Monday, September 23, 2013
Ch 47: Who Am I? A Trans Journey
I've been inspired by Emma B. to do some soul searching and go through this exercise,
First I'll share the quotes and information that inspired me:
Everything in life holds both a blessing and a curse. We deny this when we label the events of our lives as either good or bad. The following old Zen story illustrates this lesson most effectively.
A farmer had a horse but one day, the horse ran away and so the farmer and his son had to plow their fields themselves. Their neighbors said, "Oh, what bad luck that your horse ran away!" But the farmer replied, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?"
The next week, the horse returned to the farm, bringing a herd of wild horses with him. "What wonderful luck!" cried the neighbors, but the farmer responded, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"
Then, the farmer's son was thrown as he tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he broke his leg. "Ah, such bad luck," sympathized the neighbors. Once again, the farmer responded, "Bad luck, good luck, who knows?"
A short time later, the ruler of the country recruited all young men to join his army for battle. The son, with his broken leg, was left at home. "What good luck that your son was not forced into battle!" celebrated the neighbors. And the farmer remarked, "Good luck, bad luck, who knows?"
"Do not judge, and you will never be mistaken."
-- Jean Jacques Rousseau"
"Feeling a woman inside didn't mean that I was already able to express that. I had to learn to grow my womanhood. Also to accept that I will still have a masculine part inside of me. Every person on Earth has a feminine part and a masculine part, regardless of the gender. So being a woman doesn't mean, having only a feminine side. It means accepting both parts and expressing and growing both in a balanced way. The feminine part is for the intuition, the senses, the expression. The masculine part is for action. A woman that will live a balanced life (social and professional) is a woman who let those two parts exists in a beautiful balance," (Emma B).
"Being a woman
The first question I asked myself was, what am I? Am I a transgender person, a trans, a transsexual, a “third-sex” person? As soon as I started to ask myself this I felt like there was something wrong with all those labels because I never felt like being something different inside than a “random” woman. I understand that society needs labels and that it push me to define myself differently from any kind of woman. I understood that many of us are feeling the need to be part of a community where is safe and where we are accepted without any question. But in the end I realized that, even if I don’t deny the importance of those communities, it didn’t really defined how I felt inside. I’m a woman, we are women …. period. I was born this way and all I want now to express, is my true-self. Being born in the wrong body is an extreme experience that made me suffer a lot all my life. It changed my perception on the world, on me.
I started by hating myself and hating the society for the way I’d be treated if I was to express myself. In time I understood that I’ll not be able to change society (at least not by hating it) and to accept the reality. I’ve been through all phases: hate, despair, not caring anymore and in the end acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that I’m a real woman, whatever form I have. That, part of the society, will always judge and consider me like an “alien” or a “deviant” person, but the switch was made when I started not to define myself this way anymore. The first person, who was thinking about me this way, was ... me. So by stopping to define myself other than a woman, I started to be one and to express my womanhood.
Being a woman is not a concept. It’s a process. "One is not born a woman, one becomes one" said Simone de Beauvoir. Women are not born with the characteristics of a woman, other than the physical characteristics. We create the women inside of us. We grow it and express it in the best possible way. It’s a process that’s true for every kind of woman, regardless of the way they were born," (Emma B.).
Even cisgirls go through the process of becoming a woman, we all go through rituals and information through our upbringing to become the men or women that we grow up to be. Personally I think I choose to identify trans in an opportunity to help others of my community. While inside I feel the same as Emma that I have been a girl and am becoming the woman I was meant to be. The process itself and the spirituality surrounding the situation I have discussed and believe that our soul is a perfect creation and that our bodies are merely vessels. We look at being trans under all this stigma and deviation, but in reality it is a fixable, physical birth defect. We are born with the wrong parts and that is all there is to it.
Granted trans has come to mean many different things and others use the definition and identification in a different manner, but I look at the idea of trans as being in 'transition.' It is the period of time where the physical condition is being corrected and we are different on the inside than the physical parts we possess. In the end when the process is complete I will be a woman of my own making, and while I will share my story, tell others and be proud of my trans heritage, I will technically no longer be in transition.
We look at this idea of transition, and I wrote a while ago about the sliding scale of gender about how we all have masculine and feminine features. In reality though everyone is in constant flux, we all have moving pieces that we hide, hold onto, or relish in and try to share with the world. We are all in constant search mode on our self-discoveries, which is why I guess I have a hard time wrapping my head around why others have such a hard time understanding the trans condition. I suppose it is ignorance, misinformation and the stigma general society puts on us as a population, we are the rare of the rare, and part of that is special, but part of that puts us on an island where even within our sisterhood we have a hard time identifying friends and finding others to identify with because trans covers such a broad spectrum.
I'll be honest, recently I have been struggling immensely with my self-growth and development, I have been stuck in the future and am largely afraid of ending like so many trans sisters before me, out on the street forced into a world of sex work and drugs that I never thought in a million years I would have to deal with. I'm not holding a stigma to that type of work and understand that while it's illegal it is work, and many girls do it for survival, so no shade. I'm just afraid because I haven't dealt with that world, I haven't seen it, I haven't been a part of it, I'm white, highly educated, intelligent with a masters degree and have lived a privileged life to some degree. I see that, I don't need others to point it out, but it makes it more difficult to deal with unemployment, the struggle to find a job, and to make a living. Because I haven't dealt with these situations the newness of the situations makes the struggle immense, I'm ignorant, I haven't hardened my skin to this type of discrimination because I've always been successful. Maybe I have to grow thicker skin, maybe I'll have to do things I never ever thought I would ever have to do just to be myself. In either case I do know that I will not go back to being 'boy' presented because the trauma, emotional, dysphoria and everything else that would go along with that I truly believe would kill me.
So, who am I now?