...wherein lies true beauty...

The circles. The clubs. The community profiles...

Mine is not a thorough experience by any means. In fact, I purposely withdrew from many of the stereotypical TS environs, especially those in which a large contingent of the transgender community ensconces itself in an attempt to maintain a level of comfortable acceptance in a world so apt to odium without preamble. My reasons for such a conscious detatchment have been primarily based on character.

Or, really, the apparent neglect of it.

It seems that the race which we run is replete with those who run to be seen. It's not the glory of the finish line which motivates them, but the attention of those on the sidelines cheering them on. They live for the plaudits...the acknowledgement of their participation in this oft-percieved-as marathon of habitual dislocation. They wear the mere fact of their association like a ribbon.

So where is the starting line? Is it, possibly, realization?

Once we initially become aware of our need we are heavily compelled toward actualization...sometimes at any cost. The image is all; projecting that image becomes the vanguard of our identity. Even our friends, leisurely and occupational pursuits, political leanings, spiritual beliefs, et al are drawn into the gravity well of our newly advanced singularity.

It is at this stage the problem usually arises...self-obsession.

Predicated upon the innocent exhilaration of rising through the air swiftly, discovering the vastness of the world around and below you...much like that excitement nee fear coursing though you during that first dive from the cliffs into the crystal waters below...it can all too easily reveal itself to be an addiction, and as such require substantially more each time to satisfy it.

I have seen the results of just such an advance (decline?)...extreme indulgence or extreme disconnect.

One seeks to fulfill the skewed perception of just such an addiction by overemphasizing the attributes needed to maintain the image by way of surgery and it's compliment. The other seeks a pernicious swan song. Both amount to the same thing...complete loss of self.

The need to be recognized by others tends to be crucial within the context of establishing, or having established, a healthy relationship, but beyond that is merely a symptom of narcissism. Lest we forget, Narcissus of legend fell disastrously in love with his own reflection; is not the desire for mere recognition by myriad and random others similarly reflective?

It is no accident that "Narcissism" - the degree of vanity extrapolated from the example of Narcissus' emotional disconnect - derives from the Greek root word narke, meaning "numb"...the same root of the word "Narcotic", the example of which I have already proposed.

So the question becomes not "do we cease our journey if only for the sake of truth in perspective?", but, more realistically "what truth can be salvaged from a life misconcieved?"

Narcissus, enraptured by his own image to the neglect of all others, died - by either curse or suicide - in his own self-desire and was transformed into a flower bearing his final posture...the stem bending near the blossom giving it the appearance of gazing into the pond next to which it often grows. "A transformation of vanity and self-centeredness into the humility of a more individuated and spiritual self", as one author noted.

Yet, it is this insight, of yet another author which brings to light a much deeper assertion, one that resonates with this soul..."One glance, and he was lost. He had made the great discovery: his passion, his god, his one true love...and it was his own image. I am perfection, he thought. The world begins and ends with me. All others in this world are phantoms, fleeting and devoid of meaning. They count for little, yet I endure.

"Pity this love affair was not confined to mirrors and lakes; but from that day Narcissus first saw his reflection, he began to see everything as it related to his own image. The world was his looking glass. His insatiable appetite for himself took him all over the globe, and he was invariably pleased with what he saw. He left in his path a troubling wake which slipped like a fever through te people who saw him. A West African tribe whose encounter with him led them to create a new verb, [the meaning of which is] 'to look into someone else's eyes and see the reflection of oneself.'

"The sad truth is that Narcissus was right. When he looked at his image, what he saw was, in fact, perfection; but he was wrong when he attributed it to himself. What he saw was the perfection of humanity...of creation itself. He saw it in himself, and so thought it belonged to him.

"But it belongs to no one. It is the robe of the spirits, a grand design of blood and bone, of intellect and memory, of beautiful suffering and tragic-yet-unrelenting hope. These robes are borrowed, and when we return home to the mansion of the souls we leave them at the door."

Life In Balance,
Alysyn Ayrica


Anonymous said…

This is my perception of course, But your writing is truly defining of principals as a whole handed out at hello to the world of alternate gender. As hoping for acceptance runs through "If I could only" accomplish this or that, Then I will have found my contentment with life. It starts with trying to meet a successful friend(for posterity or honest help) and manifests itself in theory to one of two places mentioned.

Self obsession and learning of the being whom is inside compete for the light and growth. It should be no surprise(but was to me) that the root of narcissism bud in opposing directions while the emotional aspects wither in writhe of addiction.

In terms of vanity we are our own worst critics as a good percentage of the ones who are powering the plastic surgeons around the globe come from our spectrum. Retirement plans obliterated in the self obsession/definitive moments we seek for a sense of fulfillment. It beholds the same sanctity of seeking the answer in the bottom of a bottle carrying clouded judgments in its midst of seeking medicated interaction with the world.

