Lately, I've been trying to find the root of why this comment makes me uncomfortable. Most of the reasons are pretty clear – first, I don’t consider my transition to have been anything close to easy but can see why my happiness and optimism now make it appear that way. Simultaneously, when things were easy it was not due to luck – most of it was careful preparation, learning to communicate effectively even in the face of adversity, and resilience when confronted with defeat. My biggest example will be my relationship with my mom – "you're so lucky your mom supports you" is a comment that makes me smile – yes it is fantastic that she supports me – but let us remember that on the day I told her I was transgender, her response was that she would not help me financially by any means and that I was on my own for everything; it was not luck - it was through communicating with her extensively and bringing her to therapy with me that she began to change her mind about that over the following few years.
Most of the definably negative aspects of my transition happened before I began my physical transition, before I began documenting my life on the internet and while I've shared some of the past, I tend to share the present and thus haven't talked about the past extensively – when I do, it tends to be about the good or relevant things. There isn't a tumblr post about how I used to starve myself going through puberty in hopes that my hips and breasts wouldn't grow. There aren’t videos of me weeping after long days early on in high school, getting shot down and mispronouned and made fun of. There isn't a facebook note recounting the day I had to get an emergency ultrasound of my abdomen and the nurse objectified me and my body to the point where I had a panic attack and left. There just simply isn't much I've put online that details the lowest of lows, even the semi lows, even just the hard days.
Some may know that I am writing a book about my transitional life so far - while many more intimate details of my past will show up in there than in my videos, there are still some things I cannot yet talk about. You all may never know many huge parts of my life that shaped me into the person I am now. And that is absolutely okay. I have not been fed love and happiness by the spoonfuls and popped out the way I am today in a rainbow of glory and confidence – if that were the case, then call me lucky and call it easy. Life is hard in general. It just simply hasn't been easy, but I've done it and through documenting my existence, have wanted to show that no matter what is in your way – you can do it too.
But that isn't what this note is about, I don't feel a need to detail and prove the hardships I've faced. Even just listing those few examples above seems silly unless I'm talking with someone who is going through something similar and it can help them. I no longer need support for things that happened in the past. I've lived these, I know them, I've grown carrying them. I do not feel a need to go into the past and tell you about every day i have wished to leave this world; I want you to know the reasons why I am happy I stuck around. (Does this sum up my existence? Perhaps.)
So what bothers me most about the comment "you're so lucky your transition was so easy" is that it is a comparison. My transition was so easy… compared to making it through four year of college? My transition was so easy… compared to my friend Aydian's? My transition was so easy… in comparison to having bipolar disorder?
Every transition is different. Every human experience is different. The root of what unnerves me about this comment is not that it paints over my struggles as 'easy' and 'lucky' but that it shows a side of the human experience that I simply cannot comprehend – that of comparing our lives as if they are a competition and believing that our worth is based on our relative position next to others.
I don't know how we ended up in a culture of comparison... but I am displeased with it, scared of it. To be the change – let me tell you for a second about my thought process. Bad is bad. Good is good. Hard is hard. Easy is easy. Simple is simple. Life is not simple like this, but I choose to validate others rather than compare their experiences to others or my own. A friend's grandmother recently passed and she was devastated. A friend's cat recently passed and he was devastated. I did not think to myself 'her feelings are legitimate, but his devastation is not because it is only a cat.' Hurt is hurt. Sadness is sadness. They both exist on personal spectrums but there exists no spectrum that has my sadness on one end and yours on the other, where we need to compare and negotiate where the bullet point will fall.
This is just my opinion, my thought process. I've been talking about a lot of negativity, but the same goes for happiness. People compare happiness all the time – and this ultimately makes us less happy! Just like compassion - happiness is not meant to be compared, it is meant to be shared.
I want you to share your existence with me, never compare it to mine. I invite you to end the emotional competition or at least be conscious of it. I invite you to consider what it means when you say "I wish my life could be as great as Skylar's" because I wish your life could be as great as you can make it. I hope your life is better today than it was yesterday. I wish that you will no longer wish for the things you do not have, that you will no longer wish for a life that you are not living, that you will look at all that you have within and surrounding you and realize that that is beautiful, that is enough, that is extraordinary, that is real - so that when you are standing alone, with nothing in comparison, you know that you are worthy of all of this.