Friday, October 28, 2005

Damnation Aly, Pt. 2

(by Alysyn Ayrica)
Stability. That oh so elusive standard of living which most women desire, but very few actively seek. Somehow the dramatic turmoil seems to bring about the romantic drive within us, sparking our earliest imaginings of what that Cinderella story would entail.

Just as boys want to wield their sword and shield and battle the dragon, girls imagine the storm waves of passion crashing about them making love’s embrace all the more thrilling.

But life is rarely like that, is it not? Our movies are merely condensations of the collected commonalities and only rarely are they singular scenarios.

So the quest becomes this: how to reconcile the nesting and nurturing instinct of an innately identified woman with the distinct wanderlust of a very confused and unresolved masculine persona…no, stability is not so easily established.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”(Bible; Book of Proverbs)

In struggling with my internal identity I realized that, even at a young age, it was often perceived to be unnatural. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what “unnatural” really meant. Biblically, I realized that it was defined as “that which was not intended”, which, in turn, was often labeled an abomination. But the dilemma came when making the distinction between the absolute biblical understanding and the spurious social definition.

It took me until my advanced adulthood to understand that society defines “unnatural” as “anything that we don’t understand and are unwilling to flexibly attempt to identify.”

Nothing can prepare a child more for the bends and breaks than the incontinency of a societal misapprehension of the meaning of life’s basic identifiers. When the adults around you are so unaware of their own function in life, how oh how are they supposed to guide the virginal comprehensive infrastructure of one still growing out of infancy and childhood fancy?

I began to find my solace and education in the literary works of not only my favorite sci-fi authors, but poets, debaters, politicians of old, and Christian commentators and historians. In their musings and verbal excursions there was clarity. Things were explained. Ideas were meted out to refine reason. These were my first loves.

I also came to realize that this foundation in rational thought was also a means to maintain my masculine identity and somehow shut out the flood of emotional intensity which was, daily, filling up my basement. It became, over time, much easier to deny that this house had, in fact, no basement than to come up with new excuses as to why the door was locked and barred. Eventually the water rises and begins to seep through the cracks in the floorboards and under the doorjamb…

It seemed a feasible reaction – delving into in-depth biblical studies – the goal, of course being to somehow clearly define this quandary of gender quantification. I’d grown increasingly weary of constantly, year after year, waveringly breaching my feminine nature and then stepping back into the masculine role offered me at birth, disgusted at not only my lack of sophistication at the task, but also at how like a trapped animal it made me feel. At these times I was surely ready to gnaw my own foot off to merely gain a taste of freedom. It was the longest decade of my life…

“Whoever thinks that he is helping to keep God’s work going on the earth cannot help but believe that God will help him.” (Charles Fillmore)

When a couple is first married, usually the first few years are fraught with adjustments to each others personality differences, and for a while tears are the norm. How much more so when the other in the union sets a standard of perfection which, on the face of things, seems impossible to achieve, while, in reality, the expectation of achieving these goals is not actually placed upon you. To enter a relationship with a perfect God can be daunting, for sure. Spending the time to get to know that person is difficult and often mind-bending.

With an earthly marriage (to a woman whose own personality demanded every ounce of strength and composure of me) to maintain, as well as working and going to school full time to enhance my career and prepare for the advent of the inevitable offspring (which inevitably came!) I began to realize I was fighting a battle on two fronts with quickly diminishing ammunition. Despite the decades of crying out in desperate prayer, fasting as a means of enhancing the meditative quality of that prayerful delivery, and service within the church leadership and various missions, I was still without recourse or decision. Time was slowly running out, as I soon came to realize.

After our first year of marriage my wife began displaying obvious symptoms of her bi-polar disorder…increasing migraines. This lasted for the better part of our second year and opened up some doors in our marriage which needed, at very least, better hinges. That is to say, once opened they never closed, if they didn’t fall off altogether. The turmoil of not being able to find competent medical assistance, of her constant state of paranoia and hallucinations which put me into situations of having to defend myself where no offense was extant, became an emotional burden that, I admit, I was not “man” enough to handle with grace. In time, the symptoms became more subtle as she learned to hide the paranoia, to become ashamed of the hallucinations, to fear being found out by those within the church and labeled “crazy”. Though she was loved by many, and it is doubtful that such a thing would have happened, she was loathe to accept this as reasonable and only exacerbated her condition by not admitting that she was becoming worse; eventually she was beyond help.

