Hello my darling readers. I hope you are well and that this sometimes cruel world is treating you well. I’m writing today because I’ve recently realized something fairly significant about myself and my journey. As you are likely aware I used to write so much more often than I do now and I used to have so much to say and such a fiery spirit about the gender revolution. I even began writing about what I called the transgender mystique, which was my own postulation about the social interactions around gender and gender non-conformity in our post-modern era. But despite this fiery spirit and new philosophical postulations, something happened. I ran out of steam and I became burnt out. I wanted so much to be this enormous voice in our semi-fringe existence and at one point my audience even reached the 10’s of thousands… but despite my moderate success or notoriety, I couldn’t sustain my efforts.
The realization I’ve come to is why I couldn’t sustain those efforts, and the answer came through the exposure I have recently had to a close friend’s much larger notoriety in the trans* community. If you’ve been paying attention to the news in the last week or two you might have noticed a couple articles about a study showing more teenagers are identifying as transgender. Here is the NPR interview and there is an article put out by ABC news.
(The person being interviewed is Nic Rider and they are a delightful person I’ve gotten to know over the past few months.)
Anyways, my exposure to Nic’s success in having their research reach national news has caused me to self-reflect on my own voice and how hoarse it has become. And it has become so hoarse because I didn’t feel worthy anymore to be a voice for our community. When I started I was so certain I had something to offer worthy of writing about, worthy of being published and I got what I wished for. I was published on multiple websites and even in a series of academic pamphlets about modern social issues that was distributed to thousands of libraries around the country. And yet, I still ended up feeling like I had nothing worth offering, and it all started with the news story the local CBS new network did on me.
I thought for sure that was going to be my big break, that I’d finally broken through and when that wasn’t the case I started to doubt myself. I started to wonder if what I was saying mattered at all. I got depressed and suicidal because I thought no one was listening to me, and if no one was listening to me then I didn’t matter at all. Then came my divorce and things spiraled further out of control. Now my wife had left me too. No one seemed to be listening and now no one seemed to love me either. I thought that I might still have an opportunity to pull it back together with the explorations of dating and sex, but things ended so tragically in that regard. It wasn’t long before I felt like a magician standing on a stage in front of thousands of people suddenly realizing I’m all out of tricks.
And that’s the rub. I felt like I was all out of tricks. Nothing left to say, nothing left to show. I just needed to pack up my stage props and quietly disappear out the back where no one would see me. I was all washed up. Life had chewed me up and spit me out like I was a piece of gum that had lost all of its flavor.
So what to do?
Shut the blog down? No, then no one could read through our story and while we might not have more story to tell, our past entries might help someone. And if even just one person was helped then it was worth the gnawing disappointment that we didn’t have anything left to say and our last entry was getting older by the day.
Officially quit the blog? No, because what if we did have something to say? Would we just keep it to ourselves? If we told people we were done then we would have to keep it to ourself, because were we to write a new entry then we’d become a liar or at the very least inconsistent
Give the blog to other writers? This thought did occur to us. Maybe some new up and coming writer could freshen the place up and put on a new coat of paint, so to speak… but then we’d lose artistic control. That person could post something truly offensive and completely undermine everything we worked for. We couldn’t have that.
So, we did the only thing we could figure out to do, and that was nothing. We left the blog to gather dust. Occasionally we’d wipe off the top layer of dust and write some new words, but those instances became less and less frequent as the belief that we were no longer worthy to be a voice became stronger. We have brushed shoulders with some of the most notable people in the trans* community both secular and academic, and now we are friends with another person growing in notoriety by the day… and through it all we felt ourselves being left behind. While others were publishing books, starting non-profits, and conducting leading-edge research we were doing… what exactly? Somehow in comparison to the others getting our master’s degree in therapy and working as a therapist with several transgender adolescents and adults, just seemed to pale in comparison.
And that’s the problem. That’s why we’ve become burnt out. That’s why we’ve run out of things to say and have felt so ill-equip to be the voice we once aspired to be, because we were comparing ourself to others. We forgot the most important lesson in all successful endeavors and that is there is no profit from comparing your progress to another’s progress. It doesn’t matter how well they appear to be doing because they are on their own journey. They aren’t walking our path and so to compare ourselves to them is a fruitless and demoralizing endeavor.
Have we made national news? Not yet. Have we published ground-breaking academic research about the trans* phenomena? Not yet. Have we published books about our story? Not yet… but we will. With all the joy in our hearts we’ve decided that we do deserve to be a voice for this community. Maybe we won’t be the loudest or the most impactful but that doesn’t matter because what we have to offer can only be offered by us.
So, we are here to say that this blog is officially back in action. Dust off those seats in the audience and grab yourself something to drink or snack on because chapter three of Trans-Advent is about to begin, my darlings. I’m done comparing myself to others because there is only one Emma like me, and that’s moi!