Identity #4: If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?

Inspired by  All About Coming Out: The 5 Stages by XCELLUNA thank you for sharing your journey!! Also strongly inspired by my friend aunaqui who shows me what it’s like to be brave despite everything life throws at him in his blog Still Here

I struggle frequently to find the words to talk about myself. Whether it be a personal statement, or a “Who am I”, it’s a complicated answer, a rabbit warren of twists and turns, and blind alleys. I feel alien and weird all the time. I am a strange person and I’ve embraced that. I’ve embraced my fun brain, with its love of numbers, words, jokes, and random correlations. I’ve embraced my reconciliation with being a lone wolf, being the cliché in the windowpane looking in at friends and acquaintances having fun without me, that loneliness I’ve assuaged with my own company. I’ve embraced my own darkness, that there are corners  of my heart where I shine light and see nothing but ink and shadows. I’ve embraced my fear that I could easily become someone less compassionate, less human, and I’ve used that fear to tap down the voices of cruelty and remain on the straight and narrow. I’ve embraced the ice of words thrown with anger and malice, the deception, the lies. and have walked away a stronger person.

With all that has happened in my life, it was a bit of a disorientation to discover my orientation -no pun intended.

I identify as gender male, and it’s something I’ve always known about myself without thinking it was such a big deal. When I was a kid, I always knew what I wanted to be and before puberty, it was easier to look like a boy, simply by dressing and acting like one. Then puberty hit, and it was…weird. It changed everything. Instead of being the lieutenant in the adventure, I was the hussy who’s boobs were to be leered at. I was rather clueless about these things, I just noticed how boys started treating me strangely and that they wouldn’t talk to me anymore. Or they acted like it was a huge achievement when they did.

I was raised home-schooled in a religious focused home, and it didn’t come with anything remotely connected to sexual education, much less gender education. I spent hours going through prehistoric encyclopedias, looking up the 1970’s diagrams and pictures of pubescent changes and the horror of what my body was doing slammed home.

What do you mean I turn into a ketchup bottle once a month? And I have an innie and not an outie (pardon my crudity)?!

NOT what I expected to happen when I grew up.

But I didn’t think too much about it, I had bigger things happening in my life and this…stuff got shelved. I was too busy going through losing all my friends, sinking into depression, and navigating the emotional fugue of teen life.

Cleaning and kicking out my closet

Lately, I’ve been taking time to think a whole lot more about myself and who I am. After running in the pack-rat-race for the last 7 years, I finally had time to slow down, and in slowing down, I stopped outrunning all the things I hadn’t faced in my life.

And they were legion.

The proverbial punch in the face hit me when I was reading aunaqui’s Coming Out post. I remembered curling up on the floor and crying my eyes out in a very unmanly fashion. It was like this bird in my chest had finally flown free and I knew what it was -who I was.

Have you ever carried around a burden you didn’t even know you had? Crushing you down, but you’ve become so used to the pain and pressure that it’s just another day?

And I never even knew what it was called! It was like living in darkness forever, and seeing the light for the very first time. I didn’t have time for denial or excuses, that one solid truth struck my in my soul. That’s when I knew. Then so many other things liked into place like pieces of a puzzle after you’ve finally connected all the edges.

It became a “Oh, so that explains:”

  • Why I DESPISE dresses, skirts, and all the pomp and circumstance of such attire.
  • Why I proudly paraded about without shaving arms, legs or anything else
  • Why I was disappointed that my sideburns didn’t grow into a beard
  • Why I liked hanging out with boys more than girls and wanted to play football and not dress-up
  • Why I would buy my clothes in the men’s section
  • Why I daydreamed of cross dressing when heading to private christian school in the skirt and tie uniform. (the only part of that outfit I liked was the tie).

To name a few.

That first day, I was utterly shaken.

And then I woke up the next morning and thought “You’re just making this up. Stop trying to be such an attention seeker.” Heading to work I had all these thoughts chased around my head. Thoughts telling me I was mistaken, thoughts saying that it was wrong, thoughts of -what will everyone think?

So I did what I always do, I shoved the thoughts away and focused on the day-to-day stuff.

