gender, identity, transgender

Absolving the Void

Peel back the layers like the painful scabs they are.  All those layers of dead skin built up as defences throughout life that bring us farther from ourselves.  Creating a solid foundation whilst aware of what is already built.  The mixer drips and overflows whether it is preferred or not; one can build upon concrete, or one can build upon frittering dreams made from ashes tinier than sand.

I am the only person who can give me what my life wants.  I’m the only person who can find out, the only one who can do it, and the only one who cares enough [to make it happen].  Just words, conjecture, yet we are individuals, same as everyone in every position, rich or poor, totally equal and deserving in every single right.  It is wonderful to find the value and strength of the human spirit, but what about a human spirit?  To whatever degree one transcends gender, it is looking inwards that counts, not outwards.  Society is this, people are that, opinions fly with an invisible sludgy density.

For myself, since coming out, I’ve come closer to myself in some ways, yet grown further in others.  With such jarring self-realisation it can be difficult to hold onto the connectedness which binds our own values.  There must be balance, without a sense of selfness there is no scale upon which to weigh burden.  See not yourself through the eyes of others, for their worth is not determined by how they imagine you see theirs.  Only a heart will let another heart inside’ its realm.

I had the wonderful opportunity recently to spend a few days in my grandparents’ country house whilst they went on holiday, the sort place where a wi-fi signal makes 56k seem tolerable.  Good.  The overwhelmingness in general of technology and seemingly insightful ‘5 Reasons Why…’ articles resonates too loudly with the online trans experience, it’s just too much information, and how much of it is really helpful when reading about self-help overtakes actually helping oneself?

Such was my greeting view –

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A little stream rolls under this picture. So tiny, yet still unstoppable in it’s flow.

In my reflections I had some a couple of important moments of clarity.

The first was to finally let go of my last relationship and first love for real.  I read an article on closure where it just clicked, or more accurately on how sometimes there is no closure, and the light brightened in my heart.  I’ve had to accept that sometimes, with some people, there are no avenues to receipt of empathy, understanding, compassion, conciliation etc, no matter how I could try or yearn.  I still got left being called a liar and a void, and must accept there is nothing I can do to alleviate this.  I think if anything, I was simply naive, just as I was naive about her. I am aware that some trans-folk have or hold onto their revelation whilst in a committed relationship and hold it in for whatever reasons for however long, but that wasn’t me.  It was the ending of the relationship that spurred me to look at my life and to finally see that which has perennially invaded my unconscious.  I was never given the chance to rebuild trust enough to try to explain how I came out so soon after the breakup, I’ve just received a continuation of the insults and abuse I’ve tried to carry for the past year.  I think this would have happened whether I was trans or not, I have spoke my love, prayers and devotions, retaining the positive memories and experiences, but now I can never look back.  We could have helped each other, and we should have been good friends at least. It is a sad ending. It is a new beginning.

Indeed, I was naive for over 28 years that so called gender issues were such a pivotal issue in my life.  Without the emotional upheaval and final unclasping I can only wonder how long it may have been before I started asking myself such serious questions.  And to be true, after those first few weeks of screaming and crying, I started telling people straight away, because I had no choice it hurt so much to have it all hit me at once.  Mais c’etait et c’est la vie.  The pain from all that is gone now so I know it is over, and in forcing myself to write this it allows my acceptance to breathe, to let go of the hurt, and mostly to let go of the hope it can be resolved.  It hurts me a lot to be thought of as a source of pain for others, I truly hope she can come to understand one day, to let go of her hurt, to forgive the grievances she feels.

‘Forgive people in your life, even those who are not sorry for their actions.  Holding onto anger only hurts you, not them.‘ – Source unknown

I’m sorry.  I forgive you.


The other release was of course related to trans issues, you know, that whole thing where breath is castigated by binders and corsets, for fun…  I’ve seen the struggle in myself and many others who in finding ourselves wish to put a name to that which takes us [from a past] to a future.  I understand how important personally, socially and politically it can be to use the names and terms, but I think I am moving past gendered terms, past binary, past non-binary, for now.  I’m sure I’ll proselytize yet through a few more terms of thinking.

I’m not trying to raise myself above, or come up with a new term; I just feel sometimes that all the questioning is like leaving the tap on, all that precious energy cascading into a black hole where answers are echoes.  I’m concerned with my individuality, not my gender, and though they are concordant, even thinking about thinking about a name for whom or what I am seems counter productive.  This is not a rejection of trans identity, it is more a showing of my growing comfort and acceptance in a self-actualized role.  One’s role is to be oneself.

Please forgive the impertinence, I’m just a babe when it comes to actually dealing with this stuff, but for me it is liberating.  No longer do I have to read trans-critical information, nor trans-affirming information and try to apply it to my own situation.  I hope that I have a more highly prioritised sense of self than sense of gender.  As trans, with continued self-awareness I would like to believe one can release the unfettered nature of oneself without bond – yet when dysphoria calls, does thon us ask to lie our identity on a line, or between the tracks?

