I was reminded today how I used to (and occasionally still do) seek approval from the outside world. This can be in reference to anything; weight, job, looks, education level and so on. Today though I’m going to use my story as a transgender male as a reference for this. While everything and more of what I listed I and many others have sought approval for it wasn’t until I chose to transition to male that it came at me full blown.
For the 20 some odd years I claimed to be a Lesbian it did come up but I was always surrounded by others who felt the same way. It wasn’t that I didn’t wonder why people “couldn’t accept me” or that I didn’t long for people to “love me as I am” or at least “accept me for who I was,” I did. I came out in the late 80’s early 90’s I had signs in my face about how “God hates fags” that I should “burn in hell” that I deserved to “Die” because I loved in a way that those holding the signs didn’t want to understand. At the same time though I was surrounded by people who did love me and accept me for who I was. I could go into places that were full of others and at least feel like I “belonged” like there was a whole section of the world that was “on my side” and “understood how I felt.”
When I transitioned I didn’t have that. It’s not that I COULDN’T have that, it was that I chose to separate myself out. I chose not to join support groups. I chose not to find like minded people. I left the community that I had once been in, even though many of them were still there to support me and tried to “pass” in a world that I felt I was unfamiliar with. I felt that it was different, that it would somehow eat me alive. That the slightest misstep would end my life or at least leave me vulnerable to a very harsh outcome. My chosen path purposely led me to feeling unsafe, vulnerable and at risk in my everyday life. I accepted this because I felt that that was just “how it was,” I didn’t realize at the time it was what I felt I deserved.
I entered a relationship with a woman who had never really even heard the word “transgender.” I used as few words as possible to describe the meaning. I tried to leave as much out as I could hoping that she wouldn’t one day “wake up” and realize that I wasn’t the guy she thought I was. I hid myself from her not only physically but emotionally. I had always had issues regarding sex and sexual expression and the more I hid from her the more I pulled away in that arena too. The less physical affection I gave her the more and more I condemned myself to an emotional prison that I didn’t know how to escape from.
At the same time I hid from her I was constantly battling the “why can’t I be myself,” “why can’t people see past this,” “why can’t people just see my heart and not my body,” why why why can’t people just accept me for who I am? As much as I claimed I wanted people to accept me the less I realized I didn’t expect myself. I had struggled with this issue for years, I was 4 or 5 when I knew I was “supposed to be a boy.” I had stuffed those feelings as far as I could and it wasn’t until the age of 36 that I did something about it, finally. I never realized that all those years I had been developing such a hurdle for myself that it would take several more years to get over.
As much as I pointed at the outside world and how they were intolerant, unjust, unloving, uncaring, violent and harsh I never really looked at myself. I had what is commonly called “dysphoria” in the psychological community regarding gender. The interesting thing is if you look up the psychological definition of gender dysphoria in wikipedia it says; “Gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder (GID) is the dysphoria (distress) a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth.” If we look up the definition of dysphoria period we get; “a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life.”
I find the two definitions fascinating in regards to what we know about Higher Consciousness and the dispelling of stories that have in a way all led to our distress of life. That while my path may have been to get over body issues via choosing to believe in my stories about being transgender another maybe doing the same thing dealing with weight issues, beauty issues, not being comfortable in social situations, their choice in sexual orientation, choosing to be one gender or another, choosing to be one race or another, choosing to be from one country or another and so on. We all have taken on something (or several things) that we use to point ourselves back to loving ourselves.
When we point the finger at others we are really telling ourselves this is what I want. I want respect, I want love, I want tenderness, I want acceptance but it isn’t that we want it from those outside, we want it from ourselves. Where are you not accepting yourself? Where are you not loving yourself? Where are you not tender or kind with yourself? How have you become the victim of your own judgment? While we are so used to focusing our attention on those outside of ourselves it really comes down to what we aren’t giving ourselves that we really need.
I hid myself because I didn’t want her to see… me. I didn’t believe I lived up to being a “man.” I was stuck on the body definition of what a man should/should not look like. I was stuck on how my body should look, should feel, should be able to do. I was stuck on everything that my body wasn’t. I never once looked at how I was. What I put out energy wise. How I felt about myself in regards to this. I never once thought of myself as a man. I considered myself to be a guy stuck in a woman's body and that is exactly what I portrayed.
I would try and rationalize it for myself. There were parts of me that “knew” I was male but the picture didn’t add up to me and yet I was pissed off at everyone else for seeing exactly what I kept seeing. I would see little things that really made no difference but I would make them HUGE and that was all I would see. I wouldn’t see the goatee I would see the fact that I couldn’t grow a mustache. I wouldn’t see how people referred to me as male I would only see my thin wrists or my lack of muscle (mostly cause I don’t like to work out). I wouldn’t see that every time I walked out of the men's room nobody noticed I would only wait to be “found out.”
I criticized myself over and over and over for not being “enough,” good enough, strong enough, big enough, tall enough, hairy enough, too hairy, whatever I could come up with. I wouldn’t see how my partner looked at me, how she loved me, how she believed I was exactly what she saw; the man she loved. All I kept doing was refusing to approve of myself, refusing to validate myself, refusing to love myself for exactly what I am, me.
Even with the my gaining more and more knowledge about Higher Consciousness, how we develop stories early on, how we can change those stories to accept ourselves, love ourselves, believe in ourselves and eventually know who and what we really are. Even with having the experience of embodying my Higher Self/Soul a few times. With feeling myself as an energy being, with feeling my heart open up to all others and experiencing how we are all one I still held that love back.
Recently I’ve been brought into a new relationship. This one is centered on my Higher Self wanting me to love my body the way it is. I’ve known this from the beginning that this was part of our contract. I’ve known that she was here to show me how to love my body and I continue to balk at it. I am filled with love and a desire for her I haven’t felt in years, it has a purpose, it brings us closer and closer and yet there are times she will talk about my body and I still push her away.
We haven’t met in person yet and I know that this is because it is giving me time to get used to the idea of someone touching me. It has also given me time to get comfortable with me touching myself, something I have only just started doing without the feeling of repulsion or despair at not being what I wanted to be. She is going through her own version of this, looking at her own history, coming to terms with what and how my body presents. Not because she is rejecting me or my energy or my beliefs but because she wants to love me for all of what I am. The body I chose, the energy I am, the Higher Self she is connecting with and the human I show her every so often with all its flaws.
This is new for me. This is where I am learning to accept myself. I started off by trying to convince her to love who “I really am” the Higher Self, the energetic being with no gender, the one that chose to incarnate in this aspect this way. Instead she is changing it on me, she is asking me (via my Higher Self's input) to love all aspects of this choice. To love the body I chose, to love the energy I am, to accept the human as it is and to embody more and more of my Higher Self as my heart opens up more in doing so.
The approval I keep asking of everyone else I’m really asking of myself. Yes my human believes it is male, yes my body is here as female (with some modifications) and yes my Higher Self is neither but all together make up the path I chose. The acceptance is not about the body, it’s about all the love I have denied myself because of believe I was one thing over another. The acceptance is in overcoming, seeing through and transcending the story that my body is somehow me, that my body is wrong, that it deserves to be condemned because it does not live up to standards I believed were set in stone. The acceptance is in how I learn to love myself, to join all of my bodies; physical, mental, emotional to allow more light in, to allow more love in, to allow more of my true self, my Higher Self in. Acceptance of myself is the key I sought from everyone else, not knowing it was in my own hand all along.