Authenticity and Compassion.
“Living authentically” is what I strive for every day of my life, and what I seek to communicate both as a speaker and as a human.
Listeners quickly know who I am and how I got here. My voice–which I’ve often described as my Achilles Heel–is still far deeper than what I desire. At some of my talks, I say nothing until I’m introduced; audience members only see a fairly attractive middle-aged woman sitting or standing next to the person giving the introduction. I then stand and say, “Good morning,” and watch as faces react to the disconnect between voice and appearance.
That’s my first lesson about living as a transgender person.
Many of us are square pegs in round holes.
Which doesn’t mean that we’re not human. Quite the contrary, we understand what it means not to be “perfect,” every day. Humans, by their nature, are anything but perfect.
Authenticity takes resiliency and strength. The payoff is the comfort of understanding that there are no more hidden compartments, no more lying to one’s self, and no more shame about being true to yourself.
“Compassion” is something else I talk about at great length–for others and for ourselves. As a society, we don’t use or hear the word “compassion” nearly enough. Often, we don’t even understand what it means to have compassion for others.
I aim to change that.
One of the critical things I learned as I traveled on my “gender journey” is the need for self-compassion–understanding that some things in life aren’t capable of being “choices.” With a great deal of personal work, I learned that “gender” wasn’t something I could choose. The same is true for one’s sexuality, one’s penchant for the arts, whether we love someone or not, and a host of other things relative to the human condition. Giving ourselves a break and quieting the inner critic should be at the top of everyone’s list.
It’s only after we have compassion for ourselves that we can truly have compassion for others. It doesn’t work any other way.
Do these sound like lessons that everyone–transgender or not–might find of value?
Now you understand my approach.