I often explain to those with whom I discuss these things in depth that my transition was, in essence, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” regarding my marriage. I was the only one who was willing to admit that the marriage was falling apart. You can only be told to leave “because that’s what you really want!” so many times in five years, even if it’s not what you really want, before you begin to realize that it’s actually what she really wants. Hoping that it would somehow bridge a proverbial gap in our marriage – the one she perceived being built of regretful mistakes and the loneliness that it brought to her life – she vied for the conception of a child hoping to bring some semblance of meaning to the vows. It was the near death of our second child due to spinal meningitis that we both reached our breaking points. It was the beginning of the end, and it ripped at the very fabric of my being.

The fighting, the emotional distrust, the accusations, the constant fear being projected into every event…the constant series of trials…for some reason it doesn’t make it any less painful when a marriage finally disintegrates.

“’Fallacy of the Continuum’ and other commonly wielded verbal weapons.”

I began hormones without my wife’s knowledge.

Well, that’s not exactly true. We had discussed it as the next step, but she was to go on a church retreat that weekend and we were to continue toward our decision when she came back. I know it was deceitful, and inevitable…wrong, and exactly what I had to do. I don’t excuse my actions, but I also know that no matter what she had decided on her part, for me the decision was irrevocable. She discovered the extent of my deceit a few months later when my breasts began to form.

Until then she had been trying so hard to find a way to make me change. From church counseling to constant lovemaking she knew that a loss was in the works, and her fragility could not even begin to fathom the extent. Most women have to deal with the loss of their husband, but know that the man will still be there in some capacity, whether for the children or merely out of congenial familiarity. How painful is it to live with the loss of not only your husband, but the actual male identity that once inhabited the persona, while still interacting with that person? I don’t pity her the difficulty it caused her. I often attempt to place myself within that same scenario on a hypothetical level utilizing all that I experienced, and often feel that I would make the same decision as she did; but without the insanity part, of course.

The battle on both fronts continued to wage well into my first year of transition. Not only was the din of war deafening within the marriage itself, but overwhelming within the conscience I had nurtured to vigorous health all my life. I had knowingly committed myself to an act that had a great probability of destroying all that I held dear in my life…family, friends, even my children…and risked just as great a destruction of my own soul. Is it possible to remain spiritually intact after having performed such a heinous act?

As our discontent became the inevitable separation, and as that separation progressed into divorce, her depiction of me became more and more monstrous. I had finally found the quiet place in my life, realizing that in becoming outwardly truthful I was able to silence the battles which had waged for so long within. Though hurtful, the harm that she sought to inflict upon me via court battles and the constant demeaning of my character to others close to us eventually became as effective as whining children…frustrating to deal with, but ultimately and effectively harmless.

Her death brought the much needed, if reluctantly accepted, peace; and there is hope for further growth, unhindered by the barriers of irrational behavior.

**

The most troubling part of my journey through the brambles of transition has been witnessing firsthand the many intelligent and hurting ts women who have chosen to turn their backs on God merely because of their transsexual condition. My dismay isn’t because it is not such a difficult and life-questioning event; in fact it is so much so that anyone who hasn’t had to deal with it should praise whoever it is they pray to and give great thanks for sparing them this trial. My dismay derives from the fact that the only real perspective they will receive is through the spiritual growth they obtain while working through this and communing with their God all the while. The truth of the trial comes not in the clothes, the hormones, the relationships…the truth comes from the Truthgiver. All things derive their meaning from some source. All things are created for a purpose. To assume that any act is random is foolish and ignorant. We don’t always know immediately what we are here for, but rest assured, there is a reason, and it will be revealed in its proper time. Everything leading up to that point is growth…maturity.

It took me 36 years to really understand this.

I still don’t really know as of yet what my real purpose here is. I guess I have a lot of growing still to do. I do know that, one, I am solely responsible for the healthy growth and development of two human beings. I say this tongue in cheek, but if there was ever a time to question the wisdom of God, this would be the decision I would present. I, being the least qualified to be a parent, am suddenly the only parent that my children have. There are things in this world that I will truly never understand, I admit. There is one thing, though, that I do know without a doubt…

I am no longer afraid.