When trying to explain all this stuff, I’ve found it essentially comes to sound contradictory in many ways, but to other trans folk, these seeming contradictions evoke understanding and empathy, and no doubt it confuses the fudge out of most people.  This shared connection however helps us understand the realities of our incongruities.

I posit to not lie on a line or between a track, but to ride ‘gender’ like a wave, take control of dysphoria like it’s a surfboard, become an expert dysphoria surfer, expect the waves to crest and crash over you sometimes, expect to fall into endless possibilities for choices of direction.  Think of these things for a time, but remember why you came, to find peace, calm, a true smile upon your face as a blazing sun of energy reflects its’ light and the spray blinds you to all but your focus.

Gender happens.  You don’t find it.

Gender is the word used to differentiate whatever it differentiates itself from.  It is an aspect of an individual, more innate and deep than most.  Gender, I suppose, is also a sufficient distinguishment between individuals in certain ways, though not necessarily through distinguishing features.  Gender is not the word ‘gender’, I find there is a serious language barrier which makes it very difficult to engage the precepts of discussing transgender issues from the basis of our awareness. For ourselves, moving on from the traditional sexed values of the words ‘male’ and ‘female’, ‘man’ and ‘woman’, to using those words to describe what we are.

What I mean is, I find myself by unconscious design to deign myself a woman, though I [supposedly] have a man’s everything.  For me, even having to attach those words creates a restriction, for me.  I’m not trying to write New-Speak, I’m just trying like I always have to eradicate those concepts like I try to eradicate any other pre-conceived assumption on human beings based on physical identifiers.  I guess it’s like wanting to talk to someone on a phone with a before meeting them, knowing a mind before attaching bodily traits, like I would hope for others to know me before imparting physical judgement.

This is my current, narrow, not at all serious interpretation. I do not deny, nor am I deluded from biological probabilities. There is too little psychophysical information for anyone to speak with authority. All I know is, trans people exist.

Ok, so the questions are always there, just like the…sigh….dysphoria.  However, I seem to have found a nice calm for now, things are a lot less overwhelming, less mind heavy.  So much anxiety, confusion, and all those things that lead one downhill from getting so single-minded on gender business.  It happens and it’s ok, though we have to take time to step back, we can begin some of the healing at any time.  Part of that is letting go of the past, another part is embracing the present.

Calm water days prepare for rough seas ahead.


In embracing the present, I personally have been trying to cool off on hyperactive transition mayhem, so much as I can be willing.  When trying to eat a mountain this big, the days go by and it seems like nothing can make enough of a difference, only crumbs when it may seem like progress is a spectre, but crumbs are still crumbs, even if few singles bites will make any noticeable difference.  However, it is not a Sisyphesian task, all those little bits matter, they really do bring us closer to our goals, but trying to do too much at once I find can totally jam the system and I personally just end up panicking.

So, I’m trying to tone down the demands.  I’m in a place that is comparatively acceptable for now.  My make-up and voice hasn’t improved, though I have been getting to wear some pretty nice clothes.

My voice is what holds everything back.  I’ve accepted the necessary horror and hard work, and it is a vital factor for me long term.  I don’t want to improve my looks because it feels pointless when I sound like this.  I’m not so much worried about the self-expression aspect so much as the grinding mental incongruity so this is how I do it.  I winged an appointment at a hospital voice clinic next month, and I really think it’s up there on the list of horribly embarrassing things for me to do in transition.  Gonna sound sooooo bad, and I just know I’m going to have a break down afterwards. I have to be honest, if I become aware of my voice in a conversation I can feel pretty uncomfortable.  Ears shall come to bleeding one day, when Amy is around.

I’ve started wearing hip pads and breast forms, even though I said to myself I wouldn’t.  It’s not nearly as internally humiliating as I feared, in fact it felt more appropriate than I would have liked, but hey, whatever works.  I’m pretty self-conscious about it, but not enough to not do it.  I mean, if I grow breasts or get chest surgery they’re going to be there, so may as well get used to it.  Palm to face initializing,  Palm to face engaging.  Palm to face complete.  Not fun, but whatever, it’s fine.

Overall, beyond little trinkets the best thing for me has been being outside, sensing who I am in the world, learning what not to wear, gaining confidence.  Each mistake now is one less to make in the future, and wow there are some really embarrassing mistakes to be made!  With good friends, it can be a lot of fun, and it can be alone too, if you are prepared to laugh at yourself.  I dunno, I must be crazy, because still when I walk into town I seem to be one of the very few ones with even the faintest of a smile.  Do smile!  Other people?  ‘Some folks would try and tell you how to butter your toast.’  Some people want what they want for themselves for you, but what do you want for you? I want your smiles, gimme gimme gimme! 😀


I’m aware this blog is just a big block of writing, so here are a few photos of beautiful Westeros:

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And one of me, cause I love ya 😉

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Spread the happy times people!

