Tuesday, July 30, 2019
The Writing is on the Wall
Well, no, not actually. Really the writing is on the label on the lid.
A year and half ago or so I realized that I was going to legally transition and most likely end up fully transitioning. It was sometime around then that I realized it was time to start working on my handwriting again.
Maybe surprisingly, my handwriting is something that I have always hated due to my perception that it has always been extremely male. Male handwriting you ask? Yes, male handwriting. I understand that it may appear to be weird to think of handwriting as exuding a gender, but it does. Well, maybe it itself does not, but we as a society interpret handwriting as having gendered characteristics. Do many men place little hearts as dots above letters such as i? No, most do not.
My personal issues with my handwriting began very early in my life. My mother would describe my handwriting as chicken-scratch. Which is apparently a very common way to criticize handwriting. Anywho, possibly more damaging were various teachers who would examine my handwriting and then calmly explain that it was clearly not something I could do, because I was born as a male. Having been born with a male identified body, meant that while I had good gross motor skills, my body lacked the appropriate muscles to perform fine motor skill tasks well. Thus when I went home, I was not really motivated to practice my handwriting.
My issues with my handwriting began before I was ever told that it was something I would never be able to do well. It was simple, I never actually practiced. Yup, that simple. Handwriting is an art form that I never cared about. I was lost, confused, and alone. My household was a classic 80s dysfunctional mess. Practicing my handwriting was not high on my priority list. Hell it wasn't on my list at all.
When I began teaching and seeing massive amounts of other human beings handwriting that I began to finally understand that people's gender was irrelevant to the quality of their handwriting. Actually what I noticed was that people who practiced more had better handwriting. So practice was the key. And occasionally I did practice. But they were all really half-hearted attempts.
It wasn't until I chose to transition that I began to attack this problem in earnest. The first thing I had to learn was a new signature. That was weird, but cool. I super enjoyed creating a new signature. What has been harder is learning the intricacies of this art form, such as letter spacing, letter size, slant, staying on the line, and going from line to line. All those little lovely pieces of things that combine together to create good looking handwriting.
I'm not done. I think I am somewhere in the middle. I have improved, but I have improvements that can still come about. With time, effort, practice, determination, and persistence, I know that I can get it to be what I want it to be.
Sometimes to change all that is needed is practice. Not a medication, not cognitive behavioral therapy, not hours of pondering, not being born in the "right" body, just simple practice.
I'm going to go continue practicing. I know I can do this. I know this is possible. I believe in my ability to learn and change and grow.
What do you believe in?
I hope you believe in yourself. I really do.