Saturday, 13 January 2018

Brave.

I still cry every time my parents leave me at university. As if it's something that never happened before, as if I don't relax into my other life after they've gone. Me and Mum cling to each other right before she leaves because it's hard for us both. I get caught between wanting to watch them walk away down the long corridor or hiding in my room to make the experience go faster. It is always at this point that I cry.

I'm not entirely sure when being an adult and living independently is going to stop being a bit lonely and a bit terrifying because it certainly isn't easy. I keep feeling quite a paralysing fear that I've started doing it all wrong. I haven't been brave enough, I keep... feeling scared. The feeling of wanting to hide and escape means that sometimes things don't get done. I don't write because I'm terrified of it, and I find more comfort in watching a film with the family or doing every single bloody thing to avoid the feeling of dread at an empty page.

I cry when my parents leave me because it is my comfort shrinking to the far end of the corridor, down the stairs, into the car and onto the M11. I have to be big and grown up and walk briskly towards an unknown, exciting, frightening future. I have to be brave. I can be brave.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Transphobia.

I realised, about a year or two ago perhaps, that I was transphobic. I realised that I had let other people's prejudices influence my own because it suited my world view at the time and I did not understand what being transgender really meant. But I never voiced my prejudice, thank God, because I knew deep down that I was wrong.

My previous transphobic views were made known to me when I started watching the series Transparent on Amazon Prime. Suddenly I had access to a positive narrative about a transgender woman who after an entire life of living as a man with a wife and family made a decision to transition to what she always had been. An earlier recognition of my flawed understanding of gender came from  Laverne Cox's role in Orange is the New Black but I still lacked sympathy or proper acknowledgement of the validity of being transgender. 

I am ashamed to admit that my conscious transphobia was influenced by radical feminists and Second Wave feminists some of whom believed that transgender women were not real women and were just men in disguise here to take our roles and rights all over again. Okay so a white woman who can present as a man can still take advantage of white male privilege but that really, really isn't the point. To argue that transgender issues are not a part of feminism, a movement which endeavours to provide equality for all women, is, I realise now, wrong and absurd. 

I think that some feminists and women are afraid of the concept of transgender because it challenges what it means to be a woman. It's not just having a vagina that qualifies you for womanhood. I think that feminists fear that the attention will be taken away from reproductive rights, which are so important to women and to their womanhood, including mine, and that part of themselves will be diminished. But transgender women do not make the struggles of being a woman disappear. It is a different type of womanhood, and who are we to say that is wrong?

In fact what learning more about what it means to be transgender or non-binary through art, writing or otherwise, has taught me is that my own gender has been confined to a box and I am now understanding more about what it means to be me. I have learnt that I am more feminine than I am masculine and that I should celebrate my femininity because society is always trying to disempower it. I have learnt that my female body is important to me and my womanhood, but that it does not define it. I have learnt that I know that I am a woman simply because I just do, and I don't need to know the reason why, it is just instinct. I have learnt that I know nothing about what it means to be transgender and I am trying to understand it more everyday. 

I've realised that I was completely wrong, and I am very sorry for that, but I am also very grateful to be able to love and feel empathy for more people in this world than I did before. 


Friday, 29 December 2017

Small, quiet happiness.

I live my life like the British weather. Unpredictable, sometimes cold in warm seasons, always the potential for rain or random, angry gales. My dad has always told me that emotions are like the weather, when it's cloudy you know it will always pass. He's exactly right, for me anyway, as I can spend whole days feeling really, really up and then all of a sudden feel really quite down.

Yesterday I was in the car with my parents driving through the Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire countryside and the sunshine was so golden settling over snow covered fields and I felt perfectly contented. It was the brilliant feeling of just being able to breathe and see and be. And I felt like that for hours, hours of contentedness.

Later on my mood lowered itself and I was unable to maintain such high levels of happiness. I was annoyed at first. How come such random anger and upset can come and cloud over my contentedness as if I had no control over it.

I do have control really. I can't control the weather but on a good day, and thankfully most days are good days, I can override sad thoughts and bitter feelings. It's just really quite irritating, quite frustrating when a perfect all encompassing level of happiness can't be maintained for longer. But it's okay, I guess, to value things more when they can't last forever.

Because those moments of small, quite happiness can produce such brilliant joy.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Brilliant Procrastination.

I think I am a lazy person. Or a brilliant procrastinator. Or perhaps brilliant is too great a word. My procrastination in an ideal world would involve creativity. I would be making little origami Christmas tree decorations or making mince pies or even just reading a book. I struggle to do any of those things.

