There is a psychological concept called Narrative Identity that deeply appeals to me as a writer. The basic idea being we shape our identity through the way we organize our life story. In other words, how we characterize our past, present, and future is just as important as the actual events themselves. This is not really a new concept, just a new way of conceptualizing how cognition affects us. It fits rather nicely with other forms of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but as I already mentioned I find it attractive because I tend to think of my life in terms of chapters.
I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I should write an autobiography. And while I consider myself a “never say never” kind of gal, the trans woman tell-all autobiography just feels a bit played out for me. But like all good stories, my life has been filled with complicated heroes and villains, tragedy and comedy, magic and treachery, surprise plot twists, and moments of courage from myself and others. There’s the “Christianity as a Closet” chapter, the “Bullied and Raped” chapter, the “Denial is a Helluva Thing” chapter, the “Comic Books and Kindness” chapter, the “Coming Out and College” chapter, and so on. I am lucky enough that every new chapter of my life has been better than the one before it, but that doesn’t stop the closing of each chapter from bringing some melancholy. The excitement winds down to its inevitable conclusion, leaving our hero anxious for her next adventure. And this particular moment of my life is the closing of yet another chapter.
I’ve had some radical changes in the last year and there are still more yet to come. Office politics have pushed me out of the youth center I dedicated my last four years to, but I have a very promising position lined up with another organization that could potentially give me the ability to help even more LGBT youth than I previously was. I’ll be graduating with my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology in just a few more months, only to continue forward with graduate school and internships. My romantic relationship is evolving as Chris and I prepare ourselves for the next step of marriage and (hopefully) family which is soon to come. My physical transition is coming to it’s final destination in just three short months, which is both exhilarating and terrifying all at once. In just about every aspect of my life, I am “between” what once was and what is soon to come.
While there are times where I am extremely frustrated or anxious about this current state of affairs, it helps for me to look back on past transitional periods in my life. Change is inevitable and, truthfully,what keeps life fulfilling and interesting. This latest chapter has been filled with characters and lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I’m grateful that some will continue with me on my journey. So I cope with waiting for the next chapter to begin in the same way that I cope with waiting for the second season of Orange is the New Black to come out, or how I waited for the next Harry Potter book to be published. I look back on the things that I loved about the past installments and eagerly speculate about what might happen next.
Here’s looking forward to the next chapter of life. Whether your’s is a best seller, trashy paperback, or steeped in academia, I hope you’re next chapter is better than the one before it.
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