more on our emotional well being

I wanted to touch a little more on emotional health which was the subject of that video I featured.

As a prerequisite to becoming emotionally healthy we need to wash off the elements of our social education which work against us. For transgender people that entails removing the tenets that were part of our patriarchal formation that all but ensured we became self-hating. If you broke the rules of that education, you were failing by not measuring up.

As I grew up I became my own worst enemy because I would sporadically fail at meeting the criteria for being a "real man". My forays into dressing were signs that there was something deeply wrong with me. This realization became truly evident as I hit puberty and was faced with a dilemma: “if you want to be normal you must rid yourself of these feelings”. Hence, I went about doing my best to eradicate them. Interesting thing though: the more you want to suppress something innate, the harder it bounces back.

My education was so pervasive and deeply rooted that I could not comprehend that this difference was not something I created. I was the first born of a deeply religious family and I wanted to do the right thing, but these feelings were conspiring against me and not letting me be. Once I came to the realization that I was not the cause of the problem things became a little easier. What then remained, was the long journey of shedding the weight of my formation which even then took many years.

Today I am deeply aware that I am transsexual, but I have sought ways to work around choices I made before I came to that full realization.

I don’t work on manning up anymore but instead on my emotional well-being which is far more important. Having that as an essential asset, I can then make better informed and more balanced choices going forward.

Comments

  1. I distinctly remember the recurring thought in my youth that I was living right on the edge of insanity. At the same time, I thought myself to be smart enough, and having enough self-control, that I could keep myself from crossing over into madness. In fact, I was quite proud of myself for being able to manage my life in that way. My father died from cancer when I was eight-years-old, and it seemed that every adult with whom I came in contact told me that I, as the older brother, was now "the man of the house." I tried, although I didn't want that job (a job I wasn't even close enough to having had the emotional maturity to take on - yet I did have enough maturity to recognize that fact). At the age of seventeen, my life was changing, with my mother remarrying and a move to another city. I used this change to let go of my madness control, only to start a new emotional battle of suppression. That lasted for the next seventeen years, which put me at just about half of my total life thus far.

    After reading your post, I thought about all of that, and realized it's been only the past few years that have brought me to an emotional maturity beyond that of my youth. My "Great Suppression" years, wherein I completed college, married, began a career, and started a family, was a time of false emotional maturity. You could have called me a Pollyanna, but I would have protested loudly, at the time, for the feminine reference! My feminine side was my dark side, I thought, and when I finally gave in to it again, I began an emotional downward spiral. What I could keep under control, mostly by compartmentalization, in my youth, I could not manage as a thirty-something adult...or a forty-something...or a fifty-something.

    I too, am a Catholic, but I didn't become one until after I'd gone back to the dark side of myself. I guess I was trying DIY conversion therapy. It didn't work, of course, but something did happen that changed everything. I had prayed a lot to be released from my madness, but it took years before I got my answer. One night I, as a woman hiding in my home office, felt a presence that warmed my body from head to toe. I heard a voice that said, "You are alright, it's OK. You are loved just the way you are." Well, thanks be to God, I thought, but what about my family and friends?

    The family and friends are now just fine with me as I am now. After all, if God is with me, who can be against me? It all seemed to be taken care of so easily, even if so late. Emotionally, I had taken a huge step forward, almost without effort, and all of the little things -the meaningless details - became a distant memory. As they say, the devil is in the details, and he is a distant memory, as well.

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    1. Connie I am so glad you were able to get past your demons and find your answer. We all have a different path and sometimes the answer isn't what we thought it would be. The important thing is to find it. I have never been happier regarding my gender issues and it's made a huge difference in my life.

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  2. I think I only got a confirmation. I had known the answer for a long time before it came to me. I see mine as a cautionary tale, more so than one with a happy ending. As I've said before, I wasted too much of my life dwelling on the question of what I was, when I should have been concentrating on who I was. Now I know who I am, but my new search is finding what I can truly be, as a person content with her gender.

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    1. I very much like the way you frame that: what you were versus who you were which is the essential question we must all ask and not be afraid to answer...

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