Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Brave Hypocrite

   So, enough people have told me enough times that I’m brave and strong that I guess I finally believe it. Transition is hard work, and I muddled my way through it. Fine; I’m brave; I’m strong. I still don’t think being transgender is as difficult a life as lots of other lives, but it is a cross to be borne, sure. It would be impossible for me to deny that I have worked very hard to find the happiness and success that I have found; I guess what I’m saying is that I feel like I deserve so many of the positives in my life because I actively pursued them, often times with great effort and at great personal expense. I’m not lucky; I don’t live in a fantasy-land; I worked hard, pushed myself, and I have an amazing life. I am loved by more people than most people would ever hope for; I have an awesome career; I have an amazing relationship; I have a great family. I am one of the happiest people I know.

   But I wasn’t always this way. Part of my journey included me feeling hopeless and lost and weak and depressed. I drove several people nuts with my circular thinking and persistent negativity. I was hospitalized for depression, after all – it hasn’t always been days of wine and roses. I know all too well how insurmountable of a hill transition can seem – hell I know all too well how daunting just getting out of bed can be; I understand all too clearly why so many transfolk end up dying early deaths, either by their own hand or that of someone else. Living a transgendered life is often difficult and painful. I am thankful everyday that I have found my way through it as well as I have. As much as I am finally comfortable embracing my own strength and bravery, I am also very cognizent of how much help I have received along the way from an amazing array of some of the most beautiful people on the planet. I am well and truly blessed.

   But I’ve noticed an interesting thought process creeping into my brain recently, especially since my surgery – I’ve flipped it around, I’ve become impatient with others living this life. For as long as I struggled I seem to be forgetting how hard it was. I look at where I am, and I know where I was, and it’s almost like I feel like the old saw: “if I can do it, anyone can.” I’ve almost made it “easy” in my memory. This is why I think it’s so important for me to embrace my own strength and bravery; I need to remember how hard the last five years really were, and how hard the 34 years before that really was too. I have found myself becoming frustrated with fellow transfolk who are in the midst of the struggles that I was engaged in just a few short years (or even months) ago; it’s as if now that I have had my surgery and gone on to live the “life always dreamt of” that I’ve somehow forgotten the difficulty in getting here; it’s somehow become less painful and difficult in my memory than it was in reality; I’ve actually caught myself thinking: “What’s the big deal? Just figure out what you want to do and do it.” Ah, if it were so easy…

   I’ve been forced to confront the reality that my attitude lately would not have served me well a year or two ago if I were my own friend. I need to remember how much patience I required of the people around me; and I know that many times people ~did~ get frustrated with me, but that should only remind me of how important it is for me to be patient with other people. I can think of at least two people that I’ve become frustrated with in a way that felt ~very~ hypocritical of me; and in some ways I do feel that I’m trying to balance outright support with a loving kick in the pants, but I do worry that lately my tough love has gotten too tough, and possibly even bitter – and that’s bad. We’re all just trying to get through this life as best we can, after all. 

   As much as it’s annoying to catch myself being hypocrital, I am glad that I’ve noticed this happening, because it means that I can work on it. I’m kind of very hardcore when it comes to thinking that transfolk are special and have interesting perspectives on life and the world; the last thing I want to do is add to the pressure that people struggling with their trans-status feel, especially friends who I hold close to my heart. Just because I’ve “arrived” doesn’t mean that I’m better than anyone else; I need to be extra patient with people who are still struggling with parts of their journey.

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1 Comment»

  Lisalee wrote @

Yeah, words that I need to hold close…


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