I've been thinking lately about growth and transitions in my life. It has to do with an adage that I've seen thrown around lately, the idea that we must learn to be happy in who we are and what we have, or we will forever be chasing happiness rather than embracing it.
I struggle with this statement. I am not constantly unhappy, though certainly not constantly happy, with who I am and where I am in life. I believe that happiness, a greater happiness, exists for me. I believe that it is intertwined with the embrace of changes that I must face, these things which twist me and make me writhe with discomfort (initially), and that if I begin to examine myself and actualise those points calling out for transition, I can become someone greater.
Transitions have been all over the news and internet lately, largely in reference to the transgender community. These are perhaps some of the most visual transitions that we ever have the fortune to encounter in our communities, and I say fortune not because I think that the personal discovery of needing a transition is an easy or light thing, and not because I don't acknowledge the community challenges transition can create, but because transition is such a huge, large, even grotesque thing. It is a human thing, difficult and deep and awkward and ultimately, stunning. Stunning, striking, trying, and beautiful. I think we can learn something from transitions being brought to the forefront of the conversation.
See, transitions are not simple. They are burdens and blessings. They are sometimes point a to point b, but most of the time they are forests. There is something unique to this particular part of being human. Transitions, at their core, are rooted in an absolute, uncompromising NEED to bring out a core truth.
This is so damn scary, to be frank. I am terrified of the little pockets of myself that huddle in dark places. I am scared of going through experiences that have not breathed since their birth. I am frightened by the idea of my community seeing something about me that I have yet to understand how to accept. Why should I weather this discomfort?
We should weather this storm because it is a need that must be fulfilled, not only for us, but for the strength and lives of those around us. We cannot be ourselves without transition, and every time we bravely step forward in our own lives to engage transition, we show our incredible emotions and minds to people who listen to whispers of their inner needs at night, and have no way to answer them.
One of the transitions in my life is the way that I feel when winter nods around the corner. For me, winter has often been a time of loss--friends and family have passed in this season, and for many years, it has become a time of clinging darkness.
This year, I can feel a truth nudging its way to the surface. I don't understand it fully yet. It is urging me, however, to share this season with my partner in a way that I never have with another person before. It is showing me that there is a way to accept the warmth of memories which begin to replace the ache of loss. It is bringing up a challenge in the dark to open up to this season as a time of waiting, community, and rebirth.
These things are not easy. My emotions go up and down, I lash out. I feel depressed, and fear that my old monster of mental illness will come back down on me. And with these challenges, I am pleading with myself to stay open with my partner, to be ready for his commitment and his transitions, to create a new feeling and new approach to these darker months ahead. I am scared of losing him. I am scared of losing myself. I am worried that these things will spill out of me and create a reality that I am not ready to handle.
But then...I spill out something that guts me, and there's this miracle of a response. This way of feeling love from my friends and from my partner that I didn't know was possible before. And I feel myself change. There is suddenly something more connected and larger about me. I can keep doing this.
So this is an invitation to you as a person who has needs within them. I invite you to answer the whispers, and let the rocky transitions begin. I believe that they will bring us greater joy than simply the present, because indeed, the creation of our core selves is just around the corner, and there is happiness there.