Hey! Listen!

In the update schedule set up by Morgan and Bartholo- I mean me, today is transition blog Sunday. Last week I set out a schedule by which I would update my various projects, and really only followed through on two of them, but I did a whole lot of work on all of them, so it felt like a win. Two out of seven isn’t bad, right? Ugh, it looks horrible saying that now.

Anyway, I wanted to cover any number of transition related topics which tumbled out of my brain last week, but I am absolutely, one hundred percent, completely and totally distracted from any of that.

Instead my mind is filled with worry and upset and just plain hurt.

Without getting too caught up on the details, my daughter is off and seems to be absolutely incapable of letting me know where she is, when she will be back, and has no consideration for my feelings. Fairly typical of a teenager, I know. She is only a few months away from eighteen, which is that really awkward period for parents where you’re technically responsible for the offspring, but the offspring are already way out of the nest and flying around doing stupid things and trying to live their own lives.

And she should live her own life.

This is just one more thing in a long series of things where she does not let me know what is going on, leaves me sitting here worrying, and does not consider my needs in the matter. This occurs almost daily.

I know, teenagers are notorious for getting wrapped up in themselves and their own needs and I shouldn’t let it bother me. I should just brush it off, keep my boundaries clearly stated, and not worry about things I can not control.

But I feel weak. Really weak and torn down. Like I sit here doing my very best to cope, to manufacture my own self-esteem and happiness, build up the reserves of emotional and physical energy, and then she comes along and not only steals away the products, but tears down the walls and kicks at the foundations. Not maliciously, not even consciously.

I should be the strong adult, but I just feel weak and worn out. It’s my responsibility though. Sometimes that gets tough to carry and I just need to get it out of me and vent and put the feelings here so they don’t fester inside of me.

And I utterly hate that I can’t vent. Because venting puts it out there for people to judge and give advice. I don’t need advice; I don’t need to be told the hundred ways I have failed and am still failing. I need my happiness and self-esteem factories to be rebuilt and stop kicking them down in the first place. Unless I ask for help or advice in parenting, do not give it.

I see this everywhere. Someone feels bad and just needs to vent or be told that people have experienced the same thing. Yet people just leap in to give advice, to admonish and shame, usually with ideas that have already been tried, so it just feels like more admonishment and shame that those ideas did not work. I probably see it so often because it is what I need, maybe those people are seeking advice, but I’m so tired of advice. I just want support and understanding.

I just want someone to listen.

A Small Stand

One small stand for a trans man, one giant leap… towards what will likely be blinding rage by the end of the day.

I have this one person in my life. You probably know the type. Super religious, super high on her morals, super everything except actually following through on anything she preaches.

Yes, one of those types.

Well, today I have a long drive with her. One last act of charity, she says, then we have to stop relying on her.

Excuse me? Relying on you? This whole thing was her idea, her push, every year. And now we’re suddenly a burden because it was her idea to do this?

Just so much sighing.

Well, after this one last time, then I have to pay her back another $320 and then she will be out of my life. I just don’t need this stress. I need positive people who accept me, not bring me down, and I know that. The only reason I associate her is because my children used to see her as a grandparent. They have since become wise to her hypocrisy.

I’ll still love her for what she has done for my family, absolutely, but I just can’t handle the criticism.

One criticism is going to be the fact that I have not shaved my face in a week. Five days ago we went to lunch to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, and my son pointed out that he could see my facial hair. Now, you reading this blog understand why I might want to grow out said facial hair, but I could not just admit this to her. So I made up some stupid excuse about banning razors from my life, tired of oppressive beauty standards.

So for this trip with her, stuck in her car, driving for hours, I debated shaving, just to save myself the grief.

But no, that would be dishonest to myself. That would be giving in. So I’m not going to do it.

Each and every hair on my face is one small stand against oppression!

Or I’ve just had too much coffee.

Addition, not Division

Today was a glorious day. I spent it outside in a beautiful park with two very beautiful souls. They didn’t know me from Adam, but they still picked me up and took me berry hunting. It was an amazing few hours that really lifted me up, even though it exhausted me at the same time. Good, content exhaustion.

Back at home, back to my Twitter activism.

What? Don’t look at me like that. It’s not like there’s a protest or a rally I can go to at 7pm on a Saturday, especially when I’m already exhausted. Twitter reaches people and that matters.

If nothing else, it makes me feel better, and my feelings matter. So don’t dismiss the power of social media. Maybe it is only helping me, but that’s still helping someone, and that’s better than no one.

So back to Twitter. Have some fun, share a few Change.org petitions, like some YouTube videos that speak on various issues, or just advertise other awesome gamers (what? I have hobbies!).

Then I see, as I have on many other days, a lot of word policing and ‘my oppression is worse than your oppression’ themed arguments.

No. Stop right there. Yes, women of color have it terrible, poor people have it awful, a lot of different groups have it really bad. Everyone deserves to be heard. Bickering among one another only serves the agenda of those in power – keeping us from forming a significant push back against their oppression.

I am not trying to erase your struggles by saying this. We all have struggles, some are the same, but even those aren’t experienced the same way by anyone. Everyone is unique. If we divide and divide by color and gender and sexual orientation and blood type and astrological sign and what state and county and city you were born in – then what are we left with?

Divide down enough and you’re left with one lonely voice.

One lonely voice can make a difference, absolutely, but a thousand voices is a lot less lonely.

Stop dividing. Please. Add to the cause. When a woman of color is speaking up about her experience as a woman of color – SHUSH UP AND LISTEN. When a gay man speaks up, same principle.

Listen does NOT mean ‘and then one-up her with your own story.’ She gets a voice, I get a voice, then you get a voice. And we all earn free and equal voices together.

I have no idea what trans women go through, no idea what a person of color goes through, I only know my experience. And my experience is not going to be the same as every other white, poor, disabled, trans man. Every story is unique, and they should build on one another in a long narrative that leads toward equality, not shout over one another for top position.

In the words of my good Twitter friend (who can be credited if he so desires, but default is not for his privacy/safety) – “Proud of the rainbow? Be proud of every color!”

I’m proud of you, wherever you fall in that rainbow.