CommunityPam's House Blend

Thoughts On Personal Purpose

It’s just not enough to know what one’s against. One has to know what one is for, and then work and sacrifice for it.

This point of view — the one in the quote above — I’ve espoused before. It not only applies to those who commit to making the world a better place for social justice, but also applies to so many situations to include faith, career, and family; this point of view defines an approach to life that looks at the human need many of us feel for purpose.

I’m one of those who needs that sense of purpose. I’m one who’s recently lost that sense of purpose in the face of hate from some in LGBT community; from some transsexual women, as well as some who identify themselves as women of transsexual history…as women who associate with the phrase Harry Benjamin Syndrome. I hadn’t lost sense of purpose when social conservatives, such as those on the religious right, attacked transgender identified people — that’s because they are natural enemies of the change trans people are demanding. However, it’s another thing altogether when it comes from people I consider my peers.

Well, I know what I’m against, and I know what I’m for.

I’m against hate; I’m for love, as well as thoughtfulness and kindness…as well as for confronting hate.

I’m against discrimination; I’m for antidiscrimination legislation.

I’m against limiting reproductive choices; I’m for reproductive rights.

I’m against abandoning veterans who have been injured during their service to country; I’m for veterans benefits that more than adequately meet the financial and medical needs of those veterans.

I’m against that which diminishes trans people in a way that fails to recognize their personal gender truths; I’m for recognizing gender as a spectrum, and for having personal gender truths recognized by government.

I’m against military policy that treats all who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria as ineligible for military service; I’m for open service for trans people in similar manner to have lesbian, gay, and bisexual people now can serve openly.

But at the same time, I’m for taking care of myself; I’m for others taking care of themselves.

I spoke a few months ago to a friend of mine who lessened her internet presence because of how it was costing her personally. She commented that she personally wouldn’t be able to bear up under the hate I live with.

So to what level am I willing to process the sheer frequency and quantity of hate — as well as disrespect as a human being I’m experience — from people I consider my peers who don’t consider me their peer?

Recently, not very much.

It’s just not enough to know what one’s against. One has to know what one is for, and then work and sacrifice for it.

When does one say one say that one’s shelf life as a public activist should wind down? When does one say one has worked and sacrificed enough?

I don’t know. So much of the purpose I find in life has been found in service to others, and I’ve made personal decisions regarding the non-public parts of my life that have limited my ability to find purpose in serving others in trans community. I’ve had so much hate directed against me in the last couple of years by those I consider my peers that I don’t find joy in serving community at this point.

A sense of purpose is necessary for me to feel good about my life. Finding other ways to feel that sense of purpose outside of community activism seems necessary for the long term as community activism is no longer enough.

So what is it you work and sacrifice for? Where do you find your personal purpose? Those to me are things many should be asking themselves — especially keeping a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. in mind:

Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen

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