I’m a transgender woman. I’m a Christian. I’m anxious and depressed. I’m fragile and easily broken. I’m all of these and none of these depending on what I’m feeling and thinking at any particular time.
Years ago, when we attended a Marriage Encounter weekend, we were told that our feelings are neither right nor wrong. At the time, I wrote, “***I had never heard that before or thought of feelings in that way before. I always thought that feelings had to be analyzed to ascertain their cause and then justified in some way. ***I feel exhilarated by this concept.”
Sometimes I still believe this but usually I don’t. I often feel like a tightrope walker left off balance by the slightest of breeze. Just waiting to fall into the abyss.
I felt distressed when I left church yesterday morning after listening to the messages the last three weeks. I think I was experiencing flashbacks to the church that I left over 25 years ago, which constantly made comparisons that left me feeling guilty that I was not doing enough. That I was not enough. I never expected to feel that way at our new church, and it left me very unsettled and disturbed.
I know that one of my flaws is a tendency to blow things out of proportion. At the same time, I always heard and said it myself many times during presentations when I was still practicing law that “perception is reality.” What a person perceives is real to them. I have been hurt many times before when I let my walls down to make myself vulnerable and trusting of other people.
At the same time, I have to remember that it is not all about me. Indeed, it is rarely about me.
Barbara Marie Minney is a transgender woman, poet, writer, speaker, and quiet activist. She is a retired attorney and a seventh generation Appalachian via West Virginia and Eastern Ohio. Now based in Tallmadge, Ohio, her first collection of poetry entitled “If There’s No Heaven” was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life Book Award and the Akron Beacon Journal Best Northeast Ohio Books 2020. It is available at www.poetryislifepublishig.com. Barbara is also the author of the "Poetic Memoir Chapbook Challenge." Follow her at www.barbaramarieminneypoetry.com.