Trans people have experiences which are hard to bear. How do we recover?
I realised I still have fear, shame and resentment over incidents ten years ago. Shame- I blame myself. Resentment- I blame others. These two are contradictory, indicating I do not have an emotional understanding of those incidents.
If someone abuses me in the street, their bad reaction to me is wholly because I am trans. People I interact with have a range of responses, and that I am trans may be part of the cause. I have been shamed for it since I was a child- I am bad, because I am that way. So I feel shame, or internalised transphobia. That shame has no place in a healthy person or society. I feel pride that I can express who I really am, and pride in the beautiful human that is me. I might decide that rationally, though, and still be subject to feeling shame and being shamed.
I am still not sure about that shame. Is it that others would want me ashamed, or want to shame me, or do I project that on people? Just because I know intellectually shame is inappropriate does not mean I have shed it.
Nor am I sure whether I am experiencing emotion about the past event- my inner critic tells me to get over it, it is done with- or about the continuing consequences of it. These are hard to disentangle.
I would like to respond to my situation now. That is the Krishnamurti position: be aware of what there is, now, and respond to it as a full human being. What gets in the way? Introjected ideas which harm me, such as internalised transphobia, and bad experiences in the past which may make me fear bad experience now, and make me unduly cautious.
Also, a great deal of unprocessed emotion gets in the way. Before transition, I carry on grimly putting one foot in front of the other, bracketing feelings of hurt and anger because you have no space for them now, and now I have all that hurt, never processed, which I still carry.
“I am worth more than this.” It seems to me humans are attuned to hear messages both admiring us and putting us down. It helps us live together: two people both claiming status over the other might fight. Could I ever ignore the messages putting me down, and what would happen then?
I have two apparently rational and conflicting views. One is that my emotions are healthy, evolved to help me respond to the world and I should pay them attention. The other is that I bear a burden of past unprocessed emotion which gets in the way of seeing where I am now.
How do I feel about my life? It is a huge question. All my past, all my circumstances.
Transitioning is lifesaving.
Trans is who I am.
I have a right to express myself as I really am.
So much of this blog has been devoted to painstakingly working these things out, and a fair amount has been devoted to disputing them, denying them, trying to find a way round them, or respectfully engaging with those who would dispute them. It is a great burden.
These are the messages I need for health, to take into myself, to accept. I might then unpick how I feel about my life, and be better able to consider what to do now.
This is the Allegory of Grammar by Laurent de la Hyre, a Parisian painter (1606-1656). The Latin means, “A meaningful utterance which can be written down, pronounced in the proper way”.