Sunday, June 21, 2015

Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster - A Blog for SuddenlyFem by CiCi Kytten

The most daring, dangerous and exhilarating ride of the summer is coming soon to the amusement park in your mind. Welcome to the Trans Emotional Roller Coaster! Thrill to the exciting new experiences waiting behind every turn! Brave the emotional ups and downs! Beware the unexpected dips and twists that threaten to wreck your mood and ruin your day.

I know of no one who enters tg/cd world who doesn’t experience fast-changing emotional extremes. And you don’t have to be on hormones to feel a wide range. The agony and the ecstasy. The joy and the pain. Surges of confidence. Moments of doubt. 

Of course, the same can be said for mainstream American life. We all go through our share of ups and downs. But for me, in trans world, the highs seem higher, the lows seem lower, and the distance between the upbeat Funhouse and the scary-as-hell House of Horrors seems particularly short.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. And it can happen at any stage of your trans progression.

Here's to a summer of fun!
You post a few pix on a social media site and you get no response.  You feel unloved. You post a few more and you get all kinds of likes and comments - and you suddenly feel like the most popular girl on the net. And you haven’t a clue as to why which pics were favorited and which ones were not.

You go out dressed for the very first time -- and have one of the best nights out in your entire life.  You vow that this will now become a regular thing. But other factors in your life invade and your job or your girlfriend or your family drive you back into the closet. Literally pushing you back into the dark.

You come out to a few friends and receive wonderfully supportive responses from seemingly everyone.  Your self-esteem soars!  But then someone very close to you -- a sibling, a dear friend, a parent -- rejects you. And all of those other wonderful responses don’t seem to matter.

You want to get off.  But ride isn’t finished yet.

This is where our resilience is tested.  This is where we learn just how good we are at weathering storms. And how committed we are to living our lives our way.  Because, believe it or not, you have more control over all of this than you might imagine.

You see, this life is indeed like a roller coaster. But unlike most theme park attractions, you actually get to drive. You’re in control. You certainly can’t control the reaction of others or control external factors -- jobs, economics, family stresses -- that have an impact on your life. But you can control, or at least try to manage, your reaction to those factors.

Let me tell you something that perhaps no one else has. You rock!  You really do. If you’re trans and active in today’s world, you’ve got something very special going on inside you. You may not feel it, but you do. You grew up in a time of few role models in the media and little positive motivation to come out or dress up.  But you did it. And while that hasn’t always been easy, you’re still doing it -- even if you’re closeted. Even if you’ve recently purged or shut down your social media profile.

Most of us have gone through similar periods of doubt or denial. But if you’re reading this blog, then you’re obviously exploring this life.  A brave step in 2015.  Sure, recent developments from trans-focused television shows to the well-publicized Caitlyn Jenner story have made our lives more visible, but it’s still tough on a personal level. We all hope that  we are evolving and that widespread acceptance is coming. But we as individuals and as a community still have a long way to go. 

And so do those outside of our community. As a matter of fact, as we become more visible and vocal, our opponents will rise up to match our level of exposure. And those opponents can be downright mean.

It is obviously crushing to find out that a close friend or relative has rejected you.  To see that your Facebook posts aren’t popular. Or to discover that elements of your life are obstructing your trans progression. 

But you have to prepared for that.  If you come from mainstream society and have embraced those values all of your life, it’s probably a shock to your system to now be inhabiting the fringe of society. To be living what is typically considered an alternative lifestyle. Your mainstream life probably didn’t prepared you for this. (I know mine sure didn’t!) And it certainly hasn’t prepared your friends and family members for your metamorphosis.

Obviously, it’d be nice to think that a few television shows and a few mainstream trans celebrities could change your world -- or change the views of those around you. But change happens slowly.  (Just ask any other minority in America.) 

Sadly, if you’re going to be more open about your trans nature, you have to be ready to take some hits. To lose some friends. To face some ignorance. And you should prepare for that emotionally. That’s when you take control of the situation. Be judicious in who you tell.  Be thoughtful in the way you go about telling people -- and, just as importantly --build on those initial conversations. Whether your friend’s initial reaction was positive or negative, keep the lines of communication open.

