This is the part of the evening where “thinking” sort of ceases being a viable possibility.
This is my Army Of Happy:
They help cheer me up during moments where I’m not feeling very strong.
Like, for instance, when I’m neck deep in a charity blogathon, can barely keep my eyes open, can’t really think, and most of the things it occurs to me to write about are all kinds of intensely personal things that I can’t really articulate properly.
I struggle a lot with being able to do what I do. It’s really hard for me.
The thing is, I’m not a “natural” blogger, essayist, activist or fighter. This isn’t by any means what I ever set out to do with my life.
It seems like for lots of other people doing this kind of work, it’s part of who they are. They draw energy from it. How much traffic they get or how much impact they have or how many people they’re able to help… that kind of thing is incidental. They’d totally be doing it anyway. They’re doing it mostly for themselves.
And I don’t mean that in a way to suggest that they’re selfish, or that I’m shallow. Just differences.
But I didn’t really volunteer for any of this. I was just sort of drafted.
An opportunity fell to me where I had a platform I could use to help advocate on behalf of trans people to a fairly wide audience. And I felt like it would be irresponsible not to take that opportunity, since so few trans people ever do get a chance to have their voices heard, and use it to do everything I possibly could to help get our community and our needs and our struggle heard. And to help people see us as a human reality, not some distant, abstract, theoretical question.
But because I was drafted, not a volunteer… a lot of those things that help keep other activists going aren’t really there for me. I would just be doing it anyway. I don’t draw energy from it. Instead, it’s a constant expenditure of energy.
It takes a lot to keep going. And as has been clear lately, with my blog being very spotty and inconsistent, when those other parts of my life that I do draw energy from start not going so well, when things start getting a bit rough, it becomes intensely difficult to hold things together.
But in a way, this isn’t entirely a disadvantage.
In a lot of ways, I think it helps keep me in touch with the trans community itself, and what it is to be trans.
The truth is that none of us actually asked for this. This is just a situation we all found ourselves in. Being trans. A situation we found ourselves in and couldn’t really DO anything about, and just had to do our best to cope and survive however we can.
I think if somehow I started thinking of the activism and trans-feminism and advocacy and stuff as fun or whatever… that would distance me from what this is really about: people having a shitty, unfair reality forced upon them, which they have no choice but to try to live with.
I’m there too.
I don’t want to be doing this. And I think that helps ground me to what the goal really ought to be. It isn’t about my ego, or being a “good person”, or being influential, or being remembered. It isn’t about me knowing what’s best for everyone else, or me having all the solutions and answers.
What it’s about is trying to create a world where none of this would be necessary. Where these kinds of responses and sacrifices wouldn’t be required. Where we weren’t forced into the position of having to put so much of ourselves, and hurt so much, in the hope of being able to fight against the cruelty or indifference of a mixed up society.
The fact that I don’t want this helps keeps me tied to that which we’re fighting, which nobody wants. It helps keep me from getting caught up in enjoying it. And hopefully keeps me from getting caught up in things like exploiting the suffering of others to help promote my own personal agenda and status.
I’m scared that someday things like relative “fame” and recognition and praise or whatever could someday really start fucking with my self-perception. I’m scared that one day I could just become yet another in a long-line of selfish, egotistical trans “leaders” who ultimately stopped genuinely caring about the communities they professed to represent, and let us down.
That could happen. I really, really hope it never does, but it could happen. The scariest part is that I wouldn’t notice it happening. The not noticing would be exactly one of the symptoms of the problem.
But I think so long as I’m tired, so long as I’m hurt, so long as I’m exhausted, so long as I’m depressed and angry, and want to turn away or give up or go back to bed… so long as I want to be doing anything but this… I think so long as that continues to be the case, my heart will remain where it needs to be. My goal will continue to be the right one.
That is, to help get us out of this corner we’ve been backed into. To create a situation where we no longer have to fight for our survival.
To someday get us to the day where we can all go back to bed…
and maybe dream of something wonderful. Like Benedict Cumberbatch’s cheekbones.