Thursday, January 06, 2011

Moving forward in a New Year (vickie)

Life has been pretty hectic the past 2 weeks. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about who I am and where I am going. I have to say, giving up has certainly been on my mind. Going home for Christmas, back to Ohio, was stressful. I got really really sick and am struggling (still) to get back on my feet. I feel like I am just emerging from a fog. I'm reacting to so much in my environment, I wonder if it will ever come to an end. What has kept me going is my Rotaract group and Bigender.net. In Rotaract, I am taking on responsibilities to bring a public showing of Under Our Skin, a documentary on Lyme Disease. I bought a few copies of the film last week. While watching them, I cried through the entire second half. It gives me so much strength and hope to see others go through this, but at the same time, so much dispair. It seems such an impossible task to get better. There are so many challenges to overcome, I honestly wonder if I have it within me. I am a fighter. I wouldn't be alive if it weren't so. I wouldn't have gotten through the past year if it weren't so either. But the film really hit home with me that there is so much more ahead, so much more pain. And I am only at the BEGINNING of the journey.

Looking back at this year, what has amazed me the most and made the biggest impact on me is the the bigender.net forum I spend a lot of time on. It has provided a safe place where we can all "evolve" in our own ways as gender queer indviduals. Bigender.net has changed my life and literally saved my life several times this year.

It has really been a journey for me this past year. I am just past my one year anniversary of coming out to myself! I have seen my identity as a multigendered individual evolve and mature. I have seen my different modes become their own thing and be what makes ME happy and not what others want to see me as. I have also grown as a person. As an independent, NON-codependent person. Being alone this year and recovering from a relationship has been hard, but it has been one of the greatest things that has happened to me. A true blessing in disguise.

I finally got my new Social Security card with my new name this week. Now I need to go to the DMV and change my name there. I am waiting for a day where I am in male mode, because I need to get my picture taken. It feels like male gender is kind of a innocent until proven guilty kind of thing. It is a lot easier to disprove being male than prove you are male, so I want to get my ID to look as masculine as possible. The point of changing my name to my initials is so that I don't "out" myself with my name. It would be pointless to change my name if my picture wasn't "neutral".

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my identity as a woman. I recently finished a book on communication between men and women ("You Just Don't Understand"
http://www.amazon.com/You-Just-Dont-Understand-Conversation/dp/0060959622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1294357790&sr=8-1). It has really changed the way I view the world and where I fit into it. I came out of the closet to my grandmother while in Ohio and she took it really well. In fact, I couldn't have asked for anything better! She recognized that I was still the same me and that in the end, gender doesn't matter. It wasn't something that she was negative about or something that she would tolerate; it was simply love and acceptance. It made me very happy. It was such a powerful experience.

What was much more difficult, however, was "coming out" about my illness. I have come to understand recently what that means to me and have finally been able to get to a level of acceptance and faith in journeying forward these past 2 weeks. I discovered when visiting home that my family here in San Diego (that I have been relying on to communicate with the rest of the family as to what I have been going through while I was too sick to communicate on my own for the past 3 years) has been covering everything up, and in some cases lying and saying I was ok, when I am not. In many ways, I think (subconsciously), I wanted to perpetuate that.

I wanted to perpetuate that because it has been critical to my identity as a woman. I have been ashamed to be a female because I feel like I am always "loosing". Being sick is just one of many ways of "being weak". As a bio-female, I have struggled to live in the "female world" because I act in a more male and competitive way much of my life. This book helped me recognize in my heart that the female world is much more egalitarian, rather than just intellectually recognizing that; that that type of world organization is not in competition to the "male world" but simply a different way at looking at the world and a different and just as valid place to be. I have been trying to prove that I am who I am (multigendered) and prove what I am going through, instead of relating and sharing what I am going through and who I am. In addition, I have struggled with the concept of being beautiful and also with feminine power coexisting with what I have often viewed as female subservience and victim-hood. That has manifested in a way that I have always struggled to be "better" or "more" than my partners, family, and friends; everything is a competition, even when that is not what I intended.

However, I have learned an extraordinarily humbleness and inner strength this past 2 weeks that comes from a femininity that I never understood before. That overcoming the challenges I have gone through can be expressed and be a part of who I am as a female and be something to be proud of. It can be a part of how I present and not something to hide. I can be PROUD of my "weaknesses" because my greatest weaknesses are my strengths! This has allowed me the past few days to go out presenting as a female the way that makes ME feel beautiful and strong, not the way society says beauty is. My female side has evolved to a place where I can peacefully live in my own skin and the rules that I judged myself on don't apply anymore. Despite living in the world as a bio-female, for the first time I have actually been able to access the feminine world.

As a male, however, I have learned to stand my ground and stand up for myself. To be direct and how to take the floor. I have learned that some of my feminine ways of talking and relating put me in a one-down position and I inadvertently demasculinate myself when I am trying to prove that I am just the opposite. I discovered what the heck is the big deal about sports teams and found a way to make me feel like I have control and comradery without being needy. This has been just as empowering too.

I am amazed at how lucky I am to live in both the male and female worlds and that I am learning how to gracefully glide between them instead of living in a mish-mash of both worlds, and hence my own little world.

I started classes at Mueller again this week and for the first time, I openly talked about how lucky I feel and how truly blessed and gifted I feel to be bigender. I feel that in many ways, being bigender is a special place that is an honor. I hope that I can cultivate that. I am taking Thai massage, Reiki, and a lab class. Thai totally freaked me out. This is the first bodywork class I have taken since the Trauma Touch Therapy. I still dissociated during class and had a hard time working through it when I got home, but it wasn't as bad as it normally is. So, I guess there is progress! But I am NOT going to give up on this! I will NOT let my body shackle me in chains for the rest of my life! I am going to keep doing what I am afraid of and ashamed of over and over and over again until I get through this!

I had my Reiki class this morning. I think that this class is going to be very difficult, emotionally, for me. But I think it will also be hugely positive too. Lab is on Saturday. I am looking forward towards that, because I want to start building clientle. I want to get my business running and I need to pay for my massage room space too, asap.

So, that all being said, Happy belated New Year! May the upcoming year be full of challenges and tears and love. :-)

2 comments:

snaps said...

Best wishes to you this year! If you ever need an practice on Reiki I will be your dummy! I love it and can't wait to take it! Yes it is a very emotional type of bodywork, but it is absolutely AMAZING!!! Keep your head up! :) Hopefully we will bump into each other at school sometime this quarter.. lol.

Vickie/Alex said...

Im always looking for someone to practice on! I will let u know. Thanks!