Sep. 23rd, 2010 07:27 am
adrienmundi: (Default)
I hate the idea of "balance" sometimes. I hate that it seems to appeal to someone else's idea of what is right, true or good, that it often invokes (at times, explicitly) zero sum construction. I want to recreate the world/myself anew, but feel chained to ideas and ostensible "realities" to which I do not subscribe.

I'm talking about my body issues. It's been just over two months sans estrogen. There have been changes, some positive, some decidedly unpleasant. I liked the way most of my body felt on estrogen. My arms and legs were slightly fuller; the lines flowed better, particularly in my legs. My chest was less skeletal, less skin stretched tightly over bone; I was much less personally acquainted with my sternum, for example. My breasts, of course, were better; fuller, larger, and satisfying more my inner sense of self. My skin, even: it felt right in ways that are hard to put into words, but carried a lot of meaning.

But sex things are decidedly better off the estrogen. It bothers me, a lot, that this is true. It makes me worry that all the biodeterminists are at least partly right, and I hate that both personally and ideologically. My sense of self is reinforced from this period of endocrinological experimentation, and consists unquestionably of combinations of things that do not appear to be intended to be combined. It's a painful gap that I don't know how to reconcile, but it's important, very important, that I try. There is no information available for what I'm trying to actualize; all the data, medical or personal anecdote, that I can find is about either/or, male or female, and that does me no good.

There are ways I hate the way reality seems to be constructed. This is very much one of those ways. It's personal, hurtful, and frightening.
adrienmundi: (Default)
A recent conversation has really underscored in a local, visceral way that my identity issues are, well, different. Different than either dominant or mainstream resistance themes, and not terribly simple when viewed from the assumption that sex=gender=nature, automatically. There is an aesthetic aspect, but I don't think I'm that different from most people in that regard; who doesn't wish they were taller/leaner/curvier/shorter/etc? I stray from the script, but the impulse isn't foreign.

But there's also something about being 'out of tune'. With myself mostly, I think, and it's about bridging the distance from deep inside me* out into the world. At the moment, it takes so much effort, through an ill-tuned medium to the frequency I'm trying to transmit, that I'm wasting energy like crazy. I'm not making the impact I would like, that I think I'm maybe capable of making, because I'm out of tune. I'm not dysphoric; there's nothing wrong with my body, just things that could be more right. I'm not sure that distinction makes any sense to anyone outside of my head.

It's not a semiotics issue in this case. I'm very relieved about that; one of my biggest personal fears is being trapped by mistaking the signifier for what it does, should or could signify. In this case, really, it feels like this impetus for change is self tuning, self expression, getting more of me out of the unproductive depths of my self and more available to the world, to people I care about, to do some work, expend some effort in ways that feel productive by my internal standards (ratio of effort expended, even if no one sees, to effect).

But, of course, that's ideal, self to self kind of stuff. The world, or large parts of it, still read from the script, still interpret others from it, and in not inconsequential ways, can enforce their interpretations on others, or at least the consequences of them. It feels like this is where I'm kind of fucked, because I don't just color outside of the lines, I color on the walls, and I'm not so sure I or anyone who doesn't want to be should be constrained by the concept of lines. I don't believe in just men or women, or the occasionally imagined "in-betweens"**, so I'm not at all invested in defending any of those positions for myself (but I'll throw down in a heart beat on behalf of anyone who wants to claim them for themselves). But the forced interpretations... I'm going to be judged by those very ideas I reject, held accountable to them, and there really isn't much I can do about that individually, and that sucks. A lot.

I can work to bring myself more in tune with my self; I very much need to. But that will put me very much at odds with the scripted roles, and everyone who follows them. That's asking a lot, a whole hell of a lot, and I doubt my ability to run that kind of a gauntlet on any regular basis. I hate that it seems like I can either see to my personal needs, or I can have access to social contact, but I can't have both***.

I still believe there's something in (my) culture that makes someone like me possible to exist, to have the experiences, ask the questions and give the answers I have that got me to here, this weird place that seems to exist outside of (my) official cultural catalog of possibilities, but I really, really wish there was also something in (my) culture that granted the possibility of realizing the potential I feel so acutely, rather than being a moment of crisis for the official standard.

