As I put the blog anniversary post together the other day, I found a few features that I didn’t know this platform could do. The use of a widget to put a photo in the Recent Posts and also one to do galleries in a cool way. Well, I thought it was cool. Maybe I’m just not ‘down wid the kidz, yo’ 😉
Looking at the photos over the last fifteen years, I reflected on what had I learned? This isn’t to say these are great revelations, Thou Shalt Do This, or that these will work for everyone. It’s more, stuff I’ve found out along the way. If you can learn something from my mistakes or by following along, hopefully you can avoid the proverbial dead end.
Trying it on for size
I mean metaphorically 🙂 We’ll talk about clothes another day.
To roll out a phrase I’ve used before, you’re probably here as you are somewhere on the Trans spectrum, know someone who is, or – and we’ll skip over the comedy of being lost 🙂 – is curious about all of this. What do I mean by the Transgender spectrum? The quick answer would be you think of yourself as being different in some way to the gender assigned to you at birth. A longer answer might be that you are more than curious, and might identify as someone who crossdresses; as someone who’s genderfluid, bi-gender; or someone who’s considering transitioning to their preferred gender. They’re all valid.
What have I learned over the last umpteen years? Well, I think there’s a lot to be said by just trying things out. To paraphrase a much missed and far funnier man than I: “check it out from the ground.”
I don’t think you need to be settled on an identity, have a label that fits, or have your wardrobe sorted. It’s okay not to know or to be uncertain that this is for you or not. You can walk away at anytime and the only person who sets your goals is you.
Equally, if you’re a partner of someone who’s come out about wanting to crossdress or explore a different gender identity, I think it would be a big ask to go from zero to hero in a heartbeat. It takes a long time for someone on the Trans spectrum to admit to themselves who they are: will it take you as a partner, friend, or family to go on a similar arc? So, yeah, it’s okay not to understand things and it’s okay to not know. Just, try to keep an open mind and ask open questions. You might be fearful of losing that person or embarrassed even, but try not to listen to the fear if you can. The person who trusted you with this is still the same – likes, dislikes, history, hopes, etc. – and they would not have shared this with you, if they did not trust you 100%.
It is going to be a journey. Yes, I know that may be cliché, but it’s a well worn word because of its truth. Where and how you feel well change as time passes and you learn. The learning process will be in fits and starts. Sure, you can ‘fast track’ things by reading, listening, and watching, but – here’s the kicker: you have to do. As my old boss once said, you won’t learn to drive by watching the instructor turning the wheel 🙂
So, try things on just as you would a pair of jeans or shoes. Are these me? Do I need to walk around a bit and see how they feel in a bit? What if they’re just for certain occasions and I’ll keep them in the cupboard most of the time? What might it take for me to step out and be seen? Am I ready, and if not, who can help me?
I think questions that are coming from a kind and curious place help us grow. They can let the questioner and the answerer reflect rather than react. When you say it’s like this, is there anything else? When you say it’s not that, what is it like?
It can be tough to not react, but to take a step back and breathe. Perhaps that’s a key part too: knowing when you need a break from things. New ideas can take time to settle in, so give yourself some space and a bit of self care. Try things. See where you go. You can always come back. ❤️