Note to readers: this is a personal diary that I am not writing for the purpose of fostering discourse. This is meant to be a safe space where I can let my guard down and talk about difficult stuff. If you have supportive comments, thanks! If not, this diary is not the appropriate place. Should we happen to have any trolls stop by, let's just give them a donut and a recipe and do our best to ignore them.
I'm in a rough spot and I need to reflect. I get this way sometimes - when my skin just isn't thick enough and the blow hits too close to home. I can't just bite my lip and take a deep breath - and screaming would wake my sleeping kids...
Yet again, I find myself overwhelmed by sadness, anger and fear upon reading about a Hate Crime. This is nothing new for me - I get this kick in the gut every time I read about a Hate Crime - but it doesn't seem to get easier. In fact, since coming to the realization that I'm trans, it seems to be getting harder. One of the things I'm starting to understand is that Love and Hate are about as binary as Male and Female - which is to say not at all.
If you're interested in some thoughts about Love and Hate in my trans reality, join me over the fold.
Hatred directed at transfolk comes from all over and it takes many forms. It is not limited to violence, nor does it always originate in the heart of another. This Hatred can manifest as something as (seemingly) harmless as pretending you don't exist. And it can come from a source as close to you as your very own self. As I slowly go through the process of accepting myself as a transman, I find myself spending more and more time looking these demons in the eye. I'm talking about my oldest companions - self-hatred and denial.
This is where I am right now, and this is the nerve it strikes when I read about Hate Crimes these days. In the actions of the horribly troubled perpetrators of Hate Crimes I hear echos of words I've long carried in my own head: Why can't you be like everybody else?... I'm afraid of you... I don't understand you and I don't want you messing up the story I'm telling myself...
One of the things I've been struggling with as I move further down the one-way-street that is my Transition Road is the question: why did this take so long? As I go through jewelry I simply cannot imagine ever putting on again, I wonder why I did it all these past years. As I give away clothing I used to put on without a second thought, the male voice in my head (getting ever stronger) is disgusted with myself for ever having worn such things. Right now I am going through a rejection and denial of the aspects of my self and my life that I consider female. I am very much aware of this. But before I came out to myself, there was perhaps even more rejection that I wasn't aware of. With the strong support of an entire cultural paradigm, I was denying the fact that I am a man in a female body. And at some subconscious level, I was hating myself for not conforming to the paradigm.
I tried so fucking hard to look like a woman. I really did. I had long hair for a while, I wore tight-fitting low-cut shirts sometimes, I even plucked my eyebrows (on the way) and shaved my legs (and then he was a she). It makes me sick just to think of it. For those of you who have not had the "pleasure" of being trans in the closet - imagine waking up every day and having to cross-dress and wear a mask because somebody else is forcing you to. That's what I went through all those years. And the person forcing me to do it was me. I was oppressing myself without even knowing it.
I tried so hard to act like a woman. All the way down to the husband and kids. I even had a time in my life where I didn't have any power tools. I baked cakes and bought pimpernel placemats and did just about everything I could think of to fit into the image I had of what a stay-at-home mom should be like. I tried so fucking hard. And I failed. Since oppressing myself wasn't punishment enough, and since I was failing so miserably at acting like a woman, I set myself up with an abusive husband to make sure I'd never forget how inadequate I was.
I even tried to feel like a (natural) woman. When I left my husband I fell in love with a man who treated me with more love and respect than I felt I had any right to. I let him take me away to the spa for a weekend and surprise me with flowers and concert tickets. I learned to believe that my body is beautiful to him, and I let him show me how good it could feel. Sing it Aretha!
Oh, baby, what you've done to me
You make me feel so good inside
And I just want to be close to you
You make me fell so alive...
But even with the best man a woman could ever ask for - I just couldn't feel right. I learned to let him love me, and I learned to love myself. But even then the self-hatred was still there, the self-destructive behavior was still there, and the feeling that I'm just a fuck-up and nothing I do will ever be right. And it tore me up (I'm tore up), and it tore him up, and we parted the closest of friends.
And I was alone, left to pick up the pieces and try to figure them out. And I got lucky and found an outstanding therapist. And what I'm learning about myself with him goes beyond why I have no sensation in some parts of my body and what my life (and my body) would need to be like for me to actually want to be alive. I'm learning about how I feel about myself, and I'm learning that Love and Hate are just as scrambled inside me as Male and Female (Girls will be boys and boys will be girls / It's a mixed up muddled up, shook up world...).
And I wonder whether other people don't have Scrambled Love and Hate inside themselves too, and whether that isn't part of the reason that some people do such horrible, hateful things. I'm just trying to understand, and to let go of some Hate to make room for more Love.
I'll close with Elvis as a nod to my brothers who both don't know yet that they have another brother in me: What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?