I am procrastinating doing a lot of things. My dissertation is one of them. I've reached the end of my second draft and it's really, really hard to care about finishing it. So I find excuses. I'm ill, or I'm not in the mindset, or this coffee shop hasn't got the right atmosphere. I'd rather be doing other things like making little Origami tree decorations or reading a book. So I sit on my phone and scroll through Facebook instead. Naturally.

I've realised that scrolling through Instagram has become a bit detrimental. I keep comparing my life to other people's every single time I'm on the app. I come away feeling a little bit worse about myself each time. It seems that everyone else is either less lazy or a much better procrastinator. This isn't a post to whine about social media it's just, you know, if every time you use it it's giving you a mini complex you should probably take a break.

I've gone off course. The other thing I keep procrastinating is writing. I've done it for years. I've even talked about it on this blog for years. I could tell you for hours how much I adore writing, all the different things I'd like to try writing, all the ideas, all the dreams. And then at the end of that conversation I'd feel a little bit empty because I'd remember that I haven't done a lot of those things because I keep putting them off. Oh, I'm too busy. I'm not in the right space. I can't.

There are a lot of things I love and a lot of excuses I keep finding to not do them. I couldn't for the life of me tell you why. Perhaps I'm very lazy. Or just very scared of, you know, getting it all wrong.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Keep going.

It is tough to always be telling yourself to keep going. It gets worse when you're not well. It's quite hard when the sun hasn't shone for a while and the winter days get shorter and shorter.

"Keep going" I have to say to myself, a lot. Keep going when you're rejected from roles and positions you really wanted. Keep going when you're rejected from the ones you weren't even that bothered about. Keep going.

And it's tiring. Always motivating yourself, always picking yourself up. Always allowing self-acceptance, always forgiving yourself.

It's harder when you're standing by yourself which in many ways I'm not but in some ways I am. I am lucky with my friendships and my family. But it's difficult when relationships change or disappear and there you are again telling yourself to just keep going.

It's not all the time, you know, there are just periods of my life where I have to "keep going" a bit more than others. And honestly I'm glad for those periods, because they're lessons, aren't they? You don't always get what you want, things change, people come to and fro.

I just wanted to say that sometimes, not all the time, it's tough to tell yourself to keep going. Keep going.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Turning 20.

I am 20 today. I remember thinking that entering double digits was a big and exciting thing aged 10. I had no concept of how big and exciting balancing on the edge of the rest of my life would be. I feel as if I am looking down into some very large pit where only the very top is visible and the rest is dark and unknown, terrifying and brilliant.

I have done my teens, I have done childhood. I have formed and reformed myself again and again. I have changed entirely and not at all. I have collected a whole kit of memories and skills and emotions to bring with me into the next stage of my life. I feel as if I am stepping over the threshold into my adulthood and as I do so I am looking backwards and forwards simultaneously filled with pride and fear and anticipation.

My family came to visit the other day and I realised they have filled me with the most enormous capacity for love. And sometimes it's exhausting because I could keep loving and feeling without limit. But how wonderful, how marvellous, to live without limits. What a brilliant gift, to walk towards adulthood with the greatest desire to love and feel endlessly.

Every year on my birthday I tend to give myself little resolutions like my own personal New Year. As I turn 20 I have told myself a few things. I have told myself to love and forgive myself more, to show affection, to express my passions, to work hard, to absolutely go for it with every fibre of my being and to spread my capacity for love as far as I possibly can.

I am just going to love and live with my entire self. And I am so excited.

Friday, 17 November 2017

To friends who are hurting,

It's funny how you can go through a lot of your life on your own with a happy attachment to the things that you like such as music and books and poetry. You don't think much about the things you enjoy because they are a part of you. They're just there.

And then someone else can come along, even for the briefest of moments, and with one enormous paintbrush they taint your songs, and your books, and your films, and your places with a deep sense of aching loss. That is, when they disappear. For the brief moment that they are there you start to absorb them into all the parts of you, because you share all the parts of you, and it's wonderful! And then, suddenly, it's not.

I've spent entire years unable to listen to a certain song because of that sense of loss. I've hidden things away from sight so that they don't bring about a twinge of sadness every time I look at them. It's funny, isn't it? How a book of poetry is just something that you really enjoy and then it becomes an object, and a collection of words, that you can't even bear to think about.

But eventually time just wipes away this feeling of pain attached to your books and your songs and your poems and you forget that it was there at all. Well, not quite. There is always a little bit left of that feeling, a little distance away in your mind, because that person, whoever they were, became a part of you too. In the moment that you share yourself, in the moment you absorb another person into yourself, they become a part of your history. And that's okay.