Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Sink Or Swim?

Pressure is everywhere right now. Everyday I wake up I have pain in my chest as I feel I have the weight of the world resting on my shoulders and I am starting to reach a point where I feel I might implode from the inside.

My heart hurts, my head hurts and my chest now hurts.  Why? Well there are certain things I am not going to put on this as they are personal and I think it's a bit inappropriate to shove absolutely EVERYTHING down on a public blog, but at the same time I won't be dishonest and pretend everything is amazingly hunky dory when it isn't.

Life doesn't always work like that and a crucial part in growing up is standing up and being counted every once and a while as well as assessing what it is that truly drives us, fires us and makes us truly happy.  Without being too selfish about it.

Being a human means by default that we are a slightly selfish species. We aren't just content with having food, water and mating like other animals do.  We want to travel the world, we want nice things, we like to eat different types of food and we have cravings for different clothes and maybe other things like ipods and iphones.  OK in context this is how we are in a consumerist western sphere.  This is based on having come cash flow and having a choice.

For some this reality isn't a feature. This is also the needs and wants of someone who comes from privilege. Something else I am acutely aware of.

But looking at other things it isn't always about money and material possessions. For some it is but for a lot of us it's a vast array of things in which we crave. Some have multiple lovers for every month or every season. Certain people don't have relationships because they are constantly looking around for a fresh newer model of person all the time. This is how people choose to live.  Just as some people like to have very long relationships where they grow old together and wake up morning and realise they have no teeth left.

I hope to have that one day but at the same time I wouldn't (consciously) put that pressure on each successive partner I might have in life.

This is the thing to remember though, we are all different and what makes us happy is a truly unique thing.

There are nights where I crave not to be out but to have a quiet night in where I cook something and E and I have a nice night where it isn't defined by having to be somewhere at a certain time or having to 'slot' in a load of things.  This is something which makes me happy.  Just as I love seeing friends, exploring different spaces and seeing what the world and my city has to offer.

If you live in London there is a lot of culture to be experienced if you want it and it doesn't have to be super expensive.  But that's the thing. Whatever we do wherever we are, everything has a cost - be it emotional or financial.

Creativity is important to me as that is what drives my senses and passions. If I don't have culture in my life I withdraw into myself and become miserable.  The same applies if I don't make movements in my daily routine.  I can't sit still for too long as that kills me. I need to feel I am alive in many respects otherwise I retreat and bad thoughts start surfacing.

My internal settings are not ideal. But over the years I have learned to manage the depression I have as best I can and over the last year have found better ways in which to deal with it. It's not always easy and if I am entirely honest I am in one right now.

My gender changes are something which is starting to turn into a massive internal and external battle but right now there isn't a lot I can do and it does frustrate me. In some ways having this blog is a very cathartic thing as it helps me to really get things off my chest.

I am back to not passing so well, but ultimately it is my voice that gives me away.  Or if I am having a phase where I feel fat I feel it is my body shape that gives me away.  This fraudulent feeling then becomes heightened when I remove my clothes and see that I have a pair of breasts hanging from my chest like an alien attachment.

This is also extended to then seeing how the skin has changed around them from binding and I sometimes feel disgusting. Now I know there are a million positive thinkers and even people who care about me who might think or say that I shouldn't think or feel these things but the simple fact is I do.

Being incognito with my body on the streets is fun a lot but feeling the mini rush of knowing I have passed well versus the feeling of shame when I haven't.

Now I know this is something I need to deal with and for the most part I do.  But you know something, its really fucking exhausting sometimes when I feel I have to sneak around in changing rooms and toilets hoping I don't get caught for the 'imposter' I have become.

I do wish sometimes that I would have been happier being a masculine female.  But I feel I am male.

But I am a male that doesn't feel he needs to have been born with a cock. I don't need that but sometimes I like having it. It really does depend on what mood I have.

Yet with groups of people I mix with I am starting to feel a bit more separated from lesbians. I used to be one yet I don't think its appropriate to identify in that camp as now I am male identified.  Yet at the same time I do like to retain links to the female community I was once a big part of. Just as I would like to build more links with people like me, but there are some differences.

I am not taking hormones and I am comfortable having a vagina.  For some this is too much of a headfuck an I understand.  Living with it is a big enough of one, but I like to be as honest as possible. Especially when feeling a sense of difficulty - there isn't much else we can otherwise do.

