expanding your horizons

It has been some time since I was last here… too many reasons to cover at this time, but updates will come through a number of future articles.

I did want to discuss with you something that has arisen regularly in recent weeks. Expanding your horizons, not limiting yourself, escaping that little box in which you live your life.

To illustrate…

Working as a writer and in other media over this past year is a completely new and uncharted area for me. For most of my working life I was working in IT in various roles, most of the time as a telcommunications supervisor or manager. Not something that lit me up, but it paid the bills for many years.

At the beginning of this year, my girlfriend had asked me to try something different. Whenever a new opportunity presented itself, instead of my usual, “Why me?” stance, replace that with, “Why not?”

In late January, I was contacted by a friend to see if I would be interested in writing a one-time article for a local publication (Living Toronto Journal) for one of their special issues. I agreed to give it a try, for many years I had maintained my own blog, and could be very prolific when topics of interest caught my eye. The special issue was Thinking Outside the Box. After some discussions with the editor, she said, what I would like you to do is write your transition story, within a 1000 word limit. I submitted a few drafts (I went really long, cut it back heavily, and submitted something that was too brief), and after a bit of work, submitted what I thought was a good effort. (Transitioning to My True Self: Christine Newman’s Story)

I had never considered what would happen next.

That column exploded on their site, in a week had over 240 shares through social media, and the site hits for it were in the thousands. I honestly was shocked, I thought it would be a niche piece of writing that would have a very small audience.  I was pleasantly surprised to be stopped on the street by people who had read my column, to tell me that I had made them stop and think, they had never considered what transgender people live with and experience up until the time that they begin to transform their outer appearance to who they have always been on the inside.

This led to a request to join the team full time as a contributor to the site, and not long after I was contacted again for another special issue, Reading the Signs, and asked to write about Body Language From a Trans Perspective.  I even had my editor contact me after reading my submission to say that she had never considered that we “unlearn” what we had to do to play a role that did not fit, to rediscover our true expression.  Again, a surprising response to it.

The response to the second column led to joining the writing staff of another two publications, one as a featured columnist, and then this summer, I joined the team here.

Had you told me this was going to happen at the beginning of the year, I would have asked you to share whatever you had been smoking.

Even now, I am still amazed that people read what I write and send feedback.

About the same time I joined the team here at Queer Voices, I was approached by another organization who asked me to join their team of reporters for their television show, On The Couch, sharing interesting aspects and people from the larger LGBTQIA+ community.  This was definitely going to blow the walls out on that small and limited box I had lived in most of my life.  I said yes, recently taped my first interview segments, and the first episode went live today online. And it took convincing from my girlfriend to actually watch it to see what she saw.  Unusual for me, as this would usually cause dysphoria to hit hard, but, for the first time it didn’t.

Again, another opportunity to expand horizons presented itself, when I was asked to be a semi-regular guest on an LGBTQIA+ issues radio show, one on one to discuss trans issues, and then part of a panel on occasion.  Well, goodness knows one thing I can do plenty of is talk!  Yes, I agreed to give it a go.

It is fascinating to consider a new career path at my point in life, I honestly thought more office drudgery was all that laid ahead of me.

My point in sharing all of this with you is to try this for yourself. When a new opportunity is presented to you, try saying yes, and see what happens.  Instead of my favorite response for most of my life of, “Why me?” give “why not?” a try.

My girlfriend Miranda and I are proof that you can expand your horizons beyond what you ever thought possible.  We are two trans women “of a certain vintage” who are living examples that it is possible to transition to your true self later in life, and it is possible, as it was proven for us, to find true love for the first time in your life.  We started a conversation well over a year ago that continues to this day, and we cannot wait to encounter what the future has in store for us together. It has been a learning experience for both of us to let down our guards, take down our walls, and allow each other to see the soul of the person who has hidden for all these years.

Try expanding your horizons, even a little at first, you may be surprised by what becomes possible when you live outside of your box.

SHARE
Previous articlefinding the nerve part 3: going to a lesbian bar alone
Next articlewhere is the lesbian lit?
Christine Newman is a proud transgender woman in Toronto. She is an activist and advocate with 33 years experience, a writer, lecturer, and artist. She is also a columnist for Gender Fabulous! Magazine, Living Toronto Journal, and INspired Media.