And, of course, cherish and hold close to you all of those friends and family members open-minded enough to embrace you and wish sincerely for your happiness. They will be your rocks in times of trouble or doubt.

In my own life, I’ve found that while coming out has caused some awkward moments with old friends -- it has also caused the blossoming of newer, stronger relationships with friends that I never before felt close to. Certain people in your circle of friends are just better equipped to handle the shifts and changes of life.

And never discount the importance of your trans friends and the trans community.  Who knows better what you're going through? Who knows better how difficult this can be?

I’m an optimist. I always hope for the best. But I’m not naive. So I expect external forces to intrude. I expect my own doubts to creep in and sabotage me from time to time. I expect times of great and fulfilling activity to be interspersed with long stretches of frustrating inactivity, or even worse, loneliness, depression and sorrow. Maybe your journey will be smoother than mine. An easy jog. But, for most of us, it’s best to plan for -- and prepare for -- the long haul.  A pretty grueling marathon.  

Just be sure to enjoy that “runner’s high” along the way!

One last thought: Going back to my original amusement park analogy, don’t be afraid to sit out a few rides. You remember this from when you were a kid. You were at a park, having a ball, dizzy with youthful excitement -- and then your tummy started to feel queasy. Too many thrill rides. Too many thrills. And it all got the better of you. Back then, your mom would probably sit you down and let you rest a bit.  And there’s no shame in that. When you were a kid, you probably recharged your battery, re-energized your spirit -- and then returned to the fun.

And that’s not a bad model to follow today.  

Just remember -- all summer fun analogies aside -- this is not a ride. This your life. Your only life. It’s not fun and games. And the emotions involved here are much more than a thrill or a disappointment or a queasy stomach. This is hard-core, heavy-duty emotional business.  This is the very core of your being. And while a more open trans life can be fun and sexy and stimulating and fulfilling in all kinds of ways, don’t for a moment underestimate the deep and long-term impact the decisions you make will have on your life and on the lives of those around you.

The Trans Emotional Roller Coaster. You don’t need to be a certain height to ride this ride. But you do need a certain strength of character and more courage than you ever knew you had.

But if you’re reading this, I have a feeling you’ve got what it takes. You bought the ticket. Enjoy the ride!

Take care out there!

Be safe. Be smart. Be sexy.


Cassie's Classy said...

This was a great article that will get a wide distribution. A wonderful platform to just let the girls know that this can get pretty serious at times and they seem to come right after the fun just ends. A week after WS or our Summer Sizzler weekend. You have to have friends and we are out there for you , and you have to let those around you know when the blue-whos come sneaking up on you. The best medicine is to be helping another girl with her journey . Thanks Cici for a great read. Cassie

silkiest1 said...

Great article again Cici! Sometimes people think it's only them feeling the way they do. They look at other people's profiles on social media and see smiling faces having a blast. They think everyone else is always having fun but it definitely isn't always true which you poured out clearly in your article. Thanks for helping us keep things in perspective! I love reading your blog. Love from Michigan.

Martin Serrata said...

Amazeing article so true thanks

Anonymous said...

You are amazing and uplifting!

Sandra Lopes said...

You're so good at figuring out and summarize what we feel — that's exactly it, you hit the nail.

And yes, at the end of the day, it's all up to ourselves to enjoy the ride, instead of complaining of so many downs and never enough ups.

Jennifer Davis said...

What an amazing story. The truth is it is all true, we can each have these experiences!

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Marci Smith said...

I like your articles, The roller coaster effect is true. I just look forward to getting out again or getting back on the roller-coast for another ride.
Happy from Wisconsin
Marci Smith

Lydia L said...

I am afraid of roller coasters so would rather not get on board. ;) However, I do very much enjoy my feminine ride as a cross dresser! Enjoy your articles CiCi.


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