This morning I had an epiphany (an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking). I needed to get it written down, because ideas have crystallized here chéz Halle.
In this post I am going to use the word disability. Some might take my use of the term the wrong way, as though I am minimizing anyone else's difficulties. Please be patient with one who needs desperately to find a way forward.
In the last year and a half, the examination going on here has revolved around understanding a disability that has at times crippled me. Until I could know what strategies were available to eliminate or help me cope with it, the threat of further damage existed.
There is a way to correct it, but there are risks involved; both physical and mental risks, many of which I would be willing to take. Within that collection of risks however, there is a tipping point for my decision to live or deal with this disability. I will keep in mind that those considerations can alter with time, so the decision and path today is just that; today's path, for me.
People live with disabilities all around us. The most successful of these you would never know as 'disabled'. Their abilities are what defined them. They know about their condition, and they do not ignore it. They treat it. Once they have done those things needed to deal with it for that time, they move on and do everything they can do to lead a worthwhile and whole-hearted existence based on their collection of abilities.
I have a huge collection of abilities. I am not bragging. Many of them are very common. Some not so common too. If you have never catalogued your own blessings, do it. It is important that you should know how 'blessed' you are because living with your abilities is the strength of any plan to live well.
I am new to this as a way of living, but today I am convinced this is what I need now because continually rehashing the details of this disability is not helping me to deal with it better. Sure, I will continue to be aware of it; how can it be otherwise? It is always there, as is the knowledge of the treatment option. I will not stop blogging, but being bogged down in something I have made a conscious decision to accept is not a good option, so if it looks like that is where I am going at any time, I would really appreciate a metaphorical good swift kick in the ass from a sister or brother out there.
I was a little puzzled by the previous entry, but now things are clearer. I think it's great to focus on your abilities! And good to be reminded that I should focus on mine.ReplyDelete
When you mentioned about not being able to perceive someone's disability, I thought about people who suffer from chronic pain. There's nothing they can do other than to cope as well as possible, and with the right treatment that can be very effective. They don't focus on the pain. They focus on the rest of life.
I don't think I have anything profound to say. I have lived in ignorance of my situation for over 60 years. I really don't believe I will change anything except to come to an understanding in my own mind that I am what I am. There are too many consequences to doing anything else. I believe I can continue on my path only because I have my faith to sustain me. I can only pray that, like me, you are able to find that path with the least amount of consequences and disruptions. You have my continuing prayers. The Lord is gracious.
What makes who you are as a human being are your abilities, especially those that were not gifted but struggled for. Disabilities provide some of the lattice structure of your humanity. Making your disabilities into inabilities dismantles the structure thereby weakening you. Making them into abilities strengthens.ReplyDelete
I think that you are beginning to take a view of the whole of you and that can only be good.
I feel like we could spend years trying to come up with just the right metaphor, just the right analogy, to put into words what the transgender experience is like. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve used to try to explain to cis-people what it was all about.ReplyDelete
I rolled around the disability metaphor for a while. It came up for me after coming out to my dad, whose primary concern was that I’d been depressed as a child. It was hard to explain to him that about my gender, yes I was, but about everything else, no I wasn’t. I compared it to a person with a disability, blindness maybe or a physical handicap. Is life different, more difficult? Yes. It doesn’t mean you have to be unhappy.
I eventually abandoned that metaphor though for a few reasons. Mainly, I felt like for my own sense of self-worth I had to progress beyond the feeling that there was something wrong or defective about me. In a radical change of thinking, I determined not to mourn my transgender identity but celebrate it. It’s easy for a transsexual to focus on the feeling of being trapped in the wrong body – we are. I prefer, however, to focus on the fact that we are uniquely not-trapped in a single gender role, where most people in the world only ever get to experience one.
Of course, you could say, “I wish I’d never had to experience that first one…” And I may agree. On the other hand, the very fact that I have lived with this condition has helped define me as a person. If I were born physically female, I don’t know who I would be, but I would not be me. I like myself, so I have to say: I’m glad I was born this way.
At least most days I can convince myself of that…
Take care, kiddo, keep writing.
