Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Men Have Hang Ups Too

There is something I discover more and more as I grow into the male identity that I possess as well as conversations that I have had and overheard, but men do have sensitivities too.

But the difference is either they don't voice them or they can't speak of them due to expectations around them.

Last week when in the gets I overheard a conversation between two men.  One guy had been dumped and the ex had told him some unflattering things about his penis size.  He as clearly knocked in terms of his confidence and also his feeling that he could satisfy a woman. I felt sorry for him.  His friend was offering reassurance but it was obvious this guy would take a while to recover from that one.

Still something he said is something I have overheard mentioned in many a post break up conversation "Why wasn't I good enough" but things along those lines I have become used to hearing women say.  It did feel like a bit of a discovery to notice that men too have discussions about feelings and emotional and why not?

I am massively against the notion that in order to be a man that it means to have minimal emotions or not to talk about feelings as something  have discovered is that men do have feelings. They might not show it but I think a lot of this is down to socialisation.

OK I am not saying that everyone is doing it in a right or wrong way but I do find it interesting that wherever possible it is seen that men can't be the ones to cry or be the ones to feel emotional.  Instead they are expected to carry on and get through everything.  I am not suggesting either that everyone stops to become an emotional weeping mass either but the whole "Be A Man" thing can really grate on me sometimes in terms of how people express themselves.

I also realised how entrapping this can be too, particularly last year.  Literally for a few months since I started my transition I found it impossible to cry.  I didn't want to hold any emotions and inside I felt slightly barren in some respects.  I experienced some pain but overall I was coasting along in what felt like a shell of loneliness.

I was also experiencing what felt like a second puberty too which is something I am relieved I have stopped.  Emotionally absolutely everything I was thinking and feeling and wanting to explore changed very dramatically.

I started to care a lot more about how and with whom I slept with as having the new identity meant in a couple of ways I couldn't hide.  The removal of a binder in some ways is like removing one's own armour. Even now I feel exposed slightly when I take it off, even though I am with someone who see's me as their boyfriend I still have to take a deep breath before I remove it and remind myself that it's OK.  It's strange as it's not like E has ever given me any feelings to suggest such a thing, more to the contrary if I am to be precise, but this is something I know comes with me.

Another thing that I experienced when hitting that second puberty was a feeling if disjointed awkwardness when it came to sex. Even now I cringe at remembering how embarrassed I would feel and how clumsy I would feel too. I felt I didn't understand the first thing when it came to sleeping with a woman, I didn't know why I would be fancied and if I would be 'good enough' in bed or had a sexual prowess to begin with.  It was like learning everything again from scratch.

To couple that off I didn't just want to f*ck everyone in sight either. I spent too many years sleeping with people because we were both drunk, or I felt I owed something because they seemed to like me.  I had the wrong values and particularly now I have a new body and that I feel closely is the true me I am fussier and more protective about how I use that.

I don't want to use people or be used by people, and around then my sexual partner quotient that a few years ago could have ranged from multiple people in a week dropped to one or none. At the same time I am not ashamed of my past either nor heavily regret things I have done but I am pleased now that I do behave differently and that certain things have changed.

In many ways my behavior had to change as it's not so clear cut as to how I can go about having sex in the first place. I would always make it clear that I was transitioning but at the same time it's not overly easy to meet the types of people I would now be draw to.  I see people and yes there are queer spaces and lovely bars but I do by and large like what happens when you meet someone by chance.  That is something I see as controlled by fate.

Many things I put down to fate if I think about it further. I also have a weird sense in not wanting to take things I do have with people for granted or how they feel about me. If in a relationship with someone I never see them as someone who is just 'there' like a pair of shoes or something like that.  They are someone I cherish, love and desire.

Same applies for people that care for me, I don't expect them to nor think its something that isn't valued.

Also making any type of relationship takes dedication and hard work, well that is my view anyhow. If I believe in a relationship I have then I will make sure I put effort into not pissing the other person off, learning how to be with them and also exploring things with that person as well as enjoying whatever dynamics we have in place.

The right dynamics and right levels of communication keep things tightly bound. But I suppose these are the things that we learn and discover as we continue.

Generally I do prefer to avoid relationships if I know I am not in a position whereby I will want to have any types of emotional connection with someone or heavy intimacy. Yet it doesn't stop me desiring it, but for that reason I will never be involved in a proper relationship with someone unless I know I can give 100%.

Yet at the same time I know I like to have a nice relationship, one day I want to marry and have a relationship where I have been with someone for donkey's years and there is a a strong glow of building a strong bond, waking with someone you adore and cherish and not thinking that you're trapped or that your life is being affected or wondering what you are doing with that person. I do in some ways slightly envy people who do have all that but at the same time I admire and respect people who have maintained a long relationship and have managed to make things work. These people humble the inner romantic that lurks inside of me and gives me validation that relationships are worth having.

Still all these things come with time, I am soon to be 27. So providing I don't get claimed into the rock and roll hall of fame, in terms of meeting an untimely death, there are some things I want to get on with for the rest of my life. 

All of these things are especially on my mind right now.  From looking around me and also having personal thoughts and opinions on various things myself I look around and to some extent have started questioning everything.

I can't help myself, particularly now as there are things I see that are changing around me as well as things changing in me. I spent a lot of years feeling massively unhappy, and I have learned that the one main force that helps overcome certain things has to come from within.

We all hold the keys to our own happiness but it's how we use them that is the challenge.

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