Okay, Some thought of late was how do I describe how I defend myself and my needs. Defend here is not in the physical sense. This was brought to the foreground by a reply to a reply to a post on not being a guy when someone refers to a crowd of mix gender as “guys” (I am not a Guy). This can even be done by some with an entire group of women. So, here I will consider this aspect of myself, and how I will most likely refer to myself in those cases where the need arises.
Basically that reply to my reply said that the term “uppity woman,” which I used in my reply, is used to demean black women. I had no idea of this usage and did a bit of searching and found that what this commenter said was correct. This immediately got me to agree with her. But, how to respond? First I looked up the Google definition of “uppity” and found that it was not, after all, the word I was meaning to use in the first place. How I came to that conclusion I am now not sure. But, I could see from the definition, also, how it could be used to demean any women, not just women of color, although they seem to receive the most attention in this way.
Rereading the reply it just referred to any woman, not just woman of color, although in my reply I said so as that seemed to be the target more often than for white women. In her final reply she agreed. So, it appears like black women are more often stigmatized in this way. I can see why any women would not like to be labeled as such. Google’s definition is: “self-important; arrogant.” I do not think most women or men for that matter would appreciated being called uppity. As such, I will definitely not be using it as a self description anymore, or for anyone else for that matter.
A first stab at a correction was as a strong-willed woman, but this may bring its own negativity to others. I think it is best to go back and look at my recovery from 35 years of depression, which began around the year 2014, and resulted in the beginning of my exploration of my femininity. I will not go into it here as I have describe this in several other posts.
With this recovery came a new sense of self-confidence, which had been lacking for so many years. It took a couple of years to solidify in my life. There were times before where I would stick up for myself, and maybe rarely for someone else. This would slowly change as I gain more self-confidence. This was due to a number of activities I found I was good at. The major ones were running a client library at the mental health program I attend, cooking and baking, and writing a philosophy, then a transgender blog.
This sense of confidence led to me speaking up for myself. And when I finally recognize I was a woman it got transferred to the transgender sphere. I felt so deeply about this community of which I am part that it has led me to desire to be a social advocate. I have already made a few efforts in that direction. Writing this blog possibly has the greatest scope to reach people. On a smaller scale I belong to several trans support groups, and I am just about to end being a transgender mentor. I am hoping to continue this type of activity. I even approach my psychiatric nurse practitioner, whose practice is designed to be LGBTQ+ friendly, if any of her other transfeminine clients would express interest in obtaining help from a mentor, I could work with them. Without this new confidence I would have never dreamed of putting myself out there like that.
I am also waiting for an assignment as a volunteer with the Transgender Law Center. Their work in covid-19 work has postponed any assignment. I have an opportunity to contact someone active in advocacy work who ran a workshop through the mentor program I am in. She gave me her email. I am still figuring out what I want to say to her. I am not sure if I would want to be her assistant in some way if that would be doable. Maybe, she could even be a mentor in helping me to further my ability to do advocacy work. I will see where these might lead, while still keeping my eyes open for other opportunities.
I might now say, I am bolder than I have ever been. One example just this past week is an incident at the physical therapy group I am using to relieve neck pain. First, I would like to say they have provide amazing affirming care to me as an open transgender woman. They treat me as they would any other woman, which from what I have seen is just like their male clients. But, during a recent visit I was on the arm bike, where the TV is hard to ignore. They had on a movie that in my opinion was transphobic, or at least the one scene I was watching. When my therapist came over I asked if she could turn the station as I felt the movie, or the scene I was watching, was transphobic. She did so immediately. Would I have done something equivalent before I recognized myself as a woman, and my self development from that point in my life. I doubt it.
Another recent event was the comment I made on a book review on goodreads pointing out the reviewers misuse of “schizophrenia,” which demeans people who suffer from this difficult to live with disease. I have seen firsthand how many of these individual lives are affected by it. Only a small percentage live anything like a more or less a “normal” life. This would be a life similar to others who suffer no such deficits. Again, would I have done such a thing say five years ago? I doubt it.
These are not isolated incidents without giving the impression that I do these types of things all the time. But, still I do them. I will say that when it comes to transgender issues I do take some caution to ensure my own safety. And, I imagine that I will continue to stand up for what is right. Maybe not all the time, but enough that it is something I do on a regular basis.
As above the first stab at changing my description of this aspect of my life was a strong-willed woman. But, with a little more thought this could still be used as a slight against women. It contains a lot of similar sounding synonyms that uppity has. So, I have given up that way of referring to myself when speaking up.
Well, I have told how I gained self-confidence above. So, why not call myself a self-confident woman. Several of its synonyms seem just as appropriate like self-assured and assertive, while some of its opposites are insecure and meek. The synonyms fit and the antonyms do not. So, I have decided that when I need a word to describe those times when I speak up to use self-confident as the descriptor in those situations. Even if there maybe some negatives attached to it, like hotdog or know-it-all, they are not considered as relevant as those positive attributes of being self-confident. So a key characteristic of being a woman for me is to say I am a self-confident woman.