I’d like for us to exchange perspectives

Blogs are more of a one-to-many medium. I sit here by myself typing thoughts into a laptop that recreates those thoughts on a server in some lovely data center somewhere. You, who I appreciate very much and would like to get to know to some extent or another (if we aren’t already acquainted), are perceiving text on a screen. We are not exchanging ideas. Not yet at least.

I don’t believe that the ideas I put together and redistribute in the form of educational doodles will reach very many people in the world. The world is a big place and I am a person of average height. My reach, therefore, is relatively small and I have not put in the time and energies to develop much of an internet presence. Part of it is that I am quite introverted when I am not out there being extraverted. I also tend to undersell myself.

I am impressed by all of the people who manage to reach an audience made up of people they’ve never met whose minds they can impact. It is quite a privilege to get to inspire ideas in people. It’s easy to focus on the cases in which that impact is harmful (online harassment, radicalization, violence encouraging conspiracy theories, etc.) because outrage is viral and things that get people riled up are more likely motivate them to take action than things that make them go ‘hm, that’s an interesting idea.’

I like to focus on the ideas that get shared that aren’t trying to encourage people to spread them by getting them angry or fearful. All of the people out there who are affirming identities and letting fellow beings know that it’s totally cool to inhabit the body you exist in and live the life that you live.

I hope that I can do that for people as well. I’d like to be able to do that better for myself, but it’s hard when I get rewarded for things that don’t reflect how I want to be in the world and I struggle to figure out where the me I’m rewarded for being ends and the me I want to be begins. It mostly comes into conflict in regards to my gender identity. I’m not a particularly feminine being. Sometimes I find it fun to dress up and use makeup, but it feels like a thing that’s not the average thing. My average seems to be somewhere in the middle between everything I’ve learned to associate with masculinity and everything I’ve learned to associate with femininity. It differs from day to day but we all differ from day to day, so I’d like to take a brief trip over into statistics world (REJOICE!?) and talk about the law of averages.

I want you to try this out for yourself. You don’t have to commit to anything, just try whatever form of this experiment that makes sense to you. If you’re feeling only a little generous with your time and want to practice reflecting on averages, try snacking on something where there are many of them, such as grapes, popcorn kernels, candy, kale, whatever you’ve got around of which there are multiples. Come up with a rating scale for how you’re going to evaluate each morsel – doesn’t matter what it is, but numbers tend to be easier to work with when making comparisons (is this kumquat better or worse than the previous one? the previous one was AMAZEBALLS but this one is like CAMEQUAT – not the easiest ratings to keep track of).

Do this for however many of that snack thing that you care to eat and figure out what you would consider to be the average quality of that snack. If you remember, the next time you are having that same snack, think about how each one compares against the average quality you’ve come to expect. You can do the same thought exercise with how you feel every day for a week.

After all of the years I’ve spent living as myself, I’m pretty confident that on average I am somewhere between masculine and feminine. I’m trans. For me, it’s just another manifestation of how my brain seems to work. I pick up ideas of how to dress, how to talk, how to act, etc. from all sorts of people who have all sorts of genders, like I pick up ideas for my doodles and my lectures from all sorts of sources.

I am grateful to my friends K and Andy and Cyndi for being wonderful and unapologetically themselves and inhabiting their gender identities.

Who catfished whom?

I am an artist and a researcher and I love sharing whatever knowledge I gather, which empowers me, with anyone who is curious in the hopes of empowering them. I also love absorbing knowledge from anywhere I can get it – the human-made landscape outside of my window, the super advanced versions of putting boxes on wheels and having horses pull them, and everything else that took a lot of different people contributing their ideas to make. 

I loved learning from my students unique perspectives on the world and tried to create space for them to learn as they are rather than as I’m supposed to assume they should be. Life is a lot more interesting to me when I get to interact with new ideas and different ways of understanding the world. 

If you’re at all intrigued by my doodles and all these word squiggles that go around the doodles, I hope it is because you can also find those ideas in some form in your own mind. You are a product of every experience, interaction, conversation, and session you’ve spent interacting with objects that would have been considered magic 100 years ago (the thing you’re using right now). 

My brain seems to be very efficient at gathering information from anywhere I could get it and searching for patterns in the data. I’ve been drawing explanations of complex concepts to understand them since high school, and my favorite feeling is when a bunch of seemingly unrelated ideas click and something that might have been out of my reach starts to make sense and I GET SO EXCITED I JUST WANT TO EXPLAIN IT TO SOMEONE! I guess that’s what this blog is about. 

This is also a manifestation of my ADHD – my need to absorb information and find ways to make sense of it, my jumping from idea to idea and getting distracted every time there is 

Sorry, there was a squirrel outside. 

If you’ve chosen to read up to this point, thank you. Please feel encouraged to get in touch and share some of your perspective with me in exchange for the perspective I just shared with you.

-Anna (anyaslavina@icloud.com)

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