Fractured identity and fragmented feelingsPosted: October 8, 2014 | |
For the most part, I’ve been pretty cool, collected, and patient about the rate of my (version of) transition. It is purposefully progressing at a snail’s pace. Example: it took me 10 years of deliberating to decide to try out testosterone. I have plans for other steps I want / need to take (legal name change, top surgery), but I can’t see any concrete ways those plans might be materializing in the near future (haven’t even socially changed name yet, what to tell work about top surgery?!).
Overall, this is OK. I know that ultimately I control the speed of things. It’s not that I need all these things ASAP (or, if I suddenly do, I could change my priorities and get moving!). Fortunately, it’s not about waiting on things that are out of my control: bureaucratic processes and medical gatekeepers and getting funds together. It’s not really any of those things. It’s all me, at least at this point. I need to be taking things this slowly.
Sometimes though, I get really really frustrated and just wish I were where I see myself already. At this rate, it’ll be another 10-20 years! At times, I get so super indignant that my identity feels so fractured. Why does it have to be this way? It’s society’s fault I am where I’m at! I want to be an actual person, in all areas of my life. I try to remind myself that everyone is fractured, to varying degrees. It’s not a transgender-specific thing. Everyone has their out-in-public persona and their work persona and their laid-back hanging-out persona and the really good stuff that they only reveal to a select few, etc. And at the same time, it’s much more than a transgender-specific thing. I’m too private for my own good, about anything and everything!
I just wish, at times, that I could line up all my ducks and without going through the effort, everyone would magically know that this is my name and these are my pronouns and this is how I feel and I plan on these changes in the future. I’m in limbo about my name. The pronoun situation is getting a little bit better. I struggle at times with feeling like a whole person. Sometimes I feel invisible.
Yesterday, I changed my facebook profile to match who I actually am, a little more than ever before. A small change, but it felt huge! Me ‘n facebook: about five years ago, a few friends were urging me to join. I didn’t really want to, partially because I wasn’t out to this person and to that person, and there was no one way my profile could be that would make me feel both comfortable with not being out, and also happy. I was so private about so many things. However, I thought it might be beneficial to set up a facebook page for a performance group I was a part of. I set that up as if it were a personal page (as opposed to a group page), but it wasn’t really personal at all. And that’s how it’s been for 5 years. I’ve maintained the page, updating about shows, posting pictures from past shows, etc. For a while in there, a friend and I were co-operating the page. The page is the group’s name – not my name.
However, the group has been defunct for the past two years or so. I mean, we might put on another show at any time(!!!), but mostly, it’s inactive. Meanwhile, I’ve been navigating facebook in a limbo-land. I rarely ever post. I “like” other people’s things as this group page. Profile pictures have been performers. Sometimes the profile pic is me, but I’m “in disguise.” Some people know that I am this page, and they tag pics of me accordingly. Others have probably been confused. “My” birthday is listed as the date of this group’s inception. It’s been weird and disjointed, but, strangely, reflective of how I feel in the world at large.
I’ve recently been in touch with an old friend via email and he asked me about facebook. So I “friended” him through this page. He later wrote to me [edited for length], “I assume you are “hidden” on facebook for a reason, but please know that I have had conversations with [mutual friend] and [your freshmen year roommate] about your whereabouts. Please know that “out of sight, out of mind” has never applied regarding peoples’ affections for you.” That hit me hard. I simultaneously wanted to hug him and argue with him.
I’ve been trying to improve this outlook for a while, and take charge of all these fragmented feelings. Yesterday, I finally decided to make some changes. I switched the profile picture to a pic of my face, for the first time ever. I’ve been taken aback by how many “likes” and comments this move has brought about. It feels good. I changed my birthday and my gender identity, to actually reflect who I am. The profile is still in the group’s name, largely because 1) I don’t know if I want to easily be found by any and everyone at this point. Er, I know that I don’t! 2) I don’t know what name I actually want to go by.
One day, I will have a name, gender identity, pronouns, and a life that is accessible and understood by everyone! I have so far to go still.