Giving birth, being adopted, becoming a “transphobe,” hating reality TV, and generally entertaining revelations against my will

For months now my posts here and at catholictrans have been building up to a new direction. I realize in retrospect that everything I’ve posted recently, original material or otherwise, have been the contractions leading up to massive labor pains. For many insomniac nights I’ve been squinting at my dark ceiling and seeing patterns of motion, webs of ideas, and clashing good n’ evil in such a large vista that my small human mind can’t actually piece it all together and I feel literally insane. But slowly, the different pieces that I feel to be interconnected are presenting themselves to me in an orderly queue. Continue reading

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To Miss Frightened-Eyes in the Mirror – A Poem

To Miss Frightened-Eyes in the Mirror (OR: All Will Be Well)

 

All will be well, poor thing,
all will be well,
even though I see your screams
in the watery spark in my iris.
I spot your visage, dimly, as
through a looking-glass.
I’d reach out to hold you,
but I fear the demanding rap
on my closet door.

 

All will be well, my dear,
all will be well,
even though your neck is bruised
by my calloused clawing reach.
I’m sorry to snuff you, I sob,
like a Venetian moor when he
thinks his love estranged.
This is a mercy killing, my love, for
little girls die in war.

 

All will be well, my soul,
all will be well,
for I promise better days than this.
I see how pure your heart remains,
though the world has raped you bloody.
I’d promise sunflowers and silk if
I knew I could; but at least let me
promise a kiss, a warmth, a moment.
You’re so brave.

 

All will be well, my heart,
all will be well
for they know not what they do.
We feel the first stirrings of Spirit even
now, premonitions of lilies, dew, and
a world without end, without fear.
The wind blows in from higher country, there
where our mother, our brother, our lovelies
all dance with us.

 

All will be well, I say,
all will be well.
I begin to be whole again – waxing ended.
Cocoon unraveling, haze lifting,
music in genesis as the Deluge abates.
It is not good for man to be alone,
but from the rib of the old self has sprung
a garden nymph, full with fruit, brimming smiles,
awaiting Divine rain.

 

All has been well, my God,
all has been well.
I confess to too long a watery grave,
I once mere mirror to the sky.
Now, Adonai, I dervish before the stars,
For it is good to be in ellipsis again,
a silver bowl to reflect the Sun,
alight with his penetrating heat, no more
to envy the Moon.

rockwell_mirror

Being forced to LIVE!

Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.
– Soren Kierkegaard

I’ve been very joyful the last few days, but this week began with an absolute mental breakdown.

Pretty much every Sunday my stress about the upcoming week coupled with all the impending homework assignments boils over into a hot mess of panic attacks and emotional shutdown. This happens like clockwork, and every Sunday evening I end up spending more time than I can afford working through my emotions enough to mitigate the anxiety enough to get at least one of my assignments done before the wee hours of the morning enough to pass my classes. Not good.

This Sunday was no different except that I was very conscious of what was causing the anxiety. Some time after dinner a thousand voices attacked me and my identity from every angle possible in a cloud of damnable darkness. Every ill-bearing voice of dissent in my life screamed at me at once, telling me I have to figure it all out, I need to get this right, I must be crazy, I can’t be loveable, I need to pretend to be a certain person to be loved, it’s up to me to figure out the transgender mystery, I’m probably walking a tightrope over eternal fire, and what’s the point?

I was getting more and more overwhelmed by the second, and my thoughts became increasingly morbid. I don’t know how I would have gone about killed myself, but I was more than certain in my desire for a God-sent quick death, like a careless automobile or a lightening bolt.

I felt incredibly alone. I begged God: “please, just at least send me someone to talk to!” By some strange twist of fate, everyone I’d tried to hang out with since the day before Valentines Day had gone AWOL. I was in the center of a communications blackout – email, texting, facebook, everything. It was like I didn’t exist. “Please, God, I just want there to be someone out there!”

And then, only a few minutes after this choked up prayer, a buzz from my phone heralded a God-sent text. The divine message was from a very dear friend of mine, who told me: “So, I’ve been praying for you lately, and whenever I pray for you I get super under spiritual attack and start to suffer from depression and anxiety myself. And I feel right now that I’m under attack because I’m supposed to pray for you.”

I promptly called her, and we talked for a long time about all sorts of stuff. She says she’s been experiencing intense morbidity and anxiety out of nowhere, and whenever she experiences this she gets a spiritual sense that she’s bearing it for my sake. Wow.