*it's a description of experienced space, not an invocation of dualism
**I'm not endorsing the "in between" concept; I hate it, think it's offensive and demeaning, particularly when utilized by cisgendered folks to order others
***this is the place where I'd historically say it'd be easier if I was transsexual, but I'm not sure that's true. different, easy in some ways, but on the whole, I don't think I'm in any position to say


Oct. 11th, 2009 09:15 pm
adrienmundi: (Default)
Not the sleeping kind. I think I'm having trouble with mine lately. I don't know, maybe dreams isn't the right word, but it's different than idea, much stronger and more meaningful, more foundational, than idea can encompass, at least in my head. There's something about imperatives, something about rightness, something about impatience and frustration, and increasingly, something about questionable possibility.

What do you do when your dreams might not be possible? How to you adjust, or can you? I think that's one of the reasons I feel so stuck, and increasingly hopeless; I don't see a way these ideas, dreams, imperatives that are so freaking core to me can maybe ever be realized, but they're still a huge, important part of me. I can't just turn my back on them, even if I thought it was possible. And I don't think I can cobble together some sort of fucked up compromise, because honestly, the world is bigger than I am and has no interest in compromising with me; any change would be on my part, and I desperately fear would reek of accommodation and surrender of things I'm not sure I can live without and still be me.

Where the fuck do these ideas come from, anyway? These unpopular, difficult, contrary to "reality" ideas, dreams, imperatives... How are they sustained? Upon what do they feed, when all messages are about impossibility or self erasure, about making deals with the world that feel like severing, selling or suppressing parts of self? I'm not one of those people who thrive on negation and opposition, honestly I'm not. I'm happiest when in harmony, when accord can be found; it just feels like that's increasingly rare.

I don't know that I can give up these dreams, and I don't know that I can accommodate their imperatives. I don't think I'm just being negative; I feel like I'm trying to assess things with a more practical eye, and seriously, the message is, over and over, that I have to either give in, or create levels of subterfuge and deception that must be maintained at all times, and I don't relish the idea of any of those possibilities. Should I automatically surrender or be crushed just because the world is bigger than me?

Oh, and happy coming out day, everybody.
adrienmundi: (Default)
Body shit is freaking me out, seriously. I've been trying to work it in my head, taking a tiny bit of encouragement from the study that shows depression is an analytical thinking boon, but I can't seem to break things down into sufficiently small pieces with which to work, and it's making me crazy*.

It's tied up in a lot of things in my head; there are many ways to get to here. One, I'm not ready to be old. I've never had a wild youth, never had youthful indiscretions, never romped freely with others in the sensual. I've never been the hot young thing, never had a chance to enjoy my body or my own physicality because I was always struggling to find a way to coordinate or translate the closed eyes, internal experience of self with the social construction, reinforcement and/or denial of self. But time marches on, and it's starting to show on me. I don't want to jump from 'conflicted' to 'old', particularly when in my mind, 'old' means I'll look even more definitively like what one interprets as a man.

I want a better world, one in which there is room for people who don't fit the mold, not just the horrible, invisible, cruel monolith of sex/gender. I want to fight for this world, but can't find traction. I have not been able to find a group engaged in this fight in a way that will give me anything other than working for the goals of others (which I do anyway, but damn it, I want liberation and freedom, too), and I haven't been able to find individuals with whom to form a group, for much the same reasons. I don't want to pay the price for trying to manifest in such a way as to be punished because I aimed for the better world, but it's just not here. I can't be the change I want to see in the world because I can't change the world alone, and I can't take the hits. It's not just on me; I can't just decide to feel better about an untenable situation, change my perspective and be all sunshine and smiles. I refuse to be atomized on this; I'm a part of a larger problem, I just don't know many people who experience it like I do.

On a more on the ground level, I'm feeling both more in my flesh and less. My body felt closer to fitting when I had less body hair. Spironolactone helped with that, impressively, over time. It also gave me bigger breasts; not much, nothing special, but more than I have now. But, the sexual side effects were unkind, and alienated me from my body as it brought me closer to it at the same time. I discounted the positive effects of the Spiro (they were very gradual), but decided I would not give up steady erections and satisfying ejaculation (also gradual changes, but when it hit me, it was bad). So now I'm more sexually engaged or engagable, but in packaging that I find unpleasant (on a good day) or flinch from a mirror, reptile brain alien (on a bad day).

