I was watching The Glee Project today; the contestants wore signs on which they wrote the thing that made them feel the most vulnerable — gay, fat, anorexic, rejected, fake, used. It was intense, and they got very emotional, and it made me think about what makes me vulnerable. What would I put on my sign? It feels like I could fill a notebook, not just a sign. But the one that makes me feel the most vulnerable?
At first, I thought something related to being trans might be what I would choose. I love being trans — but it’s also a huge source of insecurity for me. Most people misgender me; my body betrays me; I often don’t like I’m who I mean to be. And yet I realized that would be the easy way out. Being trans makes me feel vulnerable, but it’s also a reason for pride, and that gives me strength.
I think my word would truly be “forgettable.” Being forgettable may be my biggest fear right now. Leaving Chicago was so hard for innumerable reasons — because I loved the people I left behind, because I finally found some kind of community, because I left something that made me feel as though I was actually making a difference, because I learned and grew so much while I was there — but a big part of it was that I worry that people are going to forget me during the year or so that I’m planning on being in Minnesota.
I’m not an extroverted, huge personality kind of person. I’m not a born leader; I’m not the life of the party; I’m not the person around whom everyone gravitates. I’m not charismatic or particularly confident. I’m rather socially awkward. Other people have their bromances, brotherhoods, best friendships, romances . . . and I’m usually on the outside of that.
And typically, I’m okay with that. I know intellectually that the whole “people are going to forget me if I’m not there” thing is irrational. I’ve always had friends; clearly, they saw something in me worthwhile. I’m not fishing for compliments. But if I were to be utterly, painfully honest, my deepest vulnerabilities spring from the fear that I’m not memorable.