Over the last 10 months there has been one revelation I have heard time and again in sessions with clients and it is something that I wanted to share: “the lockdown gave me time to think and reflect about what I wanted”.
I work with lots of different clients, but I specialise in working with trans people.
Of course the lockdown didn’t make anyone trans, (spoiler alert, nothing makes anyone trans) but what it has done is quietened the business of life and allowed people the space to think. It has taken people away from the social roles they have to play out. It has removed the pressure of social gender expectations.
So often, we get so busy just living our lives that sometimes we end up taking a path we didn’t always fully choose for ourselves. We may have ended up in a career that made sense “at the time”, but doesn’t make sense any more. We may have ended up in a relationship that we knew wasn’t quite right, but that ticks along ok, so we keep going. We may have ended up settling for playing a gender role that wasn’t really us, but that we can’t change because too many people would be impacted.
A key question we often don’t allow ourselves to ask is: why do we keep ourselves so busy? So many of us find it hard to stop and just be. In our efforts to fill time, our days become a tick-box exercise of to dos: wake up, shower, have breakfast, get ready for work, go to work, go to the gym, sort out tea, see friends, make time for our relationships, focus on what the family needs, think about work, think about family – and so on. The only time we really tune out is when we stick on netflix, scroll on facebook, you get the idea.
Keeping busy is an excellent way to drown out the things that may be bothering us. If we are busy we don’t notice the nagging voice that tells us we aren’t happy, whatever form that unhappiness might take. If we keep busy we don’t have time to really think about where our path has led us and how it might not have taken us to where we want – and need – to be.
For many of us lockdown has been a catalyst. It has provided the space to focus on our day to day lives, we have had to change things, adapt to home-schooling, working from home, a lack of social interaction, it has provided lots (and lots) of time for introspection. For those who have felt able to, it has provided that much needed point in time to reevaluate and ask some big questions about whether we are where we want to be in life, and what we are going to do about it if the answer is no.
You don’t need a global pandemic and several lockdowns to find that space. If you’re brave enough to ask that great existential question: “What is the meaning of my life”?
Counselling can give you that break from life, time to take a breath and reflect. A safe place to ask those big questions. The space people have found during lockdown is available all the time, we just need to be deliberate about seeking it out to explore what we want and need – whether that’s our job, our relationship, our position in life and yes, even our gender. You have the power to explore, you don’t have to have all the answers, you just have to start with some questions and see where you go.
- Resources for the Transgender Community to Get You Through Lockdown
- A Trans Woman’s Take on Self Isolation