But the main thing I am discovering in all of this is that theoretically it is all going well. I am living a good life yet inside I feel a weird impurity almost in all of this.  I want to cry a lot of the time right now as there is something missing.

I have small phases whereby I feel vile. I feel angry with my body and I feel angry with myself for sometimes feeling that I have messed up my entire life and making things more complicated. Yet at the same time I was born in half of the wrong body and therefore the hybrid in me is fucked up. Or I feel is fucked up.

I also have a lot of anxieties. I have to explain a lot of things a lot of the time and sometimes it tires me. If I became single tomorrow I feel that no one would ever love me again or understand me in the way I feel E does.  Yet at the same time those thoughts are ridiculous and it creates a tension and pressure that isn't fair on either of us.

Relationships are hard work and scary things at the best of times and sometimes I feel that I have let her down because in many ways I am a complex kettle of fish.  If we were a straightforward lesbian relationship maybe things would be simpler. We would sit on beaches together in bikini's, there wouldn't be a worry of what toilet can I use or a fear that she might get branded as straight or that if we do things together will it make us be fitting into a hetereonormative sphere?

To be super clear these are things that I think about. But it is a concern that to be with me there is a lot for someone who identifies as a dyke potentially loses.

Which in effect makes me sometimes feel a strange sense of guilt.  Almost the same guilt I have experienced when I realised how far my poly potential was or isn't if I love someone. I've never set out to be a restrictive force or that of a jailer but when I love someone I can't share my heart in a way i cn if I don't love someone.

I am much better at having multiple connections with people when I don't ave masses of emotions as there are boundaries within that.  Ultimately I can keep loose connections and lovers for years as long as we don't fall for one another, that is when things get messy. Well for me they do. Who knows what the future will bring but ultimately I have to feel safe and secure.

Right now i don't have those feelings or capacities. It still doesn't stop me feeling like a failure.  Especially as when I was younger I had loads of loose and open the relationships. It seems that as soon as I fall in love I panic and therefore have potential to fuck everything up around me, as in actual stone cold reality I think I suck at relationships sometimes.

But I'm learning as best I can.  I know fundamentally I like to make sure that both people feel loved, supported and have most of their needs met and accomodated for where possible and boundaries firmly negotiated and things to be as fair as possible.

This is how I feel things should be.  For the most part I feel I do this.  But sometimes I turn into a grouchy beast that starts whacking on self destructive thoughts and before I know it I feel that no one cares when in fact they do.  It's not nice and on more thinking it's rather cruel.

I hate it. 

I also hate feeling like people are avoiding me because I am different. I knew that I might lose a few friends or some friendships might drift but I hate to admit this but I feel this to be the case right now on a few instances. Also it's something that is to do with life. We are always changing and people we are close to move in different cycles. I sometimes think it's either because I am a pain in the arse or people think I am a freak.

So this is the summary of what is swirling around and amongst this I am also trying to set up a website and one thing I am learning is that working for yourself is really difficult.  There is no let up, ideally if you are not on it 24/7 there is constant pressure that something will screw up or evaporate.

The rewards will come for sure but right now it is crunch time and I need to breathe and assist in what will be something great.  I really care about what I am working on and my main concern is that people will like it and want to use the site and interact with it. This is something I think everyone making a website feels though so we'll see what comes through in testing.

There is a lot to smile about and will be smiled about but now things are going to the wire and my mind can't keep up with my body and heart. But this is something people go through and can survive. It's all about that.  Good old sink or swim.

Monday, 4 April 2011

What have I done?

I am sure that everyone thinks this at some stage during their transition.  But right now I am experiencing a lot of confusion surrounding being in a new gender. Sometimes it isn't easy.  Particularly when I am not passing well. Even though I find it amusing in one respect that I will be addressed as a female it still bites at me.

I still have certain elements of bureaucracy to wade through right now and I am still between two genders not just emotionally but legally too. Which is a first step but in situations whereby some ID is needed still for Leng Montgomery it can make things complicated and frustrating.

When I am near my time of period I hate feeling as emotional as I do now.  But also underneath a lot of layers of all sorts I know I am slightly unhappy at the moment.

I can't help but sometimes question as to why I am doing this? I had a good weekend at the LLGFF on the Southbank this weekend.  On a couple of nights that seemed to be full of wall to wall lesbians I did find myself thinking and almost wishing that I was like them.  I do sometimes wish I had been comfortable being in the body I was born in.

