I think that I’m amongst those many who have made it to be 30 years old and have no idea what they want to do with their life. A talk with someone the other day about that very subject sent me to tears. Why? Why has it been so challenging to answer this question? The very unpractical part of me has always said I just want to be. Equipped of course with all the material trappings of western life. But it wouldn’t have to be million dollar ,mansion in Beverly Hills. Just free to live without the constraints of participating in this hyper manic, capitalistic society that thinks it’s a mark of merit to work till you’re old and sick and tired and over it and given a Social security check and told to live out your golden years. That’s if you get there. And in my case, I think that’s a big part of what makes thinking about life and what I’m doing and goals so fucking taxing.
There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about what it means to be Black and to be a transgender woman in America. It’s an identity that would have to be amongst the most taboo of taboo. It’s an identity forged with an edict to constantly resist and fight against so many forces. It’s an identity we as a society associate with comedy, of bathroom anxieties, of boogeymen in dresses, of falling prey to white sponsored ideologies, of abandonment of necessary gender norms. I am at once invisible and highly visible and I by virtue of survival add to my erasure as well. I know few girls who would wear a shirt saying “I’m trans and proud”. Often our bodies ,our faces, our refusal and inability to blend and to conform are enough. But gasp, we are just regular people as well. Contrary to the popular demands and views espoused by the masses.
I don’t record the statistics because there are too many I have to remember. But I do know that it was stated that the average life expectancy for Black transwomen is like 35-37. So by average standards, my days are numbered as a 30 year old Black transwoman. I do know that discrimination in housing, employment, education and in public settings are all notoriously high . The prevalence of violence and the all too easy to seek relief of drug culture further adds to our mortality not to mention the dire health statistics and our overrepresentation in the global sex market only fuels a keg of forces designed to take many of us out. I don’t write this to be morbid and for my fellow trans sisters reading this I’m not trying to put more negative propaganda out there. I’m just saying my being is sometimes such a force that just imagining the future hurts.
I’m not a bright sunny side up blue skies, kinda chick. While life and people can be beautiful , it by virtue of its’ functioning has to be all kinds of ugly. So yes I am here at 30 ,still trying to figure it out and even acknowledging that this may be where I’m supposed to be. The nice, neat, little plans of having life figured out with the white picket fences and marriage and two kids and a dog and a career and all those trappings of American life were never intended for me and my kind. And the pressure to get away from those definitions of a happy life will be my ultimate struggle.