Recently, I was interviewed for Rainbow Radio (Interview is here) to discuss my novel, our-trans-mission, and current transgender related topics. A lot of what we talked about made me think a little bit about my successes and where some of my inspirations came from. Inspiration is a very important component of success and for a lot of transgender people there is a lot of darkness in our pasts and sometimes not a lot of things to inspire our future. This was absolutely true in my case and if you read my article Transgender in the Garden of Good and Evil, you have a good idea of some of the serious darkness that resides in my childhood. I no longer fear the darkness and I have, as an adult, learned how to turn darkness into Inspiration and eventually success.
In The Daughter of Man, my novel, the overall plot is a battle between good and evil and it is very representative of the dynamic that existed in my childhood. We had my father who was without doubt, a force of evil in my life. We then had my grandmother, who was a undeniable force of good. This conflict, without me being aware as I wrote the novel, was very much an inspiration for the overall theme and mood of the book. You may guess that the main villain in the book was a representation of my father and you would be guessing wrong. The villain’s backstory was actually inspired by my darkness and the big difference is that my villain succumbs to the same darkness that I overcame. There are many aspects of myself in various characters but ‘The Burned One’ is closest to me. He is not transgender, which would be the biggest difference between us.
Outside of the book, there have been other examples of how I turned this darkness around in my life. My father left me with a severe fear of the dark and a touch of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which I have overcome. “I come in the dark,” was his favorite thing to say just after abusing me. The fear of the dark he instilled in me also included being afraid of almost anything supernatural based and aliens too. I never fully understood the nature of this fear before I recovered my memories of the abuse. However, I did recognize it as a problem and I did what I do to most problems; I rush in and force myself to face my fears. In this case, I read scary books, watched scary movies and forced myself to face the dark. I once forced myself to take a mile long path through the woods one very dark night because of how much it scared me. It was not easy to break the fear but I have done it. I can even sleep without the radio on at night, which was one of my last security blankets.
The PTSD was a little harder to fight as it was only triggered under very specific conditions. If you scared me while half asleep there was a good chance there would be an incident. The biggest attack happened in my 20’s when I was staying with a friend. I was sleeping on the coach and got up in the middle of the night cold. I was half asleep and apparently she heard me and called to me to see if I was okay. I didn’t hear her. I had to step into a slight alcove to turn up the thermostat, which removed all peripheral vision. I stepped out and she was there in a white gown, in my memory it was flowing, and she said my name. I just looked at her and I think my mind screamed ghost. I started to growl and she screamed, most likely because it was a loud guttural growl. She was looking at me screaming and I then started screaming and as she turned to flee I am pretty sure I realized it was her and was afraid of whatever she was screaming at not realizing it was me. I chased her and she tried to close the bedroom door on me but had no chance as I had crazy adrenaline fueled strength. I got in the room and leapt across the room, past her, and landed on her bed, which broke from the force of the jump.
Once I reached the bed, it was a safe zone as my father had taught me that if you stay under the blankets, the ghosts would think that you are one of them and would leave you alone. That safe zone was my destination. Once I was safe, I came out of it and collapsed into tears. My friend figured out that she was not in danger and being someone with baggage of her own, she was very sympathetic and helped me through the rest of the night. She had a lot of patience. Luckily there hasn’t been an incident in over 10 years so I think I am finally free of that last semblance of fear. I still scare and startle easy and I have a feeling there is no cure for that.
Today, even still, every time I write something scary it is the ultimate ‘f#!* you’ to my father and it feels pretty good. They often say that when life gives you lemons and I am sure you know the rest of it. The point is, don’t let the bad cards you’ve been dealt ruin your life. There are ways to turn anything around and make it into a strength. I turned my darkness into inspiration; that is my story. What is yours?