"When the facts change I change my mind Sir. What do you do?"
- John Maynard Keynes
Thinking and acting in a different gender is hard. And it isn't
because one has to make stuff up ("Let's see, what would a woman do
here?") although there is a little bit of that in the beginning. No
what is hard is getting rid of the stuff I came with prior to transition, that
is, the layers and layers of thought that I imposed on myself to convince
myself that I had a male's brain (more of that in a great article from the WSJ
here.) The one scientific fact about being a transsexual (which is a cool
word in a way, far better than transgender or trans, as far as I am concerned) that seems to be certain, based on over 200 different neuroanatomy studies (see here)
is that a female transsexual’s brain is more like a woman's than a man's. So I never really had a male brain, and that makes sense in
so many ways looking back on how I tried to fit in, with a male body but a
And attempts to cope with that situation led to my cognitive layers.
We all have them, layers and layers of rules, rationalizations, and other
cognitive phenomena, especially as we get older. They influence our
behavior and thoughts, and I think that those layers are one of the things
Christ told us to get rid of: "Unless you be as a child..." And
sometimes we can and do, and move ahead happy with our simpler ways of
thinking. But not often and it has always amazed me how many layers there are; and how
we may never really get rid of them. For example, someone who is
constantly late may have any number of reasons for doing so, some of them a
reaction to authority ("I'm not going to live by their clock!") and
of course others.
What happened in my life was like that. I had to get rid of layers of
aggression, imposed on myself because the world constantly frustrated me,
because I was reacting the “Wrong” way, as a chick trying to be a guy, but I
don’t know that, just that I couldn’t get what I wanted, what others seemed to
have. So I resorted to aggression; beating
people up to get what I wanted. I became a football player, and then a
lawyer, skilled in meeting the battle.
But the problem was when I realized who I was (more on that in a previous
post here), I couldn’t use any of that, any of those layers I had built up over
almost 50 years. And those layers weren’t only bad. They
sustained me and allowed me to live, because even though I covered up my true
nature, I needed some coping mechanism, and that is what these layers were:
helping me cope with a condition that I may have dimly known I had. So I
had to, as well, try to learn new skills to replace the old; if the old would
have me yelling at people to get my way, the new had me not knowing what to do
to get my way.
And slowly, very slowly, the answer has come and it is a surprising one because, as I said
at the beginning, it isn’t making stuff up but simply reacting to what has been there all along, the small
voice inside of me, the one that I remember now was constantly present as a
child, before the layers and layers were created, the one that let me act and
be, before the wrongness of my condition became apparent to those around me,
and I learned to cover it up, and build the layers.
That voice is back, because I am a different gender, but the one I knew I was. It tells me to always be nice and act in
love, and be gracious and kind. And I
act that way and think that way now, all too poorly, but I try. And sometimes the layers do come back, and I have to look at what I am doing, using old ways, and interfering with who I am, confusing people too, becuase I almost become a strangley differnt person. But those are slowly becoming less and less, because I know it is all coping crap coming back, and I don't need that stuff now.
So this is a happy story too. I’ve finally
coordinated mind with body, changed my mind to accommodate new facts. And
it feels so…integrated, so secure, so damn right.