Self Expression and Claiming Space on Episode 105: Force Your Presence
What’s confidence? By definition it means firm trust in something.The opposite of that is doubt, or uncertainty in something.
Now that we got that out of the way, think back to a time where you were most confident in yourself and when you were most doubtful? Was there a situation that caused you to ever be both? Now I sound crazy! How can you be both doubtful and confident? That’s an easy answer. Doubt clouds confidence. You wouldn’t be doubtful about your ability in something if it weren’t something you at one point believed you could do it. Look at the events around the situation in order to pinpoint the source of the doubt.
I’ll use our latest podcast guest as an example. Staci is a woman of trans experience. She offers an overview of her life, and shares her experience as a trans-woman and how for so long she pushed down her identity to conform to society’s standards of how she presented prior to her liberation to be herself:
“25 years ago I used to sit in the back of class. I didn’t want to answer questions in class. I couldn’t speak in public. I knew the answers I didn’t like being looked at. All those eyes staring at me. I even disliked putting my voice on a tape recorder.
15 years ago I didn’t know how to ask for what I needed or wanted. I’d go along with the flow, so I didn’t stand out and didn’t draw attention to myself.
10 years ago I transitioned. I went from living my life as a man to living my life as a woman. This was the most liberating decision I have ever made. One of the big things I noticed at this time was that my sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence grew rapidly. I knew I didn’t want to hide in my transition but be a voice for others who couldn’t find theirs. My knowledge of social justice issues expanded and I picked a few causes to get behind and many more to support. It took a few years to find people who wanted me to share my knowledge and experience. From there my voice has grown.
I remember the time I couldn’t stand in front of people and talk. Now I get up on a stage and answer questions about my life and other topics without batting an eye. When I’m helping others to understand topics from my perspective as a transgender woman I feel like I’m furthering space for others to be in. I remember during the first years of my transition when I was looked at funny and heard the whispers of others as I walked by. I had to claim my own space and sometimes I had to force my space in order to find my place in the communities I had chosen. I don’t mind being looked at any longer, I don’t mind putting my voice out there. My self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence have grown to levels I never dreamed. In my experience, confidence was key to becoming who I am.”
This week on Something Positive for Positive People, Staci and I talk about the anger that came from repressing her true identity and how the outburst led to her liberation.
We touch on the violence trans women face from those who just are afraid of this idea that questioning your sexuality makes you homosexual by default.
We talk about confidence as a man with privilege vs confidence in being yourself as a trans woman who’s marginalized and stigmatized and discriminated against.
I learned a lot about what it means to be an ally to the trans community, as well as what it means to just be a decent human being.
Listen to our full conversation below, and stay positive.