Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Response to an Email: Fear

I received a very kind email from the person who hosted my talk at Penn State Abington on November 11.  She said, in a nutshell, that it must be hard discussing my personal story in front of strangers, but that the importance of the material must make it easier.

(Hey, I discuss my life on this blog all the time.  Does that count?)  ;)

When I wrote her back this morning, I jumped up on my soapbox more than a little.  I kind of liked what I wrote, so I'm sharing it here.

If you think I went overboard, or was a little too grandiose, let me know.  In any case, here is what I wrote, edited to keep the recipient's name private, as I don't have permission to reveal it at this time.  

Presenting at PSU Abington


As you know, my background is in teaching.  I am used to speaking in front of groups.  While this group is not the largest I've addressed, it's the largest I've done in some time, and the largest with whom  I've ever discussed Trans issues to date.  

Was I afraid?  Yes.  I think I was more afraid of failure than anything else.  In my mind, the material needs to be presented well, as I feel that it is of critical importance.  Mine is only one voice, but perhaps my one voice can change a heart.  And, in the end, isn't that what teaching is all about?

I'm a former paramedic, and I was with a rescue squad.  I have run into burning buildings, crawled into the wrecks of cars, and comforted the dying.  I always measure fear by those levels.  Transitioning dwarfs those fears.  The most scared I have ever been was in the minutes before I told my wife the truth about myself.  Not far behind that was coming out to my parents, then coming out at work.  

We all experience fear.  We all need to conquer it in our own ways to move forward with our lives.  I have learned over the years one great Truth:  Fear Kills.  

Fear keeps us from being who we are and from reaching our true potential.  So many Transpeople do not transition because they are afraid to do so.  Those fears are legitimate ones, to be sure: loss of jobs, homes, relationships, friends. Fear of injury and even Death.  It is only when our Pain becomes greater than our fear that we Must move forward.  

No one will ever completely conquer Fear.  There are still places, as a transwoman, that I fear to go (like certain bars, etc.)  I like to think that those transpeople who express themselves in public, be they crossdressers or transitioned women, have an intimate relationship with fear.  It is always there, but we understand it, live with it, and overcome it.  

John Wayne was quoted as saying “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.”  So it is with transitioning, and so it is with public speaking.

Sorry if I rambled on a bit.  

Be well!

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