With that said...I am just as guilty in terms as I seek and am leaning towards a plan that will ultimately have me in Dr. Zukowski's office.

There are even more spins of this to ponder as this applies to everyone in a singularly fashion. The key however is signified in your sign off..."Life in Balance." Metaphorically, That set of keys should be the most sought, But are quite often elusive before, during and after everything this world encompasses for us.

Thank you so much for sharing this and I as I told you already, I will look back to your writing and probably share this often with others!

Love, Alexis
Anonymous said…

I agree with you...as much as I can extrapolate from what you've
written. In fact, this thought was presented by another...sorta...

I'll share my response to her, I think it may also be relevant to your

"...although, I think the real point I was attempting to make had more
to do with the realization of one's self as a being of higher calling,
not merely a physical anomaly to be structurally modified...

Simply put, too often we get so caught up in the physical nature of
our existence that the true beauty of the created soul gets downplayed
or dismissed as irrelevant to one's integrity.

There is a place for temporal happiness by way of surgical alteration,
but in the long run the stability of the person must reside in their
awareness of an eternal perspective."

Oh, and thank you, Alexis, for the link to Dr.Zukowski.

Anonymous said…
I just though you article was awesome! You are so right on all accounts. Getting people to realize, embrace and enjoy their inner beauty is perhaps one of the hardest thing to do, but it IS vital to ones long term happiness! Thanks again for such a special article!
re: ... wherein lies true beauty...

Dearest Alysyn,

As always, you give me cause for further ponderance. You are exactly correct that too much emphasis is placed on the external image, without regard for the meaningful substance of life and existence. This unfortunate condition exists in numerous cultural groups, more often among female and trans communities, although in some male venues like body-building the same narcissism reigns supreme. It is a condition which impedes social progress because people are so fixated on the physical/material realm, that they altogether miss what's really important.

Not only is physical beauty ephemeral, it is subject to and tainted by the whims of societal fads and cultural "norms", which in and of themselves are ever-changing. To be held hostage by others' definition of beauty, is to forever chase the unattainable. The phenomenon can easily be observed throughout history. For example, when "Twiggy" was deemed "beautiful", the incidence of anorexia and bulemia among women skyrocketed. We grow up with it, we see it everywhere we look, the message to women that "___" = "beauty", and we are expected to strive for those nearly impossible standards. This external beauty focus is not healthy for women period, trans or genetic.

To be liberated from the need to have one's beauty continually reaffirmed by outside forces, enables one to focus on developing all of the other layers of true beauty that lie within. The inner layers of beauty are what we leave here with, whereas the material/physical beauty must be left behind on the earthly plane when we die. To the soul, the outer aspects of physical beauty have no consequence. Therefore, the investment of time/energy spent focusing on outer beauty will only pay off in the short term, if at all. Focusing on inner beauty is an investment that will keep paying off for eternity. As your author notes, "These robes are borrowed, and when we return home to the mansion of the souls we leave them at the door."

On the other hand, there is a balance and some importance can still be given to our external appearance. Our bodies are the vessels which carry us through every moment of life, so they best be comfortable and fitting. There is nothing wrong with crafting and adorning our vessels in such a way that they best suit our inner being. When it becomes wrong is if it's the "most important" or "only" focus, if it's considered the "beginning and end" of relevance. In moderation, external self focus has its importance. Wanting to look good and putting forth effort to refine or enhance physical beauty are uplifting and gratifying pursuits. By sharing photos and conveying "images" among friends on the internet, we are able to more easily reach out to others, and it helps us actualize who we really are (or want to be) among circles of people who appreciate us. Affirmation from others simply feels good, as does the feeling of acceptance that may be all too rare in real-life.

The problem may arise when receiving affirmation becomes an addiction, sought relentlessly, and required in order to keep one's self-esteem intact. As you have assessed, this condition can all too easily slip into narcissism, total self-absorption, and loss of perspective. It can also result in devastation and depression when the outer beauty fades. The balance comes in recognizing that true, lasting, eternal beauty comes from within, whereas the image in the mirror is but a temporary illusion.

One last point... the image of external beauty can easily be faked through camera effects or graphic enhancements. A person can be rated a "10" whilst wearing a certain wig, then a "5" with a different wig. It's an illusion, a presentation, a marketing package. However... what cannot be faked is "character". No matter how physically beautiful a person appears to be, what does it matter if they have no character substance? One of the things I love about the internet, and why I will continue reaching out in friends circles, profiles, clubs, is that it is easy to identify those rare people of substance, like you and our GE sisters. You are the beautiful people who actually have something to *say* rather than just something to show. Our online presence gives us the opportunity to be examples of substance, among a sea of superficiality.

Thank you Alysyn for showing by example that beauty, brains and inner depth can coexist simultaneously... although I'm pretty sure we would all appreciate seeing a few more pics of you. Be a little more narcissistic will ya babe? teehee just kiddin!

Much love,

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