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Sunday, April 4, 2010

I'm the same me, regardless of extremes~Sevan

I want to talk about...extremes and how it pertains to transition.

If you try to speak with a southern accent, or a British accent...how does that sound? (assuming your not naturally from those places) We go for the most extreme, because it's easier. If you have a low voice and try to talk really high...we go for extremes. (also works in reverse..if you have a high voice and try to go lower) It's much much easier to find those extreme points, rather than sutle nuances.

How does this apply to transgendered persons or transition? Let's start out with a picture:

That's me Feb 2008. For years I never wore pants. No shorts, not even t-shirts! I wore flowy tops and skirts. Always. I even went through a time where I wore head coverings. (as in this picture) not really for religious reasons...but for deep set gender reasons. You see I tried to force myself into the extreme of female gender.

Around our house we have this type of grass. I'm not sure which one, there are many different grasses...but one in particular I'm allergic to. If I go for a hike, or walk around our yard in my skirts...my legs brush up against the grass and I break out in hives. Cynthia urged me to please buy some pants for hiking so I wouldn't break out. I couldn't. I simply could not do that...even expressing to her that "women don't wear pants!"

Obviously, a great number of women DO wear pants. That's ok even! It wasn't for me. It was not ok for me to slip into those nuances because part of myself worried it might be a slippery slope from "just pants for hiking" to "transition".

Not every person who's transitioned has this same story of extremes, but it's a familiar story to many. I have a few MtF friends who used to be body builders! Cynthia herself had many gender rules that she had to operate under back in "man mode" though I'll save that for her to share should she choose to do so...

As I've come out; something I hear alot is "But your such a girly girl!! Your so feminine!" and this brings doubt into their minds about what I'm saying in regard to my gender identity. I may have smiled in pictures...but I was *not* happy. I was depressed, I threw myself into obsessions, never allowed myself quiet time to sit by myself with my own thoughts...I was not happy.

A common thread amidst friends and particularly spouses of trans people is that they feel the trans person lied to them. That once the "cat is out of the bag" the trans person completely changes into someone...who does not sound, look, or seem like their former self. So in my example...that frilly, fem person...was a lie. I would disagree. I wasn't actively lying. Not on purpose anyway.

I can tell you that the person I am now, has changed no more than anyone else going through life. We *all* change and grow. True, we don't all change in this same way...but we are forever learning, growing, and evolving. I like the same shows on TV, do the same crafts (even have more time and interest in those crafts now!) read the same books, listen to the same music...I am still the same *me* that I have always been, and will always be. I feel more authentic, more open, more present and more grounded.

The idea of "you lied about who you are" is a very serious issue. Trans people who are married, come out, and start transition have a %90 chance of divorce. That's...that's STUNNING. That *this* change is such a huge deal, that it can't be lived through. I do understand that sexual orientation plays a roll. That number just shocked me.

I'm sad for those of my brothers and sisters who have lost people in their life because of their need to be authentic, present and open.

4 comments:

Summer said...

That's the thing that threw me at first, how I remember you so fem. But this makes perfect sense, thanks for explaining it.

No matter what you look like or your name, you're still you deep down. Love you!

Sevan said...

Awww thanks Summer! I've heard that from a number of people and even used that excuse myself in my self talk "I can't be trans!! Look at me!"

Even as I started to question and research transition, and what would be right for me personally...I looked back at all my smiling pictures and finally Cynthia had to point out that sure, I smiled for pictures...but I was *not* a happy person back then. *hugs*

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

Thank you for sharingf this......

Cynthia Lee said...

I am glad that the head covering phase went away. You looked like a menonite or something. lol
At least I never made my feelings known until you stoped wearing them.