From there, it's no step at all to realize that any manifestation of self, any physical peace can probably only be mediated by technology, artifice**. There is no just being, because my body refuses to grow, develop, manifest, whatever the fuck you want to call it, according to the plan it seems to have, the images and sensations it projects at my conscious brain with the imperatives WANT and DO NOW. I don't get the luxury of a feeling of personal authenticity, even for a moment, because things don't match.

I'm getting ready to head to a place with either no showers, or public, sexed showers for four days. I can't remember when the last time I was in a public shower, but I'm pretty damned sure it was before I started hormones. And, fuck, how is sexing showers in any way safe or good? There will be plenty of boys who dig boys, girls who dig girls, and both who dig either, so what's being protected, exactly? But no one thinks about it, because of course people are either men or women; it's not even worth thinking about it, right?

A lot of folks just don't bathe, or make do with washcloths, and that's great... for them. For me, I cannot.... no, I will not, go that long without shaving. As referenced above, the hair is back, and I hate it. I can shave my face, because I have to show that to the world, but if I can't shave other parts (arms, legs, chest: take your pick), I do not want to show them. I don't want to give anyone more obvious excuse to throw me in man category (even though they will anyway), and I don't want to see that shit myself. I don't want to recoil, and I don't want to have to suppress that feeling for extended periods, because it costs too much.

And just... fuck, I don't know. This shit is supposed to get easier, isn't it? I work, hard, on this stuff, but I'm just not making headway. Stepping into the elevator after lunch, as soon as I realized I was alone I had an almost overwhelming urge to throw myself against the walls as hard as I could, and at the moment, it made a lot of sense. It still does, and I wish my brain could come up with other physical metaphors, because I really don't need broken bones, sprains and bruises on the outside, too.

*My thinking jumps tracks quickly and badly when I'm like this. I just tried to take out the compost, but couldn't get to it easily due to the leftover dishes from previous days, and couldn't put them away because the washer hadn't been emptied, which led to working at it with increasing frustration, trying to get all the obstacles out of the way just so I could accomplish one simple task. In the process, we lost a ceramic rice bowl (shattered), a filtered water pitcher (smashed with a cutting board) and an old tupperware pitcher (dashed in the sink). All I wanted was a Pepsi...

**Yes, I know this is a problematic issue. Everyone wears clothing, has affectations both personal and societally mandated. It's different in degree, not in general.
adrienmundi: (Default)
I don't understand how other people do it, interact with/through their bodies, interact with others, other bodies. I'm not being metaphorical; I don't understand... but I want to. I suck at this, and it's really getting on my nerves, getting in my way. Seriously, how do you do it? Is the body an (im)(perfect) vehicle, a tool to be used towards specific ends, the totality of self, the outward seeing eye with other organs attached, what? Is the secret a degree of narcissism, an enjoyment of the physical self, specific to self an an end? As a means? As end and means? Is it a relation of inner to outer, "as above, so below", or is it something else? Do you think there's an ideal(ized) self within, Platonic, Butlerian, or whatever? Is it all about negotiating or constructing a means to negotiate the almost impalbable space between inner and outer? Is it a heroic undertaking to cross the dark chasms between one world and another? Or is it something simple, and if so, please explain it to me, because honestly, I just don't get it, and I need to.
adrienmundi: (Default)
I've got competing narratives of bodies in play, and I've got to find a way to get them to all coexist peacefully. One narrative, oriented towards the outside direction, is that beauty and visceral attractiveness comes in many, many forms, and I'm lucky enough to enjoy more than I'm supposed to; I like a lot, a lot, but feel no obligation to like everything. Unfortunately, this is me->outward only; I don't know how to turn this in such a way to be self inclusive. I don't know how to interpret my self in relation to the other body narratives in play within me.