To my sisters with love from my heart,

Alysyn

2 comments:

Michele Angelique said...

In response to "Damnation Aly, Pt.2"
http://genderevolve.blogspot.com/2005/10/damnation-aly-pt-2.html


Dearest Aly…

Your ability to express yourself in writing is remarkable. You say that you are unsure of your true purpose in life, and yet, to me it can be easily seen that one of your purposes is use the power of your pen for advancement of the human race. We as readers are compelled by your writing because you are able to paint a picture with words. Thank you for sharing your life’s story in such a candid, insightful, thought-provoking manner.

I would like to comment and expand on several aspects of your writing…

---------------------------------
Aly said… "I also came to realize that this foundation in rational thought was also a means to maintain my masculine identity and somehow shut out the flood of emotional intensity which was, daily, filling up my basement… I’d grown increasingly weary of constantly, year after year, waveringly breaching my feminine nature and then stepping back into the masculine role offered me at birth, disgusted at not only my lack of sophistication at the task, but also at how like a trapped animal it made me feel."
---------------------------------

This is a most eloquent expression of the need to be true to oneself. Before you can be truly happy and fulfilled in life, it is necessary to have the basic freedom to BE who you ARE. The more YOU fight against YOU, the more frustrating and exhausting life becomes. In the case of someone like yourself, who is so intensely self-aware, denial of your basic nature is like living in solitary confinement. The male role is (unfortunately) very restrictive in terms of emotional boundaries, and for someone with a high “E.Q” (comparible to I.Q., except on an emotional level), such restrictions would be like slow death. What a wonderful blessing that you are able to express yourself so well in writing, as writing is a tremendous outlet and tool of self-realization.

---------------------------------
Aly said "How painful is it to live with the loss of not only your husband, but the actual male identity that once inhabited the persona, while still interacting with that person?"
---------------------------------

This is a point I wish to ponder… tell me, will your male identity really be lost? Where will he go? How painful will it be to “kill” him? I very much doubt he will go down without a fight. Will it be possible to extinguish him completely and permanently? Certainly, your male body is transformed into a female body, and you look very different. But are you not the same person as before? Surely, in female form you can shed the societally restrictive boundaries to self-expression, and no longer feel the need to participate in stereotypically “manly” activities unless that is what pleases you… but are you not still the same underlying person? What if the resulting “You” after the transformation is allowed to be the same person, but with the added benefit of a lot more freedom of self-expression? The same You, but now living “outside the cage”? With this in mind, your own feelings of disgust and condemnation toward your male identity might subside. He does not have to perish in order to let Her live. He and She are One; they will coexist in the same vessel (body) no matter what you do to change the vessel. You have total power to change how your vessel appears, whereas extinguishing an important part of the material inside might not be in your highest good. If you could embrace and love both the She and the He within yourself, it would be perhaps be the optimal way to manifest your greatest One in this life. The alternative is that YOU continue to fight against YOU, while inside a vessel that merely looks different than before.

---------------------------------
Aly said "I had knowingly committed myself to an act that had a great probability of destroying all that I held dear in my life…family, friends, even my children…and risked just as great a destruction of my own soul. Is it possible to remain spiritually intact after having performed such a heinous act?"
---------------------------------

How will such distruction occur resulting from you becoming the best possible You? By nurturing your own soul, you will come to love yourself dearly, and in doing so, you will overflow with love which will spill over onto your friends, family, and children. Everyone who encounters you will benefit because you are radiating inner peace, love, and compassion for others. If you are miserable in your own skin, people around you will feel your tension and may even be affected negatively by it. Whereas, if you are happy and joyful to be alive, others will be uplifted and inspired to follow your lead. So, in striving as you are to fulfill your highest good in this life, you are doing the best possible thing for your children, family and friends. There is nothing heinous at work here, precious One. This is all inspired by the love source, therefore it must be good. Dear sister, it is time to release the guilt you hold in your heart.

