A few months ago I had the good fortune to go to a training event at work. It was about learning to accept change, and also to help others – including yourself – cope with that. We covered something called the Kubler-Ross Cycle. Sometimes it’s called the Grief Cycle. Not because changes at work only gives you grief, but it’s a process we can go through during grief itself.
It looks a bit like this, although a quick check via your favour search engine will find better diagrams.
I sat in the classroom, made notes, and – as ever – wondered how it affected people at work or who’d been bereaved.
It wasn’t until three new people joined us at Chameleons, and I was listening to what they were saying about visiting for the first time, that two disconnected concepts linked up.
We’d be talking about one of the difficulties in coming to the group is owning up to yourself that you are trans. Not only that, but you’re meeting people you don’t know, and – in many instances – it’s not just you on this journey: there may be a partner or children involved too.
I remember the trainer telling us how one team of people can be on different parts of the cycle. Someone who is leading the change to work has been through the proverbial ups & downs, and is heading out of Testing, and into Acceptance. But, for the rest of their team, they could be at the start, the middle, or stuck in the doldrums. It’s quite possible to go back as well as forward.
So, how does this apply to being trans and coming out? Well, it’s not a perfect fit, but I doubt there’s a system out there that can describe anything perfectly 🙂 That aside, I wonder if we start at Stability, and when we start to struggle with understanding who we are – or perhaps who we think we may be becoming – we fall into Immobilisation (I can just stop, right?), or maybe hitting Denial or Anger. Denial that you need to do this, or that you have these feelings. Anger that either you can’t control things, or you can’t ‘be who you need to be’. This ringing any bells yet? 🙂
Maybe there’s some Bargaining going on: only at weekends, only when I’m away with work. Maybe you slip into Depression because you can’t quite make it all work as you want. Maybe you slide back to Anger or blocking it all under Immobilisation. What if you move towards Testing and Acceptance? Some limits are working for you, some you may be pushing at (pierced ears? smooth legs?). Could it be a case of too much, too soon, and you slide back down the slope?
Where is your partner in all of this? Will they go from Stability to Acceptance overnight, or will it take them longer? What stages would they have to go through to understand? Indeed, will they ever understand, or is acceptance enough?
Like I said, it’s not a perfect match, but it certainly gave me some food for thought. You may, of course, feel differently, and if so, the comment box awaits 😉