Amy Xx

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3 thoughts on “Absolving the Void

  1. Awww lovely pictures. One thing I am noticing with voice is simply speak slower and calmly, you can control pitch much more successfully. Thank you as always for your insight. You really help me to think bigger than my own selfish existence with all this

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooo lots to comment on!

    Your relationship stuff reminded me of my old relationship, which has been over about 3-4 years now. It lasted 6 years, I learnt a lot during the relationship and its end was equally enlightening. It ended in what at the time felt like a mutual choice. Neither of us wanted to break up, we simply confronted the sad reality that we didn’t work as a couple anymore as all we did was bicker. So one night we just said well this is it, game over. Both of us cried and that was it. The next few weeks were a bizarre mix of painful sorrow and enlightened freedom. About 6 months later I had essentially moved on but found that thinking of her still caused me a lot of conflict. She got in touch and asked me point blank if she thought there was ever going to be a chance we could get back together. This blew me away at the time as I had assumed she hadn’t spared a thought for me lately, but it seemed instead she was sat waiting for me to come back. I just said I found it very unlikely we’d be together as a couple, but we could stay friends. The truth was I realised how much she had made me feel like crap. Not intentionally, but her little disappointments at doing things she disagreed with (like anything to do with exploring my gender identity) had really chipped away at me. I realised how little respect I’d actually gotten from her over the last two years and how in every disagreement she would always cast me as the villain. If I wanted some time to myself then I was being selfish, if I wanted to paint my nails then I was being weird and should start being normal again, etc. In her mind I was being heartless in not wanting to get back with her. I also seem to remember thinking that she was frustrated I seemingly wasn’t putting in the effort to work out our problems. but in truth I was just feeling happier without her. Love is complicated and in a way I still did miss her but a bigger part of me didn’t want to go back.

    I talked to her twice since. The last time was years ago and about 6 months after the last point of contact. There was never any closure, there was never any discussion of why we didn’t work anymore or a definitive agreement that it was done. But I don’t feel any regret. It would have never worked if we tried to get back together. I choose instead to see the relationship as something that happened on my journey through life at the right time with the right person. It’s just that after walking for a while a time came when we weren’t the right traveling partners anymore. There’s nothing wrong with that…. Sorry by the way, I didn’t mean to go on so long. I debated deleting this but I’ve written it now so whatever. It’s here for better or worse 🙂

    Anyway! I love how you say “Gender happens. You don’t find it.” I’ve been going through something similar lately as I’ve realised less and less do I find the need to apply other narratives to myself. What brought me back to this place, and I’m grateful for it, was a combination of a few people basically saying “You can be trans if you’re like you” That was very important to me and necessary at the time. But today for instance I found myself reading someone explaining why they want to “de-transition” and half-way through I just closed it and moved on. A few months ago that would have had me searching my own feelings for similar emotions and over-analysing again whether I should transition or not. Now I’m much more at peace. I will transition for me, on my terms, for my reasons. It’s nice to be able to say that 🙂

    Finally I just wanted to say I absolutely hear you regarding your voice (no pun intended). Yesterday I went out in a black dress and curled hair (probably the main topic of my next blog post) and actually felt surprisingly okay about my appearance. But I knew if I opened my mouth it would be a huge red flag. At the same time I feel strangely embarrassed about practising my voice. I hadn’t thought about it until now but it’s the same sort of awkwardness I felt when first dressing in feminine clothes in front of my girlfriend. There’s a strange vulnerability to it, like saying “Here I am, trying. I know I’m not achieving the desired result.” I think it comes from the personal importance that this stuff as for me. If I was learning to skateboard for instance because I wanted to become really good at it, and I fell over? No big deal. But if I’m trying my hardest to practice my feminine voice and sound like I’m singing along to Disturbed then the failure feels so much more powerful. I suppose it’s because it also acknowledges the effort needed to get there, it’s like saying “I’m a woman but I’m also not because I have to actually practice to be one”. There’s a frustration involved because I feel annoyed that I have to try. I guess the only solution though is to suck it up and just do it.

    Great post as always, love the photos too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I’m concerned with my individuality, not my gender, and though they are concordant, even thinking about thinking about a name for whom or what I am seems counter productive. This is not a rejection of trans identity, it is more a showing of my growing comfort and acceptance in a self-actualized role. One’s role is to be oneself.”

    Brilliantly said. There is so much aggravation out there about trans people “appropriating” ciswomen’s identities, copycat-ing their style, their mannerisms etc. I was personally aware of no such thing. I spontaneously arrived at an ideal self-image of myself that resembles no-one in particular. Inconveniently, it also happens to be female.

    Good fortune with the voice. I am finding that a right chore, but at least it is something I can work on without depending on my apathetic GP to authorise it…

    Like

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