I have this all-consuming need to leave a legacy in life. I have measured my sense of self-worth since college in output terms, what have I actually done, what have I actually finished, how has what I have done made a difference?
The irony of this thinking from someone who is hobbled by ADD is not lost on me (and more on that separately another time). This energy, when channelled, has led to a level of creative output in writing—and I am not talking about this blog but about the hundreds of articles, blogs, stories, (and even books), written over a partial lifetime on many, totally unrelated subjects. It has been channelled towards parenting and making an active contribution to my children’s lives. It has been channelled towards a successful career that has put me into director-level, board-level, and executive positions in both listed and private companies.
But underneath it all sits this horrible sense of inadequacy, of feeling a failure, or a fraud. Of feeling that someone will strip off the mask and find this naked fake underneath.
My most fundamental sense of identity is unmoored—as a non-binary person where are my role models? Where is my ability to look outside myself and to see people embraced and respected for the very thing that makes us different? I may know how much it means to me to be non-binary. I may know how deeply entwined with my psyche it is, how enriching it has made my life, how it affects the way I look at every single thing in my life. But society classes it as a disease, a mental illness.
We are surrounded by a horribly vicious narrative that seeks to destroy people like me. I have encountered slick, well-funded campaign groups and websites that seem to say that trans people are the root of all evil. But I know that the part of me that is trans is the part of me that nurtures; it is the part of me that cries when my S.O. cries because I can feel her pain; it is the part of me that takes a deep breath when I am angry and stops me from saying something I will regret later. It is the part of me that listens at work, and because, make better decisions.
I think often that we all have angel wings inside of us that if we can just unfurl them we can make a real, positive difference to the world around us. I know that mine were born broken, and I can’t help but feel that it is because I am non-binary.
I don’t know if I can ever fix that. I will certainly keep trying. But that is why I surround myself with people who I can help to fly, whose wings I can help to mend. In my life it has always been women. Being of use to the women in my life is my purpose. Being around women means fewer daily reminders of how broken men are, how so much of what is wrong in society is that masculinity is destructive.
But as I look back on my life and wonder about the things I have done, have produced, would people look at them differently if they knew I was trans? Would they think my book is trash because of it? I know how much harder women find it to break through any barrier, how much harder they strive to just be heard. What if I give up my privilege? Then what? Will anyone still hear my voice?