New Vision of Life
With the decision to start my gender transition, back in march 2015, my life has been thrown into a monumentally gigantic disarray, if not to say a total mess. As things stand today, a year later, I am a shadow of a person I once was. For the most part, my daily existence has turned to be dominated by loneliness, sadness, guilt, fear, worry, insecurity, lack of confidence, and tons other negative feelings. The energy I once had has been sapped out of me, and I neither feel joyful of nor receptive to any sensory stimulation, let alone beauty, that’s around me. I simply feel like I am submerged in some unidentified and unpleasant reality.
As I think back of my decision to gender-transition I must confess that it was motivated through a profound desire to become a woman, and not through the hatred of my body. Transgender people are often thought of as hating their bodies, something that I seldom or perhaps never experienced. In fact, I felt proud of my body, its strength and endurance but also of the beauty it evoked. Yes, I felt turned off by my body hair, and my masculine smell, and I never particularly enjoyed the presence of my intimate body parts, but this is as far as it got. Barely enough to say I hated my body.
So, what was so profoundly compelling about my desire to become a woman that made me embark on a path toward despair if not to say unhappiness? Was there anything else beyond desire that made me jump into the rockiest river ever?
I’ve tried to answer these questions over and over again and I just cannot tell anymore, not with much certainty.
I know for sure that I never invented my transsexuality, and that it’s been there with me all my life. People often ask me how I could live with my transgenderism for so long. And I think that what changed during all those years was not my desire to be female – as I said, it was always there – but rather my ability to cope with being male, to cope with my own gender dissonance. With varying intensity, I experienced an internal pain when my subconscious and conscious sexes were at odds with one another. It was a mental tension and stress that occurred in my mind given I held two contradictory thoughts or views simultaneously – in this case, subconsciously seeing myself as female while consciously dealing with the fact that I was male.
All this led to unfulfilled fantasies, stress, frustration or it surfaced as jealousy or anger at other peoples who seem to enjoy taking their gender for granted. But most of all, it felt like sadness to me – a persistent and obsessive grief over the fact that I could not be a woman.
But all this sophisticated reasoning is a thing of the past, and does not bear much significance anymore. The situation today is such that my gender transition is no longer that appealing to me. Surprising as it may seem, it just pains too much to be deprived of the people I hold so dear, my wife that is. More importantly though, the experience of living as a woman has paradoxically made me feel that I’ve transcended my own gender – whatever that gender might be – and that it no longer matters to me if I am perceived as male or female.
It’s difficult to appreciate this last point unless one understands that most of us are just a hormone-prescription-away (and a day-long shopping for female garment) from being perceived as the “opposite sex”. To believe that a woman is a woman because of her sex chromosomes, reproductive organs, or socialization denies the reality that every single day, when we classify each person we see as either female or male based on a small number of visual cues and a ton of assumptions. Put differently, our gender is not about our biology but rather about our identity, and this identify is defined not necessarily by us but by our society that attaches different meanings to our bodies, and labels us either as male or female based on our outward appearance and a set of cues.
A year into my transition and it’s become quite evident to me that I neither want nor should bend the sense of who I am under the pressure of the society. Put differently, I don’t want my identity to depend on the meanings that others attach to me. Neither do I want my happiness to originate anywhere but inside of me.
And so, I must find the sense of self not without but rather within, regardless of whether I am seen by others as a man or as a woman. This is easier said than done, for gender stereotypes dictate so much in our lives, from how much we are paid at work to how our husbands and wives feel about being with us. But I believe I can transcend my maleness and my femaleness, while keeping the appearance of a particular gender, and come to a genderless state of mind whereby it simply no longer matters what perceptions others hold of me.
And this is where the secret is to doing away with my loneliness, my sadness, my fears, and all other stuff that weighs so heavily on me. The vision of life I now have is to come back and live as a “man”, and to no longer try to prove to myself, or rather to others, that I am a “woman”, even if by some objective criteria I might actually be one. My gender really does not matter, and what’s important is how I manage the perceptions others hold of me, and my wife in particular.
The pain and grief my wife experienced after my decision to gender-transition is not hard to imagine. To put it bluntly, I got blamed for stealing my wife’s husband even if he and I are exact same persons. My gender mattered to my wife for a zillions of reasons, but social perceptions were probably by far the most important. And it is here again where our identity is a social rather than biological construct.
I must give my wife a huge credit for not dumping me yet, even if I was outcasted and left to rot on my own without much sympathy, let alone compassion. Yes, she had to deal with her own, unbearable pain, of losing out on her dream of having a “family”. But something kept her from erasing me entirely form her life, and somehow she held on to me for reasons I just am unclear about. Could it be love of some sort? Perhaps…. Oddly enough, it may also be love that makes me gravitate so strongly toward her, and to reconsider my decision to change my gender.
As painful and hard all this seems to be, there is something profoundly positive about my experiences. With this turbulent past I get a sense of appreciating life as it is, and of me as I am (or as I was). There is something sacred about my body, which makes me think I should not try re-engineering it. And there is something militant about my mind that makes me think I should not attempt looking for gender meanings that the society imposes on “males” and “females”.
I cannot tell if the “Creator” wanted to play a cruel joke on me, or whether “He/She” just wanted me to master some intricate wisdoms. All I know though is that there is some deeper appreciation in me of life and of me…