Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Validation and Acceptance

I've had to take a closer look at my life in the last few years and how things have affected me. I have always looked for both validation and acceptance but have never gotten it for the reasons that meant most to me. I've had acceptance as a boy, but always looked for the acceptance I never had a chance to get for being a female. I hid in fear. Fear of being laughed at, fear of being ridiculed and fear of being alone. All these fears kept me down for so many years.

Rejection can be a strong emotion, which can tier at your very fabric of your soul. Rejection from society, your friends and loved ones. This can bring about all the other fears. Early in life we all try to fit in somewhere in society. Looking for acceptance in some group or another, and sometimes doing just about anything to fit in to one of these groups. Usually we slide in where we feel more comfortable. The brainiest hang out with the brainiest; the athletes hang out with the jocks, est. But as transsexuals it may be more difficult to find that place of total comfort. A place you're not afraid to be. I found myself just looking for a place I could be accepted. I went as far as practicing in front of the mirror to make sure the way I walked and the way I acted was totally male. Mind you, I was not a macho guy, but I didn't want anyone to think I was gay or perceived as a girlish boy. Survival of the fittest as they say. In the small town (Southern Utah) I spent most of my childhood, anyone that fell out of the norm was tossed out to the side as an outcast.

Acceptance comes in many forms. Social acceptance most people seem to look for. As noted above, this can be the one everyone fears at one time or another. For the lucky ones, it can be a wonderful experience to finally find a comfortable place to be. But each of us will go through these times in our lives at different paces. I believe the more you feel comfortable with being out, what that may mean to you could be anything. For some of the girls out there, this can be a emotional journey at times. Some may turn to isolation from society. At times in life you may have been witness to the cruel ways some people can be. Rejection from society can make one also want to go into isolation. Away from everyone and giving yourself some time to meditate. You must get to a point where you're not afraid to be comfortable with yourself. Take some time to look at yourself and your life. Sometimes self acceptance takes some time, but as you mature at your true nature, you gain the life experience that will carry you into the future.

Many of the un-educated in our society refuse to look at any of the research that seems to show that there are other reasons that transsexuals feel the way that they do. They will tell us that this is a CHOICE! You got to be kidding me. Who in their right mind would ever want to go through what many transsexuals go through just to keep our heads above the water. There is belittlement from our families, friends and society as a whole. It makes perfect since why so many TS’s prefer to stay in stealth mode all their lives. It’s sad that people can’t just accept the fact that this is not a choice and it was meant to be, even before we were born. The parents seem to blame themselves, but they don’t have to. They don’t need to feel guilty over what their child is going through. There was nothing that they or anybody else could have done to prevent this from happening. Nature will take its own course and that is just life. We all have to deal with it, the TS person, their families and many of their friends. In my option, the only ones that should feel guilty about anything are the bigoted ones, but not for the way they raised them. For not only ignoring science but also for not giving their child the love that they so deserve.

Ok, take away all the research and any scientific data. Why would a transsexual feel they would have to transition to become the opposite gender. Well, let me ask you this. Are you happy and content with your body as you are today? Your answer will probably be yes. Now imagine that suddenly you had the body of the opposite sex. You where expected to act a certain way, if you didn’t you were punished. Everyone treated you as you looked and expected nothing more or less from you. When you look in the mirror, you do not like what you see because that is not you. Deep inside you know how your body is supposed to be, but you see something totally opposite. You are treated differently from what you expect because people she the opposite of what you feel inside. You feel like nothing is right, you can’t be yourself. You feel like the weird one in the group. You are forced to be someone that you become to hate, a shell of a person. What do you do? Well, the same can be said about a transsexual. The TS person feels that their body does not match what the brain tells them that is the truth. They are tortured throughout their lives with the fact that their bodies don’t reflect the true person inside. Many times in their lives they are tempted to tell someone, anyone. But they are scared to be rejected for who they really are. Many keep that fear of rejection hidden until they can’t take it anymore, many times later in life after they have married and had children. Whenever it happens, there usually comes of time when the TS person must come out or they feel that they will die from depression. The depression of not being their true self’s all your life. Society puts so much pressure on an individual to conform to the stereotypes set forth at their birth, the pressure to conform can be tremendous.