There simply does not seem to be just one pat answer to who we are. I like what Rhiann said, that we have to grow beyond even the very IDEA that there is something wrong with us. Why do we need to feel GUILTY about being different? I think it would be very hard indeed to find a transgender that says, "yeah, one day I just decided I wanted to dress, act, and maybe even be a woman."ReplyDelete
This condition, one of being different, is something just about everyone in the world says they want to be like. People say they hate to conform...that they want to be themselves, to BE DIFFERENT. Oh yeah?...really? Then why are they so shocked to discover a difference like we live with?...one that is a natural part of our life, not something contrived, perverted, or even unusual?
I suspect that over time, we will become more freely accepted. I keep hoping for that scientific study that verifies what we already know...that we are born different and need to live a little differently. We can't all transition, nor do all of us even want to. Just don't hate us for our differences.
Like Rhiann said, "I'm glad I was born this way."
I have to agree totally Suzi, feeling guilty is just part of the circle of hell and it is not part of a healing process at all, which is what I am in search of. Accepting what I am is definitely part of this shift in focus.ReplyDelete
Rhiann, being who I am, and what I am inside is something included in my catalog of blessings. The disability metaphor definitely does not work if we transition. That is the optimum path of treatment, and there is no disability to deal with. When you do as I am doing, and choosing to forestall the treatment for as long as possible, you are stuck with a disability. As I have suggested to a friend who emailed this morning, I am planning on taking a psychic 'pill' each morning. It acknowledges who I am and reminds me that I give thanks for that, then allows me to get on with a day full of activities that I could do just as well if I had transitioned last year.
There is no perfect solution, thank goodness, because woman or man, there is no pleasure or challenge in a life that is 'perfect'.
So I am finally glad I was born this way too.
By the way, Rhiann, thanks for the 'kiddo', it has been many years since that last time someone called me that and I always felt very special when she did.ReplyDelete
Hehe, sure thing. It's an old habit, I often don't realize I'm doing it and it doesn't occur to me that I might be talking to someone older than me, but no one's been bothered yet, as far as I can tell. :)ReplyDelete
Disability isn't necessarily a bad metaphor for this condition you find yourself afflicted with. Of course, with this disability, we're shunned rather than helped by society.ReplyDelete
At any rate, there are millions and millions of people living with all sorts of disability. Focusing on your abilities and your strengths sounds like a perfectly reasonable and positive, way to move forward.
Although, when talking about others with disabilities, you say that they treat it, and then move on. Do you feel that you've treated whatever it is that you have, or is it more that you're aware of what you could do to treat it?
At any rate, we'd all do well to remember that whatever we have going on, there are *lots* of positives about us, and focusing on our ability is a good thing!
all the best, my friend. xoxo
Teagan, I was just reading about the first 'cured' HIV patient, and reflecting on how people who were infected were treated thirty years ago. You are right. You don't have to do anything wrong for people to hate you mindlessly.ReplyDelete
As to the question you asked, yes, I am aware of the appropriate treatment (that I am putting off as long as possible). What I am doing right now is treating the symptoms.
all the best to you too!
Maybe it's also time to look at this little 'kiddo', way down inside you, and love it to pieces. No better way to treat any ailment we have, I think, Halle.ReplyDelete
Ellena, it is so very true, we all need to find that person inside. If we don't love that little 'kiddo' who will, eh? :)ReplyDelete
I've been reading the Sookie Stackhouse series of books. I just finished the 3rd book in the set. These are the kind of fun books that can take my mind off of other "thoughts"....or at least try. Frankly, however, my mind never leaves the world of what you term a "disability", no matter how hard I try.ReplyDelete
Sookie has what she terms a "disability". She's a telepath. Her mind is constantly buzzing with the thoughts of others around her.
So, I try to read a book as a way to get away from my "disability" and what happens, but I read this thing about Sookie's "disability"....and guess what comes to mind? It's a disability...that's what I have, complete with buzzing thoughts, just like Sookie!
That was a week or two ago, actually about the time you wrote this blog post, Halle.
I suppose it is far fetched, but we may have just been on the same wavelength...