Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Choices

I am getting to a point in my life where I need to really think about whether or not I want to continue throwing or hang up my hammers and start transitioning. I am starting to realize that my involvement in track and field is really hindering my ability to function at an equal level to my peers. I am trying to really hard to not let this one bad work situation be the make it or break it of the rest of my life, but I wish I could say that this attitude, this treatment, and transphobia is what I deal with on an everyday basis whether or not I am at work or not. I want to be seen as an equal and right now because I don't fit anyones standards of appropriate gender norms it is preventing that. I love being a physical therapist. It was never what I imagined myself doing but I am so happy I am doing it. I know I am able to be a great physical therapist but I don't think I can do it or be given the opportunity to do in the current state I am in. I don't know if I am ready to leave track though, I really feel like I have begun to sing and that I could really do a lot in the next two years. I just don't know if it is worth it and honestly I don't know if I will ever know. I think part of it is me not being ready to leave throwing. Throwing is my whole life, I have sacrificed everything for throwing and now I don't really know what to do without it. I don't have any other hobbies, I throw and lift weights as my hobby, I can still do all those things it is just without the competition which is what makes it so enjoyable. I am also worried that throwing is my form of stress relief and it is a large part of what helped me stop cutting. I am afraid that if I leave track then I won't have the stress relief that I need, and I don't know what I will do without it. I have worked really hard to continue not cutting and I afraid leaving track will open that door open again. I feel ridiculous that I am in this stiuation, I pride myself on being stronger and more adjusted than this, but I really am at a loss as to what to do without track. What is making it harder, is I really define a lot of myself as a thrower. The first time I really found happiness was in the throwing circle, about the only place I still feel happiness is in the throwing circle. I don't know what is going to fill that void.
On the flip side though I wonder if I would be happier and not need throwing to define myself if I started living my life as the person I know I can be and I started looking and becoming physically and in turn more emotionally that person. I also think part of it is that I am so afraid of the unknown and disappointing people. I guess I feel like if I leave track I will really disappoint people and that I gave up on doing what I said I wanted to try and do, and I will just let people down if I leave track. I understand that my decision to live my life has nothing to do with anyone else, but I wish I could see that as reality.
I don't really know what to do, I wish there was a magic button that I could push that would tell me what to do and that would be that. I will be honest I am leaning towards leaving track. I have a lot of goals I want to achieve as a physical therapist. I want to get myself out there for the trans community to have someone to go to, I want to run camps and sports teams for the severely disabled and I want to be seen as a professional and for the talented PT I could become. Right now it is not as I am right now. My field is very homophobic and transphobic and heteronormative so I think I need to re-work my life plan.
I am going to get started with a therapist so I can get some help with this and really get the ball rolling if transitioning the way I chose to go.
I just have remember it is my choice and only mine.

4 comments:

  1. petervanaken@yahoo.comJuly 7, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    Have Courage and faith that things will work out, Corbyn! Throwing the hammer can also happen as a MALE. Lifting weights and doing throwing drills can also happen as a MALE. There is only one thing you might be sacrificing if you transition, and that is a womens US Olympic team spot. It is 2 years away and based on current competition levels you need an "A" standard.

    But look at how impressive you did at Des Moines on erratic training and stressful personal life- beat Loree Smith, Erin, those college girls...I mean, Amber and Jessica and Britney seem tough right now, over 69 and the former two over 71, but hey....you have the motivation....

    I had another poor performance with poor technique last weekend, 32m with the 6kg, and also poor in the 25 lb. weight, and when I threw the 56 lb. "superweight", (for the first time in over 30 years!) I kept having sector fouls. Discouraging, and now I read they are charging $6 a day for parking at the masters outdoor Nationals in Sacramento.

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  2. Peter's right, you know. You mainly need to consider your Olympic dream and how much that does or does not matter to you in relation to the rest of your life and level of happiness.

    If you do let go of that one dream, there are many other opportunities both within throwing and in other competitive sports. Who knows, maybe you'll even find a completely new and exciting sport. It wouldn't be at the elite level right away, but it could still be a stress reliever and a fun outlet.

    I get why it's such a struggle for you, not many people reach the level of competition that you have achieved. I can only imagine how scary life without that safety net (it is on some level) must look. But the world of competitive and recreational adult sports is not so bad. And, maybe once you do transition being able to find things won't be as hard as an athlete or as a coach.

    I'm not necessarily suggesting that you should transition. It's just that sometimes the things you write make it seem like you really don't want to leave the world of elite competition. Maybe that's another piece you need to examine for yourself - why does the elite level matter so much? Can you handle being competitive (and friendly) with people who you may view as inferior athletes (at least initially)?

    Anyway, I hope the stuff at your job gets better. Educating the owner is always worth a shot. Good luck.

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  3. It sounds to me like your job is being completely inappropriate and unprofessional. You cannot let them make you question who you are. I understand that you're having a hard time now, (and I understand that work is not the only place you've experienced this kind of discrimination) but its tragic to think that you may be being bullied into starting this process sooner than you're ready to. This is your life and you get to make the calls.

    You're a fantastic physical therapist. I'm not just saying that either--You're good at what you do and you'll find your place. Find it on your own terms, and at your own pace. If you really feel that now is the time to make the transition, then GO FOR IT! But don't do it because the rest of world is breaking you down.

    I would imagine that the best time to transition would be when you're mentally the strongest. It seems the process might be somewhat psychologically draining in and of itself. It might not be a bad idea to first find a supportive environment (new job, etc) so that you're not quite as stressed during the process.


    You mention worrying that giving up throwing is frightening because it has been your outlet for stress. If you're concerned, why not wait until life is somewhat less stressful so that you don't end up turning to the wrong outlet. Save your sanity.

    All the luck in the world, I'll be pulling for you.

    L

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  4. I think you're being incredibly brave on being willing to consider transitioning, leaving throwing, and defining yourself, not having other people define you.

    Des Moines???? I left DSM 20 years in order to come out as a dyke. Please say more if you can. It was a fairly tough place to be if you were non-gender conforming in the late 1980s regardless of gender identity (I had big hair, etc.)

    Also, please be gentle with yourself. Claiming an adult identity is hard enough for cisgender, non-queer young adults (in their 20s). Throw in all the transphobic, homophobic crap at work that you are addressing, makes life SUPER stressful. Right career, very wrong boss and co-workers.

    Strive to be true to you and look for friends and colleagues who will love you for you.

    Like everyone else who has responded, I'll be pulling for you.

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