Some days I feel as if I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Between running my own business, the needs of my husband and children, community commitments, trans-advocacy and personal well-being, there are times when I just don’t know how I’ll get it all done.
I worry about doing the right thing, meeting deadlines and living up to expectations. I lay awake concerned that I didn’t return a phone call or check on a sick friend. Some nights the weight of all the worrying knocks me out cold, some nights there’s too much neuro-interference to sleep at all.
Admittedly, some days the burden of trying to please everyone is just too much. There’s guilt in wanting to just please myself.
Hunter returned home from camp a month ago. He spent 40 days just being himself in the purest of environments, completely unplugged and unburdened except for the responsibility he shouldered as part of the camp community. He wasn’t a “trans” kid at camp. He was just himself.
The weight he carried was his contribution to the group. His back hunched under the complexity of his pack but it was a privilege not a burden to traverse the trails with his belongings so thoughtfully assembled.
If you have a transgender family member, friend or acquaintance, you need to know they bear the burden of just being. There is always something to worry about. If they are FtM (female to male), you can be sure that they obsess over clothes that give them a more masculine looking chest. If they are pre-op/pre top surgery, then the goal is to have the perfect binder/chest compression garment to insure that they are completely flat.
For the MtF (male to female) individual, there are other concerns. A post-pubertal trans woman will often worry about her voice. Is it too deep? Does it sound masculine? Is the adam’s apple pronounced? Most of us never gave this a second thought, but guys and girls speak differently. The cadence of our words are different. The amount of words that females use in conversation differ significantly than the number of words uttered by males.
Then, there’s the walk. For a trans* person who wants to express themselves as a gender other than the one assigned at birth, they often find it necessary to relearn how to walk and talk. Guys take longer strides, they don’t sway at the hips, their stance is wider, they stuff their hands in their pockets, and so on. Trans* individuals work hard to alter their gender expression and overall presentation so the public’s perception of who their are begins to match up with their own identity.
So, the burden of being, when someone is transgender, is immense. Add that on top of all of the other everyday stuff that we stress over and that pack is almost impossible to lift, let alone carry.
For additional resources, visit Stand with Trans or the Ally Moms web page.
Hi Roz I’m sitting at my laptop after a not too good night myself. Completely relate to the weightiness of the demands of life. Beautifully written. I love the analogy of the pack and “the belongings so thoughtfully assembled”. I also connected to the idea of Hunter being himself not a trans kid. I think this is very important but it’s a tricky territory to navigate because our antenna are up for trans issues. (Also, everyone who knows we are dealing with this, think it sort of defines our livfe, which it does and doesn’t.) But I observe that Jen needs the relief of just being a kid without the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Reading your piece reinforced for me that being non-binary gender is different from the MtF or FtM world. Jen, I think, is not burdened by trying to change the way that they speak or walk. They are trying to nurture and free the person within and the burden they carry is that it’s a hard slog in a world with a binary grid. Everything becomes a challenge!
Anyway, you write beautifully and I’m here to remind you that life is short; many of the burdens and didn’t dos will wait or resolve themselves; you must remember to breathe. And, as we are trying to teach our kids, caring for yourself is ground zero.
I’ve got early morning doctor appointments tomorrow is West Bloomfield. Should be done by 9:30 am. Any chance I could buy you a cup of coffee on my way back and we could chat a bit?
Let me know
frances hammond email@example.com
direct: 248.341.3805 mobile: 248.417.0472 fax: 248.341.3836
the research house 7430 old mill road bloomfield mi 48301
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Coffee would be perfect.
I know that most people don’t give a second thought to what goes into a transgender person’s existence and how huge it can be at times. And being the mom of a transgender child, I tend to internalize all of his struggles and burdens in addition to my own. It can be an uphill battle and any chance they get to just “BE” is so necessary!
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I am also weary with worry. I can’t imagine a day without worry or a night of worry free sleep. Those carefree days are gone. I think that being transgender is hard and loving a transgender child is hard. It’s all hard. As usual, your thoughts are a mirror of my own and right on target.
Life certainly is complicated..sometimes more than others. I have to disagree on one point … I don’t think it’s hard to love my child. Loving him is the easy part. The difficulties come when I can’t deliver immediate solutions.
I know exactly what you mean.