Anyway, we talked a lot about stuff like gender theory and passed several hours discussing, sometimes arguing, the philosophy of sex differentiation. It was a good discussion, but I felt drained by it because there was never a straight answer. I kept realizing something: these pressing questions like what is gender or what makes a man/woman are mysteries that I can take a gander at, but I’ll never figure them out completely. I can have the most beautiful theology in the world about why I am the way I am, but it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change who I wake up as every day and the challenges before me.

What the conversation kept hitting home for me is how at the end of the day I’m faced with the towering giant of LIFE which always beckons me to LIVE. I can talk myself silly about how things ought to be or whether or not I’m a girl, but at the end of the day I’m still transgender, I still have a deep psychological and medical reality to face, and I still need to live a life that is coherent, beautiful, active, and engaged in love.

The glory of God is man fully alive.
– St. Irenaeus

While I love connecting my life with my faith, I’m never going to truly figure things out. I won’t know anything until the day I die and begin my Heavenly reality. Until then I can put forth my small offerings of what I think my experience teaches the world about what it means to be human, but they’re never more than shots in the dark. And I think they’re beautiful shots in the dark, but they aren’t my life. Life consists of loving people and living joyfully. At the end of the day there’s nothing to do but make steps to be fully alive.

After the phone call with my friend, I was still utterly useless, practically comatose. My roommate eavesdropped on the tail-end of the conversation and kindly turned to me and asked me about what was going on. I told him there are so many voices tearing me down, and there is a part of me that wants to believe them because I want to be loveable and apparently being trans is an unloveable condition. With his usual talent for cutting through bullshit, he commanded me to stop listening to the voices if they are wrecking my soul. If doubting my identity and trying to desconstruct everything makes me borderline suicidal when I’m otherwise happy, it’s obviously not of God.

So I stopped. And I remembered that life needs to be lived. As myself.

As a result, this week has been great! I’ve had barely a care in the world because I don’t have to figure it all out. I don’t have to perform to be okay. I’m just me, and I really don’t have to be someone else. In fact, I can’t be someone else (believe me, I’ve spent most of my life trying). It’s okay to just live sometimes. It’s okay to be.

We are so obsessed with doing that we have no time and no imagination left for being. As a result, men are valued not for what they are but for what they do or what they have – for their usefulness.
– Thomas Merton

New Year Dysphoria & Euphoria

I began this post a few days ago, before I talked to my parents. I decided to keep what I originally wrote but add updates in blue. 

A review of this break

disney-princess-elsa

This break has been a bizarre but sometimes wonderful time for me. I’ve been home for the first time with my whole family since I came out to my parents and sisters.

I recently told two of my close guys friends that I’m transgender, and they both took it pretty well. I also got a change to catch up with my high school best friend and fill him in on how things have progressed. All went well.

Emotionally it’s been very up and down. On one hand I’ve been able to spend some beautiful quality time with the family, which is always awesome. I’ve been playing around with my baby brother, which is quite possibly the most wonderful thing in the world. On the other hand, coming home has increased my dysphoria. In general I’ve been very good about minimizing any actual gender dysphoria and focusing more on the positive aspects of being transgender, but for some reason being home makes me more aware of the social compromises I have to make on a daily basis and the person I have to pretend to be. At school it’s usually very subtle (probably because I keep so busy), but here in my own home I feel like I’m acting on a stage all the time, even when I open up more and ‘act natural.’ At the moment I’m totally ‘shut down’ – not allowing any femininity to peek through – since my parents when they talked to me told me they think any femininity coming from me is total bullshit. Anything I do, masculine or feminine, will somehow be used as evidence against me, so I’ve cut out the behavior that is the most ‘convicting.’ 

There have been several very random experiences of dysphoria that came out of nowhere. There was one day (the day before Christmas Eve) where I woke up feeling a strange instinct that my family wouldn’t tolerate any femininity today. Who knows if the instinct was correct (oh, it was), but I didn’t ignore it because when it comes to keeping the peace in my family, I never deny an intuition. That day I made sure to wear extra ‘masculine’ clothes, and even though the clothes were stuff I like and wear on a regular basis back at school, I felt a strong sensation of wearing a costume. As soon as I went out to see some friends, I changed into a more comfortable outfit. It wasn’t that I was wearing false clothes; it was the fact that I wore those particular clothes in order to please the macho expectations of my family, which made me aware that I was playing a role.

