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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.

Hey dearies,

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?

Originally posted to blues is the healer on Thu May 26, 2011 at 03:49 PM PDT.

Also republished by TransAction.


Sing it!

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| 12 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Once upon a time... (14+ / 0-)

    ...long, long ago, I expressed my journey as moving from pretending to be a man to pretending to be a woman...and eventually learning to stop pretending and just be me.

    •  pretending... (7+ / 0-)

      Eric Clapton!!!

      In seriousness, that's a wonderful description of the process. I'm too much in the middle of it to know what I'm doing. I think I have to undo a whole bunch of societal brainwashing before I can get a feel for what it would look like to just be me. But at least I know what to aim for :-)

      LEGALIZE TRANS* !!!! and think free...

      by bluesheep on Thu May 26, 2011 at 04:03:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pretending (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluesheep, kyril

      Funny thing for me. Whenever I have to move through the world as a man, I am far more worried about people figuring out that I am just pretending. It's a mask that doesn't fit well anymore.

      "And every wave is tidal, if you hang around you're going to get wet." - Elliott Smith

      by MercuryX23 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:37:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well written (9+ / 0-)

    As I don't stand in your shoes, I can't say that I fully understand.  However, thanks to you and Robyn, I have a much better understanding...if that makes sense.  

    Thank you for sharing.  

  •  I'm so sorry about all the anguish you have... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rserven, bluesheep, Oh Mary Oh

    ...and all you went through.

    My feelings... I'm a straight male, but I really don't hold much importance to what sex I am - what body I have, as long as I'm healthy.  I figure male or female I'd still be attracted to only women.

    Body-wise - if I awoke tomorrow as a female - and always was -- that is accepted in my world as such, and looking the part - I don't think I'd have any special problem with the clothes, expectations and such.  My focus would still be on all else in my life that to me are much more important - my loved ones, friends, job, music and so forth.  So I feel no self-hate, nor would I if I were female tomorrow.

    But that's just me.  I respect fully and deeply what you're going through.

  •  I suggest The Pretenders as a poll choice. (5+ / 0-)

    Keeping in the spirit of your excellent diary.

    I believe that hate is simply the fear of the unknown (simply, though hardly simple). The more we know and accept, the less we fear. Learning who we really are AND learning to accept that person seems to be a lifelong process for most people, although obviously some were given a longer and windier road at birth. I hope you find peace,  acceptance, and more love than you could ever imagine on your journey.

    © grover. My sockpuppet is a furry blue muppet.

    by grover on Thu May 26, 2011 at 04:19:45 PM PDT

  •  I celebrate you on you growing self-awareness.n/t (5+ / 0-)
  •  Thanks for sharing. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sberel, Renee, jessical, bluesheep

    I for one am tired of pandering to perpetrators --- many of whom are opposed to any discussion however it comes. -- soothsayer99 DPK Caucus

    by princss6 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 05:49:23 PM PDT

  •  Self-hate... (11+ / 0-)

    I got a boatload of that. My self-hate isn't quite as simple as yours though. It's sort of like a layer cake.

    On the bottom, I have a male identity. More specifically, I have a gay male identity. Who I am, all the way deep down at the bottom, is that little boy who wanted to be a princess. The boy who loves glitter, and pretty things, and romantic comedies, and musical theatre. Who's still a boy, and who's very attached to his physical maleness, but who secretly wants to play with the girls a lot of the time, make dresses out of his mom's T-shirts, who as an adult still loves glitter and pretty things.

    Then on top of that, I have all the baggage that comes with being male in modern Western culture. Nobody forced it on me - nobody beat me for not conforming - they didn't have to, because I picked it up from the way they treated other boys. I have shame, dating back to when I was 8 or 9 years old, for being attracted to other boys, for having some effeminate mannerisms, for being sensitive and quick to cry, for liking things that girls like. I have fear - fear of being exposed as a sissy, fear of being seen as weak. I have a need to prove myself, a drive to act the way a man is 'supposed' to act. I have a self-imposed prison of masculinity. I hate myself for who I am.

    And on top of that, I have the knowledge that my body is female, that I don't actually have that male anatomy that I'm so attached to. I know that as long as I looked like a girl, people expected me to act feminine. I knew, before I transitioned, that it was socially acceptable - even desirable - for me to be myself. That I didn't have to hide who I was. That if I was watching a chick flick, or listening to Madonna, or dressing up in my mother's clothes, or putting on makeup, or falling for some boy, I didn't have to hide it. I didn't have to lock my bedroom door when I played dress-up, I didn't have to change the channel in the middle of my movie when my husband walked in the room, I didn't have to hide my Backstreet Boys CD in the Metallica case. I didn't have to pretend to my parents that every boy I dated was just a platonic friend. And I hate myself for doing those things anyway. I hate myself for having spent most of my life hating myself.

    And then on top of that, I have my male identity. And I have this sense that I'm not really adequate as a guy because every now and then, living as female, I took advantage of things that were allowed to me. I wore low-cut halter tops and slept with straight guys, using my original-issue equipment. I got married. I cried in public. And I hate myself for having done those things, for having broken my self-imposed rules.

