When we think about behaviors people insist on, the question is, does this behavior substantially limit this person’s contribution to the world? If you had a friend who was a great artist, and they picked up a heroin habit, you’d say, “Hey idiot you’re denying the world great art by this dumb thing you’re doing! And yeah, heroin makes you happy, but you have value to the rest of the world beyond you being happy!”
A lot of my anger at the people who were cheerleaders for my transition is their enthusiasm for all these limits I was placing on my life- the black hole of time and money and energy transitioning is- revealed that they didn’t think I had much value. They didn’t say anything like, “What you could do with that time and money and energy if you directed it towards a goal beyond changing your body is so profound that this pursuit seems like a massive waste of what you are capable of.”
I mean, if they had said that I would’ve called them transphobic. But I still wish they had said it.
I’m currently going through “Oh, where I was last year at this time” and it hasn’t been easy to remember. On March 28th last year I announced to over a thousand tumblr followers (and a bunch of close friends) that I was an agender aromantic asexual who is going to explore their masculine identity and possibly transition and a new male name is coming soon. That lead into months of basically spending all my time and energy on thinking about my identity and transition. Nobody ever questioned what I was doing, what I was so obsessed with, why I wasn’t doing anything else.
I got through it quickly enough and started looking for other ways of handling being me in this world, which is still always a big question. But after giving up on the trans identity and the focus on transition and so forth, you know what I did? I started writing a long overdue novel that is now around 150k words. I started an intensive drawing course that has brought my art to whole new places. I started reconnecting with the gaming/writing community I’d lost touch with online, started interacting with them again. I started living and enjoying life, as scary and uncomfortable as it can sometimes be.
It seems that with these things, people are so focused on individual feelings that they don’t look critically at these identities and decisions. Thank you, Maria Catt, for once again picking it apart for us through your experiences and perceptions. You’re a treasure.