---------------------------------
Aly said "If there was ever a time to question the wisdom of God, this would be the decision I would present. I, being the least qualified to be a parent, am suddenly the only parent that my children have."
---------------------------------

God does work in often mysterious ways. I believe that God gives the most difficult challenges to the most advanced souls. My view is that the degree of the challenge is commesurate with the evolution of the participant… sort of like the exams in grade school. I do not believe we are ever assigned challenges we are inequipped to cope with. I think key is to find ways to navigate, overcome, and look for ways to turn negatives into positives at every turn. In doing so, our souls evolve further. While misfortune and tragedy most often appear senseless, there is a much bigger picture than can be readily measured on this plane of existence. Every challenge must be viewed as an opportunity for evolution… the bigger the challenge, the greater evolution will take place in overcoming it.

---------------------------------
Aly said "The most troubling part of my journey through the brambles of transition has been witnessing firsthand the many intelligent and hurting ts women who have chosen to turn their backs on God merely because of their transsexual condition…. My dismay derives from the fact that the only real perspective they will receive is through the spiritual growth they obtain while working through this and communing with their God all the while. The truth of the trial comes not in the clothes, the hormones, the relationships…the truth comes from the Truthgiver. All things derive their meaning from some source. All things are created for a purpose."
---------------------------------

This is the part of your writing that made me gasp, sent tingles up my spine, gave me goosebumps, put butterflies in my stomache, followed by tears of joy running down my cheeks. Aly, You are a very wise, very old soul whose words are so very illuminating. The Truthgiver, indeed. I too believe that the label is irrelevant because the source is One. I agree wholeheartedly… all things derive meaning from the same source and all reality is created for a purpose.

What a spectacularly woven tapestry, this blind existence in which we live, as we struggle looking everywhere in the dark for answers, while all we need to light our paths is living right inside of us. The key is to look within to find the Truth because it is waiting to be found.

Thank you Alysyn for sharing your Truth so intimately with us. We have all been uplifted by your presence and your insights.

Much love,
Michele

Michele Angelique said...

FROM ALY...

Michele, what an amazing insight into the minds of others you display. Much of what you have drawn from my own writing has given me pause, and upon reflection I think that there is reason for even further clarification.

I have often found that so much emphasis is placed on the idea of being true to oneself. While this has the taste and feel of nobility, there is a complement to this objective which often goes unsung...being honest with those whose lives surround us. They are one and the same in context to becoming a living and vibrant human being.

If you apply it to either the physical plane (i.e. projected identity, etc.), the soul, or intellectual/emotional, plane (i.e. writing, art, etc.), or the spiritual plane (i.e. communion with The Truthgiver ) the rule stands solidly. Even Jesus pointed out that all the rules of man come down to two basic expectations that God has for us: Love God with all that we are, and love our neighbor as we do ourself. He made it clear that the love for our "neighbor" goes hand in hand with the love we have for ourselves and should be meted out with equal intensity; and that together with our communion with The Source of that love we create a union of perfection.

I certainly agree that being "miserable in your own skin" can create those same conditions in the relationships surrounding oneself. Truly, as I've pointed out before, those were the same reasons I realized that the changes I faced were necessary. I also realized that the answers I needed did not, in fact, derive from within me, but became more elusive the farther I delved. I came to understand how severly incompetent I was to make such a decision and relied on the wisdom of a God I came to know over many years of reliance. In the end it was this same God who gave me the impetus to continue here on this plane of existence.

I've read many interesting ideas here regarding the duality of this (sometimes) exigent gender dilemma, and while I agree that it is a rational response to recognize equally the male and female dimorphic presence within the singular being, that the true core of ones self identifies as neither gender specifically.

At present I am so disconnected from my former masculine identity that i often have difficulty remembering the physical perspective that I inhabited, with the exceptions of certain memories which recur; yet the foundational aspects of my character have remained intact regardless of this temporal gender-redefining, only clarified and refocused.

What I really struggled with was the idea that guilt had somehow taken hold of my heart. In this I think you may have opened my eyes to something I have been attempting to define, or maybe even admit, in my life. The biggest question I face regarding that is "does that guilt somehow drive me toward a greater end, not as a way of penitence, but in a direct attempt to prove that such remorse is not strong enough to ultimately define me?"

Michele, you are both a teacher and a friend. Thank you.

Love,

Aly