happening on my journey, a respite of sorts. A break brought around by waiting for my next appointment at the gender clinic and settling in to my life. My job has been hectic of late and has taken a lot out of me, I was neglecting my journey and not concentrating on the importance of progression. All is well now as I disembark from port and I have taken some time to reflect on what has happened to me during this time. There was a lot to say I just had not realised what those things were.
My transition has morphed and I have grown as a person a lot lately. Where before, clothes, make up and looking the part was at the forefront of my mind, my efforts have turned inwards. While looking inward suddenly over spilled very much outwards! Like a deer in the head lights and running with scissors my world has spiralled. I have exploded into life and suddenly people notice me, new friends have been attracted like moths to a flame and I feel wanted by society. There have been some bad times along the way as well and taking the rough with the smooth has found me on choppy waters. Tackling this growth and a full time job has taken its toll and my mental health has suffered. I do feel I needed a little lull as the tidal wave of transition takes it out of you and I forced myself to slow down, stop and take stock.
Without warning and without realising at the time, six months ago I found myself in a world full of frustration and almost as if I had lost my way. For the first time on my journey I had taken a path that did not feel correct. Over confident and full of life my world was spiralling out of control and I did not see it coming. Unfamiliarity and a whirlwind of emotion had gripped me and it was sending me to a place that was not only challenging but has changed me forever.
Up until this point my transition, especially the physical, such as voice, appearance and body, had been relatively easy without fuss or hardship. These aspects of transition are simplistic and mostly take time and practice, a little patience and effort to get right. What was coming my way was something that no amount of practice or research can prepare you for. This has been my first real struggle, my first real challenge during my transition. It has been messy and left me with regret, I have learned a lot about myself and my situation. What I am describing is breaking down my male socialisation. Perceptions and expectations about my life and the world have changed dramatically. I am starting to get a sense of my own morality for the first time. Where I am now is so removed from any comfort I enjoyed before.
Expectation for myself and what the world should be has caused me great stress the last few months and now my own humanity pierces my being and emotions. I am alive and feel for the first time in my life. There is a real person who is sensitive and able to empathise. I had always struggled with empathy throughout my life and I always worried that my emotionless state was the core reason that every person in my life was always distant. Now, with eagle eyes, I see others pain and I feel this so strongly. Being human is hardship personified.
I used to believe it was fear of that stopped me embracing humanity, it was not fear but simply being unable to be human due to my gender issues. Awkwardness and depression mixed with confusion. The metaphorical prison that bound me was holding me back and now I have a tidal wave of emotion being released at such a rate that it overwhelms every sense and thought that passes through me. It is almost as if I have awoken from a deep sleep and am being confronted by a traffic jam of sensation that had built up from an inability to deal with myself in the past.
My place in the world has shifted and I am beginning to understand something that used to confuse and I was somewhat dismissive of before. Certain things in life I used to take for granted have been taken away for me and I am left feeling life is unfair. Life is not unfair at all, it is simply more complex and more is expected from me now because people see the person. I asked for this, I wanted this. Even though it is tough right now and I keep falling, the results are speaking for themselves. I have never felt so vulnerable or aware of my own place in this world. The light switch has come on, people are reacting to me where before they would never notice. I wield this new humanity without experience and I am making mistakes, lots of mistakes! This is not a bad thing, I engage emotion with intrigue and wonder, like a child looking at the stars for the very first time. They are mesmerising, fulfilling and full of warmth.
The power of my emotions and the way they are expressed can have profound consequences for me. Keeping grounded while your mind and heart boil over is difficult. At times recently I have almost self destructed with devastating results. While seeing the fallout of this has allowed me to learn very quickly that keeping my emotions, especially anger, in check is imperative for success in my transition. Thinking deeper about this has led me to understand with confidence that trans people certainly do go through a second adolescence. The rawness and sharpness of emotion certainly feels extreme and keeping it all in check leads to stumbling. But, each stumble is a chance to learn, adapt and grow. these lessons and experiences are setting me up for a life full of emotion, good, bad and indifferent. As the daffodils come out to show their beauty I too must show my best qualities and learn to not let myself and those close to me down. Never before has my motto burned so intently from within.