In the last half-year, there has been an internal shift unlike any I can remember experiencing. I’ve started T during this period of time, so I’m certain that coming into alignment with myself as a non-binary person has played role in this change. My image of myself has been transformed as I’ve created my present.
I’m a relationship disaster. I get close to people, building
up connection and hoping that “this time” something will stick and it won’t go
sideways. Every single time, though, that there is a breach of trust, when I
feel betrayed, used or mistreated, my trauma surfaces to an insurmountable
level and the whole thing breaks apart. My deep-rooted attachment issues win
the day, no matter, it seems, how much I try to will them into the background
or how hard I work in therapy to undo them. I get re-traumatized and cut more
deeply after every experience. I do not heal and I do not grow in my capacity
to love by failing at it. The only beings I’ve ever loved are my dog and
myself. Relationships with others matter and I will continue to engage in them,
but they do not complete me.
My career is equally unable to give me a sense of fulfilment
or meaning, despite the fact that I know what I’m doing is valuable. Every
trigger I experience there makes it harder to show up the next day. I wade
through it, but I don’t derive my joy or sense of purpose from it.
I care about the human condition and the planet, but I’m not
an activist. Even though topics such as human rights stir my passions and I
advocate for equity, I am not enough of a True Believer ™ in any cause to
dedicate my life to it. I find meaning here, but it is fraught with
disappointment and despair to an intensity where it is not enough, on its own,
to sustain me.
I’m left, then, with the possible sources that most people
turn to for their deepest nourishment a shallow bowl of thin soup. Finally,
after twenty years of suicidality and less-than-ness, knowing myself to be a
loner, a Not a True Believer ™ and an unmet career potential achiever, I may
have hit on why I’m here. This dish is a rich stew, with layers of flavor and
My core is my inner world. I know my interior to a level of
detail I’ve rarely encountered in others. And yet, I scrub the corridors of my
mind and sweep the reaches of my heart and still I uncover things about myself
I didn’t know before. And I refuse to see the gift of self-knowledge through
the lens of navel-gazing self-absorption. We die alone. Life is coming to that
realization and finding a reason to keep living.
I haven’t found my inner world in order to escape there and
shut myself off from reality. Instead, my physical experience is at the center
of my inner world. I live embodied. No, I’ve found my core because it is the
root of my spirituality and creativity. I have something to honor and something
to express because, in knowing myself, I find my entryway to the universe. I do
not live to romance a perfect love, to make the world a better place or to
achieve a capitalist monument to money, fame or innovation. I exist to live
present, sacred and as a witness to the present and the sacred.
I’m a nature photograph of only the trees and the mountain.
No caption to draw attention to the threats of the future. No human figure
outlined as the subject. No metaphor for the accolades I’ve garnered. Only the
holy now and the lens to see it.
My way of being is not the best or the singular way through life. I fully support those whose center is the periphery of my image—the happy family camping, the environmentalist chained to the tree, the goal-setter summiting the peak. There is pain in finding my focus, because I think it is trauma more than biology that has led me to it. A life unspoiled as mine was might have a depth I cannot achieve in which everything I’ve described is blended into a harmonious entree. But my point is simply that I have something for which I exist, even if it isn’t typical, appreciated or noticed. I’ve found my purpose. Attempting to compel myself to locate it elsewhere is a distraction from my fundamental source of joy and hope. I’m in this light, of this breath, reflecting divine presence.