The Morning After or More Baby Steps

The sun is brighter, warmer, and a color that I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m not sure if it is on the outside or the inside. It seems that I am bathed in a warm glow of deep personal satisfaction.
12744167_10154612661942942_5587703515724678932_nI have told the story of sitting in front of the beauty salon trying to find the courage to enter and have my eyebrows waxed. In my former life at a decision point like that I would have decided that I couldn’t do it and I would have turned away. It would have left me struggling with my lack courage and dealing with the fear that I would always be a failure.
Today those thoughts are almost comical, that I could have been so afraid of an interaction that posed so little potential for discomfort is unbelievable. That I was able to overcome the fear and go forward is what I take such pride in. My mantra during my transition has been “keep moving forward” take small steps, if not small steps take baby steps, just keep moving. Last night I found the courage to take a giant leap on my journey.
I have made no secret of wanting to make a difference in the lives of friends, community, in the people I meet on a daily basis. To do this I have needed to overcome my fear of being open and honest, to learn to speak my truth to those I don’t know. I’m here to report, that mission has been accomplished! Not only do I talk to everyone I meet but if you spend any time with me at all you will most certainly walk away with a elementary degree in trans 101.
I determined, the next step I needed to tackle would be an ability to talk to more people at one time. It is said that more people are afraid of public speaking than are afraid of dying and I can certainly attest to the truth of that statement. In keeping with my baby steps theory, I started by standing at an open mic to read my poetry, a relatively intimate venue. Next I then read a poem I had written for the Trans Day of Remembrance, a large assembly in an outdoor park. I was still able to read that poem, taking comfort that I didn’t have to rely entirely on my memory.
Well that brings me to yesterday and the next step. In order to tell my story and connect deeply with a group of strangers it is necessary to be able look them in the eye. This is made so much harder if you’re trying to read from a piece of paper shaking so badly it appears that you’re fanning yourself. The solution is of course to be able to speak from the heart and let me tell you it takes a lot of practice to appear spontaneous.
To that end, I began telling everyone that I wanted to do the “Moth Stories Told Live.” I think it was an effort to convince myself that I really did want to stand in front of a room full of people and tell them a story. Although on further reflection it may just be a method I have developed to back myself into a corner. Now that I have discovered that I am capable of taking a deep breath and moving ahead in spite of my drive for self-preservation.
As with all things scary, after the commitment is made, it feels as if the day will never come, but it generally arrives so quickly as to leave me breathless. Last Thursday arrived and I went to the venue. When I told them I wanted to tell a story they were all so excited. I then looked up and I realized I had never seen so many people, there must have been a thousand. In truth it was no more than 300 but wow, time to start sweating profusely, stains halfway to my belt in 5 minutes flat.
I waited as each person got up to tell their story, when the next name was announced a chill gripped my chest. Until I heard Rachel Campbell, It was a shock, was that my name? Yes, they’re waiting for me, there is no escape.
I rose, ascended the stairs to the stage, felt like climbing the gallows. Standing at that microphone looking out at a sea of faces, I smiled took a deep breath and fucking rocked it!
It is still scary but as with everything else I have been through, the reality was nowhere near as scary as my mind had imagined it to be. The people that came up to me afterward were wonderful and gave me even more confidence. I do believe I might actually get to the point of enjoying this.

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