When I first began blogging many years ago I never dreamed of being able to do what I do today; what began as yet another emo diary on Livejournal has evolved into something beyond my wildest of dreams (which at the time were pretty modest, admittedly, but still!). I made the move to WordPress to make a fresh start after I had reached a point in my transition where I felt comfortable talking about trans issues and my own experiences in a more public setting, and yet even then I never expected much.
My feminist mentor at the time, who encouraged me to blog, told me that she knew my writing in this space would do something positive. She had such starry eyed, high, maternal hopes for me that I felt sad at what I thought the inevitable disappointment would be.
Yet here I am, a year and a half later, engaged in the self-absorbed metawank of blogging about blogging and looking back with a smile. I never expected, nor wanted huge numbers of readers. But I also did not expect to have a positive impact on peoples’ lives; one woman came out because of something I wrote here that let her know she wasn’t alone in having a non-traditional trans childhood experience. That remains one of my proudest accomplishments and one of the best examples of the power that writing has. It’s the reason that blogging is its own kind of activism; if the pen is mightier than the sword, so is the keyboard. Writing gives people hope, it can comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and it does have the power to make the world a slightly nicer place. So long as it can do that, I feel comfortable spending what time and energy I can spare on this space and on my other online writing projects.
Words do matter, and they have the power to heal as well as destroy or wound. I see it all the time on sites like Questioning Transphobia, which themselves inspired me to think that my voice mattered enough to be heard on trans issues and feminism more generally. Those pounds of prose, both on and offline, gave me the strength early on in my transition to get self-acceptance right, to learn to love myself, to learn that the problem lay not with me but with a cissexist and misogynist culture. I’ve had limitless self confidence, energy, and pride ever since. Writing and reading the writing of others did that for me. It was those powerful words that helped me feel unashamed of being trans, proud of being a woman, and taught me the potency that comes with defiance.
All of this has lead not only to an improved quality of life for me but also helped me do more out in the world, helping student organisations at my university and organising activist events as well as spreading the word about trans feminism to all who would hear it at school; all of this helps, and all of it began with me reading the work of someone who dared to speak up. That, for me, is what made my life liveable. So, this is why I write.
Writing is its own kind of activism and part of a new vanguard in a number of movements that reaches more people than resistances of ages past could have dreamed of. It’s something I’m proud to be a part of for a number of reasons.
Over the course of these festive next two weeks I will be trying to kick back and relax after working assiduously over the past semester- working harder and with more enthusiasm than I ever knew was possible for me- and above all I want to thank everyone who’s visited this blog, the friends I made through my writing here and elsewhere, the people whose comments- supportive and critical- add to what I write here, and to the various famous people I’ve critiqued who were kind enough to start conversations with me, like Andrea James. If my words make you feel a little better about our often troubled world, or lend you some comfort and reassurance I am glad for that. Because I sure as hell can’t play the violin, so this is the best you’re going to get.
Words have enduring power, they stir and cause a quivering of the marrow whose resonance is unlike any other. I didn’t begin this process of writing to enter the world of activism; in many ways, it found me when I had people telling me that things I’d written, whether here, or as comments and posts on other websites, had a profound effect on them. It found me when people made connections with me, romantic and friendly, that began with powerful writing. Beautiful emotions, comfort, reassurance, love, peace, friends, all of that came from what I had written. I thank all of you not only for following and being a part of my work, but also for all of the amazing things you do, literary and otherwise.
What a long, strange trip it’s been- and it’s going to keep chugging right along. I’m aware that normally themes of ‘giving thanks’ surround the US/Canadian holiday of Thanksgiving, but between wanting to roll my holidays into a big, mushy ball of happy, and not having written a proper Thanksgiving post here, I’ll just say that I’m giving thanks here and now. This is a pretty big time of year for me, not just because of the Winter Solstice or Christmas, both of which I keep in my own ways, but because I actually came out this week a couple of years ago. That, and tomorrow’s mah birthday. So I figure it’s a good time to say ‘thank you for giving me the gift of your readership.’
If I don’t update this space much for the next week it’s because I’m out in the world having exciting adventures that will someday be turned into feature length films and totally not because I’ll be playing the new World of Warcraft expansion or anything.
Happy Holidays to you all! Goddess and/or Flying Spaghetti Monster bless us, everyone!