The biggest, most inflexible, is the either/or of man/woman. I know why this is in me; because it's damned near everywhere, all the time. There's a big, solid line separating most people's worlds, and any suggestion that it isn't necessary, natural or irrefutable gets some pretty extreme reaction.* Of course, it gets tricky and complicated in my head. I make a certain kind of occasionally attractive guy, and there's a need to be found attractive, but it comes at a pretty sharp cost; I'm an occasionally attractive guy. According to the either/or narrative, all that will be thrown away if I decided to pursue being some kind of big, ungainly, roughly made facsimile of a girl. That I'm not sure I want to be a girl, but I know I'm not in any way comfortable or satisfied as a guy, fades into impossibility when this narrative is ascendant.

There's a deeply internal, almost prelinguistic narrative that I interpret as the voice of my body that makes itself pretty clear it has a vision of self-actualization, and thinks I should get off my ass and get to it. Since I don't experience it intellectually or verbally, I only get occasional glimpses, but there's something about size becoming strength, about being able to ignore or negate rigid rules applied by others. It's an active image that would require more physical confidence than I currently possess, a pretty healthy amount of working out, and a degree of plastic surgery. Unfortunately, I only get a sense of this in very localized images; I don't know how I'd fit into a larger social and economic world in which conformity is rewarded and nonconformity (of which this carries a lot) is punished or exiled.

There's a very local narrative that keeps being offered to me, one which posits that I'm just fine, if not good, exactly as I happen to be at that moment. I have a hard time making sense of that one, maybe because I don't understand lack of criteria or conditionality. If I'm always OK, then there's no effective measure, which sort of renders acceptance meaningless, doesn't it? I know that's not how it's being offered, but that's often the route it goes in my head as I try to make sense of it. Too, I don't know how I'd be able to move from the very local of being good (assuming I can find a way to accept it) to the larger social/economic in which I expect I'd have to hide or suppress self or aspects of self. While I haven't really experienced that disparity** I imagine it to be gut wrenching and agonizing.

I really get that everyone isn't always fully showing all aspects of themselves in every interaction. I really do get that. I know the check out person at Publix doesn't really care or want to know what parts of skin I like to bite as an act of appreciation, for example. I understand that. This seems different in a lot of ways, though. Part of this is that I see, or at least think I see, how others don't struggle with what I struggle with; someone may be unhappy about their hair, their complexion, their weight, for instance, but those are modifiers that hang on some noun concept of unchallenged self, either explicitly or implicitly underwritten by the larger social world. I don't have that, and am acutely aware that the compliments and accolades I do get are all attached to a noun concept that cuts or contorts as it comes to me.

Action is tricky, even though inaction, while clearly preferable to nonconformist action, pales in comparison to capitulation and acceptance. "Superficiality" is the kindest of the obstacles thrown in my own path, which while damaging and consuming time and energy to even try to confront, is way easier to deal with than the spectre of buying into the very things I hate (an accusation any member of any minority has encountered at the hands of the resistant majority). I stumble on the signifier/signified gap, and am left wondering if there's ever really a Ding an Sich, even in the most personal cases. But again, the interaction between personal/local and larger social/economic are poorly mapped, if at all; the clear message is to accept the latter and use it as a model for the former, but that obviously doesn't work for me.

And yet, the voice of the body, my body/body awareness, gets louder and more impatient. The feeling that I've got to do something, and that sooner beats later, is growing and gathering speed. I need to learn how to live as a person and a member of the social/economic world. I think I'm doing OK at the latter, but at huge cost to the former, and that's a deal I deeply regret many times a day.

As a part of this struggle to change, I'm trying diligently to be able to listen. I know in the past I've been harsh and resistant to even the most well intentioned contact, but I'm trying hard to listen and not automatically respond with "Oh yeah? Fuck you!", or possibly even worse, leak out the massive frustration I feel with myself and my situation onto those who happen to be near and at hand. I leak badly, but I'm trying to become more aware of that, and to work to redirect things since I can't easily fix the holes. I'm tired of being volatile.

*the so-called thrill of transgression that leads to the fetishization of trans bodies is fueled by this line; it's the shame, the naughtiness, the secretive breaking of the rules that can make something a private spank fantasy and a publicly disavowed aberration.

**brief bouts of miserable depression as a teen as I tried to make sense of myself as something between a transsexual and transvestite, moving between the very local acceptance of an SO and the larger world of school/family/world.

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