I’ve been reviving my pursuit of Buddhism spirituality (I hesitate to say religion at this point as I don’t follow specific rituals but try to follow a path that sings to me). Anyways, I’ve been reading Daily Buddhism regularly now and today the post had this story in it:
I remember years ago I was getting counseling from a very wise man and explained to him how when I returned to my home town after a couple years away, I fell right back into my old patterns of life, which included many healthy choices. I explained it him this way, ” Have you ever seen those chickens at fairs that do a trick or something? Like the kind that are in a small cage with a light bulb and a piano? When I was growing up there used to be one near our house at a small amusement park. You put a quarter in a slot below the cage and the light bulb in the cage would turn on. The chicken would see the light and walk over to the piano. The chicken would peck out four or five notes on the piano and food would be dispensed as a reward. You see, I feel like that chicken when I come home. When the light goes on, I play the piano.”
My wise counsel replied, ” You have forgotten one important point. You are not a chicken.”
It’s made me think how society is like this. We’ve grown up with family and friends who choose to be what the light bulb tells us and we follow that route consistently. And then others we ignore the light bulb, following the path that is meant for them or for their friends. This past week I discovered how my perceived notions that people would judge me based on the fact that I’m transitioning is completely wrong. I need to stop paying attention to the light and moving beyond that perception. Again, it doesn’t indicate that others aren’t but personally I’m finding a life that is with limited challenge (perhaps white ?male? privilege) to what I look like and more about what I say and do. This is heartening.
“Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.” — Tina Turner
I’ve yet to be challenged at Customs (Canada or US) or by the TSA.
I’ve yet to be challenged at work by colleagues or clients. In fact, most of my clients that I meet these days are convinced I’m a guy (and I haven’t had any surgery yet).
I have yet to be challenged on the street for the person I am.
My family and friends still talk with me, even if they do not understand. They are gentle and tolerant.
I still have to address my one fear — washrooms — but that is likely for naught. I think I twisted some guys head the other day when he held the men’s washroom door open as we walked to the washroom and I went into the other. I still have to remind myself of the unattributed quote: “Count your smiles instead of your tears; Count your courage instead of your fears.” I do see more and more smiles as to the person I am and not what I think or have been told that others might see. We are often too overwhelmed over the negative that we let it become the norm when it really isn’t necessarily so.
I suppose I am lucky and privileged to have such a supportive network of friends and family. I’ve seen what outright hatred and denial is like through the eyes of others I’ve talked with. I suppose taking the Middle Way in regards to my transition works to allow others to see me change gradually and accept it rather than force an extreme view down their throat (forcing and/or extremism, IMO, often lead others to become rigid and unwavering in their being).
Life is good for this non-chicken. 😉