But it wouldn’t go away.

I’ll say another thing, for myriad reasons, I tend not to look in the mirror. I became unconsciously good at checking if my outfits matched without really looking at myself. I went home that day and really took a long hard look in the mirror. And the truth was there, so blinding I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

No excuses, no second guessing. I am male.

I felt…lighter for the first time. All those pesky voices receded and I just let myself be.

What are you going to tell  (insert family member here)  

Unholy terror.

That is what that thought inspires within me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really a secret I’m trying to keep (yeeesssss, great job posting on the internet, no one will ever see it here, *whispers snickering voice).

The first person I told was my friend aunaqui. Then I called my sibling and.. hyperventilated.

May I tell you, my sibling is the kindest, most loving person I have ever known. My sibling would find redeeming qualities in anyone. We are super close and we always have long conversations about anything and everything.

So it wasn’t that I was scared of what the response would be, I was scared because I felt poised on that lip of, “if you say it now, you’ll never go back. Do you really want to do this?”

I did… and I did. The response? “Oh okay, that’s not a big deal”, which is my sibling’s way of saying, this doesn’t change anything to me, we are still besties. Still love ya!

On the heals of gratitude came the thought -Anticlimactic much?

But that’s fear for ya, blowing everything out of proportion.

Except in the case of Le Parents

If you could see me right now, I’d be shaking my head.

If  you’ve read some of my older posts (The Strait Jacket of your Embrace to name one) there may be some indicators for how this will go. I’ve left hints to my Mom especially, and even that has been revealing.

I once told my Mom that my friend “invited his husband” to an event. She blinked, asked me if I meant “she invited her husband” to which I replied no, they are both male.

Which launched into this argument about God’s opinion on gay marriage.

Greeeaat!

Sometimes I say things like “one day, I’ll marry the guy or girl who respects me and loves me for who I am” and Mom will give me this look and say “why does it have to be a girl, don’t you mean you want to find a nice christian man?”.

Judas Priest!! I’ve severed the whole christian thing for 3 years now, how does this keep coming back?!

My favorite is the time when I was arguing on the phone with mom about the US decision a while back to allow gay marriage. Her stolid christian stance on the topic (far afield of our original conversation) nagged something in me that just wouldn’t stay silent about opposing her biblical position. In the course of our “dialogue” Mom at one point asked, “why does this even matter to you, are you even gay?”

“Maybe.” (As in why should that even matter?)

SILENCE.

I guess she expected me to say no, so she could retort that if I wasn’t gay, it shouldn’t matter to me (which is a stupid mentality, btw. Don’t have to be a child to love children, and so on and so forth).

The next thing I knew, she was driving up to see me for the weekend, with a library of christian books in tow. This is the typical response to things she doesn’t like about me, inundate me with doctrine about how wrong I am. I managed to dodge further dialogue with her on the topic, and managed to trick her into taking all those pamphlets and books back with her when she left.

So telling the parents is on hold for the moment. I’m certainly not going to drop it on them on Thanksgiving, I’d be trapped at their house for days while they called for an exorcist or something!!

In conclusion

of this unexpectedly lengthy post, I’m getting at the point that only I define who I am. Not religion, not politics, not my parents, and certainly not my fears. Every bit I learn about myself is discovered with much soul-searching,  agony and reconciliation with myself. So when I say who I am, don’t tell me that I don’t know what I’m saying or that I’m confused. Don’t belittle my struggle and my journey. If I had even a shred of doubt, I wouldn’t say a word. I am a grown man.

If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am.

*drops the mic

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Published by

opalflame

I am artist, analyst, author, poet, composer, musician to name a few aspects of myself. A bit of a jack of trades, I dabble into many fields that encourage the blossom of imagination and allow me to channel my creativity. I dream vividly and view the world through the lens of optimism and opportunity while acknowledging the ink and shadows.

17 thoughts on “Identity #4: If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?”