    And then on top of that, I know that I'm not really being myself - that I'm still ashamed of being gay, that I'm still ashamed of being fem, that I'm still afraid - even around other gay guys - if I'm not the toughest, most athletic, most assertive guy in the room. And I hate myself even more for hating myself.

    Layers on layers of self-hate. Nothing I can possibly do is ever OK with all of me.

  •  I don't understand the hate, and I don't (5+ / 0-)

    understand the fear. I also don't understand how not fitting in one's body is traumatic. I accept that it is, I just don't understand. I'm old enough to understand that I don't understand most people's emotions. OTOH, I don't fit in my body, I'm much taller, and about 25# thinner, even so. IMHO, people like Zoe Brain have a legitimate complaint, because they don't make the decision, their bodies transition just because they want to. I'm 50+ years old, if my body started changing genders, I'd be, "What, so now I'm an oyster? I just found jeans that fit, thirty years after bell-bottoms; quit it!"

    Maybe it's because I'm bisexual, maybe it's because I'm a San Franciscan, trans-folks are just folks. After about the fifth time I heard the speech that starts with, "umm...before we go any further there's something I need to tell you," I was like, "Look, you knew I was bi- before we even went out. I'm not fussy about parts, take off your clothes and surprise me."

    If you like someone enough to boink them, you can figure out the rest. If you're hiring someone for a job, you need the job done and *^&% the rest. Customers? I draw the line at murderers and pedophiles; those I'll turn in to the cops. But people should dress the way they like, have hair as long, or short as they like (when I was a kid, we didn't trust boys with short hair, and I grew mine out to a length that drove my parents nuts!) and be addressed by whatever pronoun they like. (Oh, except for people who mix plaids and stripes. There's freedom, and there's crime.)

    Bluesheep, I've heard your story a lot, as a volunteer sex educator, workshop facilitator, former SFSI volunteer/media staff, Janus resource coordinator, Mensa panel presenter, etc.

    You're doing fine. You're not homicidal/suicidal, you're finding your own level of comfort, which is what we all do, one way or another. But don't take my word for it, I may be prejudice, I had a tremendous crush on Lou Sullivan; if you ever feel like you need help, just ask. There are a lot of people around here who know more about this than I do.


    P.S. If your near SF, I still know some folks you can talk to.

    "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." James Madison, April 1, 1774

    by BobSmith415 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 06:07:26 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for writing this. (5+ / 0-)

    I so relate to what you wrote. I'm coming out lesbian in my mid 40's and it's taken me this long because I tried and tried and tried to be a straight woman. I can look back and see it as self hatred. It makes me feel sad and tired and ragingly MAD at our culture that continues to instill this kind of hatred into non-conformist kids.

    But at the time? I thought I didn't like sex because I was an incest survivor. And good lord, the thought of having sex with a woman? With someone I actually desired? Oh just the thought triggered all my incest issues.

    It felt safest to hide. And now I look back on the hiding with a broken heart.

    The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

    by Renee on Thu May 26, 2011 at 07:42:06 PM PDT

  •  Good thoughts and vibes sent your way (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, kyril, Renee, bluesheep

    as you continue the journey to you.

    I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear--Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by conlakappa on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:04:43 PM PDT

  •  Me, I'm scrambled with bacon bits. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, Renee, MercuryX23, bluesheep

    Good essay.  

    Its like, different for everybody, right?  I am sufficiently PTSD'd overall that I don't think I have a good grasp on this stuff anymore, or know whether I should even leave a comment past the above one liner.  

    But...I know for me that self hate, and rage, and love, all of it...has a lot of mystery.  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:11:13 PM PDT

  •  Should I be laughing? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, bluesheep

    There's just something about "pimpernel placemats" that strikes me as hysterically funny. Struck a nerve.

    So much of what you wrote about and kyril's comment above brought to mind all of the things that bother me about the way some other people raise their kids. I find myself on the damage control squad telling boys that crying helps everybody feel better and applauding girls that can't stand wearing pink. Is it just Western culture that places such ridiculous, nonsensical gender roles on everyone? Even the wide assortment of crap we fill our lives with is assigned gender roles.

    Being basically raised in lie-brul hippytown in the '70s I grew up on this stuff:  and

    Thanks for sharing bluesheep. And you can come over to borrow my power tools anytime you like.  

    •  To be fair (3+ / 0-)

      my mother was a hippie feminist from the '60s, and my dad was the sort of guy who fought the league to get them to let me on the boys' baseball team just because it was what I wanted. Whatever sexism I internalized, it wasn't their fault.

      •  Sexism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Having good parents is a start in the right direction but we get the sexism garbage barrage from countless other sources. Constantly.

        It seeps into everything.

        I certainly didn't want to imply that your parents were the source of the sexism crap you've been pummeled with. You just got me making connections and thinking. Sexism is the source of so much pain and confusion and I've got my own kids on my mind this morning with the homophobic crap that spews out of the mouths of their classmates. In particular my younger lad will be attending classes in the fall with a friend whose parents are dumbfounding sources of the most vile sorts of racial prejudice and homophobia.

        Yeah, my kids sat through another dad rant this morning. Just hoping that they'll be as intolerant of prejudice and hate as I was raised to be.

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