I believe that personal acceptance can be the hardest for the transsexual at times. I had some problems at times with this. I've gone through many years of indecision to get where I am today. But it didn’t come easy. The years of denial, the years of fear and the years of wanting to believe that I was something I was not can take a toll on a person. It was not until I gained some education on the subject that I began to see I was not the only one out there that felt this way. Seeing others struggling through life as I had let me know I was not crazy. It took me several years before I truly accepted who I was and what I needed to do to be happy.

Family acceptance is another we hope to have in our life's. I spent most of my life afraid to tell my parents about me being a transsexual. When I finally did tell them I was 30 year old, and getting overwhelmed with my life. My mother seemed to be very supportive, and my dad didn't seem to care to much either way. It was really surprising that I also got the support of my brothers also, one of whom now calls me his sister. I have not seen them much in last 10 years but we have been in contact over the phone and have had many long talks. I also have been given some support with my two kids. They are great kids and I love them very much. I was not able to tell my kids about me being transgendered at first. Within the last 8 year I have talked to my kids about me being transsexual and they seemed to be opened minded about it. It has also been a surprised to see my wife starting to support my needs. She is starting to open up to the idea that a transsexual can honor their needs without losing the sentimental moments.
The acceptance of family can be a life line to your soul. Many of my brothers and sisters have lost family in the process of coming out. It can be devastating to someone, especially if they have always been close to their loved ones. So many of those who lose their families are due to the pressures of society, even their religion. I find it sad that many of those people can’t or refuse to see the happiness and pure joy in their loved ones eyes as they go through this journey of enlightenment. An enlightenment that brings out a better person. In many cases a person who is able to truly love another without fear. A person who has opened there heart to others and willing to show the authentic person.

So what do we do? Hide from the society and never become our true self’s and achieve our god given happiness in life. Or do we strive to prove society wrong and show them that we were meant to be who we are and live a life that was meant for us. The answer lies within all of us for each one of us is different and can take so much from society. There are those that won’t survive either because of the hate will finally cause so much strife in the their life that they feel they need to end it all, and others will be able to persevere through all the hate and succeed in life and live their lives complete and happy. I have been on both sides of the fence. I’ve let the fear keep me down and hidden, but that didn’t get me anywhere that made me happy. So those terrible thoughts would rise in all its fiery glory. I have also been lucky to make it over that hump and now look for that happiness that so many of us look for. We all have so much to live for and I’ve slowly come to see that. So I’m making strides to change my life for a better place in life. I also truly believe that it will also make me a better person as a whole so I may be a better parent and spouse.

In closing I’d like to share an excerpt of a poem I wrote about a year ago:

Why am I angry
I look into people eyes
I get back intolerance
If looks could kill
It would be a death sentence

Why am I angry
If people would just try and understand
And take my place in this great land
They would finally see
I'm no different than them

I have a kind heart
That gets all torn apart
When they try and condemn
For if they could let go
Even they could live free

Maybe one day
I'll find acceptance
For my life as it is
Seeking life's essence
And finally find my way
To the place that's peaceful
With pleasant morning rays


Quinnae Moongazer said...

These last few days I've been doing a lot of macro-political writing about trans issues, often alluding to how my real life experience has often informed those views as I've reached out to my blossoming womanhood.

But I'd been immersing myself so much in the political and philosophical matters that when I read this post it was a real shock. It's so heartfelt and so real, and I can empathise so much with where you've been, sister. Thank you for sharing this story, Michelle.

There is sadness and joy contained in your writing and it was deeply personal in a way I sometimes feel I'm unable to reach, myself. Thanks for this. There is a lot in here that reflects my own experience and I hope it can be educational to others.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the blog and the poem. Thanks for sharing.