Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's not about extra credit

As I've approached transition I've found myself doing something I'm not happy about. I didn't realize exactly what I was doing at first, and even after I did realize it, I didn't fully appreciate its significance at first... and why I shouldn't be doing it.

I've caught myself trying to store up good karma, particularly at work... I've been asking myself if I've done people enough favors, if I've solved a tough problem for everyone recently enough to get some extra points to tide me through this transition. That's right - I've been thinking that maybe I can earn enough extra credit to balance out the process of transition so that people will still accept me.

At first this seems reasonable, prudent even. Why not be sure that everyone is favorably disposed towards me before laying something like a transgender coworker on them? Reasonable enough, eh?

But then it also hit me that this whole way of thinking about it is wrong - so very, very wrong.

First of all, solving problems for people at work isn't doing them a favor, it's my doing my job. If the problems are hard ones that no one else can handle, that's the reason they hired me. Besides that, I like solving hard problems and I like helping people out - I'd do it anyway if I could. And I like to do what I can to have a postive balance of karma, but more for the satisfaction it gives me looking back, not as something to cash in. So as I think about it, there's precious little "extra" or "credit" in just doing my job well and in doing what I can to help people out.

But the real thing that makes this thinking wrong it is its underlying assumption. It assumes that I will need to get people to accept me, support me, and like me in spite of being trans, and that I'll need a fairly large inducement to achieve that, as if I'm trying to outweigh a huge flaw.

And as I think of it, that's just wrong. Being trans is not some huge flaw that needs to be outweighed.

It's part of me... and people liked me before, were willing to support me before, accepted me before.

Not everyone will agree, but I need to hold fast to this. I've chosen to be more honest with the world and myself, but nothing inside me has changed. I haven't done anything wrong, and I haven't let anyone down. Those who see that will remain my friends.

And those who won't try to understand that were never my friends - they never even knew me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

That Still, Small Voice

I have bad days when I look at the people around me, and a small, still voice inside my head says with absolute certainty, "they will never accept you. Not one of them. Not ever."

Lately I have those days more frequently than I'd like to admit... and I never have an answer to that voice. I tell myself that of course some will be accepting or at least not care, that with time acceptance will grow, I even tell myself that it doesn't matter what others may think or accept as long as I can finally move forward.

The voice is not swayed. "Never," it says, without a doubt in the world, "Not one of them. Not ever."

It calls me a fake and a fraud... self-deluded and far worse. It mocks me for thinking that I could ever feel right or be happy in this world.

But worst of all, that voice makes me feel alone. It makes me doubt all those friends who have supported and accepted me and it cuts me off from the world. It tries to revive those feelings of isolation and self-loathing that lived with me in the closet for so many years. 

And as I say, I have no answer for that voice, no way to refute it or silence it once and for all.

Except... if I listen closely enough, there is another voice. This voice is even smaller, even stiller. It is often weary. This voice cannot silence the first voice, nor does she speak with absolute certainty.

But she is absolutely determined. "You will go on," she says, "because you must. You will make it... because I will not let you down, your friends will not let you down, and you yourself will not let you down. It may not be easy, nor pretty, and it may be awkward... but you will make it. You must remember this."  

And I know that this voice is right. And that is enough.