Some Thoughts About Motivation

Standard

I am, as Carrie Fisher used to say about herself, an over-sharer. I have been jokingly referred to as, the Queen of T.M.I. I share liberally and personally. I process out loud, frequently about my health issues, how I wrestle with depression, anxiety and PTSD, abuse I have taken the brunt of, family, life experiences.

Sometimes people balk or take offense at this. They tell me it’s too personal, that I should keep it to myself, that what I share is inappropriate for Facebook or a blog. This used to be something that occurred more frequently. But now, I think the people who were offended have gotten used to it, given up or it’s just finally sunk in, why it is appropriate.

CUNPIC_20150221_030453
I do it for me.

I learned a long time ago that returning the shame to the person it actually belongs to, means no more secrets and no more silence. I don’t have to name names, but speaking about my experience out loud makes it real, makes it less painful and it means I am no longer a conspirator. I separate myself from the person who put me through the trauma and become the person surviving it. Why should I be ashamed for what was done to me (or for the resulting life issues) or worry about embarrassing the perpetrator? I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed and embarrassed about. That shame belongs to them!

And when I do this for myself, I am also doing it for others; as support for those who have been through or felt similar things and also to bring awareness and help those who haven’t been through these traumas to understand.

Much of this is also the motivation for my project, The Empress Dammit, which is a definitely a rough work in progress, and deals with how I started to finally build healthy self-esteem, post age Forty.

A lot of strangers run across things I have written and respond favorably. Lately, I’ve been trying to get more of my personal friends, especially those that have said they appreciate my writing, to follow my writing blog. I think it will motivate me both to write more and to actually post it.

Tonight, I was going through past posts and saw something I posted that underscores all of the reasons for why I do this. There have been people in my life that I will never meet that have saved my life with their art, with their openness and with their shared experiences and feelings that mirror my own. Two people I can think of, immediately are Amanda Palmer and Carrie Fisher. If I can move someone, make them laugh, make them aware that they are not alone, that even if they are damaged that their voice, experience and their very SELF is VALID, then it was all worth it.  

So, here is the post, from a couple of years ago; I can’t recall what post the comment was in response to. :

YES THIS! This is why I air out all this “private,” painful, embarrassing stuff. This is why I blog and this is why it’s worth it. When I get comments like this from readers who are absolute strangers that touch me to tears of my own:

” I am very literally crying as I type. I very desperately needed to read this and see my experience put in someone else’s words (so much validation for so many things). I honestly felt my skin crawl reading your experience. In all seriousnesss, it matched my own so closely that I felt irrationally paranoid…still am a little…Regardless, thank you. Thank you so damn much. May I please share this? “

I hate so many things about the life I have had. It hurt and still hurts so much.
At the same time it is a huge blessing, it is a valuable tool to help others and I am so filled with gratitude.

I guess we are all seeking motivation from without and from within. I write, largely, because I have to get it out. If I don’t, it hurts. That goes for the personal content as much as the poetry, stories and other creative bits. But, that internal motivation is not enough for me. Motivation is usually a good thing. It isn’t always pleasant and it’s not guaranteed to make things easier, but it is a tool that can help you do things that give your life purpose and make it both meaningful and satisfying. At least that’s true for me. When I get a response or a message, even a “like” on a post on Facebook, it lets me know I’m not alone out there. My words have reached someone. And I know for every person that lets me know they read something, there is probably at least one person who read and didn’t leave any clues behind. Dare I hope more than one?

Thanks to those who like, follow, message and comment. Thanks for motivating me to make more content.

Cheers!

 

Dysmorphia

Standard

I think the thing I like about this photo is that I look like a friendly happy person, which I am!

Blue

(Some of you who follow me on Facebook or G+ may not realize that because I use social media as a place to shine light on things i think are unjust and to process personal challenges. Just because I get angry about personal, community and societal injustices doesn’t men I’m not a happy person with a positive outlook, yo!)

However, most of the time when I look in the mirror or see photos of myself I have a really dysmorphic experience where I can’t reconcile the image or reflection I see with who I am or how I feel, how I think I look. Ironically, I felt that way about the untouched version of this photo too, which like hell am I going to post for comparison! Sometimes, I’m literally SHOCKED when I see how old or fat I look when I feel vibrant and sexy curvy. It’s been this way most of my life but it hits harder now.

Who else has this experience of feeling like they look completely different from how they look in photos, etc?

Part of what “inspired” this little confession was a long conversation I had with one of my trans friends today. Even if they think they comprehend how grueling the whole process of transitioning is, one of the things I’m sure most cis gendered people don’t think about is that when one chooses to make the complete transition, not only do they essentially go through puberty a second time, they also get to go through all of the awkward teenage and young adult body image issues as they try to discover who they are in their new male or female body.

Without drastic surgery, in many cases, one can’t transcend completely the limits of the body that reached puberty the first time as the wrong gender. This means no matter how feminine a woman is she might have huge feet or hands or broad shoulders. And a man may look like an effeminate female even if that’s not how he feels. How incredibly painful to be mis-gendered when you have a deep voice or a tiny frame, especially after you’ve gone through such an ordeal to correct your gender!

In the context of this conversation I revealed some things but I really haven’t talked to anybody about before that while minor in comparison, give me a frame of reference. As a child, despite my mother dressing me in pink, putting dresses on me, and trying to stick pretty ribbons in the tiny amount of hair I had (I was bald until I was two and then just had wisps), people constantly said, oh what a cute little boy! As a child I was told by other kids and sometimes adults that I looked like a boy even though I eventually had long hair. Playmates made me take the male roles when acting out stories because of my low voice and tall lanky build.

This suddenly and drastically changed when I sprouted pretty big boobs! But all of my life I have constantly been called sir on the telephone because I have a low voice. I stood next to the boys in choir, often singing the bass or tenor parts. As a teenager classmates would tease me and say are you really a boy? In my twenties as a woman with low self esteem who was trying to make it in the music business to have people whispering behind my back that they were trying to tell if I really had an Adam’s apple and was a “tranny,” was really painful because I felt like a woman and I wanted to be pretty and feminine!

Now I’m ok with all that and I know who I am but I do have the dysmorphic experience with my appearance, if not my gender. And compared to what many of my friends who are transgender go through and have gone through their entire life it’s nothing. But it does give me some perspective and empathy. Maybe talking about this will be helpful to someone?