  1. a huge hug for you! it hasn’t been easy for you and thank you so much for being so honest, so open to share about yourself. it’s so raw and filled with truth. i’ve to confess that i did tear a little after reading. wishing you all the best xx

    Like

  2. I don’ shave my legs and will never do, not for anyone Don’t wear make up either, I bought sometimes clothes in men section. I don’t own pumps. I embraced my darkness a long time ago and accepted that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Greetings Ro,

    Thank you for your comments and points, I read it over and over to absorb everything you were saying. So much of what you wrote hit the mark, and helped me see this from another perspective, including my Mom’s. You are correct, the primary person on my mind is my Mom, as I’ve been very close with her and she’s been one of my greatest supports in life. I guess the majority of my fear in that regard stems from past experience with her being stuck in the “must-save-her” mode rather than the “listen-to-her-for-a-second” mode. That was rough and I’d like to avoid going back there if possible. We both had regrets from that experience and we’ve come a long way since then. My Dad is in the picture, but he’s very quiet, and takes my Mom’s lead on everything so if anything I’m more worried about her reaction than his.

    I hear the ring of truth in what you are saying, especially regarding Mom’s feeling of failing me and vice-versa. She’s mentioned this to me before, and that threw me. I also think that I have to focus on seeing her for who she is now and connect with her to help her see who I am now also. Mostly, I just don’t want this to be another fight. But I’d much rather get it over with than keep subtly fencing with her every time the topic comes up.

    I also have to remember not to get mad if she does retreat behind her religion on this.

    Thank you, you’ve given me a lot to think about. And I hope to conclude this when I see her on Thanksgiving, I’d much rather do this face to face than over the phone or some other equally insensitive method. I owe her that much at least. And I want to give her a chance to love all of me, not just the part she sees or thinks she sees.

    I’ve said thank you a lot, and I mean every word because you’ve done much to open my eyes on this. So it is with supreme gratitude that I say thank you for your message to me and for taking the time to walk me through your thoughts on my situation. And thank you for sharing your experiences with me, it’s not easy to talk about life struggles and experiences such as what you’ve faced. Do continue to be strong for yourself as you have helped strengthen me.

    ~Be well,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greetings Ro Donovan, no worries. I judge by actions/comments, not by follows, if that makes sense.

      Things went alright, I wrote about it in Identity #5, if you have time to read. Thanks for the thoughts, prayers and comments of support, I really appreciate it. Hang in there, take your time and don’t beat yourself up. As someone once told me, the message is in the intent. ☺

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Jace,

      Yes, absolutely I’d grab a drink with you! It sucks that we live so far apart, but even with this distance I feel as close to you as a brother.

      I used to debate over which superpower I’d want. At first, I wanted to be invisible, then I wanted to be a genius with all the knowledge in the world. Lately, I’ve decided that I want to have the power to teleport, because I could instantly be there for you. I cheer for all the steps you’ve made in becoming the person you’ve always wanted to be. I’ve cried when you’ve been frustrated and sad, and I have so many hugs to give you when I see you again that we might need a crowbar to separate us afterward!!

      ❤ Hugs and Love!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Dear,

    You write so well, I got hooked right from the first paragraph and couldn’t stop reading through it all–though I rarely read so much without images–I am not a good reader at all!

    Thanks for sharing. I have shared it on social media. I hope you find more satisfaction 🙂

    Have a great weekend 🙂

    Love and light ❤

    Anand 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Greetings Vibrant,

      Thank you for your kind words. And please feel free to share, my written words are as rain from the clouds. 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed reading and thank you for your well wishes.

      ~Be well

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow. I think you are very courageous. I bet you feel so much better having written it all down – vulnerable but better! I agree with the above comment that it is likely that your parents already know. Don’t hold it in for too long, you need to be who you are.

    Good luck to you and I hope you find writing about it helpful. You will find much support from your fellow bloggers. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Greetings Beingmepresently,

      Thank you, it does feel like relief to talk and write about my journey -yet it’s so scary at the same time! Its sometimes feels like baby steps on ice, going further each day, and trying not to fall through. I’ll be glad when I can get past this tremulous stage, and I agree that talking to my parents is the next step. I don’t always feel courageous, but the mark of bravery is whether one runs towards or away from their fears. And I’m tired of running.

      Thank you for your words of support. They mean more than I could express on paper.

      Liked by 2 people

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