I am man. I am woman.

I affirmed myself.

I am a man
I am soft and gentle
I am a woman
I am powerful

It is important to me to be able to bring out all aspects of my personality. I toyed with calling myself non-binary. Labels can explain me to myself, or to others; permit or restrict my actions. Perhaps I do not need to explain myself. I am just me, accept or reject me as you choose.

I found it difficult. At the weekend, I was more in performing and introspective modes. I performed my poetry: Transferable Skills gives a wide choice of performance, and I crescendoed and then made my most shocking claim in a conversational tone. It is a caring, generous audience but I feel their more positive reactions and got a laugh. And performing can be a mask: I drop into bombast or humour. An act has to come out of myself, has to be something I am capable of feeling, but need not be what I feel in that moment. My desire was to move between those ways of being, in the moment, to glissando up and down and around; so that from one state, I could move to any other, without imagining it impeded by how I was before. I described it as moving effortlessly between my “man” and “woman”.

It is not effortless. I have felt this before- weeping or angry shouting leading to a state where I am calm and able to feel my feelings, able to be where I am. Weeping has made me authentic. I pass through pain to freedom. Or, I resist, then cease to resist: I fear authenticity, cry out against it, then relax into it.

Our exercise is discussing sex, and I do not want to be there. I want to be heard and held elsewhere, express misery, make statements of intent. I can seek a safety net before letting go: I can explain, calmly, what I want and arrange it and then express distress and hurt. The request begins rationally and becomes desperate. I grab my clothes and run from the room- and people are concerned for me but not hostile, they wish me well. I am not disrupting. There. A public moment of distress and self-protection.

And then I am with difficulties and desires, accepting my own feelings as others have accepted my feelings.

Or, I have expressed feelings publicly and not died- the world did not end. I feared the world would end because of childhood experiences where I had a tantrum, perhaps, and was not loved. Now I have my tantrum and am accepted. Aha! Tantrums are OK!

It is lovely to express feeling forcefully, and a useful skill to feel it intensely and permit it without showing outward signs.

I imagined it as being “man” or “woman”, but H asked which I was, when I burst into tears and ran from the room. I said I was just me. She asked again. I said, I was just me. It is not just man, or woman; not just the rational being or the feeling animal; or both. Or, I took down barriers within myself which prevent me from moving easily from expressing myself one way or another, using parts of me or other parts. The barriers are unnecessary now, they come from earlier calculations of how to be safe which no longer apply.

After that I could affirm myself. I am a man, I am soft and gentle, I am a woman, I am powerful. More:

I am myself, and that is alright.
I am intellect and feeling
desire and empathy
giver and receiver

I am invulnerable, because I am willing to be vulnerable. No part of myself is unsafe for me to be. I can move between them. I am far too beautiful to hold myself back!

5 thoughts on “I am man. I am woman.

  1. you are Clare and that is enough but the world cannot bare this so they must put you in a box. it doesn’t really matter what your genitals look like or what clothes you wear. This truth is becoming more and more acceptable as the natural variations to the rigid binary become evident and others who have bought into the model through fear see fit to free themselves as well…


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