The other really strong dysphoric moment came from when I was at a girl friends’ house. I was sitting in one friend’s room looking across the hall at my other friend’s room. Her door had Disney princess pictures on it. As soon as I saw the Disney pictures, I had this strange rush of emotion that almost caused me to cry. The emotion was one of longing: I suddenly felt this huge sense of tragedy about my childhood and the present. I felt that I missed out on a beautiful normal female childhood in which I would have been affirmed as precious, but instead I’ve had a childhood full of pain and an adulthood thus far that is a mere continuation of that childhood.

This break has prepared me by trial by fire for what’s going to be a very difficult year. I know now for a fact that if I do end up transitioning, I will lose my entire family (immediate and extended) for a very long time if not forever. This has obviously made me question everything, but I still keep coming back to the same principles that hold firm despite the emotional instinct to forget all trans*ness for my family’s sake.

This New Year and what I know

When it becomes clear that your old life with your beloved family is distancing itself from you and taking everything with it, your immediate reaction is to scramble to preserve that old life and throw away the stirrings of new life if necessary. This process has made me question everything I know. I’ve realized how little I know about anything, but I’ve also remembered what is solid and what I know for sure. 

Here’s what I don’t know:

  1. I don’t really know if people are happy after transitioning. There are many voices out there saying that everyone is happier after transitioning, but then there are those people who detransition and whatnot. These people are few and far between, so the evidence definitely seems to be that people are happy, but there’s no way to know for sure.
  2. I don’t know if I’m mentally stable. I really really really think I probably am, but how do you really know for sure?
  3. I don’t know what I will do in the future. I have my desires, but they pale next to the massive weight of Life and duty. 
  4. I don’t know if it’s all a lie. Maybe I’m living in a dream. Who knows. People who say I am delusional are speaking from a place of ignorance, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be right by accident. My entire life experience bears evidence to me being one person, but maybe my experience is deceived.  There’s just no way to know for sure. 

Here’s what I do know:

  1. My gender identity is female. I wake up every morning and question myself to see if it still is, and every day without fail my entire interior life flows from a core female identity, as basic as my core human identity.
  2. I know I am different, and that God made me to be different. I don’t know what this implies for my future, but I know that God loves me for being his strange little child. 
  3. I know God adores me. 
  4. I know God loves me a lot. 
  5. I know that no matter what I’ll have to be a pioneer and crusader. The future is going to be extremely painful, but I can hope that the joys will outweigh the costs. 

Another way to express what I know is through the new Disney movie Frozen. The movie really struck me because of how much I relate to Princess Elsa. She has special magical powers which have the potential to hurt the people she loves most. In order to protect their family, her parents make sure she hides her powers away and shuts out the world. She spends here entire life in fear of what others will think if her powers are revealed. At last she doesn’t have the strength to hold them back since their potency grows every year. Terrified, she runs away to start a new life by herself where she won’t hurt anyone.

Needless to say, I saw Elsa as an analogy for being transgender. I don’t know how things got the way they are. I don’t know if my “magic power” was a mistake or a fluke of fate. What I know is now I am what I am and I’m blessed to be different. I don’t know for sure what it’ll look like if I show my true colors, but I do know it can’t be hidden. I don’t know if I need to do HRT to be me, but I at least know I need to be me.  

At the end of the day I am overwhelmed by hope. The future is a blank vortex of possibility right now, but there’s something incredibly exciting about that. I might be homeless in the future, I might be lonely, I might be a social outcast, I might be attacked, I might have to struggle day in and day out to be joyful, but I know there is One who stands with me. Christ will be with me all the way. I can’t be homeless as long as I have a home in His heart. I can’t be lonely as long as I have Him as companion. I can’t be rejected if He has accepted me. I can’t be attacked if He is my shield. I can’t be joyless if He delights in me. 

Heading into the New Year, this song fills my lungs as I belt it out into the winter air. I have a lot to figure out this year, but no matter what I hope to do it dancing and singing.  

Gallery

“Growing up Transgender” – An Original Comic

Growing up Transgender

a comic by annamagda4christ

Click on the images to see them in more detail,
OR click here to jump down to the image gallery.

PART 1: Striving (OR The False Self)

Strip 01

Strip 02

Strip 03

Strip 04

Strip 05

Strip 06

Strip 07

 

PART II: Thriving (OR The True Self)

Strip 08

Strip 09

Strip 10

Strip 11

Strip 12

The End



Check out the gallery below see each panel of this comic in more detail. 

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