Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: Can I stop chasing the impossible today?
I stopped chasing the truly impossible a very long time ago. The challenge is in that grey area. What’s impossible today may be possible tomorrow. How much can I plan for that? My answer–at least right now, when so many things I want to do are impossible–is that the priority always needs to be the present. That’s where the energy goes. That’s where I can make a difference right now. But it doesn’t hurt to at least lay some groundwork for the future–maybe doing some research, saving some money, or training–things that won’t be wasted should fate interfere.
It’s Transgender Day of Visibility. I have an increasing number of friends who identify as trans from the more traditional, binary sense (men who were assigned female at birth, and women who were assigned male at birth), and last year I marked the day with them in mind as an ally. This year is a little different, since the realization three months ago that the best word for me is “agender.” For me it’s less a transition than a realization (with the exception that they/them pronouns are now a viable option). I haven’t changed my outward appearance, nor has anything inside me changed–there’s just a word for what I’ve always felt, and that’s that my biology (which I assume is female) does not influence why I act a certain way, feel a certain way, or have skills (or lack thereof) in any given activity. But is “transgender” the right word for this? To me, not quite. But neither is “cisgender.” But I learned a new word today: metagender. And it made the chemistry geek in me a little excited, because like cis- and trans-, it’s a prefix used in chemical names (specifically in aromatic compounds, among other uses). However, in this case, that’s not the definition that matters; it’s this one: “referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.” It’s another name for people who do not believe that gender is a useful term for themselves. I also do not identify as non-binary. Lack of gender is not a gender.
In other ways, however, it’s still important to be seen publicly as an ally. I am lucky–the way I choose to define myself is largely internal-facing. It’s analogous to the situation with my tattoos. If you’re reading this and are surprised that I have tattoos, you’re in for a bigger surprise: I have seven of them. They’re there for me, and every single one of them has a significant meaning, but I usually like to keep them fairly confidential. And that’s the deal: I largely keep myself confidential as well. That is not going to change. It’s who I am as much as not having a gender or not adhering to a defined faith system is. It’s my true self.
So for me, being visible as agender isn’t really important. It’s much more important to support those who want to be seen for who they are and who struggle against barriers imposed by others. The world probably does not see me for who I really am–and I honestly do not care. On the other hand, when friends see me truly–regardless of what we’re talking about, from gender identity to my quirks and obsessions–when I choose to reveal those things–that’s special.
I am now on a five-day holiday. I have the April 1 Letter of MisIntent queued up for imminent release. On the embroidery front, I have just one more cat to embroider, and then the background, goldwork, and one small rat. I have some research to curl up with. The house could use some tidying. The office could really use some tidying.
But I’m still tired. Without a real purpose, too often my words just seem to go nowhere. Those few times when I have a topic, it seems I can still wield them well enough, but it’s harder to conjure passion out of thin air, to make it active rather than passive. I find myself wanting to stay within myself.
And yet, we are 1/3 of the way through this year. It’s hard right now. There are likely going to be harder restrictions announced tomorrow. In some ways, it’s become easier to bear–we know what to expect. In other ways, because we’ve come so far, it feels as if we’ve tripped and stumbled when we should be helping each other across the finish line.
Are we chasing the impossible? No. We’re chasing the possible. We’re just doing it the hard way, because at some point we decided this way would be easier.