There is inherent power in telling a story. It matters not if the story is good or bad, fiction or a someone’s living truth. What matters to many is the outcome – namely how the reader or listener feels or responds after absorbing the words. What matters to me mostly is how a story is told. Therein lies the truest command of a teller of tales.
knows me even a little probably knows that I firmly believe that words matter.
I’ve never been big on talking or saying what you think out loud; but am a huge
advocate of putting it in writing. But, every once in a while, a conversation
is had that truly matters regardless of what is or isn’t said. Last night I was
fortuned to share in such an exchange.
When I was just weeks shy of three years old, I was hanging
around the house with my mom doing the stuff that toddlers do, I guess. It was
mid-morning on a warm spring day and I was bored and tired of playing with
whatever age acceptable toys had been placed in front of me. My mom must have
been focused on my sisters at the time – one was older and the other younger
than I – because she didn’t notice at first that I’d made an all-important
decision to find something else to do. I’d always preferred to be with my dad
and that day was no different. Dads always did the cool stuff and I wanted to
do cool stuff with my dad instead of the usual toddler stuff. I knew he was at
work and lucky for me, his work was right next door. So I decided I was going
to go to work.
trans boys want the same things as any other boys growing up. I was no
different. I liked being outside and getting dirty and I wouldn’t be surprised
if I’d have broken records for wearing through the knees of my jeans. I’m
pretty sure I mastered that challenge with a record time of less than two weeks
to wear holes in at least one of the knees. Oh, and the patches that my mom
sewed on them usually “fell off” in even less time than that! Everyone knows
that cowboys do not wear patches on their jeans!
I recently attended a storytelling workshop at a transgender conference. I’d received an email from my therapist suggesting that the workshop might hold some interest to me. I’d grown accustomed to at least trying whatever suggestions my therapist threw at me. Even though there was never a specific directive, I figured when she mentioned something, she must have a reason, right? So, I spent the afternoon in the workshop. And I wrote. Joan Lipkin, from That Uppity Theatre Company, co-facilitated the workshop with Kage Fox, a transgender man. I’d known Joan for many years and Kage only months, and they created an inviting environment that easily encouraged putting pen to paper. Their assigned writer’s prompt was an open door to telling my story – albeit a story I never intended telling. That story is included in these words. That first story was the beginning and begat other stories – it was the jumping off point to explicate the year of my transition from female to male, to revisit some of the messages from the past that perpetuated the process, and reflect on the unlikely and unexpected partnership that has been my immersion and exploration into therapy.