“When you turn the corner
And run into your self
Then you know you have turned
All the corners that are left”
Final Curve by Langston Hughes
I am starting to find a whole new energy since I have begun to come out of the depression I have been sinking into this year, trapping my various selves in a toxic battle around ownership of my body. I’m coming out in a whole other sense too, one that at it’s cusp feels like it will dwarf the other Great Coming Out of my life…when I was 21 and came out as a lesbian in the maelstrom of popular prejudice that surrounded Thatcher’s Section 28, the homophobic bigot’s charter that came into force in the late 1980s.
Yes, this feels like it’s even bigger…because it taps into an aspect of me that I have struggled and wrestled with over all of my life as far as I remember. As far back as my memories recall, well back into my earliest childhood, I have often felt as though I was really a boy and was born into the wrong body. It’s not that I don’t feel female…although it has been a hard bloody road to walk, run, drive and fall over on as I have come to accept and value my female selves….it’s that I ALSO feel male.
When I was a child I felt a testosterone buzz and enjoyed it’s drive and energy and power to go for it when I needed to. Puberty put an end to this for me and it was utterly miserable. As a flat-chested androgenous young lesbian in my 20s I had no problem in passing as a teenage boy and in uniform when I spent some time working on London’s Ambulances I was often called ‘Sir’ and was treated as one of the lads by my crewmates. There wasn’t such a physical contradiction between what I felt inside (although never admitted, shrouding my feelings in a definite soft butch identity) and how I appeared and was related with in the world outside me.
These days age and gravity have inevitably had their effects on my breasts and I have been piling on the pounds in what I think is an unconscious attempt to merge my boobs into my tummy. It has been failing miserably for some time and now my body is pretty fed-up of trying to kid anyone when it doesn’t stand a hope in hell if I let nature take it’s course.
My body cannot afford to have me hating it much more. My right nipple has had a weeping eczema sore for the last 8 months and my skin, muscles indeed my whole mind-body-spirit being needs some proper healing….
I am changing. I was born and they labelled me a girl but that did not fit even though I did try desperately hard to at times. I felt like a boy instead when I was younger but now as an adult I accept my female adult self and value the qualities She has. But it’s now time to also value and accept the male adult self I also need to be, to feel a fully integrated adult human Being. My inner boy now needs to become a man so that He can also take his share of responsibility for looking after me. In many ways it feels like I have been carting around a lad on the cusp of puberty for many years. Now he’s itching – literally if you consider my eczema as a body psychotherapist might – to get on with his testosterone burst and emerge how I see myself on the outside. I’m looking forward to my voice breaking and wondering how my singing voice will be in time. I’m already trying to lose those pounds and get my muscles ready for the growth body-mass changes that’ll happen. I can’t wait to have my breasts removed so I can finally feel free again to run, jump and play footie.
And I have discovered, finally discovered, that I do not have to fit comfortably into the binary gender orthodoxy of many people. I am BOTH and I want, indeed NEED my body to reflect this. I’ve recently come across a whole new way of looking at genders and have read that in many Native American languages there are words for different genders, indeed there’s a whole ‘Two Spirit’ community in the USA. Now I have no desire to appropriate other culture’s language and beliefs but I felt incredibly moved and empowered when I came across it. See: http://ne2ss.typepad.com/northeast_twospirit_socie/files/2spirit_times_spring_07.pdf for an article on Two Spirit identity from the perspective of Adam Armstrong of the Nipmuc nation who felt lost, concerned about how his community would perceive him, how he “fits in” and how he self-identifies.
But moved and empowered were not the first feelings that struck me. It hit me sideways at first, and then a wild, gutteral and ancient cry spilled out of me when I realised what the ramifications were. In that moment part of me decided to think about what the lethal dose of my back-pain tablets was. I could look it up so easily on the internet…
Bam! How can I think of killing myself??? What would it do to those that love me??? I want to live…
In that moment my boss rings me. She has no idea what I am about to tell her. I didn’t even realise it myself until I forced the words out so they wouldn’t kill me. I have now told her how very much her support has meant to me. I mean that from the bottom of my heart….she’s a diamond, as is the other colleague I’ve come out to so far. As have been my partner, my mum and dad, my brother and sister, my therapist, my GP, my friends…as I am discovering here!
But all those stories are for later dear readers. It’s been good to talk with you and I hope you’ll check in as I continue my journey with all it’s inevitable ups and downs to come.
Just one last thing…feel free to comment and feedback here. I’d love to hear from you too. Offensive comments will be removed as will any that disclose any personal information about me. It’s quite possible that reading this you know my identity or I may even have given you the link. I would ask that you respect my need for anonimity on this blog and not give out information that might identify me. I will assert my right to disclose my gender status at my own pace and in my own way in all of my various relationships, either personal or professional. Thanks for getting this far and I hope to catch you soon.
I am learning to be me all over again and how wonderful that those that love me accept this with open hearts. I will always respect and honour deeply the trust you all have in me to get back on my feet again. This journal is also dedicated to the spirit of them just as much as it is to all the other Two Spirits of this beautiful precious Earth we share with differently spirited Beings of all species.