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"Where dreams are the stuff reality is made of"
by , Editor
Tradeoffs: the name of the game. Few things in life are both 100% good and independent of anything else. So, you always have to take the bad with the good, and give up good things to try to get better things. Remember Monty Hall and "Let's Make a Deal"? Do you want the box or what's behind door number three? Well, that's life for you! You've got a sure thing that isn't exactly what you want. Its not bad, mind you, just not utopian. Then along comes this temptation for something that holds the POTENTIAL to fulfill many more of your overall criteria, but the downside risk is, you have to give up the sure thing first.
Sound like the old story of the dog, the bone and the reflection in the pond? The grass is always greener? There's no place like home? Well, society would be destabilized if no one made commitments and everyone left to follow their dream, so the fair tale always ends with the individual losing everything if he tries for the brass ring. Yet sometimes the grass IS greener, and sometimes its a good thing that there is no place like home, 'cause one of those is enough. And sometimes (and this is a societal nightmare) you can move from a good situation to an even BETTER situation without losing a thing! But, sometimes you can't.
Do ya wanna take a risk? I do. You look at the safe gamblers and they wager just a bit and play out of their winnings and overall they usually come home slightly ahead on the average. They seldom strike it big but they NEVER lose it all. But what a mamby pamby way to go through the only life you've got: playing it safe and close to the vest. No, not me. I would rather be a spectacular failure than a small success, so I take chances. But I still wanted to hedge my bets, so every time I added something new, I wouldn't give up the old.
It is exactly this attitude that almost tore me apart six weeks ago. I went for it all and came up short (or so I thought at the time). Every time opportunity knocked, I just added one more activity to my list of things to do, never realizing that the infrastructure has to be serviced. Behind my back all the obligations I had made had piled up to the point I had no time for myself: Melanie was strangling in success.
Finally the strain was too great: there wasn't even room to turn around - every waking moment was pre-sold. Still, I could not decide what to lose, WHO to lose. My solution was to avoid choosing who to hurt, by running away from it all and hurting EVERYONE, so no one would feel I had deserted them specifically, and then maybe they wouldn't reject me, but just pity me and leave me alone.
I was ready to throw in the towel and fly off to Never Never Land, cash in my chips, buy the farm, milk the damn cows! BUT - I got lucky one more time. Those around me told me to wait must a moment, give myself some space and see what happened. So I took a moment to catch my breath. And I realized that DAVE had made these obligations: MELANIE had not. And though it sounds like a cop-out, it's absolutely true. I would NEVER make those kinds of obligations today in the first place. They were all made to protect myself from rejection by giving away the store to others. But I no longer feared rejection since I had finally accepted myself.
Still and all, I didn't feel right about cutting anyone off completely, as to THEM, I was still the same person who had made the commitments and THEY had honored their part. That's when the inspiration hit: maybe telling everyone to back off a little bit would make the space I needed and STILL not play favorites because I was spreading the backing off of obligations equally around.
So, Mary and the kids help with the housework now, I work four days a week instead of five at my primary job for the same amount of pay, I broke up with my occasional lover who was becoming an obligation and limited our relationship to letters and occasional visits. I shifted the Gender News into a new format as a Monthly, I closed my sideline small business of seven years and moved it into my garage because the overhead was killing me and waited for the smoke to clear to see the results of what I had done.
Is the grass greener here than where it was a month ago? Damn straight! It's positively chartreuse! Now I have the time to unwind, the time to be creative, the time to clear my mind and just experience without thinking about it. For the first time since I first seriously considered transition, I am at peace.
So what about the future? How can I avoid filling up all my time with new obligations? Simple! Instead of starting out creating Lose/Win situations so others will accept me, I start out with Win/Win situations that are fair to everyone. And if I can't find a Win/Win solution, I won't make the obligation. And finally, if I'm forced into a corner and can't find a Win/Win situation and can't back out, then its gonna hafta be Win/Lose. That way I look for a fair solution first (which keeps me from turning into a selfish Ice Bitch) but if cornered, will fight like a vixen.
Well, I guess I've about talked this one to death. But the most amazing thing to me is how we all seem to do so many things we don't like and worst of all NOT do things we REALLY like just so people will like us, just so we can keep what we have, just so we can go through life and lie on our deathbed discontent and say in our last breath: "If only...."
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