Keep on taking the small risks

I was in London a few years ago when I saw this, near London Bridge – a piano had been set up in the street, for anyone to play on if they felt like it as they walked by. I stayed long enough to hear some good playing happening (she was one of the good ‘uns).

I want to write about taking risks. It’s been a few days since I posted anything here, as I’ve been feeling a bit low and unsure of myself in general. But I’ve been thinking about what it’s like to be me at the moment (I have too much time on my hands, I have to think about something…) and trying to get a sense of what it is that makes me feel valuable when it might appear (to the Casual Observer) that I’m not doing much, and am therefore not good for much (for behold, the shame-factory of which I wrote last time runneth full apace).

This is bullshit, in a way, which is the point of my last blog-thing. But at the same time, it’s hard not to want to know “is there any point to me?” when you’re someone like me, who’s used to being a lot more “able” than I currently am. Hence the pondering. So shame aside, I’m taking a good clean look at me and wondering what I’m doing with my days at the moment?

Okay, well there’s a lot of time spent on facebook, communicating. Yes, a small portion of that is me unable to resist making classy puns (the feedback is consistently supportive of “classy” as an adjective here, I’m not trying to paint myself prettier than I am, I am an avowed pun pundit). But most of what I do on facebook is real communication, with people I’m not in a fit state to go and spend actual face-to-face time with at the moment. This is really valuable to me. They seem to like it too.

Then I spend time moderating a trans forum, which for me mostly involves being the voice of peace in arguments, and especially being the voice of “don’t decide things too quickly, take your time, never mind the labels” to counter the noxious twin voices of “you’re like I am, so you should call yourself what I do and do what I’m doing” and “you’re not like I am, so you’re not valid and shouldn’t be here.” Shudder.

Then I watch stuff (DVDs – I don’t have a telly). Then I read books. Then I eat. Then I talk and text and email with friends. And I’m getting down to more writing than I have been.

I don’t go out as much as would be good for me, as I’m often dealing with irrational Inner Meerkat (courtesy of PTSD) – but I do get out sometimes. I meet friends, go shopping, see my therapist(s), and then I need a day on my own to recover from the adrenaline caused by going out.

Sometimes it’s absolutely fine that this is what my life is like at the moment – I’m still learning to live with PTSD, and I’m in the middle of therapy that challenges it, which is making me feel more unsafe, temporarily, so I’m doing alright to be doing what I’m doing. I’d like to take more time to just sit with my experience, but I’m not doing that because that also can induce Inner Meerkat, which is a shame – meditation used to help, now it doesn’t, for the moment.

Sometimes, though, I’m not happy at all to be like this. This is why I need to give myself the little present (in the present) of reminding myself that I keep on taking the small risks. For me, that’s the sign par excellence that I’m still alive, I’m still living, I’m not completely stagnant.

The kind of risk I’m talking about isn’t the ride-a-motorbike-without-a-helmet kind of risk. I mean something that’s always to do with communication, either with myself or with another or with others. I like about myself that I’ll take the risk to tell people when I’m in a state where the last thing I want to do is tell people. I like about myself that I’ll take the risk of telling people I love them, or that I really like them (which is often a more powerful thing to be told than the love thing). I like about myself that I’ll take the risk of telling people the truth – when it’s not what they want to hear, or when it’s not what I want to tell them, but when it’s nonetheless too true not to tell.

Just recently, I took a risk with an online teen friend to ask her about her sense of gender and sexuality – and she came out to me as queer and genderqueer. And she’s not really out to anyone else about this yet, so I feel very honoured. I told her (and someone else) recently to “keep on taking the small risks”, and they’ve both taken this to heart, and good things have happened because of this.


I wrote this a few days ago, and then couldn’t take the risk of posting it – I persuaded myself that I was blowing my own trumpet too loudly. Anyway, I now think that’s bollocks, so here it is :).

Something else really nice has just happened. Well, two things, actually. The first is that one of my oldest friends, whom I’d heard nothing at all from since I told him I’m transitioning over a year ago, just rang me up and we had a really good chat. He’s been on my mind a lot lately, so I’m very happy to be in touch with him again. And it was always me calling him, so I’m very pleased he did it this time.

