Monday, September 19, 2005

Forgiveness

(by Rhenaiya Jesson)


If I take pause and try to identify the source of my fears and frustrations I am always face to face with prejudice and the perpetuation of stereotypes in society. The harshest realizations are when I see that I am guilty of them myself from time to time. I make a point of being non-judgmental and I curse myself when I make gross generalizations. Even though I abhor this kind of behavior, I slip up on occasion. I guess to err is only human.

I am a trans-gendered person in the early stages of transition. I have yet to make the leap from living as a male to being my true female self and though my conviction is pure I fear the way I will be treated by society at large. If not for this fear I would already be comfortably living as a woman regardless of the fact that my body has yet to evolve into a state of balance with my mind. Instead I dread being the target of mockery, violence and injustice at the hands of the ignorant. I cannot be enslaved by this trepidation.

At the moment I have the ability to conceal that which makes me different which grants me refuge from my fears of persecution. I must acknowledge the other groups that face similar problems as I have, people who fought against oppression in the past and those who still fight for equality now. Those who don’t have the luxury of hiding their skin color and face their struggles without choice. I have such love and the utmost respect for the people brave enough to battle against racism, sexism, bigotry and every other device of social injustice. You are my heroes, you inspire me and I applaud you.

Nobody can undermine the value of love but I think that empathy is one of the single most important abilities humans possess. It makes it so very hard to be cruel or malicious to someone if you know what it would feel like being the victim. It’s possible the people who find it easiest to hurt others are people who ignore their own emotions or even worse, hate themselves. That is where the next most important abilities become obvious. It is the gift of forgiveness, not just of others but of oneself. Guilt is just a form of self punishment and must not be overindulged.

There will inevitably be a day when I step proudly into the scrutinizing light of social acceptance. No matter what happens I will forgive them. To err is human nature. To forgive is mine.

Rhenaiya Jesson

2 comments:

Alexis Rene said...

"No matter what happens I will forgive them. To err is human nature. To forgive is mine."

You are miles ahead of me Rhenaiya. I am with you on the forgiveness part. I actually wish I had your complete perspective but it baffles/angers me to no end watching people engage in the downing of others due to a lack of education in human nature. You did make a good point of self hate and the downing of others as there is so much of this that exists sadly enough !

I live and work in a small town, So within that setting there are some very strict unspoken ground rules about expression of yourself and friends you can be seen with in public. As it seems that you will be banished even more so than the "different" person you are with. This goes with any locale but essentially if I am to excel at my current work place I need to marry a gg in a hurry. pop out 2.3 kids while spending the weekends painting my picket fence.

It doesn't even matter if the different person is black,white, hispanic or gay to being a cd. It all ends up in the same trash being spoken by the same negative naysayers.

Now with all that said I typically ignore the who I am "suppose to be with as a friend" segment, however I have subscribed to the proper expression side of things. Although currently starting to break those boundaries and already recieving derogatory comments.

Just this week while at lunch with co-workers I felt like such a failure. There was a movie on television (Robyn Williams starred in) that was covering gay culture and had some T-girls in it. I honestly saw maybe 5 minutes of the show but it brought up comments from those I work with about being gay to the "Drag Queens".

So here I was armed with knowledge;) and trying to give an honest rebuttal to most of the comments. It was kind of eerie as knowing too much raises eyebrows, however the secretary is the one person who I thought would be the most copasetic but she scratched the deepest with commentary. I am not trying to down her in any way as she is a great lady and I have much respect for her as a person but you could see the "small town" shining in her every word.

So after a bit of my rebuttals I eventually had to bite my tongue so as to not push myself to far out in the open. Thusly this is also where I feel I failed most of the transgendered community.

I guess the point to where I am heading is how do we educate the masses without having to show our own cards? I am so with ya on the forgivness part but I also think we need to make a stand at some point to say HEY......

Michele Angelique said...

Comment on "Forgiveness" by Rhenaiya...
http://genderevolve.blogspot.com/2005/09/forgiveness.html


Rhenaiya, thank you for this inspiring article about Forgiveness, and the beautiful piece of artwork included with it. Forgiveness is a topic that certainly relates to the life of everyone here, in one way or another. Our ability to forgive is constantly being tested.

Rhenaiya said... "It is the gift of forgiveness, not just of others but of oneself. Guilt is just a form of self punishment and must not be overindulged."

This is a very wise statement. Forgiveness of self is the first step, which will pave the way to forgiving others. Guilt and shame are heavy burdens to carry, and are indeed a form of self-punishment. While it's easier said than done, releasing these boulders makes the path far easier to navigate.

The questions to ask are oneself are, "Is there anything in my past which I have not forgiven myself for? What are the events or sources of my guilt or shame?" The key is identifying these shadows and consciously deciding to release them, coupled with the will and desire to forgive yourself.

Then it should be asked... "Who in this world is yet unforgiven by me? For whom do I harbour this monster called revenge? What benefit can be achieved by hatred?" Once these questions have been pondered, it should consciously be resolved to release these demons and simply forgive. Just let it go... unconditionally forgive anyone who has wronged you, past, present or future... with or without an apology. Anger and bitterness will only tear you up inside, so holding on tight to such feelings is purely detrimental to your own health and well-being.

Forgiveness may be one of our greatest challenges in this life. It can be expected that many opportunities to forgive will be presented, whether of ourselves or others. If a lesson can be learned from something deemed to be a "mistake", then it is not a mistake at all, but rather a stepping-stone to a greater understanding... and therefore, a gift. A gift disguised as a mistake.

When I read the statement... "No matter what happens I will forgive them. To err is human nature. To forgive is mine."... I hear the angels singing.

Thank you Rhen, for this uplifting message. We could all benefit by a little (or a lot) more forgiveness of ourselves, each other, our families, and the world at large.

Much love,
Michele