I then feel like I wouldn't feel this disjointed feeling that I get every so often and the feeling that I am lying a lot of the time. When I get home I have breasts. They are there and there is no avoiding them. I also am comfortable with the fact that I have female genitals. Only as a female, I wasn't comfortable with them. Or having any reminder that I was female gendered. But being a man with female bits is something I understand and feel comfortable about but not as many people understand without needing some form of explanation.

Yet the reality is I don't feel I am overtly male, well not too much anyhow.  I also am starting to feel like that isn't quite the accepted thing in areas that are surrounded mostly by women and even being in a relationship with a dyke.  I feel sometimes that I have different rules to live by because I am male. By mentioning that I have been born female bodied seems to put some circles at rest that I haven't waded in tried to adopt as much male privilege as possible and then added insult to injury by trying to steal lesbians from other lesbians.

There are a lot of things I could have tried to be but they aren't the person I am. I was never a butch, I also never felt I was FTM. I just knew I was male identified and fit somewhere around there.

I understand on one aspect but on another level it makes me feel that I am in an unequal situation because of where my gender is. I'm not aggressive and I am not macho which are two stereotypical male traits yet at the same time because of this I am feeling I am viewed as a weak and sissy like boy.

This too isn't who I am.

I am starting to tire of feeling so labelled and judged. In many ways I feel I am turning into a slightly empty shell. I serve a purpose to be present, to do this and to do that but I have become slightly lost as to what I do next. I feel I am losing track of who I am because I feel I am conforming to a billion rules that are all about everyone else, or adhering to a system and doing things that mean I tick all the correct boxes.

I am fed up of having assumptions placed on me or feeling that assumptions have been made which I pick up on with how people speak to me sometimes.  Yet at the same time people will and people do.  I should try and ignore people more but then that would mean I would be in even more isolation than I already am in some respects.

It also makes me worry about relationships and particularly observing other relationships. This hasn't been an issue in mine but what if a situation arose whereby I was deemed too male to be with a woman? Particularly as I don't identify as a straight man nor feel that I am vaguely straight?

But I don't feel as gay as I used to either. All I feel is pressure.

I am all for feeling gender fluid but there are so few circumstances where that really is the case. People may support me or respect me but at the same time they don't have to be me. It's quite easy to have a friend who is a bit different as there is a detachment there as well as the knowing that it isn't your reality.

I saw the 'Becoming Chaz' documentary and there were some bits of that which made me cry.  Firstly his Mother's attitude and also his partner.  I understand (especially when that was filmed) that he was in his first 6 months of transition when the filming started. There were some moments that really hit me in the gut and I did on a few occasions feel really sad for him. I couldn't help but wish that more people would see how this was for him rather than just feeling that it was all about how it impacted on their lives.  But stuff like this does affect everyone, I just couldn't help but feel the two important women such as Mother and girlfriend were a little self absorbed.

I remember for my first 6 months I was pleased to be semi single. I was dating but it was slightly detached as my lover didn't live in the same city as me and we had very constructed dates.

We would meet in arranged time and in many ways it was a break from our day to day lives.  There wasn't also much room for it to get too emotionally entangled.  Yet we cared for each other and are good friends now. I think I will always care for her especially as I was just starting to figure out who I was and she was gentle with me.

I am grateful for that.

When I met E I was 7 months into transition and in some ways I do wish we had met a little later but at the same time it did feel organically right too. Love happens when it's meant to happen and the type of love we fell into then and still have now is a very sweeping type that had an intensity but also constantly grew.  I was relieved not to be in a firework situation whereby we burned out (or burned each other) so quickly.

But during my transition I have tried not to rely emotionally upon her.  If I have needed to sort out appointments for things or even when I have been thinking of making certain movements, once certain I have gone and done it.  If I have felt uncertain she has offered me reassurance but I do see a lot of this as things I need to work out for myself and I don't want to dump my emotional stuff on someone else.

Or not in an intentional way.

Just as I want to be respected for who I am I respect who she is as well. It isn't always easy for either person in a relationship and particularly in one like ours. But we muddle through in a way that seems to work well for us both.

Love is love after all.

Just as I am lucky to have a Mum that loves me for who I am.

Now all I need to do is to find my comfort zone again. It will happen, eventually.