The other nice thing that’s happening is that I’m back into writing my novel. Twelve years ago, out of the blue, I had a whole story land in my head over around 2 days flat, like watching a video. I’ve tried writing it several times, but never got past around 10,000 words, got bogged down in “First person? Third person? Aragh!!” and left it. The story has barely changed at all over the 12 years, until now. Lately, frustrated by all the trans fiction and the apparent total absence of any trans tomboys in it (it’s all populated by trans women who “always wanted to be a beautiful feminine girlygirl”), I’ve been straining to find a story to write about her, one that wasn’t just some worthy documentary-about-transition-dressed-up-as-fiction (I get tired of that). Anyway, a couple of days ago I suddenly realised she’s who’s been missing from my novel. It only just occurred to me how weird it was that my main character has no friends. Et voilà, he has a friend who’s a trans tomboy, who saunters in and out of the story, and who makes more sense of the ending. And her transness is not a big part of her story here, except where she gets to moan about people not “getting” her being a tomboy (one of my pet peeves, as you know – that everyone assumes all trans women want to be femme). Thinking of her in the story makes me very, very happy!

Oh, and by the way, what does she look like? She kind of looks like a less 80’s version of Watts, from Some Kind Of Wonderful. Who is that, I hear you ask (unless you already know)? That is this. —>

I love her gloves. And she’s a drummer. Gorgeous. Anyway, my character looks sort of like her, and has her kind of fiery spirit (and is Irish).

Just to end with, here’s a sunrise scene from one of my favourite films, 2001: A Space Odyssey, just because.


3 comments on “Keep on taking the small risks

  1. Sonya says:

    I hope that I am just misunderstanding, but you talk with people that are trans and don’t accept you because you are not as far along as they are? I did misunderstand that correct? If I didn’t I say screw them (and not in a good way), people always have to make others feel like less… because they are empty hollow messes themselves. Any hate that those you speak with, going through exactly the same thing as you, are just self loathing jerks. You have a journey ahead of you that most will never understand and those that should be on your side and aren’t can go eat kitty litter. Keep your head up high! Everything is going to turn out fine, and while you’re at it tell that PTSD to shove off (as if it were that easy!). Good luck with your story, and just a side note Iggy Threadgood (Mary Stuart Masterson I know the movie you put up was not F.G.T but) from Fried Green Tomatoes was in love with her bestfriend wasn’t she? Ever since I was a little girl I hated that Ruth died, because she was supposed to marry Iggy, but I never told my parents that because I was sure they didn’t agree. I have always and will always believe we cannot choose who we are and what we want we just have to accept it, and the sooner we do the happier we will be. Cut anyone out of your life that doesn’t see it the same way, because honestly they aren’t worth your time or worry (maybe that can exclude family cause that seems like a group of people you should want to keep around… but don’t waste all your efforts on it either).

    • womandrogyne says:

      No, it’s not that they don’t accept me because I’m not as far along as they are… or, well, some of them seem to *think* that I present the way I do (as a tomboy) because I’m “not as far along as they are”, and assume that I’ll want to look like them when I’m “further along”, which really misses the point. There are millions of different kinds of women, I’m this kind. A lot of trans women seem for some reason to be deeply programmed to assume that all trans women should want to be femme. I’m lucky enough to know a load of trans women online who are like me, though none locally. I’m just a dykey genderqueer woman, and will still be that once my transition is over.

      I think they’re just scared of not being accepted (and fair enough, there are a lot of messed-up people out there who don’t accept trans folk), and so they form their wagons into a circle. I don’t want to be in that circle. I’m happy with my bigger tribe, I’d rather be out there being me and being scared, than try to be someone else just to get a false sense of safety out of it.

      I’ve never seen FGT – it’s now on my todo list :).

      • Sonya says:

        It seems to me like you have your head on quite straight, and just as there are a multitude of people there are a multitude of trans (that makes complete sense), whatever makes you happy is who and what you should be!!! 😀 Oh yeah FGT is hands down one of my favorite movies, put that in your Netflix cue 😉

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