Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 21: Always Worthy

Lark (20s me): Hey Mom.

Mom (Present me): Good morning Lark.

Lark: Writing again?

Mom: Yup! These scenes don’t write themselves.

(Lark hovers nearby in silence.)

Mom: Something on your mind, dearest?

Lark (timidly): How do you do it?

Mom: Do what exactly?

Lark: How are you still writing? I’ve written a few short pieces, I have design notes for games, I have ideas from various projects, but I haven’t finished any of them. Heck, I haven’t even started most of them.

Mom: Yes, and I have more of all those things. That part of us never goes away. My notes are better organized now, I suppose.

Lark: Okay, but you also have something I don’t have: Finished projects! You wrote a novella over the course of months and published it! You’ve been writing these scenes regularly for over two months, and you have weeks of scenes on standby, waiting to be published!

Mom: It still feels surreal. It’s never been like this before.

Lark: No it hasn’t! So how do you do it? How do you maintain that drive?

Mom: I don’t know, honestly. I’m differently motivated now — remember how I mentioned you eventually have enough love to fuel yourself? I think that’s what this is; I’m writing because I love who I am. I want to celebrate what I’ve become and live where others can see me.

Lark: So that love is the source of your drive? How do you maintain it? I always had to fight to keep my drive going longer than a week or two.

Mom: That’s the thing; I don’t have to maintain it. Some days I can write and other days I can’t, but on the days when I can, I don’t have to summon my motivation. That self-love is always there for me, waiting patiently.

Lark: That’s… Kind of beautiful, honestly.

Mom (smiling): Thanks, Lark.

Lark: What about publishing?

Mom (confused): I don’t follow.

Lark: I mean, you’re publishing these stories on the Internet for everyone to read twice a week. I feel like I might be able to do that once or twice, but it’d be hard to convince myself that my writing was really worth the effort, you know? So what secret trans powers helped you cope with that?

Mom (timid): Oh… Um. Transition unlocks a lot of emotional capacity that’s helpful in every aspect of our lives; I guess that’s something. But coming to terms with the value of our work… That isn’t a trans thing.

Lark: Wait, what? There’s no special way of thinking that transitioning unlocks for us that deals with that problem?

Mom: No. A lot changed when I transitioned, but not everything. Having a poor valuation of our own work is just part of who we are.

Lark: But… You overcame it! You’re publishing things! What happened?

Mom: Honestly… I think there were three things. First, when I wrote my novella, I convinced myself that I didn’t care about the quality of the work; it was just a stepping stone to other projects. I wasn’t really a writer, I was just training a skill for game development. So I buried my expectations. After I published it, when I started writing other things, I had to acknowledge that writing might be something I actually wanted to pursue and be good at… I had to work through that baggage then, but at that point, I had already published something.

Lark: What’s the second thing?

Mom: I… I really want this. I want to be a storyteller. I want to be the woman who can weave her experiences into stories, and through those stories, brings comfort to other people and moves the world. I want to be knowledgeable yet wise. I want to be a beacon other people can see thanks in and find themselves. I want to become the woman I would have looked up to as a child… The woman Bloom dreams of growing into.

Lark: That sounds… Kind of selfish, honestly. Or self-centered.

Mom: Maybe it is, and it’s important to check myself regularly to ensure I don’t become so introspective that I lose touch with the world around me. But it’s okay to have aspirational goals and lofty dreams. It’s okay to want things.

Lark: It’s okay to want things…

(Lark looks pensive as she turns my statement over in her head.)

Lark: And the third thing?

Mom (tearful): The third thing is validation. Through this writing, I’ve connected with other trans women, and… People like my work. My readers write the kindest comments, telling me that my writing touched them, or even that it helped them process parts of their own transition. It’s my dream to help other people with my work, but my story has already demonstrated that power. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised… In a way, I’ve been writing this story for thirty years. Regardless, it’s unbelievably affirming.

Lark: That sounds amazing… But it also sounds like a lot of pressure. Every time I sat down to write I’d be terrified that what I was writing didn’t measure up to the standards I already set. Don’t you feel like you *have* to write amazing scenes all the time now?

Mom: Sometimes, but I recognize how important giving myself space to write garbage is too. There’s something else going on as well… Through receiving external validation, I’ve managed to start building up internal validation. It’s wonderful that people like what I write, but it’s worth writing regardless because I’m sharing my experience. It’s worth sharing because our story is inherently worth sharing. Even though it took a gender transition to start seeing ourselves as worthy, our worth doesn’t come from being trans. We have always been worthy.

(Lark stands stunned as the worth I’ve exposed in her gradually sinks in. A mix of fear and freedom crashes over her as her emotional armor starts to erode. After a few moments of this, the effort to remain in my presence becomes too much.)

Lark: I have to… Um. I should let you get back to it.

Mom (smiling): Sure, if you like. Thanks for stopping by, Lark.